Learning to care for yourself

Our goal in this session is to help you learn how to apply the “Thinking Healthy” approach to think positively and improve your health.

img Reviewing Your Chat With Zuri Zuri taught you how to identify unhealthy thoughts about your health and how to replace these thoughts with healthy thinking.

Identifying Unhealthy Thoughts

Research tells us that there are lots of unhealthy thinking styles that can make us feel bad about ourselves and our situation. Do you recognize any of them?

Unhealthy Thinking Style Typical Thoughts
Blaming yourself for everything It's my fault my kid got sick.
Not giving yourself credit when you do something well Sure, my kid knows how to read, but I don't think I did much to help her.
Always thinking that a bad thing is going to happen My kids are healthy today, but I know something bad will happen to them.
Assuming that everyone else thinks poorly of you I know that people don't like me and think I'm a failure.
Thinking in extremes Only educated women are good moms.
Not believing in yourself I will never be able to do it.
Giving up before trying I'm not good at that, so why even try?
img Writing Prompt What are the negative thoughts that run through your head?

Replacing Unhealthy Thoughts with Healthy Thinking

Once you identify negative thoughts, the next step is to learn how to replace them with healthy ones. Here are a few examples:

Negative Thoughts Positive Replacements
It's my fault my kid got sick. It's natural for children to get sick from time to time. I do my best to keep them healthy and seek care when needed.
Only educated women are good moms. I love my kids, and that makes me a good mom. I am doing my best to teach them to value education.
I'll always be lonely and without good friends. I could be a good friend to someone if I get out and meet more people.
img Writing Prompt Try replacing a negative thought with a positive one. Imagine what it would feel like if you really started to believe it.

Learning to identify negative thoughts can be challenging. It takes a lot of practice and reflection. You're on the right track to thinking healthy!

img Let's Practice Practice is a big part of the Healthy Moms program. We must learn how to Think Healthy, and practice is an essential part of learning.

1. Planning a Healthy Diet

Good nutrition is so important for you and your growing baby. Here are some tips for planning your meals:

  • Try to eat from all five food groups whenever possible—grains like bread, vegetables, fruits, milk products, and proteins like meat, eggs, and nuts.
  • A colorful plate is often a balanced plate.
  • Try eating smaller meals more often throughout the day instead of big meals—this will help you to feel better as your baby grows
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day
Your doctor or midwife might also recommend a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid, iron, and calcium. These nutrients are some of the most important things for your baby's development. Here are some foods that contain these nutrients. Always consult your doctor before making changes to your diet.

Folic Acid Iron Calcium
Bread, cereal, flour, pasta Lean meat, chicken, seafood Milk, cheese, yogurt
White rice Some cereals, breads, and pastas have iron added, check the label Broccoli and kale
Leafy green vegetables Beans, nuts, raisins, dried fruit Some orange juice has calcium added
Lentils and beans
Orange juice

It's recommended that pregnant women avoid or limit certain foods:

Foods to Avoid Foods to Limit
Raw or undercooked meat Foods that have caffeine, limit daily intake to 200 milligrams
Raw fish or fish that can be high in mercury Fish that have small amounts of mercury
Raw or lightly cooked eggs
Unpasteurized juice, milk, or cheeses

In your notebook, create a table like this one and list some healthy food items that you will try to eat this week. Choose foods based on what you have in your kitchen and what is in season at your local market this week.

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner

Now create a chart like this in your notebook and use it to monitor your diet.

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Ex. Tea, porridge, banana Chips and sausage Mandazi Ugali, beef stew, sukuma wiki
Day 1

Day 2

img Writing Prompt What are you observing about how your diet affects your mood and energy?

2. Making Time for Rest and Relaxation

It's important to make time for yourself to rest and relax throughout the day. Here are three activities you can try:

img Slow Breathing:
  • Relax your body. Inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds.
  • Do this 2 to 3 times per day for 10 to 15 minutes each time.
img Walking:
  • Follow a gentle walking pace.
  • Do this 1 time per day for 15 to 20 minutes.
img Sleep:
  • Let your mind relax
  • Try to sleep at least 8 hours a night and take a daily afternoon nap.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try the rest and relaxation activities. Day 1 starts today!

Did you practice slow breathing today? Did you go for a walk today? Did you get a full night’s sleep?
Day 1 Yes, ____ times/ No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes, ____ times/ No Yes / No Yes / No

For “slow breathing”:
Each day, circle “Yes” if you complete “slow breathing” as described above. On the line next to “times”, write the number of times you did “slow breathing” that day. If you do not complete “slow breathing”, circle “No” and write “0” on the line next to “times”.

For “walking”:
Each day, circle “Yes” if you were able to go for a walk. If you do not go for a walk, circle “No”

For “sleeping”:
Each day, reflect on the previous night’s sleep. Circle “Yes” if you got a full night’s sleep. Circle “No” if you did not.

img Writing Prompt What relaxes you? Reflect on one time you tried relaxing this way and describe how you felt before and afterwards.

3. Keeping Track of Your Mood

Keeping track of your thoughts and feelings is a great way to see how you change and grow over time. So at least once a day, imagine this ladder of emotion and rate how you are feeling.

On the bottom step (1) are women who feel very sad and blue. On the top step (10) are women who feel great with no sadness. Which step best shows how you are feeling?

Create the following chart in your journal. If you are feeling very happy—as happy as you have ever been—you might tick the box for a 9 or 10. If you are having a really tough day, you might tick the box for step 1 or 2. Tick whatever box is right for you. Just remember that low numbers mean more sadness, and high numbers mean more happiness.


img Writing Prompt What brings you joy?
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