When I told a close friend of mine I was pregnant, she of course congratulated me and then went on about how much she LOVED every minute of her journey, mostly because she took such great care of herself.
Why isn’t this the norm, I thought?
Sure, we are all busy to some degree, but shouldn’t we prioritize self – care? We spend countless hours scrolling on our phones, cooking, working, drinking, running around, checking our to-do lists, yet many of us wait until we are carrying another life to treat ourselves with love and care?
I am a very health conscious person – a yoga, meditation, and wellness guide who practices what I preach – but that doesn’t mean I can’t relate. I was so swept up in all of it years before I became a teacher that I fell ill and made a series of choices that changed my life in dramatic but necessary ways.
I left NYC and moved to Mexico where I led yoga retreats for a few years before I became pregnant, working mostly with women. Everyone’s story was unique, but the common thread that tied us together was an overall lack of self – care. We are taught that being successful means making money and staying busy and “productive” – one of my least favorite words in the English language. We are taught that vulnerability is often perceived as weakness. What is seriously lacking in our education is, in my opinion, the importance of overall emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
What is seriously lacking in our education is, in my opinion, the importance of overall emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
This is my first child, so while I had no idea what was coming in some ways, I was intuitive enough to feel, understand, and more importantly, respect the major shifts happening in my physical and emotional body. I made sure to take it slower than slow during those 9 months.
Now, only 3.5 months into postpartum life, my wellness rituals have changed, but I refuse to let them disappear altogether. Yes, it’s incredibly difficult to step away sometimes, I, like so many mothers struggle not only with time but guilt. So much guilt. What if he needs me? Am I being selfish? Unfortunately, women and mothers in particular, are bombarded with messaging that feeds that guilty conscience and often, even encourages us to run ourselves into the ground.
But we can’t give everything from nothing. So here are a few simple things you can do to incorporate some self-care into your busy routines. I hope these practices encourage you to take some well – deserved time for yourself.
1. Start a home practice
I love taking an occasional yoga class at my studio but have always felt strongly about the importance of my home practice. Creating a sacred space where I am able to move and breathe is vital in keeping me grounded. Buy yourself a yoga mat, light some sage or palo santo to clear the space and start to move or just lie on your belly and breathe. I love YogaGlo for guided yoga and meditation classes. If you are looking for a simple, restorative posture – legs up the wall is my absolute favorite. Whenever I feel anxious, I spend 5-10 minutes breathing here. It’s a game changer, trust me.
2. Body work
Some people believe massage is a luxury and of course for many, it is. But if you can afford it, do it. As often as possible. We store so much tension in our bodies and that energy needs to move up and out or it festers and can manifest into something harmful. Just because we are dealing with our not so happy moments doesn’t mean they cease to exist. Fear, anxiety, trauma, sadness – all of it lives deep in our tissues. This is why movement is so important, exercise is a great way to release and bodywork goes the extra mile. I save up to get at least one massage, acupuncture, or reiki session per month. It benefits not only you, but everyone in your circle.
3. Nature as medicine
Water is so deeply healing. I talk to many Mom’s with young children that say some days the shower is the only time they get to be alone. So, make it count! Close your eyes and start to breathe into your belly. Inhale for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4. Visualize the water washing away any negative, toxic energy that may be present in your space. Wash away the thoughts that creep in and make you feel like you’re not enough. You are more than enough. You’re f**king amazing. When you find yourself near an ocean or a lake make it a point to bathe in it with intention. I am a pretty fiery person and have found to balance that, I need a lot of earth medicine. When I am too much in my head, I take off my shoes and go outside. You would be surprised how much of a difference can be made by spending two minutes with bare feet on the ground. We are so “connected” through technology that most of us feel isolated and disconnected in a major way. Don’t forget how available and healing nature is.
You are more than enough. You’re f**king amazing.
4. Practice daily affirmations
I use affirmations as a mindful tool that helps bring us back when we stray too far or get caught in a limiting thought pattern.
I am worthy of love.
I welcome abundance.
Inhale love, exhale fear.
What is meant for me will not pass me by.
Breathe. Release. Rest.
5. Ask and accept help
Days before the birth of my son, our midwife reminded me, “Don’t forget to ask for help.” This is a tough one for me and I know I’m not the only one. If you need something, I’m your girl, but I have a really hard time reaching out and asking for help and an even harder time accepting it. I’m working on it. I try to remind myself daily that we are all here to support each other, especially Mama’s, and I truly believe we are better together. When you meet your edge, as we all do – ask someone to help you and then accept it. Let’s continue to make an effort to support and empower one another.
With these little daily rituals you can take some much needed time to regroup and invite calm and happiness into your life. Be well.