The pregnant gal's guide for after the holiday

by Melissa Jaramillo

Pregnant Gal's Guide for After HolidaysYou and your bump have survived the hectic holiday season so far! Thanksgiving hit and it has been non-stop ever since. Is there an end in sight?

As it turns out, it's now time to tie up loose ends, de-stress and R-E-L-A-X. You've earned it and then some! Besides, it's important to stay calm for your baby-to-be.

Filled with "been there, done that" experiences, our pregnant gal's guide for after the holidays will help you transition into January and the rest of the upcoming year. What better way to start off the new year, but on a positive note!

Dealing with the holiday aftermath

OK, it isn't quite time to put your feet up just yet -- except for the tasks you can actually pull off from your recliner. First, there are a few items to check off your to-do list:

Thank-you notes: Yes, some say they're old-fashioned, but you'll make your gift-givers feel special and acknowledged. Plus, let's face it. You want to stay in good graces with grandma and company with your baby shower coming up soon.

Tidy up: Better yet, supervise others tidying up! Pack away the decorations, remove the reindeer antlers from the car and toss out the last of the fruitcake. Seriously, does anyone know how many decades ago it was made?

Tip: Label the boxes clearly! Remember, next holiday season you'll exchange preggo brain for mommy syndrome.

After-Christmas sales: No matter what you celebrate, the after-Christmas sales offer amazing deals. Those hard-to-find items now flood the store shelves. Whether you head out to the mall with returns in hand or hit the online kiosks, you can rack up savings.

Look for percentage off and stock up on things you want for your nursery. You also may pick up off-season clothing for your baby's wardrobe at a steal! Don't forget to pick up a little something special just for you and your partner should you be so inclined.

Lessons learned: While reliving the holidays may not be in the top ten of your agenda, taking a few moments to review what worked, what didn't, and what you'd change can save you time and money next holiday season. Take notes and stash them with whatever you'll drag out first next year.

Kick-back, unwind, and let loose!

Throughout these past few weeks you likely spread yourself thin and are ready for a rest. You shouldn't feel guilty over taking time out to relax and regroup a bit.

Expectations: Don't be surprised if a bit of "post-holiday blues" sneak in. There are several factors that can contribute to these feelings:

• Once the festive décor is all gone, the norm may seem dull and drab in comparison.
• You may feel sad over family issues -- events that happened or conversations that would have been better off unsaid.
• "Buyer's remorse" may be hitting over those extra goodies you inhaled, that "just one more" added up!
• If you love the holidays, it can seem like it will be forever for them to come around again.

Chill out time: Looking for ways to relax is important for you and baby. Allow yourself some earned time out with a few of these suggestions:

✓ Drag out the baby name book once more. This time, try writing out your favorites and pulling two out of a hat. Keep doing so until you get the combination you want.

✓ Go soak in a wonderfully decadent bath with bubbles and one of those squishy bath pillows.

✓ Get a foot massage. If a spouse or partner is involved, make that a full-body one. Rawr!

Think ahead: Allow yourself a transition period and then get ready to move forward.

Alas the holiday season may be behind you, but the best gift of all is on its way. With your new arrival, you'll find reasons to celebrate every day!

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.