So...back in the day, well, not that long ago, I took an A.MAZ.ING eCourse called, The Declaration of You, which is an inspirational course that helps guide you to your true purpose in life.It was created by two awesome ladies named Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift. (I also worked one-on-one with Michelle Ward after taking this course, too!)
This course was SO freakin' cool. I LOVED the subject matter and I LOVE LOVE LOVED the color, fun and uniquity (a word I learned from their course!!) of it all, too. I learned so much and I felt more connected to my inner most needs than ever before (because at this time I had lost touch with myself because I was knee deep in learning how to be a new mama to my beautiful, one year daughter, at the time).
And now, their eCourse has become a book (WOOHOO!!! SO excited for them!!!) and in honor of this, Michelle and Jessica have created a blog lovin' tour. Each week, since the beginning of June, bloggers have been creating posts that align with the subject matter of their new book.
And today, my SELF-CARE post gets to participate!! Woohoo!!!
I hope you'll check out what I have to say and also check out more of The Declaration of You and all the other bloggers who have been posting and will be posting in the next few weeks to come. (You can see all the weeks posts here).
"The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they've craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You's BlogLovin' Tour, which I'm thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more -- and join us! -- by clicking here."
After graduating college, the meaning of self-care became more prominent in my life.
In life, we're all here to help others, right? Once we graduate from school, we go out into the world looking for a job that, that no matter what that job may be, is geared toward helping others and society.
So, yes, we live to give to others. Which is pretty awesome in my book, but at the same time, means it's SUPER EASY for our self-care needs to be pushed to the bottom of our to-do lists and never be tended to as the days and months go by.
I know, that for me, now that I'm a mom to my beautiful 3 year old daughter and my amazing 9 month old baby boy, it's SUPER hard for me to add in time for myself everyday because I HAVE to put them before me from 6 am in the morning until 9 pm at night, every single day.
Because, I mean, really, who's gonna get them their milk, make them dinner, drive them to the park, change their diapers and so on and so on? ;)
So, yeah, self-care is SO VERY NEEDED in my current mama life!
How do I accomplish putting myself first in this mama season of my life?
It's been a huge heart/mind roller coaster ride for me when trying to come up with the answer.
Because in my opinion, there's NO external help in this area for new moms, moms of little kids and moms in general.
Yes, yes, there's the exercise daily, take a hot bath everyday, read your favorite book, go out with your friends one night out of the week, go shopping by yourself, take a classand yes, I do those things.
But this is where things began to change for me. When I did and do all those things, it felt great, but I still yearned for more, but I wasn't sure what exactly that yearning was for.
Ever since I had my daughter, almost 4 years ago this coming up August, I've kept trying to BE the Renee I was before mamahood when it came to taking care of myself.
One of the things I was really trying so hard to keep in my new mama life (and was struggling to do so) was the same exact cardio I've always done. And, I was pretty motivated to keep this cardio up because I wanted so desperately to have my before mama Renee body back, too!
But, the more fast paced activity I kept in my new mama life (basically me doing a workout video with my daughter beside me or me jumping on the treadmill as fast as I could to jog/walk while my daughter napped, because I didn't have much time because I never knew when she was going to wake up) the more a little voice popped into my head saying "YOGA! YOGA! YOGA! You NEED more YOGA!!"
I'd try to listen and my entire body knew that was the best direction for me, but I struggled with my mind in taking continuous action.
Since 8th grade, my mind and body has only known cardio as the #1 way to release stress and lose weightand feel good because of endorphin release.
So I'd start yoga, but I'd never continue, because it didn't feel like cardio and my mind thought, "Yoga can't give me the same fast weight loss benefits as cardio."
So, yeah, for the last 3 years, my mind has won the show. And, it doesn't help when the media is filled with this cardio message as well.
After having my son, I'm happy to say, that I'm finally listening to ME!! It's not easy and it's still a struggle.
I'm trying SO hard to not let the external messages of how I'm supposed to be living and taking care of me get in the way. SO HARD!!
Because, if you read my last post on my mama morning routine, you know that way I feel after truly listening and slowing down, is exactly what I need at this time in my life.
Because I spend my entire day running around taking care of my littles, I NEED a calming, slow and stillness balance.
And I finally SEE this more clear than ever.
It's taken me YEARS to finally listen.
I've given up all fast paced cardio (super scary to do!) and I've replaced it with AM Yoga, guided meditations, leisurely walks outside with my kids in the stroller, doodling, doodle painting and my most FAVORITE one to date...sitting outside on back patio porch with my feet up and doing absolutely nothing (no phone, no computer, no kids allowed!).
In this season of my life, my self-care need is creating little bits of time for more slow and gentle activities.
Life moves SO.VERY.FAST and it's not ever going to stop. And that's why slowing down is so very important to me because now that I'm a mom, I see this more than ever because I'm still in shock that my daughter is going to be 4.
When I sit outside on my patio and I see the gentle way the trees sway in the wind and slow movement of the clouds in the sky I'm literally brought to tears on how I'm SO passionate about not missing the little moments in my kids lives but at the same time I'm letting my own life pass me by not allowing myself to take little breaks of stillness from my fast paced mama life.
