Self-care is that essential magic ingredient that breaths life and joy into a family. Essential if we want our relationships to be healthy and sustainable.
3 Powerful self-care practices, including the 5-minute magic bullet Self-Care List, tending to your soul, and the amazing benefits of a committed self-care practice…
I had a teacher once upon a time, who had 5 children under 9 and she would often talk about all these self-care practices she does & we would all ask ‘how do you do it?’ ‘how on earth do you make time for that?’ ‘I just do it and the children are okay’ she’d say. She knew how important it was, and felt worthy of that care in her heart. And since she felt fine with it, her children were fine with it.
It’s a little like having to put your own oxygen mask on first on a plane. I can only imagine how that would feel in an emergency! Difficult, but logical and essential.
If we don’t look after ourselves first we are really not much good to anyone.
Now let me be honest here, this one hasn’t come easy for me. I don’t feel worthy of that care in my heart. I still have some childhood pain to release around this, so this has been a big one for me!
I’ve had days where I’ve felt so overwhelmed with caring for our 13-month-old that I get to the end of the day & I desperately want him to go easily off to sleep so I can have some time for myself.
Now I’m making sure I get some nurture time in every day. I’m prioritizing it more so that feeling is shifting. As it shifts, and I feel looked after myself, I can be there for him no matter what.
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Written by a Naturopath, Herbalist, Aromatherapist & Truth-Seeker, who is now a stay-home Mum.
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This blog is being written by popular request. It truly seems like one of the biggest challenges for most mums. How do I balance my own needs with my baby’s?
But I’m also writing this for myself – an opportunity to dive in and explore this, and create a commitment to myself.
Some questions I’ve had to ask myself are: Why is it easier to care for others than myself? What does this actually give me? Why do I feel like others needs are more important than my own?
By putting our children first we’re teaching them that they’re more important than others, creating a feeling of entitlement, which is quite damaging.
So by looking after yourself every day, you are learning self-love, and teaching your children this also.
You are teaching them an important spiritual truth – we are all equal. No one is more important than anyone else.
It doesn’t matter how busy you are. If you think you’re too busy to make time for these things, then before long your body will FORCE you to make time. That’s just how it works!
So this is the list I’m going to put on my wall to remind me, because sometimes you have to fake it till you make it, in a sense.
It’s not faking it really, just reminding yourself that you deserve to be cared for even when you don’t always feel it. If we felt it, truly in our hearts, this would be super easy and we wouldn’t need a list or any reminders!!
So here are the 3 practices:
- The 5-minute magic-bullet Self-Care list!
No matter how busy you are, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE to not doing AT LEAST one of these a day, putting aside at least 5 minutes, where nobody else exists except you.
Make a commitment to this NOW, and make it non-negotiable! 😉
- Put some essential oils in a diffuser, relax and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
- Sit down with a nourishing cup of herb tea or a chai and don’t do anything else other than really taste and enjoy it.
- Take a full body breath, expanding your diaphragm fully with each in-breath, letting go of all tension & contraction in your body with each out-breath.
- Look at something beautiful that makes your soul sing, like a photograph or picture that inspires you, a view or nature spot.
- Make a nourishing green smoothie or other clean, healing meal or snack.
- Sit down with a novel that you are reading purely because you’re enjoying it!
- Sort or clear a little pocket of clutter or mess you’ve been wanting to do (don’t do this if you’re always tidying & cleaning, only if you know it will make you feel good).
- Pick an opening, relaxing yoga stretch to help you to expand, open and connect to your body.
- Create anything! Whether it’s a drawing or painting, collage or piece of writing.
- Do a short meditation – it could be meditating on a flower, a candle, your body, breath, a nature spot, god, anything that helps you to feel more connected and present.
- Put on a favorite song and sing your heart out or dance like no ones watching, or both!
- Give yourself a foot massage with some delicious essential oils.
- Climb a tree or sit against it, breathing into it.
- Walk barefoot on the grass, in a forest or on a beach
- Watch the clouds or the stars
You get the idea – make up your own to add to your list, but scrolling on your phone doesn’t count!
- Whenever you are stressed &/or overwhelmed in any way FEEL THE PAIN. Lean towards the discomfort rather than away from it. Let yourself feel it. Whenever something goes wrong, whenever you’re dealing with any kind of issue – big or small- your first instinct might be to shrink away, fix it, make it go away at any cost, mask the pain. You’re thinking “this doesn’t feel good, I don’t want to feel this way” and you try to distract yourself, refusing to let yourself feel.
But when we learn to lean into that discomfort everything changes! It’s like alchemy – we have to merge with it, mix with it, for the magic to happen, for the transformation to take place. Otherwise, if we push it aside, sweep it under the carpet, and it just grows!
There eventually comes a point for all of us, when we have to let ourselves feel all those things we’ve been pushing away, feelings we’ve been storing someplace deep in your heart.
Those difficult times, times when it feels like things are falling apart, is when you have to let yourself feel the pain. If you have to, do it in small doses, bit by bit.
Don’t run from it, don’t let it build up. Let yourself feel.
- Tend to your Soul
If we don’t take time to tend to our inner world, we can become easily overwhelmed and drained, (especially if you are introverted, and especially if you are sensitive, which I believe we all are actually, some of us have just learned how not to be more than others)
Here are some ways you can tend to your precious soul:
– spend time self-reflecting and writing in a journal.
– talk to a counselor or someone you can be completely real with.
– Create a sacred space for yourself – especially important for mums who have children who want to be with them & on them all the time. Have a space available just for you, to go and replenish.
– Choose a single essential oil or blend to work with, for it’s emotionally and spiritually supportive properties, and use it before bed each night.
– Is there something you’ve ALWAYS wanted to do? Play an instrument, learn to sing or draw, try out community theatre, whatever it is, do it! Even if you feel like you currently don’t have the time, make a commitment to gradually creating that opening & time for yourself to do something for YOU.
What are the Benefits?
So do I really need to tell you the benefits of putting this into practice regularly? Probably not because you’ll FEEL it, but I will anyway 🙂 :
– Your mind will feel clearer and decluttered
– You’ll feel more connected to yourself
– You’ll feel more relaxed and able to cope with anything life (or the kids 😉 ) throw at you
– Your feelings of self-worth & self-love will grow
– You will feel more confident and empowered.
– You’ll be saving time because you’ll manage your time far more effectively and with far less effort.
– Reduced stress will mean your physical health will also benefit in every way.
– You’ll be a happier, more patient mum with so much more unconditional love to give.