The topic of self-care has gained a lot of traction lately, but there is much more to it than a temporary trend – we know how important it is to take time for yourself, even if you’re not expecting a baby. Everyone tells you that becoming a mother is a life-changing experience, but I’m not sure any expectant mama can grasp this until they’re in the thick of it! During pregnancy and with the arrival of a newborn, you are undergoing the amazing but strenuous process of bringing an entire human being into this planet and I can’t think of many harder tasks.
I remember my postpartum period as if it happened yesterday… I was struggling to adapt to all the newness of motherhood and so anxious about taking care of Florence, that I completely forgot about taking care of myself. It was really hard for me to adjust to the idea that even though my gorgeous little baby needed me so much at that point, it was ok to pass the buck for a little while and do something solely for my benefit.
Truth is, when a baby comes, everything changes; body, mind, LIFE. It is completely all consuming. Some woman feel empowered and others feel completely overwhelmed (me!). Whatever your experience, we know that happy mum = happy baby and it is as important to care for yourself as it is your baby. I’m not telling you to take a full spa day or go for blowouts 3 times a week, but do little things throughout the day to make sure your mind and body are healthy so you can take even better care of your family. What I always say is: in case of emergency, you must first put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others!
Let’s be real, it’s not feasible to soak in champagne baths for hours or go cloud-watching every single day when you’ve so many errands to run. The trick here is to practice self-care in short intervals so you can easily squeeze it into your jam-packed routine.
Taking care of yourself means your body AND mind. We tend to look at the obvious when it comes to self care, and that’s usually the body – eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep but you need to have your mind and your spirit right as well. This means doing things to take care of them, things that feed them and nourish them. For example, try meditation when you get five minutes of quiet time instead of scrolling through your Insta feed. I’d also suggest one-sentence journaling before going to bed, listen to your favourite music or podcast while commuting, whip up your favourite dish on a weekend. Maybe praying is your thing or take deep breaths for five minutes after you wake up. Not harm in trying them all before choosing your match.
Keeping a self care basket can help you when you only have a little time to fit in to doing something for yourself. Any basket will do! Fill it with your favourite books and magazines to read. Then add some incredible beauty products to help the relaxation flow.
To make life even easier I use Eco Co Box amazing subscription service to have a perfect self-care combo delivered to my door every other month. They only work with the most amazing ethical brands, sending beautiful products that just so happen to be free from toxins, animal products and cruelty, so you can really enjoy everything you use knowing it meets your high standards, with minimum effort. BELIVE ME: when that baby arrives you probably wont have any time to read labels or research effective and sustainable products. That’s why I love Eco Co Box, it adapts and evolves with you and baby.
This might sound silly but actually having that basket sitting around will be a constant reminder for you that you need to practice self care regularly. Plus it will keep the things you enjoy handy and accessible, where you won’t have to go digging around and spending all your free time looking for something.
As a mum, you can often feel like you’re pulled in a million different directions trying to please everyone in the family. You might even feel guilty about saying no to certain requests from family members, children or friends. But you shouldn’t! It’s okay to say no sometimes and to not take on extra work on your plate. Remember to look after yourself as much as you look after others around you, or you could be in danger of burning out.
Just as it’s important to know when to say no to unwanted plans or burdening yourself with other people’s problems, sometimes you just need a big catch-up session with an old friend or loved one. Take some time out of your day for a coffee with your bff, ring your mum or meet up with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and have good ol’ natter. Talking through any changes in your life, swapping stories about the kids or just having a good vent can any can be a great way of releasing any pent up frustrations and reconnecting with the important people in your life.
Getting enough sleep is a very basic yet crucial self-care practice. It alleviates stress, improves cardiovascular health, strengthens the immune system and boosts memory, among other things. Don’t cut back on sleep, even when you’re tempted to get just a few more tasks done while the kiddos are asleep.
Goodness knows that sleeping can be nearly impossible but setting a reasonable bedtime for yourself and focusing on rest and rejuvenation can do wonders. Also, take that nap! Seriouly!! Allow yourself the time and mental space to rest during the day can be just what your batteries need to recharge.
Self care practices range from the tiniest trivial activity to life altering decisions and you get to choose what is best for you. If that means taking a vacation or just putting on freshly washed pjs on, then do it and do it solely for you. I know that taking time for yourself is easier said than done but if you give these a try, I guarantee you at least a few minutes of inner peace!
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