Stress has been identified by many women as one of the strongest smoking triggers. Many women who smoke feel that smoking cigarettes helps with stress. The sense of relaxation from smoking is a relief of the unpleasant feelings caused by nicotine withdrawal. Our bodies become accustomed to the regular dose of nicotine and feel on edge without it. Cigarettes, then, relieve the stress caused by nicotine withdrawal. However, they may not relieve the many other complex forms of stress that we face in our daily lives.
Smoking can also be seen as a stress reliever because it gives people an opportunity to take a break or a “time out” from a stressful situation. Many moms who don’t have a lot of extra time feel that smoke breaks give them an escape and they miss this alone time when quitting or reducing smoking.
Having alone time to de-stress and take a break is really important. When quitting or reducing smoking, try to find another way to still take these time outs, except instead of smoking, do something else you enjoy. Take a brief walk, listen to music, read a few pages of a book or have a tea.
Pregnancy and becoming a new mom can lead to extra or different kinds of stress. Becoming pregnant is a big life change and can mean new stressors about things like money, getting enough sleep, changes in your body, finding day care, changing your lifestyle, needing time off work…and more. It is an important time to find healthy ways to relieve your stress.
Here are some ways to reduce stress:
- Take up a hobby that you enjoy such as knitting, reading, playing sports, photography, painting or gardening.
- Exercise (click here to read more)
- Get the nutrition you need (click here to read more)
- Write in a journal
- Take naps
- Do yoga
- Do meditation or deep breathing exercises
- Talk to someone (a close friend or family member, health care provider, counsellor or support group)
- Get plenty of sleep
- Drink a lot of water
- Make time for yourself
- Take vacations
- Avoid stressful situations / people
Can you think of some more? Post your success stories on the discussion board
about what has worked for you and how you have been able to de-stress.
Many women experience stress and negative moods during pregnancy and early motherhood that are more persistent. Many new moms feel sad or depressed during their pregnancy or in the first few months after their baby is born. Up to 80% of women experience feeling weepy, anxious, unable to sleep, sad or moody. These emotions are normal in the first couple of weeks because your body is going through a big change including shifts in hormones related to mood.
For some women, these feelings are a little more intense. Some new moms may feel extremely tired, sad or hopeless, have difficulty concentrating, experience changes in appetite, loss of interest and an inability to cope. If you have these symptoms, speak to your health care provider to get help.