Where did self-care go?

meditateIs mum life really the answer to this question? Chances are, your children may have inspired you to be your healthiest self before they were in your arms. So what has changed? Let’s consider the journey to ‘mummyhood’ and figure out where caring for ourselves was lost.

At the beginning, the instant you make that decision to grow your family and have a baby, your life changes. You become more conscious about your health, you cut down on alcohol and processed foods and you adopt any practice that will improve your chances of conceiving. You read everything you can on fertility and you dream about the kind of mum you want to be. If, like me, falling pregnant takes a lot longer than you expected, you start to take on a holistic approach to health. No chemicals, no sugar, a kitchen bursting with fertility friendly foods and you take part in activities that promote both physical and emotional wellbeing. You’re probably the healthiest you have ever been.

When you finally get the amazing news that you are pregnant, you are probably the healthiest and happiest you have ever been. During pregnancy, you take care of yourself like never before. If you’re tired you rest, you put your feet up or take a nap. Some foods are now totally out of the question and your focus is on nutritious and nourishing foods. You become so in tune with your body, noticing every feeling and change and you make any adjustment needed to feel comfortable. Gentle movement, breathing exercises and affirmations become part of your daily routine. Plus everyone around you does everything they can to nurture you. The greatest motivation to looking after you is your growing baby. You matter so very much.

Then your bundle of joy arrives earth side and while people still care very much about your wellbeing, it’s all about that beautiful baby. A few weeks into ‘mummyhood’, it’s likely that you are no longer a priority to yourself, your life totally revolves around your little one. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, they need us so much. But they need us to be at our healthiest and happiest too. When they were in the womb they thrived on this. Now that they are lying beside us, what has changed? You still matter so much!

I believe that mum life is a distraction from ourselves. But we always have a choice, just like before when we made those positive choices for our health and wellbeing. As mums, we don’t have an abundance of time or freedom for ourselves so we need to re-define what self-care means for us now. It may look completely different. We may think we have no time for self-care, are too busy or too tired. These are obstacles that we can easily remove with a change in perspective, check out my article on this here. So what is left, is for us to make a choice to reclaim our health and wellbeing. Our greatest motivation is our family, just like before. Are you ready to rediscover the benefits of self-care again? What is one thing that you can do today for you? Self-care isn’t always about ‘me first’, it’s about ‘me too’.

I am so passionate about women, especially mums living their healthiest and happiest lives. I know first-hand that this benefits everyone around us. If self-care is the missing piece to the puzzle for you then you may be interested in my Shine Bright Mama workshop and the Shine Bright Mama 30 days of self-care journey that I will be running again soon on Instagram. For more details you can visit my website here, or contact me here.

Shine Bright Mama.xx

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

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake by Kylie Ann Casey

strawberryHow amazing are strawberries? Not only are they delicious, they are also a superfood. Yes, the humble strawberry has amazing super powers to benefit your health! Strawberries are rich in nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin C, therefore boosting immunity. They promote eye health, keep wrinkles at bay, reduce inflammation, help to regulate blood pressure and also promote pre-natal health.

When I saw my friend and fellow IIN graduate, Kylie’s Instagram feed with this amazing creation, I knew I needed the recipe and I had to share it with you all. I’m so excited that she agreed!

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It is an honour to be asked to contribute, a guest post to Lisa’s beautiful blog here.

I’m Kylie Ann Casey, like Lisa I graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and now specialise in Plant-based Wellness and Early Childhood Nutrition. I have worked with young children for the last 12 years and have realised that at some stage, all parents and care givers struggle to get their children to eat healthy food. I’ve seen these struggles and some very unhealthy lunch boxes! I have created a blog www.growingtastebuds.net where I will be sharing simple, affordable and healthy recipes that children will love.

The easiest way I have noticed to get any child (or fussy Husband) to eat healthy and nutritious food is in the form of dessert! So with this in mind, I created this delicious and healthy, Strawberry Ice Cream Cake.

Ingredients:

Base:
1 cup Brazil Nutsstrawberry cake
1 cup medjool dates (pitted)
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Filling:
1 can coconut cream
1 cup strawberries
¼ cup raspberries
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Topping:
Extra strawberries and Raspberries to decorate!

