Many women say stress is their strongest smoking trigger. Many women who smoke feel that smoking cigarettes helps with stress. Our bodies become used to the nicotine in cigarettes and feel on edge without it. When you stop smoking, you might feel nicotine withdrawal, which could feel like anxiety, depression, restlessness, headaches or hunger. If you have nicotine withdrawal, smoking can be relaxing because it will help take away these feelings. Cigarettes can help with the stress of these feelings but, they may not help with the other kinds of stress that we face in our daily lives.
Smoking can also help lower stress because it is a chance to take a break or a “time out” when you are in a stressful situation. Many busy moms feel that smoke breaks give them time alone. When they quit or reduce smoking, they do not have this time to themselves.
Having time alone to take a break and relax is important. When you quit or reduce smoking, you still need to take breaks. Instead of smoking, do something else you enjoy. Take a walk, listen to music, read, or have a tea.
Pregnancy and being a new mom can lead to more or different kinds of stress. Becoming pregnant is a big life change and can bring new worries about money, getting enough sleep, changes in your body, childcare, lifestyle changes, needing time off work…and more. It is an important time to find healthy ways to let go of your stress.
Here are some ways to reduce stress:
- Do an activity you enjoy such as knitting, reading, playing sports, painting or gardening.
- Eat healthy
- Write in a journal
- Take naps
- Do yoga
- Breathe deeply or do meditation
- Talk to someone (a close friend or family member, health care provider, counsellor or support group)
- Get plenty of sleep
- Drink water
- Make time for yourself
- Take vacations
- Stay away from stressful situations / people
Can you think of some more? Post your success stories on the discussion board
about what works for you and how you have been able to let go of stress.
Many women feel sad or depressed during their pregnancy or in the first few months after their baby is born. Up to 80% of women feel sad, weepy, moody, anxious, or cannot sleep. These feelings are normal in the first couple of weeks because hormones in your body that control mood are changing.
For some women, these feelings are stronger and don’t go away. They may feel very tired, sad or hopeless. They may change how much they eat, lose interest, and find it hard to concentrate or cope. If this happens to you talk to your doctor, nurse, midwife or doula to get help.