Shine Bright Mama – How to make time for self-care

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Mama, you matter. Making time for self-care is not a luxury, it’s essential. But one of the biggest roadblocks to creating this time, is thinking that we just don’t have the time. If I told you that wasn’t true, you’d probably consider that a joke. But when we dive in a little deeper, you might find that you do, indeed have time for you. We can solve this roadblock from the inside out, starting with our thought patterns and mindset. Let’s take a look at three ways we can change our thinking around time and how to find that sacred time for us.

Too busy

What does being too busy really look like and mean to you? Yes, we have a lot going on with our children, relationships, home life, work life etc. It’s more than a balancing act at times. However, when we take a closer look it may be our thoughts and the language we use in relation to busy-ness that is the real obstacle. It honestly comes down to what is important to us. I love Dr Libby’s approach to this thought on not having the time. Rather than saying ‘I don’t have time for that’ or ‘I’m too busy for that’, change it to, ‘That isn’t a priority for me’. You will always have time for what is important to you. And mama you are important! You are worth taking care of, you just need to make the choice.

Perception of time

Consider the quote, “I have so much to do today, I better meditate twice as long.” Initially it may seem counter-intuitive but it is so incredibly true. I realised early on what works best for me is that when Isla goes down for her nap, the first thing I do is something that refuels me. I do a yoga dvd, have a cup of tea and read a book or do some writing, if I’m feeling particularly tired I’ll lie down and close my eyes. After about half an hour, I’m ready tackle my ‘to do’ list and I get it done quickly and easily. The chores aren’t so much of a chore because I’ve done something good for myself first. I’m not spending the whole time thinking: ‘once this is done, and that is done I can finally relax.’ Because I’ve already relaxed. When you’ve taken some time for you, time seems to expand and you feel like there is enough of it to complete all of your tasks. In my experience, when I’m solely focussed on completing chores, it never happens that way and I run out of time. If this is your experience too, try taking a break to refuel yourself before you get moving again.

Just say no

This is a biggie! Everything that fills up your day, you have said yes to and only you can make the choice to change this. Truth bomb!! I know for a lot of us, we become all things to all people. Often trying to hold on to elements of our lifestyle before kids, plus taking care of our kids and pleasing others too. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. The simple act of saying ‘no’ can be freeing. You may think that saying no is difficult, but when it comes down to the doing and the over filled schedule, saying ‘yes’ is actually more difficult. It may feel challenging at first, but finding a way to say ‘no’ with love will be one of the best things you can do for you. Be honest with those around you about your time, your commitments and priorities. Be honest about needing time to yourself. Respect yourself and your time, and when you show that you respect your time, others will respect your time too. If you create boundaries from a place of love and self-care, you’ll be rewarded for it. Create these healthy boundaries then lovingly enforce them without the guilt.

Mama, it’s no longer ok to put yourself last. Self-care everyday is a non-negotiable and the benefits will ripple outward. I like to think of us as the sun, and when we are looking after ourselves and shining our brightest, those warm, energising, nurturing and nourishing rays are reaching those around us, touching and impacting on their lives too.

I know self-care is important to you and I would love to meet you at my Shine Bright Mama workshop in May. We’ll explore:

+ Why self-care is the best ‘health care’
+ How to make self-care a priority and part of your routine
+ How to get in touch with what really lights you up and refuels you
+ Ways to create time for self-care
+ How to remove the guilt from your ‘mama me time’
+ Practical tips and ideas to truly nurture you

You will leave feeling inspired and motivated with an action plan to incorporate self-care into your daily routine. Follow this link for more details and to book your space. I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Shine bright mama.xx

10 lessons from a baby that we can apply to everyday life

Isla (64)
Image by Bree Winchester Photography

I know I have been very absent from my blog for the past year, I’ve been enjoying mummyhood and surrendering to my new lifestyle in order keep flow and balance in my life as much as possible. Rather than give you a rundown of what life with a bub looks like for me, I thought I’d express some of my musings and ‘aha’ moments while taking care of my babe and watching her grow. Babies are so innocent, I’m sure you already know that. I believe there is so much wisdom in their innocence. They haven’t been exposed to societies ideals or opinions, marketing or other things that impact our thoughts and behaviour. They are perfectly themselves and I think it’s a great reminder for us to go back to being ourselves and what truly matters. So I’m sharing some of my lessons from my darling girl, in no particular order of importance:

1.
       Be in the moment
One of my favourite mantras; ‘Present moment, only moment’, really rings true. Babies are always in the moment, noticing the things around them, in a state of just ‘being’. They aren’t thinking about the past or the future (it seems to me!). Whatever activity we are doing, they are there one hundred percent. When was the last time you were truly present in the moment?

2.       Sit up straight
Wow, when babies learn to sit, they have the straightest backs! When did we begin to slouch? Just looking at my girl sitting is a reminder for me to activate my core, put my shoulders back and sit up a little taller.