If I keep moving like I've been...all the fast paced cardio, multi-tasking, never taking the time to put my feet up and just BE and just continue on letting my overwhelming thoughts run my life, I'm gonna be 80 years old and I'm gonna realize I missed out on so many things.
I've been doing so much inner work, but, every day, my daughter shows me that I'm still not as present as I think I am, because she always see's something happening in the present moment that I completely missed.
She's a great reminder that this mama's self-care needs is to create more stillness...more slow living...because fast paced living is making up the majority of my life...and I that's now what I want for myself or to model to my kids on a daily basis.
Self-care is always going to change with the seasons in our life. And right now, stillness, slow living, slow activity and being gentle with my body is my season.
I know that once my kids are older and more independent, my self-care season will change.
Who knows, I may find myself jogging and walking on the treadmill again, but now, with my mama self-care journey, I now know to go within myself and really listen to what my body, mind and soul truly need.
And I know, that now I can full-on trust that I have the right answers on how to take care of ME and not have question myself anymore because of all the external messages that I know, if I listen to them, will always lead me to the heart/mind roller coaster ride, which leaves me way more stressed than I need to be.
Here's what I did to finally listen to my inner most self-care needs...
* I found a yoga DVD that's 15 minutes long (because I don't have the time to do anything longer). Once I got the routine down, I'd just stretch on my own when time opened up...I even stretch with my kids around! This soon led me to reconnect with my favorite Rodney Yee AM Yoga DVD that I've done for years and totally forgot about.
* I began to walk slowly while taking my kids out on a stroller ride. I'm SO used to power walking, so this took time to adjust too. If I walked too fast, I always knew, because when I got home I felt more exhausted than before I left. I didn't nourish my body in the way that it wanted because I didn't feel good. I'm a better mama to my kids when I feel good, not tired, so I knew slow walking benefited my life and kids life more. The slower I walked the more I took in the beauty of nature that I had been missing out for years and then, once I'm home, I'm filled with the euphoric feeling that I always got after fast paced cardio sessions that I did before mamahood.
* I began to take more time at night to doodle paint, even if I was SUPER TIRED. Because to me, this is the #1 way to easily calm my thoughts and feel like I just walked out of the day spa in 20 minutes or less. I've tried SO many things to calm my mind and body and I've finally found this to be the answer!! I see quicker results when trying to calm my thoughts than when I do yoga or guided mediation's.
* I start and end my day with guided mediation's because I LOVE how my body feels. That stillness...oh...heaven!! My body yearns for this because I'm constantly moving and picking up kids and toys and washing dishes and loading and unloading the washer and dryer and so on and so on. My body LOVES the yoga and the mediation and mind LOVES the doodle painting. Ahhhhhhhhh!
* I get up before the kids and I pour myself a glass of lemon water and sit outside on my patio. Just me and nature. No phone! No computer! (SO HARD to do at first!) The benefits of this is amazing!! And I'm always craving more. I can't do it everyday because my kids wake up at all different times every morning, but when my hubs is home, I'll sneak out at sunset while he's with the kids or I'll sit out there by myself on the weekends, and during the week. I try so hard to get out there, but I don't beat myself if I can't.
This is what's working for me right now. These are the things that help me to feel happy, light, naturally energized, nourished, rejuvenated, refreshed, upbeat, calm, less emotional and more connected to ME.
It may be something completely different for you. That's why no one else can tell you what to do for yourself. You are the only one that knows what's going to help you feel just like I feel when doing certain activities that fill your cup up.
The only way you'll know which activities are best for your is by HOW YOU FEEL!
And the only way you'll be able to figure it out is to try out different activities and check in with how you feel during and AFTER them.
Do you feel happy, light, rejuvenated, energized? Or, do you feel exhausted, depleted and still sporting that frustrated, angry short fuse throughout your day?
Check in, listen and let yourself be guided by how you feel....it's the only way to truly nourish YOU and create more feel good, self-care, feelings in your life.
So, tell me...
Are you like me and struggle with listening to what your inner most self-care needs are? Did you finally listen? Or, is it still hard to get off the mind/heard roller coaster self-care ride?
It can be SO hard to finally trust yourself and start creating time for what YOU truly need to better yourself and create more balance (no one can tell you what you need...only YOU know!!). Just starting with one small thing and then feeling the benefits will lead you to more consistent self-care activity that will truly nourish your body, mind and soul.
If you LOVE this topic...
be sure to head over to the Declaration of You page to read everyone's posts this week on self-care (and all the other topics, too!!) and be sure to check out....
It's this Friday and every Friday starting at 9:30-10a PST/11:30a-12p CST/12:30-1p EST, on The Declaration of You Facebook Page where they'll be having a comment party around the topic that’s been featured that week. So, this week...self-care party!! OH YEAH!!
Here's the upcoming schedule, if interested!
* June 28 : self-care * (no FB party on July 5th) * July 12 : success * July 19 : money * July 26 : celebration * Aug 2: trust
And, if you'd like to meet Michelle and Jessica...
here they are talking about their book! LOVE them!! :)
Until next time...
Life IS creatively calm...SAVOR it up!