With only a matter of days until two become three, and as the hormonal highs and lows of pregnancy draw to a close; with so much I want to teach this little one, the awareness of self care has struck a cord with me. As my beautiful lady who lives in the sky suffered with postnatal depression with little to no help, for me it is now paramount that at this time in my life, my self care and a little self love is at it’s peak. That may sound selfish, because ultimately this little human being who is about to join our world will be the most important member of our team. But it is still important for us to look after ourselves too… How can we look after another if we don’t know how to look after ourselves?
Thankfully to my mindfulness journey some years ago, the tools I have learnt have been imperative to the way my eyes started to see the world. My perspective changed and the way I started to deal with life in general switched massively, with a little more self care. Knowing that my beautiful lady in the sky had suffered with the torment in her mind, looking back now, the absence of her self care was ever so clear, counting only the good days on one hand. That’s not to say she didn’t have good days but a memory springs to mind when I shared with her a Mother’s nightmare… the words ‘I have two mums’ coming from my lips. The reality was one day I would have an unwell mum who could barely get out of bed, to another who would get up, get dressed, style her hair and wear her make-up. Those days were the best. Sadly, my Nan was the same. Reading through her diaries after my Mum passed was heartbreaking to see that on every 25th of every month of every year, she’d written just how long her pain had continued without her only daughter, until 4 years later she could take no more. With a determination so strong, I refuse to let us continue in this way.
Some self care tools in my toolbox:
R e a d i n g
Reading a variety of different books, mainly self help or inspiring stories has contributed hugely to the things I have learnt about self development, personal goals and finding my ‘why’. I will always have a notebook and pen handy to write down anything that resonates with me. I know I would forget what I have read if I didn’t do this so by having somewhere to jot down ideas and for a quick reference guide to the things that I took away from that book is so handy.
E x e r c i s e
Don’t really need to say too much on this one – we all know it’s good for us. But, it’s about finding exercise that suits you, your lifestyle, goals and what ultimately fulfils your enjoyment. I am a strong believer in finding what works for you. If you are not one for a sweaty gym or high intensity, then don’t do it. You will end up hating every minute and where is the self care in that? Find something that is more suited to you and your personality. But, always give something a try first. You won’t know until you have tried…
J o u r n a l
This is something I started about 10 years ago and believe it is vital to personal growth and finding your passion in life. This doesn’t have to be a diary like you may have had when you were in school, but a place to keep ideas, thoughts and goals. I like to keep mine handy for things I learn through social media, other blogs that inspire me and generally a good reference to read back on. It’s always an interesting read back to see how far you have come, or if you need a reminder to start something you said you would!
W r i t e a l e t t e r t o y o u r f u t u r e s e l f
This is an interesting one, and may feel a bit strange but it is well worth doing. In writing a letter to your future self you can identify what you want to learn, where you want your perspective to be, what you want to focus more on, or less of etc and it will help to give you purpose.
G e t O u t d o o r s
Being out in the fresh air and taking a walk can be very therapeutic. Just feeling the sun or wind on your face and being in natural light will always make you feel better. It’s good head space time too, just a brief moment to gather your thoughts and feel less stressed. I noticed a difference even just being in the garden has helped me on down days.
M e d i t a t e
So this one is on my ‘things to try’ list and one of my goals. I’ve read a lot on it and it doesn’t have to mean you sit crossed legged humming to yourself in true Buddha style, but just a few minutes each day to quiet the mind. I am yet to master the art of actually sitting down regularly to do this (and with a little one on the way I’m already thinking… good luck with that one!😂). However, the few moments where I have managed to just sit quietly for 5-10 minutes, listening to music or a guided meditation has made a positive difference in the way I have felt. It does bring a sense of calm and perspective back into your world and worth a try.
D r i n k L O T S o f W a t e r
When I trained for my mountain trek in Morocco in 2007, I needed to make some changes to my diet. I lived off tea, coffee squash and cola. I decided to cut the squash and cola and switched to water. It is amazing what a difference this made to me! I felt so much more alert, rarely had a headache and learnt that most of the time when I thought I was hungry, was just dehydration. It is like magic to our health and self care!
E a t w e l l, b u t e a t c a k e t o o !
My beautiful lady would often say ‘I’ll start my diet tomorrow’ as she’s reached into the biscuit tin, but tomorrow never came… As part of this journey for me and for her, I owed it to her to try and eat better. Eating well is something that over time has definitely made me feel better. As my healthy journey kicked in, I found I liked to learn more about nutrition and mindful eating too. I try my best but it’s all about balance. The truth is, I love cake, or chocolate, or anything sweet! It is one of life’s little luxuries that we should all indulge in every now and again, and that’s every weekend for me!
G o a l s, G o a l s, G o a l s
Saving the best to last… This one is the biggest and most important self care tool. If we don’t have goals, we lack motivation and purpose. We deprive ourselves the opportunity to feel a sense of achievement and discover our own capabilities. With a limited memory of my beautiful lady, I cannot say what her biggest hopes and dreams were. She quite possibly did not stretch her mind enough to even fathom such a thought. I believe it’s important to have two types of goals, mental and physical. My physical goals are usually in the form of running a few extra miles or pushing myself in the gym just a little bit more, but I do believe mental goals are more important to our self care. At the start of each year, I like to write a list of goals I want to achieve, big and small. Some I achieve, some I don’t but it gives me focus and a reason to continue on this journey, for my beautiful lady who lives in the sky.
So, let’s just say for now my self care goal is to achieve the biggest thing I will ever have to go through, physically and mentally in the next few days… or weeks 🤷🏼♀️ With some mindfulness techniques at the ready, and a little focus on my beautiful lady watching from above, the determination is ever present to continue this journey into motherhood and I can’t wait!