3.       Be curious
If something grabs your attention, explore it. Don’t leave it alone until you’re satisfied you understand it. Always observing, questioning, learning, keeping that mind active and expanding and growing within yourself.

4.       Speak up
Ok, so my baby was never a quiet baby. She’s quite the communicator! In those early days, a baby’s main form of communication is crying and my girl was loud. But I love that when she was hungry, tired, wanted comfort, had wind or whatever it was, she ‘spoke up’. She certainly let me know. People aren’t mind readers, sometimes you need to articulate and spell out your needs and wants. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. I know for most of us its way out of our comfort zone, but we all have a voice, we should use it for what matters to us.

5.       Keep trying
When a baby is learning to sit, crawl, walk, climb etc, they never master it the first time. They fall, they get bruised, it hurts and it’s frustrating. But that moment when they have mastered it, they know it. The look of pride and joy on their face just makes your heart explode! I’m sure they know how hard they have worked for that moment, what they have learnt along the way and how good it feels to finally achieve their goal. What a wonderful lesson to apply to our own lives! Never give up, learn from your mistakes and enjoy those successes.

6.       Celebrate the milestones (no matter how small)
I think this one beautifully leads on from the previous lesson. Celebrate all of your achievements. Sometimes it may be that you stuck to your exercise goals for the week, prepared a delicious meal or got a promotion at work. Celebrate! With babies we get excited about the first time they poo, smile, roll over, crawl, walk, eat a particular food etc etc. Bring back that sense of wonder into your own lives!

7.       Enjoy the simple things
My baby is a true nature girl. She has a lot of toys but her happy place is in the garden, playing with leaves, sticks, rocks, mud, sand and watching animals and people. Splashing in the water is exciting, watching fish swim is interesting, daddy coming home from work is a favourite time of the day. Playing little games like peek a boo is fun. Family time is even better. Remember what truly matters and enjoy it!

8.       Life is a musical
Yep, you can make up a song about anything in life and about anything you are doing. Just for fun and to keep the baby amused and settled. Try making up a song while you’re getting dressed or doing the dishes. It will turn the most mundane tasks into entertainment and it will put a smile on your face too.

9.       Don’t take no for an answer
How many of us mums say no to our babies and they do it anyway? They are pushing the boundaries and seeing how far they can go. If someone says no to you, and it’s something that is important to you or something you really want, go for it. Find another way to get it or do it. I recently read a something that said the world changes every single time you say yes to your dreams. How amazing is that?! Don’t let no stop you in chasing your dreams.

10.   Love
True love is unconditional and actions can speak louder than words. All you need is love.

I could probably keep going but 10 lessons is enough for now! I’d love to hear if you’ve learnt some life lessons from your little darlings in the comments below.

 Shine bright lovely ones.xx

Quotes to inspire more self-love

pinkflowersI love reading motivational or inspiring quotes. Depending on where you are at in your life, the beautiful words you read can have endless meanings.

Making time for ourselves can be difficult when we have so many demands in our lives but it is actually the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you.

Here are a few quotes to inspire more self-love in your life. To make these quotes really work for you, you may like to write the ones that resonate with you the most in your calendar or set them as a reminder in your phone each day. You may like to write it in your journal, add it as a screen saver or simply write it on paper and keep it close by. Which one speaks to you the most?

  • When a woman becomes her own best friend life is easier. – Diane Von Furstenberg
  • We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light. – Mary Dunbar
  • To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.
- Louise L. Hay
  • Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
- Veronica A. Shoffstall
  • To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance. – Oscar Wilde
  • Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. –  Carl Gustav Jung
  • Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her. – Lao-Tzu
  • There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.  Anaïs Nin

Do you have a favourite self-love quote? Please share it with us in the comments.

Why I’m working with a Life Coach

_DSC6638I’m the kind of person who sets goals and works hard to achieve them. I decided I wanted to live overseas and travel, so I did. I decided I wanted to go back to university and become a Primary School Teacher, so I made it happen. I chose to follow my passion and enrol in the Institute Integrative Nutrition (IIN) course for a year, set up my Health Coaching business and a website all while working full time. I achieved all of this through my own motivation and determination. I never thought I would want or need to work with a Life Coach!

During my year at IIN, one of the most valuable things for me was speaking with like-minded people and encouraging and supporting each other. I really missed the regular check-ins and catch-ups once the course was complete and I certainly took away an appreciation for the positive role an accountability coach can have on your life. As a Health Coach myself, I see immense value in having that guide on the side to support and cheer you along on your path to achieving your goals.

At the start of the year, just like many of you, I thought about all of the things I wanted to achieve or do in 2016. Being halfway through my pregnancy at the time, I found it a little difficult to see beyond my due date. I also had so many questions come up such as, how can I still work on my business with a newborn? What will my life look like once she is born? How can I still have time for myself? Can I still complete my studies, work on my business and look after a baby?