Instructions:
1. Place all base ingredients in a food processer and pulse till all combined 1-2 minutes depending on how powerful your food processor is.

2. When base is ready and combined, place in a medium sized cake tin and firmly mold the base evenly across the bottom

3. Put the base in the freezer to start setting while you make the filling

4. Put all filling ingredients in your blender or food processer and blend till combined, again this is usually 1-2 minutes

5. Pour filling over the base and place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes

6. When cake has set decorate with strawberries on top

Handy Hints: Cake tastes best when not frozen completely, think soft serve consistency. If freezing for a future time let the cake defrost in your fridge for 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy xx

Make sure you check out Kylie’s Facebook page, Growing Tastebuds, her website and also follow her on Instagram @kylieanncasey for more healthy food inspiration.

Make Peace with Your Plate – Book Review

make-peace-with-your-plateReading is one of my favourite things to do. I usually have about three books on the go; one for business, one for health/spirit and one for fun. Then I have more books waiting for me when I’ve finished them. I also have an ever growing list of “must reads” to get through!! Who’s with me? Earlier this year I joined a Wellness Book Club where us book nerds share our thoughts and ideas about a particular book each month. One of the books we read was Make Peace with Your Plate by Jess Ainscough, and now I’m sharing my review with you.

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Australia’s very own Wellness Warrior has left a significant legacy. The passing of Jess Ainscough earlier this year was felt by the many lives she touched. The authenticity of her blog and her story as well as her message of wellness resonated with so many people who in turn felt a connection to her. I had followed her blog for a couple of years and credit her inspiring story, enthusiasm and dedication to health for sparking a transformation in my own life. I started 2015 with my ‘books to read this year’ list which included Make Peace with Your Plate – finally! Picking up this gem for the first time after her passing was both comforting and poignant.

Jess’ story is both heart-breaking and remarkable. At just 22 years old her life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with a rare type of incurable cancer and told that her only option to prolong her life was to amputate her arm. She was like any young woman; partying, living each day as it comes, surviving on junk food and battling body issues. Her shocking diagnosis was a life-changing catalyst for extreme change to her lifestyle, beginning with a three week stay at the Gerson clinic in Mexico. Two years of hourly fresh, organic veggie juices each day, a basic plant based diet and five coffee enemas a day followed.

She was absolutely, one-hundred percent committed to her health with the support of her parents, boyfriend and fur babies. An obsession to research everything about natural, alternative cancer therapies and treatments as well as how to bring her body to optimum health forms the basis for a lot of information in this book. She acknowledges that the information isn’t new, but rather something we have forgotten along the way and need to relearn.

What I absolutely love about Make Peace with Your Plate is that it is part reference book, part autobiography and part self-help book, all interwoven in an easy to read and light kind of way. She speaks about the chemicals in our foods, nutrition, whole-foods, a plant based diet and debunks some ‘truths’ about dietary claims. She shares some useful information on superfoods and how to use them as well as reading labels. Most useful is the ‘how’. You will find a lot of value in how to put all of this information into practice.

Going beyond the plate, Jess rightfully acknowledges that our wellbeing is based on more than what we put in our mouths. We must take a holistic approach. For me, having a regular meditation practice is important but something I never prioritise. Jess shares the details of her own practice and how to do it, this really helped me out with my routine. While reading this book I also got back into dry body brushing and felt amazing for it. I was also inspired to try oil pulling for the first time. All I can manage is 3 minutes. I’m not sure how someone with kids or a dog could possibly do this for 20 minutes in the morning. Another thing is the coffee enemas…..hmmm, still need to get my head around that one!

We can read a number of text books or spend an afternoon googling the theories and philosophy for health and wellness included in Make Peace with Your Plate. But what we would be missing out on is Jess’ incredibly inspiring story. How a young woman with a serious illness intuitively makes decisions for her own health, researches daily practices and nutritional information to allow her to thrive and manages to live a life full of gratitude and positivity. Her holistic approach to wellness and what that looks like in her daily life is what sets this book apart from the rest. Her authenticity, honesty and passion shines throughout this entire book, engaging the reader from start to finish.

A truly inspiring book that empowers us to live our healthiest lives.

Have you read Make Peace with Your Plate? I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you enjoyed this book review please let me know in the comments. If it’s something you’re interested in, I would really enjoy writing more reviews for you.xx