Your 5-point de-stress plan
Take your breaks. Never eat at your desk, instead use your lunch hour to get up so you can physically and mentally have a break from your work.
Stretch your legs. Gentle exercise is a great way to take time out and clear your head. A walk around the block will do wonders for your productivity at work.
Clock watch. Now is not the time to be working over your contracted hours. Try to leave on time.
Use your holiday wisely. Think about any annual leave you have left to use. Could you take one day off a week towards the end of your pregnancy before you go on maternity leave?
Keep it real. Don’t be afraid to say if you find your job has become too demanding now you’re pregnant.
Avoid morning blues
Morning sickness is usually at its worst during the first trimester, but can be helped by nibbling on plain food in the morning, for example toast or a digestive biscuit, avoiding smells that trigger nausea (such as perfume and cigarette smoke), and keeping hunger at bay and your blood sugars up.
“If you’re suffering from morning sickness, start addressing it before you go to bed, by eating something light like a plain biscuit,” suggests fertility and pregnancy expert Zita West. “Also, keep snacks by your bed so if you wake feeling sick you can easily settle your stomach.” Make sure you have breakfast before you brave your commute as you don’t want your blood sugar levels to drop, making nausea worse while you’re on the move.
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Have a cool commute
Carry a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated on public transport, and don’t be afraid to ask for a seat. If you’re in your early stages and other commuters can’t see your bump, you can get free ‘Baby On Board’ badges to wear from Transport for London (email email@example.com or call 0845 330 9880 to get hold of one). “Go for a window seat so you’re close to fresh air,” advises Zita.
“Another trick for warding off nausea-inducing bad smells is putting something refreshing or sweet-smelling, such as grapefruit juice, on cotton wool and carrying it with you to smell if something sets you off.”
If your commute is a real issue, ask your boss about changing your working hours to avoid rush hour, or even working from home on certain days. Be warned though, they don’t have to agree!
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The easiest thing to help overcome tiredness is to understand your daily pattern, for example if you feel wiped out after lunch, spend the early afternoon doing the most undemanding work of your day, such as catching up on emails or general admin. “Take several breaks throughout the day and get plenty of fresh air to wake you up if you’re feeling sleepy,” explains Zita.
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Boost your memory
Forgetfulness can be a common problem during pregnancy, and isn’t ideal when you’re still doing the day job. Worse during the first and third trimester, the best way to overcome it is to be fiercely organised, and plan ahead so you’ve got a to-do list and contacts ready to use if your mind goes blank at the office.
If you’ve got important numbers or addresses to remember, you might need to repeat them time and time again to really drill them in. Mentally attaching images or sayings to words can also help them stay in your head, and make sure you get enough sleep during your pregnancy to keep you alert for your working day.
Zita also recommends taking a supplement of Omega 3 before and during pregnancy to boost your brain power and help overcome the dreaded ‘preggy brain’.