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

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 August. 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