I found myself facing a huge transition in my life and I was also presented with the opportunity to work with an amazing Life Coach. I jumped at the chance! I had goals I wanted to achieve and an inner monologue that just kept going around in circles! I needed to get out of my head!

From the very first session with Amy from Designing her Life I had clarity and felt uplifted. Hearing her bright and cheery voice of reason really gave me the motivation, support and the sounding board that I needed. She helped me prioritise what I really wanted to achieve and we began working on my business goal and a personal goal. One of the things I loved so much about working with Amy is that she encouraged me to consider how I felt about my goals and how I wanted to feel about them. She gave me the space to bounce ideas or concerns and take an in depth look at the choices I am making.

Working with a coach is a lot different to leaning on a friend for support or guidance. Friends and family can be a little biased because they want what’s best for you or perhaps they know you too well. They may unintentionally give you the kind of advice that may lead you away from what it is you really want. With a Life Coach of course they want what’s best for you too, but the approach is a lot different to speaking with a friend. For a whole hour it’s all about me and I’m asked the kinds of questions that lead me to realising my own answers or seeing an issue from another perspective. Priceless!! Amy, in her beautiful heart-centred way, also reflects back to me what I have accomplished already and reminds me that I am succeeding.

Personally, working with a Life Coach has not only given me the clarity, sense of purpose and flow that I was seeking, I also think it has made me a better coach myself. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re at in life or what it is you want to achieve. Having a personal cheerleader by your side is life-changing!

The unexpected news that changed my life

_DSC6638I know, my blog has been a bit of a ghost town until now. I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long! It’s been months and months since writing and so much has happened. Something huge that has surprised and shocked me and also changed the entire course of my life’s journey. Something I thought would never happen has actually happened! This has both delighted me while also prompting me to retreat into my Cancerian shell.

Last year was huge for me. I took many steps outside my comfort zone. The most significant leap was sharing my fertility struggles. It’s not something that was easy to do, but it was something I felt I needed to do. It also allowed me to reveal a part of me with those who know me well. Fertility can be a challenging topic to speak about. Writing about it was healing for me. You can read about my fertility journey here and about how I made peace with this news here.

The setbacks that we have in life can often lead us on the path to where we are destined to be. Looking back, I understand that it was all for a reason, a higher purpose and a catalyst for me to truly grow and understand myself. It has also taught me the biggest lesson in gratitude.

At the end of last year, my husband and I were blessed with the news that I was pregnant. At first, I couldn’t believe that the positive pregnancy test was true. I didn’t allow myself to feel any emotions, even after the third positive test. With my ‘infertility diagnosis’ I thought it was something to do with menopause. Once the doctor confirmed it, I just cried, a really ugly cry too! Breaking the news to my husband is a day that we will both never forget.

Of course, after wanting this for the last four years, I spent most of my first trimester feeling a little bit scared. I just wanted everything to be ok. Coming from a place where I believed that this was not on the cards for me, it felt surreal and unbelievable, and well into my second trimester I still felt this way. I just couldn’t believe it, even with my growing tummy.

I’ve been in my own world and not sure how to share my surprising news with you on this blog. I have definitely gone within myself and felt many different emotions. I’ve been worried, ecstatically happy, disconnected and dazed! Most of all I’ve felt blessed and deeply, deeply grateful.

I’m not saying that women who fall pregnant easily don’t have these same feelings, but for someone who has been trying for years and years and has been told that it wouldn’t happen naturally, this is just the most amazing news in the world! Every day I wake up and know how blessed I am, because after four years I know what it’s like to want to be pregnant. Every day my husband and I acknowledge how grateful and lucky we are because we were given a ten percent chance of this even happening.

As I write this, I am now in my third trimester and the news has finally sunk in! With each day, week and pregnancy milestone, I am getting so much closer to meeting our baby girl. Miracles happen everyday.

I’m so excited to share some of the lessons and learning that I have experienced in the past few years, including most recently with my pregnancy. My future posts will be more personal than what I have written in the past. I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or are going through something similar so please leave a comment or a message. Thank you so much for coming along on this journey with me.x

How to enjoy the outdoors

_DSC6611A series of moments is what makes a life. Life shouldn’t be so serious all of the time. Sometimes we need to focus on living and have some fun. The warmer months are the best time to get some fun into your life, enjoy the beautiful outdoors and spend your days or evenings doing more of what you love. Here are a few ideas that will get you outside and enjoying all the amazing things that this season has to offer, even if you’re on a budget!

