Working toward a healthier life

Our goal for this session is to help you prioritize your health as your baby begins a new developmental stage.

img Reviewing Your Chat With Zuri Zuri taught you ways to manage your stress and focus on your personal health despite having to take care of a young child.

Identifying Unhealthy Thoughts

Your baby is getting bigger and stronger, and it won't belong before you are chasing them all over. During this busy period of life, it is easy to let your own health become the last priority. When your health comes last, you're more likely to get sick, which makes being a mom even more difficult. It can become a bad cycle.

The good news is that you can prevent many illnesses by thinking and acting healthy. It's true that some illness are caused by complex interactions between our genetics and our environments—and some people are born with unique challenges—but for the most part it's safe to say that illness is not our fate. When women let themselves believe that they are powerless to prevent and treat illness, these thoughts can stop them from taking action. Here are some examples of unhealthy thinking.

Unhealthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
My health doesn’t matter. My family’s health is more important. Paying all the attention to your family’s health. You may become ill and then your family has to take care of you.
Being ill is my fate. Not seek treatment. Risk of worsening illness.
img Writing Prompt In your view, why do some people get sick more than others? Why do some people recover, and others remain ill for long periods? Where does health and illness come from?

Replacing Unhealthy Thoughts with Healthy Thinking

As these unhealthy thoughts come in to your mind, remind yourself that it is okay. It takes time for positive feelings to grow, but changing how we feel starts with changing how we think. Remind yourself not to feel guilty and to focus on letting the positive thoughts develop.

Healthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
Looking after my health, to a large extent, is in my control. Take steps to improve health and prevent illness. Better health.
If my health is good I will better be able to look after my family. Spending a small amount of time looking after my own health. Being healthy and able to provide better care for my family.
img Writing Prompt Write about a time in the past month when you felt strong. Where were you? What were you doing?
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. Monitoring Your Sleep

In Session 7, we reviewed some tips for you to ensure you are getting a good night’s sleep. They are also listed below!

  1. Wait until you are drowsy to go to bed.
  2. Get up at about the same time every morning (if your baby allows).
  3. Avoid taking long naps during the day.
  4. Avoid drinking tea, coffee, or soft drinks within 6 hours before bedtime.
  5. Make the sleep environment comfortable for you! Adjust any pillows and reduce the amount of light.
  6. Spend some time exercising and relaxing every day.

Try tracking your sleep over the next few weeks using the following chart. Circle YES or NO if any of the above things happened the night before. Hopefully, you will notice that after a while, the tips listed above help you have a happy and peaceful sleep at night. You deserve it!

My thoughts disturbed my sleep last night. I tried to replace unhealthy thoughts with healthy ones. I tried some of the tips for sleeping well.
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

Writing Prompt Are there certain things you like to do before you go to sleep? What are they and how do they help you relax?

2. Spending Time with Your Baby

Try the following exercises when you have time and are in a comfortable space.

img Gentle Massage:
  • Give your baby a gentle massage while making soothing sounds or saying loving words.
  • Try to do this once a day.
img Talking or Singing to Baby:
  • Talk or sing to your baby every day after feeding.
  • Listen to the sounds and watch the gesture your baby makes and try to mimic them.
  • Aim to do this 3 - 4 times per day.
img Playing with your Baby:
  • Play with your baby 3 - 4 times a day during different times of the day.
  • Show him/her different multi-colored objects or things that make a sound.
  • Hold the object out so your baby can grasp it but make sure they keep it clear from their mouth.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try these activities.

Did you give your baby a gentle massage? Did you sing or talk to your baby? Did you play with your baby?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

3. Eating a Healthy Diet

img Writing Prompt Review your previous diet chart. What have you learned about how what you eat affects how you feel?

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

4. Making Time for Rest and Relaxation

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.

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

5. Keeping Track of Your Mood

Remember, 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 the 10-step emotion ladder from Session 1 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 On days when you are feeling bad, what do you do to try to make yourself feel better?
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