Pregnancy is one big energy suck. Showers are rare. Ice cream fests are frequent. And the favored position is most certainly horizontal. But if you can summon enough gusto to read the next couple pages, you just might find the vigor you’ve been missing.
Soak up the sun
The first few moments after you wake provide an opportunity to kick your liveliness into full swing. Once you’ve stretched out of bed, meander over to the window and open the shades. Research shows that simply letting in the light helps your body acknowledge the need to be alert. Once you’re wide-eyed, lace up your sneakers for an early morning stroll—sun exposure is an excellent way to meet your daily quota for vitamin D (in addition to gleaning it from foods). You need only five to 10 minutes under the rays, two to three times a week to reap the health benefits.
One of the most important ways to amp up energy is to exercise. What time is the best time to work out? “Whenever you have the opportunity. Do something—anything —whenever you can,” says Galen Godbey, certified personal trainer and owner of 423 Strength & Conditioning training center in Morristown, Tennessee. Try walking at least 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week, to get more blood pumping to the heart and ward off fatigue.
A surefire way to zap the reserves is to become dehydrated. The American Pregnancy Association (APA) recommends consuming between eight and twelve 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Keep a water bottle at your side and guzzle throughout the day to ensure a water shortage doesn’t leave you feeling weary.
Fuel with food
“The main focus for anyone should be on the food they are putting into their body,” says Godbey. He recommends steering clear of starchy foods and sugars and concentrating on omega-3 type fats, especially cold water fish, grass-fed meats and wild game, for a boost. “By eliminating the dependence on glucose (sugar energy) and transitioning to ketones (fat energy)—a much more sustainable type of fuel for your body and brain—the typical highs and lows through-out the day will disappear.”
Reactivate your mind
The way you feel is strongly affected by what you choose to ponder.
Make a list
To-do lists are the number one way to conserve energy you would normally waste trying to remember what you need to do, an almost impossible feat when you’re battling pregnancy brain. It may be easiest to divide the list into categories, like work and home, and flesh out the tasks you need to accomplish in the day.
Find your inner om
Try meditating at different points during the day. Erin Riepe, instructor at Active Sol Yoga Studio in Atlanta, urges pregnant women to open their minds to find their most energized version of self. “Yoga relaxes your mind when you are connected with your breath.The indescribable power of your breath guides you through postures in a way that lets you trust your body and revel in your own experience.Think about the times you were told to take a deep breath when you were flustered, sick or upset and how doing so immediately relaxed you.” By releasing the worries from your mind, you’ll feel invigorated and ready to take on new tasks. Find a quiet place where you can just be with yourself.
Play brain games
Whenever possible, take advantage of a chance to exercise your mind. Try doing the crossword while on the subway or playing a rousing game of Scrabble with your spouse after dinner. By challenging your intellect, you stimulate energy sensors in the brain and immediately enhance your mood.
Revitalize your spirit
What’s good for your soul is also good for your vivacity.
For an instant boost, try rocking out to your top tunes on the way home from work. It’s almost impossible to be in an energy rut when your favorite band is giving you a personal concert in the car.
Do unto others
One of the best ways to rev up your natural energy is by volunteering to do some good for others. Start simple: Hold the door open for strangers or offer to walk an elderly neighbor’s pet. Gradually incorporate bigger tasks like picking up the tab for the person in line behind you at the drive-thru or volunteering at your local soup kitchen. With all the good vibes floating around, don’t be surprised to find yourself bursting with energy.
Share the load
Since you’re busy growing a little person in your belly, it’s no surprise your energy level isn’t exactly where it used to be. To compensate and conserve the energy that you do have, make sure to divvy up the chores amongst your partner or family members.
Relax from head to toe
As the day winds down and your energy starts to dwindle, begin conserving your strength for the next day.
One of the most important elements of the rejuvenation process is sleep. “The hormonal processes that are disrupted by poor sleeping patterns can prove to be hazardous in the short and long term,” says Godbey. “Research shows a number of correlations [between lack of sleep and] the development of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and a host of autoimmune diseases.” The best thing you can do for your pregnant self is to try to get as much sleep as possible (while you still can!).
To get ready for bed, draw a warm—not hot—bath and slip in for a nice, long soak. Light a few candles and grab some reading material for a healthy dose of chill time. Once you’re feeling relaxed and ready for bed, snuggle into something comfy. It’s important to keep your room cool and the shades closed. Avoid snoozing with the TV, radio or other electronic devices on since the glow can be distracting and interrupt sleep patterns. Add just 30 minutes of extra Zs to your routine each night to reap extra energy benefits in the morning.