  • Walk around your neighbourhood before or after work
  • Notice the beautiful flowers that are blossoming right now, so many amazing colours
  • A sunset picnic dinner at the beach
  • A picnic in the park
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Spend a day at the beach, pack some fruit, sandwiches, cold drinks and a good book
  • Try stand up paddle, surfing or canoeing
  • Visit your local farmers market for the freshest produce, mangoes anyone?
  • Have a BBQ and eat dinner outside
  • Go for a beach walk
  • Go for a swim at the beach, local rock pools, creak or in your backyard pool
  • Decorate your home with fresh flowers
  • Make a delicious fruit platter to enjoy sitting under a tree
  • Play a round of golf
  • Be still in nature, hear the birds chirping and smell the flowers
  • Wear dresses again, let those legs see the sun!
  • Open all of the windows in your house and let in the fresh spring air
  • Visit your local botanical gardens and explore
  • Check out the free activities happening in your local area. This could be an outdoor cinema, new markets, food markets or active and healthy programs
  • Go camping and switch off your phone!
  • Blend bananas, berries and a little coconut water to make your own ice blocks
  • Add fruit to your water for added flavour and goodness. Try mint, cucumber and orange, watermelon, lime and basil, watermelon and rosemary, lemon, lime and orange or berries. Serve it in a jug and drink it poolside.
  • Invite your friends over and play a game of bocce in the backyard

What activities would you add to this list? Please leave a comment below.

How I made peace…

_DSC6620Ever since my interview with Gaby Gogarty about my fertility journey, I have wanted to follow up with how I came to make peace with my situation. I mention in the interview that thoughts of having a baby don’t consume me, I have surrendered to whatever will be, will be. There were a few steps in making peace with the fact that I may never have children of my own and I want to share that with you, in the hope that it may help you on your own journey. I also think these steps can be translated to support healing in other situations such as a bad break-up, job loss or overcoming a health issue.

Gratitude
This was definitely the first step in regaining my happiness and strength. I began with being grateful for the simplest of things such as being able to see and hear. My body may not be able to do exactly what I want it to do at that time, but it is strong enough to hike to the top of a mountain or get me through a tough yoga class. I was grateful for all of the things that my amazing body could do. Beyond my physical self, I also thought about how fortunate I am to have a lot of love in my life from my husband, family and friends. I have a modest but beautiful home and a job that allows us to live comfortably. As a primary school teacher, I am surrounded by children every day and have a very important role in their lives. I also have two stepsons and nieces and nephews, there are a lot of children in my life.

If you are going through a difficult time at the moment, I can’t speak enough about the simplicity of gratitude and focussing on what you do have. This simple act brings so much happiness and a new perspective.

Visualisation: “If I don’t have kids, what will my life look like?”
Once I made the decision that IVF was not the right thing for me, I had to face the fact that there was a very small chance that I could have a baby of my own. If this didn’t happen, what would my life look like? This was a conversation that my husband and I had together, as it’s not just my life, it’s our life. I’ve never known what it is like to have a child so it was quite easy for me to not get caught up on what I could possibly be missing out on.

The biggest factor that came to mind was freedom. Once my stepsons have finished school, we would be free to travel, possibly even live overseas, downsize our home and move closer to the beach. There were many options for us and a future to look forward to. A positive spin on things can make all the difference.

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.
– Hippocrates

Growth, move on, set goals, take action
The best way to take your mind off something is to be active. I decided that the most important thing was for me to focus on being the healthiest and happiest version of myself. I completely overhauled my beauty regime. I ditched the perfumes, commercial deodorants and hair products, face creams and make up. I replaced all of this with chemical free and non-toxic versions. I also began to only shop at farmers markets for my fruit and veg and found an organic farmer who delivers to my door. I ate a lot more gut healing foods and cooked a lot more from scratch. I also continued with my outdoor yoga and walking routine. Eventually my lifestyle and interests led me to enrol at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Studying and working full time, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and relationships as well as starting my own business filled me up each day. I was growing personally, setting goals and achieving them. 

Translate the qualities of being a mum…
Finally, I couldn’t help but think I would be a great mum. I’m caring, nurturing a good listener, quite calm and patient and would love seeing something that I created grow every day. All of these qualities can certainly be suited to other situations. As a Health Coach and having my own business, I employ these qualities each day and it is incredibly fulfilling. Plus, I’m a fur mumma to my beautiful dog and he gets a lot of love and nurturing from me!

It may be helpful, if you’re going through a difficult time, to think about the feelings or qualities that you believe you are missing out on. Or perhaps the attributes that are important to you. What are some other ways that you can get this into your life?

When things aren’t going the way you had hoped or planned, it can be very easy to allow thoughts of this to occupy your mind and your time. This can make the situation worse as it begins to wear you down and affect your happiness and eventually, your health. I hope that the process I went through to make peace with my situation will also help you through yours. I would love to hear from you if you found something in this article that resonated with you. Please leave a comment below.

If you missed my interview with Gaby Gogarty, you can read it here.

Shine Bright.x