Being a new mama to a now 3.5 yo has been a lot harder than I had imagined. [Anyone else seem to be crazy optimistic in the face of new challenges?]
You know that brave moment before you dive into something big? I pictured myself simply adding my new mom-life duties to my normal routine. Like. It works that way right? Just squeeze it all in?
Ok. So no.
My body simply cannot do that pace.
My creativity has officially quit the gig, and gone into hibernation.
My brain can’t switch gears like I want it too. In fact, if you try to talk to me while any part of my hearing is focused on my toddler, my brain starts to explode.
Getting through each day intact, is my new goal. It has to be. Because this is what I teach, and it’s what my body cries at me.
I’m accepting I can’t do it all.
And in response, I’ve been ‘over doing’ the self care. I resisted at first. And now I finally get it.
If you’re like me you probably think self care is indulgent. You wish you had more time for that sort of fluffy pleasure, but you don’t. Because you (we) live in the real world. [Not always insta pretty on our side of town, that is for sure. Our lives consist of grunting, sighing and many stains on our shirts.]
Now here’s the thing.
[Be warned if you’re used to getting shit flung on you left right and centre, and you happen to pride yourself in handling that shit, this might shock you.]
Self care is a basic need.
Brushing your teeth is self care.
Washing your face. Self care.
Get the picture?
Well the amount of self care we each need depends on a few variables. Which is why our self care needs will fluctuate. With our ever changing circumstances. We need more. Or maybe less. [This is how balance works, like a pendulum swinging. See?]
For me my self care used to be juggling projects, eating well, exercise, meditation, down time. I had that routine down.
But today in mom-world I am in constant energy negotiations. I am focused on caring for others, in often high emotion peaks and valleys. It’s an endurance triathlon for my nervous system, to say the least.
In being awake, I have to allow more recalibration time.
If I haven’t slept…. well hold everything. Lack of sleep increases anxiety, reduces all coping [bluntly]. And is a recipe for health disaster.
[Read Feeling Groggy? You may need to detox your brain to learn more about the impact of lack of sleep , and 9 Steps to a Better Sleep for my tips ]
You see how that’s just doing the math?
In addition to eating low sugar, gluten free and whole foods, here are some of my favourite ways to self-care:
Keep in mind I work from home which I’m so grateful gives me some flexibility.
- I commit to 15 minutes of movement every day. Usually it’s a goofy dancing/yoga-ish session and sometimes a gentle low intensity interval pilates type of thing. If I feel great I can spend an hour. I vary the activity level depending on my energy, and I NEVER push myself. I honour my energy and trust that I am not lazy, but genuinely tired if the energy is not there.
- I take the morning after day care drop off to move, meditate, eat, read and get myself together. I now start work at 10 or later. Having spaces in my to-do list is a big help.
- I take hot baths with Epsom salts (sometimes in the daytime) if I feel achy or just want to unwind myself. The magnesium in epsom is a great relaxant.
- I blow dry my hair and put on a bit of make-up, even if I’m not going to see anyone or do anything special. This really does lift me up and helps me remember my value, and caring how I look is part of that.
- I take the dog for a walk in the afternoon before daycare pick up. (except if it’s raining I do struggle wanting to go out in the cold west coast weather). Getting outdoors and getting into a flow with fresh air is always good to re-charge my mind. Walking also is helpful to move the stress hormone cortisol out of our muscles. (Whereas sitting a lot can build it up).
- I limit alcohol (usually red wine) to weekends, and 1-2 drinks only.
- I get massages and bodywork done regularly. (In December I did once a week as I was having a tough time, but normally once or twice a month)
- I take a stack of supplements daily and make sure to support my gut, adrenals and hormones which I know can easily go awry when under stress.
- I continue to invest in quality natural skin care products and make-up, as a priority in my budget. Ageing well is high value for me. [Have you down-loaded my free Beauty Fuel E-book yet? ]
- I talk with a therapist fort-nightly, who I adore, so that I can download my experiences. Having someone to witness this wild journey is allowing for incredible healing to take place in my life.
- I meditate daily, and when I’m too tired to focus, I do a guided relaxation (I love Jennifer Piercy’s Yoga Nidra: Freedom Nature on Insight Timer)
There are other things I would love to have more of in my life. Socialising, movies, hot dates with my honey.
But it’s about prioritising what works right now. [Remember, can’t do it all right?]
For each of us, this list will of look different. And as I said, it naturally changes as our lives change. Our 3 year olds will get older [I know this because I also have a 26 year old and went into complete empty-nest shock when she moved away at 18.]
Change is the only guarantee.
But for now.
It’s really important. To simply listen in to our changing needs.
What #selfcare moment, (and maybe an ongoing commitment?), can you give yourself today?