I don't know about yours but my timeline has been quite heavy this past week. It is laden with headlines about racially motivated crimes against people who look like me and my children, stories of immigrant children being ripped away from their families, and then there's all the political fighting. It feels like a war zone on my phone! I have a headache from all the heartache. Staying informed is making me ill. Which made me wonder- if it's making me ill, what about pregnant women and their unborn children? How are they faring with this barrage of bad news?
Researchers at UCLA have been studying the effects that stress has on pregnant women and their unborn children for quite some time. Among their findings, stress during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight, premature delivery, and postpartum depression. They are currently studying how stress affects the children's development after they are born. Other recent studies indicate that racism, not race, is a major risk factor in maternal health. It is enough to deal with the stress of everyday life, racism in our work places and beyond, on top of the stress that the pregnancy puts on the body.
Relax, Relate, Release the Screens
I know we have to stay informed. I know the guilt that comes with checking out of news and current events, but we have to take care of ourselves first. Don't allow your phone or any screen to become your personal stress machine. Here are ways to maintain balance between your screen time and your peace of mind.
1. Get a real alarm clock. When your phone is your primary alarm it makes it too easy to access social media and news before you even get out of bed. Tuning into the world before you tune into yourself can make your day start with stress that you wouldn't normally be exposed to. You don't need to take on the world's problems before breakfast. Give yourself the gift of setting your own mood in the mornings.
2. Limit your screen time. Use apps to help limit your screen time. That way you aren't under a constant barrage of all day bad news. Check-in when you need to and check right out. Check out a list of apps to help you right here.
3. Curate your timelines. Is your timeline filled with sad and bad news? Are your social media friends on a non-stop news cycle of negativity? Do you find yourself shaking your head and holding tears as you scroll? It's time to curate that timeline. Let go of the Negative Nellies (or Nathans). Maybe just un-follow them for awhile. Add some positive vibes. Follow pages that bring you good news or help you with your daily life. Yes it is important to stay informed, but not to the detriment of your peace of mind. If nothing else add a few friends who flood your timelines with videos of their brand new babies and pets. Their posts are sure to lift your spirits.
4. Connect with Nature. Go outside! Leave the phone inside! Sit in the grass, by the pool, walk in the park, take your dog to a dog park, gaze at the moon, watch the birds, dance in the rain (carefully), tend to a garden. You will feel replenished and productive. Try to spend at least 30 minutes a day outdoors. The fresh air and sunlight are an instant mood booster.
5. Completely Unplug. Go on social media hiatus. Whether it be for a day, a week, or a month. Those same sad stories will be there when you return. Determine the amount of time you need to completely unplug and then do it. This is good for mamas who are close to their due date especially if you are a frequent screen checker. Weaning yourself now will give you ample time to prepare for the baby's arrival. Soon your baby love will arrive and staring into their face beats staring at a screen <3
I'd love to hear from you! Share your tips for limiting stress by limiting screen time.
**This post was written in response to the heinous murder of Miss Nia Wilson. May she rest in the sweetest peace. May her family be covered in the overwhelming power of love. May we all do all that we can to love and protect one another. #sayhername