Why Self Care is our Lifeblood as Mamas
I am going to keep this really simple- self-care is non-negotiable when we are caring for little humans. Being a parent is legitimately such a hard job. Self-care can be seen as putting your own oxygen mask on in an airplane before attempting to assist your child. In my work, I encourage parents to set patterns early on that ensure the meeting of their own basic needs. Taking time for yourself so that you are able to be fully present for your children is a gift to your entire family. “Being ‘present’ means that we are fully engaged and emotionally connected with what is happening. If we do not take breaks- time to find our chill space and take a few breaths, we tend to drift off, being physically but not emotionally present.
Taking care of ourselves body, mind, and spirit, can be hard work. Let’s be real: it’s not easy some days to find even ten minutes to ourselves. We feel guilty for leaving things undone on our to-dos, and for leaving our spouses with the kids. We need to recognize that it’s not easy, and chances are no one is rocking it all the time. We need to be gentle with ourselves. Keep it simple. If self-care is something I’ve neglected, I’ll need to focus on one to two areas at a time. My two recent non-negotiables are yoga and meditation.
Countless studies reveal the powerful effect of meditation on the mind and body. I could write so many pages. In my experience, I have been given the choice on how I react to my babies and to the world around me. There’s no more running on autopilot. I can create space between me and the experience which gives be a broader perspective of what is happening in the moment. This leaves me feeling much more in control of my emotions and actions without having a tight grip on them. My go-to app most recently for guided meditations is called the Insight Timer, where you can find libraries of delicious content. No joke, it is literally the largest free library of meditations on earth, and has truthfully turned me into such a meditation junkie. You can find quick 5-10 minute sessions here that I ensure if you take the time to pursue, find a quiet place (my favorite is being next to the water at the beach), light a candle or some palo santo, and in ten minutes I promise you you will feel much more centered and full of peace and bliss.
As Seattleites, I don’t need to talk to you about yoga studios in the area, but I can encourage you to get to your mats as often as possible. Yoga is so much more than exercise and perfecting the poses- it is a union of body, mind, spirit, and breath. A moving meditation that is grounding, strengthening, and empowering. An hour of complete silence, just you and your mat- to take a break from the noise and business of the outside world and just be quiet. I love hot yoga for the detox and flexibility I feel once the heat has settled into my muscles, but “cold” yoga is just as beneficial. Yin/Restorative yoga is absolutely delicious, and what I call the “dessert” of yoga.This class is usually offered around 8pm, and is a wonderful way to stretch and decompress before bedtime. Most studios offer really cool props and yummy smelling eye pillows which makes the experience so relaxing and rejuvenating. As long as you go in with the right intention and listen to your body, I promise you will step off of your mat a little lighter than when you stepped on.
My personal self-care journey is always transforming you guys. I only really began after I had my son, when I took inspired action to avoid postpartum depression. I uncovered so much information on my quest for all of the self-care articles, worksheets, and other resources written specifically for Moms, and got so inspired. There are so many things you can do to refill your cup that really don’t take any time at all. I cannot stress the importance of keeping it simple and light as a busy Mama- I have tried to add way too many things to my self-care routine and ended up falling off because I got too overwhelmed. So- start small. Wake up a bit earlier tomorrow, light a candle, and take a few breaths. Maybe make something warm to drink. Read something inspirational. Write down a couple of intentions for your day. Walk outside and take a few breaths of fresh air- whatever energizes you, and grounds you for the day ahead- do that. In the evenings, turn the lights down low (twinkle lights are my fave this time of day)-I love to journal for a couple minutes, spend time on my spiritual practice, take a bath (I spend so much time contemplating life in the bathtub), massage my feet with some warm lavender oil, and crawl into bed with a good book and some blend of calming essential oil in my diffuser. You could also do a mask, listen to some mellow music, make some soothing bedtime tea, you get the idea- whatever helps you to relax and nurture your body and spirit at bedtime.
I know you are busy and even the thought of implementing a self-care practice may sound overwhelming, but it is so important you guys. You simply cannot pour from an empty cup. In today's world where we are constantly overstimulated by being on our phones all the time, screaming children, too many things on our to-do lists, and the overall ridiculously fast paced environment in which we live, we need to take the time to slow down. To come back to our breathe and the present moment and take meaningful care of ourselves. If you truly commit I promise you this practice will begin to change your life. I wish you peace, light, and so much love on your journey.