Self care and self love are two terms that you see used almost interchangeably. I could go into the differences between the two words but that’s really a post for another day. Instead, I’m going to reflect a bit on pregnancy and how I practiced self care during all three trimesters. Not pregnant? No worries – these are still ideas you can use in your life. In fact, I plan to continue with many of these even after baby boy is born.

Loving myself means practicing self care on a regular basis. I’ve always been a fan of self care as a form of self love. In fact, I have my favorite go to self care routines that I try to incorporate as often as possible – wine, baths, and cardio dance workouts.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was faced with a new question though – how do I show myself love during pregnancy? My old favorites – a glass of wine, a weekly detox bath, and working out were no longer the best ideas. Pregnancy came with a list of things you should avoid and many of my favorite forms of self care were on the list. So, I set out to try new ideas – some of which will be sticking around for quite some time!

Develop a reading routine.
I have fallen in love with my reading routine – it’s the perfect way to wind down before bed. There are nights when I skip reading, but I try to include it as often as possible. I highly recommend setting a limit on how much you read each night though or you’ll find yourself sacrificing sleep for reading and that’s not helpful!

Get enough sleep.
This one is very important – whether pregnant or not. Being well rested makes us happier and more productive. The one difference I have found with pregnancy and sleep is that they don’t always agree. As a result, I gave myself permission to take naps when needed in order to get in my sleep quota.

Cuddle your furbabies.
Some of my favorite moments have been the ones with my dogs. They love laying in my lap and cuddling in the evenings. I’m not sure why but there’s something soothing about petting a dog who’s loving up to your baby bump.

Try out new products.
There were several beauty products and chemicals that were on lists to avoid. While I wasn’t overly obsessive about this fact, I did use it as an excuse to try out new natural products, including a few homemade ones. I now have a favorite sugar scrub and facial toner that I will continue to make even after the baby is born.

Treat yourself to new clothes.
This one is almost a necessity as you’re going to outgrow most of your clothes. I say most of them because there’s quite a few pre-pregnancy stretchy tops that do fit over my baby bump. I don’t recommend going overboard though – a few pieces that you can mix and match is more than enough. You can add more style and variety with accessories.

Get up and moving.
It’s not always easy to convince yourself to move when you’re carrying around extra weight, but it is very helpful. I’ve found that walking and yoga have helped ease some of the pregnancy pains during all of the trimesters.

Get crafty.
Use this time to revisit an old hobby or to make new things for your home or the nursery. Painting, sewing, scrapbooking – there are so many ways that you can get crafty and make things that you’ll love for a while.

Enlist help.
This one may not seem like self care, but it really is when you’re pregnant. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I’m a very independent person and this has been a difficult area for me. It’s taken a while but I did eventually learn to say “Can you help me…” as a form of self care. Taking care of my body and minding the restrictions that come with pregnancy is definitely a form of self care.

Focus on you and your priorities.
People will be throwing you advice and opinions from every angle. A lot of this advice is going to be unsolicited and may make you question your decisions. Remember that everyone is different and therefore everyone has different opinions. It’s important to remember what you value while you’re planning your family’s future.

These are just a few ways that you can show yourself self care and self love. We’ve been sharing lots of ideas and activities in Hodge Podge Moments: The Community and Shield Sister Sanctuary this month. Why not hop on over and join the groups (for free!) for your all access pass to self love?

#LovingMyselfMeans Linking Up!