I’ve chosen a word for the year for the last couple of years and it’s been a really important part of my self-growth and expansion.
For 2016 I’ve decided my focus word will be CONNECTION.
Need some pointers on how to look after yourself now that you’re a mama?
It all starts with making yourself your top priority. These 9 tips can help.
#1 – Nurture yourself
Make time for you. I learned almost too late just how important VITAL this is. I had this strange idea that the people around me needed to nurture me. That I needed to be nurtured by my husband, by my parents and by my friendships and of-course this was only causing resentment and dissatisfaction on my part when they weren’t meeting my expectations. The nurturing had to come from inside me. Start small. Take baby steps. Make little goals. Mine were really simple at first – take my vitamin every morning, drink more water, journal more.
#2 – Value yourself
As above, if you don’t value yourself then who will? Value your time, your effort, your energy. Value your body, your mind, your spirit. Value the beautiful talents and gifts you bring to the world. Value your originality and unique features – there are 7 billion people in the world and there is no one else quite like you! That is a pretty amazing thought and you’re obviously something special. Feel it. Know it. And let yourself shine!
#3 – Support yourself
Be that person for yourself. Start a project and encourage and motivate yourself. Bask in the joy of completion and internal satisfaction instead of external praise. Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you is so valuable, and I believe it’s been quoted that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. That is a very powerful thought. But often we need to be our own cheerleader too and that is even more powerful.
#4 – Comfort yourself
Take time to rest and check in with yourself as often as possible. Look after yourself in the way that you would have wanted to be cared for when you were a child. Especially if you are battling illness – mental or physical – take lots of time to care for yourself, to feel that comfort that comes from meeting your needs. And if your stress is emotional then soothe yourself, hold yourself tight, be your own friend instead of criticising, judging or worrying. If there is no one who will listen, then turn to what makes you feel good – write in a journal, sketch or draw or paint, do some exercise, get plenty of sunshine, indulge in comforting drinks and maybe bake a treat, turn on some beautiful music and dance your worries away or let the music inspire a restful sleep. Simple Lavender essential oil is brilliant for times of stress and anxiety. I desperately sniffed a handkerchief soaked with lavender oil in the late stages of my third pregnancy to help me sleep peacefully at night.
#5 – Inspire yourself
Go to the art gallery. Take a walk in a forest. Sit at the beach and draw in the sand while the sound of the crashing waves hypnotizes your mind and lets your worries slip away. That’s when magic happens. Inspire yourself with everything that brings out your passions and reach deep down within yourself to recognise your true desires. From here, everything will flow.
#6 – Love yourself
Self-love. It’s something you know about and although I know there are mamas out there who are pretty good at continuing this throughout motherhood, it is something a lot of us leave by the wayside with our pre-pregnancy bodies, desires and interests. Becoming a mama changes you… there is no way around that. But under all those new layers are still parts of the ‘old’ you which is just another way of saying the ‘authentic’ you. The you who you truly are. Self-love is all about re-connecting with that part of yourself. If you take the time to re-discover your authentic self I promise you, amazing things will happen. You really will begin to love yourself in that pure, conscious way. The way we all deserve to be loved. And it all starts inside of you.
#7 – Be kind to yourself
Show yourself compassion. Listen to yourself. Listen to your needs and try to communicate them to those around you as easily as you can. Realise that high expectations can put a lot of unnecessary stress and pressure on our lives, and you’re worth more than stress and pressure. Life is for living and yes, life does come with regrets and mistakes. That’s part of how we learn and as long as we keep living, we’ll keep learning and we need to be gentle with ourselves throughout that process. Use kind words when you see yourself in the mirror. Say, I love you. Say, I see you. Think kind thoughts about what is going on in your life – remember every day when you get up, you get the opportunity to start again. So do that. As often as you need to. Some parts of life are just plain hard. There’s no need to feel guilt about that. It is what it is. Treating yourself with the empathy and compassion you show others, is what you really need from yourself during the intense phases of motherhood.
#8 – Enjoy yourself
Be a friend to yourself. Remember how FUN you are! I can be quite a serious person so this is something I need to remind myself of often. Life is so much more enjoyable when you can smile through it. Play your favourite music. Take yourself to the movies. Book that holiday. Buy yourself flowers. Dance in the rain. Bask in the sunshine. It’s all there for you.
#9 – Perfection doesn’t exist
I only wrote 9 tips because it’s not a perfect list, and being a mama is NOT about being perfect or having a perfect life. Perfection is impossible and unattainable. I encourage you to take the word perfection completely out of your vocabulary. Stop apologising for your seeming ‘imperfections’ – actually stop saying “I’m so sorry the house isn’t perfectly clean!” or “I’m sorry I’m not the perfect mother.” – because you are not perfect. And neither am I. Or any other human on earth! We’re all just that… human. You are divinely human. And you are uniquely, womanly human, nurturing, valuing, supporting, comforting, inspiring, loving, kind and joyful. A mama – born from woman and as real as every other mama on this planet.
Fall in love with yourself again. Try to see yourself as a child, the way that your mama looked at you when she was holding you as a newborn in her arms. Or the way that you stared at your new baby endlessly when you knew you should be sleeping instead. Find that love and peace inside yourself and feel that about yourself. I promise. You’re worth it.
Self-love and self-care have been incredibly important to me in the last year. I have a half-finished post in the works that explains my journey in more detail, but today I wanted to talk more about a very physical evidence of the inner work I’m doing. Over on Instagram this week The Little Sage suggested for readers to share their personal altars. Creating a post about my altar – or my Self-Love Shelf – has been on my to-do blogging list for quite while so I decided to use take that instagram request as a gentle universal nudge to share it now.
I started with a plain white shelf from the hardware store. And that’s where it stayed for weeks! I somehow felt I had to mentally prepare myself for what this would represent and how I wanted to achieve it. I decided I would let it come naturally and build up different elements as the right pieces found their way to me.
Because I have little people around and I wanted this shelf to be purely for me to indulge in (Hannah and Blake each have their own shelf), I decided to place it up high where it couldn’t be climbed to. One day I’d love to have a shelf/altar lower down that I can sit and meditate at, but for now this is just fine. It’s placed between our bedroom door and the wadrobe door so I see it everytime I enter or exit the bedroom.
I started with my crystals. I had only a few when I began, and although I have more than this now, this is the design I like them in at the moment. I have been using my clear quartz point crystal a lot, when doing my oracle card readings or journaling. Clarity is something I’ve been carving lately and indeed most of the time! The oracle cards that are always on my shelf are The Little Sage cards and the Doreen Virtue Daily Guidance from your Angels cards. On top of the cards are a bear-shaped stone Blake found for me and a key, to represent a key I was given as a gift by my guides in a meditation. The delightful candle was a gifted and handmade by a wonderful friend.
The Alchemical Oils are from Sacred Self and were a self-love gift to myself. There are feathers collected from walks in the park, heart-shaped rocks that Hannah and I found on the beach and a wooden mother and child ornament given to me by a friend. This reminds me to practice gratitude for my role as a mother.
The ‘breathe’ and rainbow rock are from my blessingway when I was pregnant with Daisy and the blue pendulum was another little gift to myself. During this journey I have become a lot better at recognising that buying lovely things for myself is a necessity not an indulgence.
Affirmations by Louise Hay and Danielle LaPorte surround a ‘Work In Progress’ painting I did with the kids one day and Oracle Cards that I wanted to see every day are above them. A beautiful angel from another friend is hanging beside the cards, reminding me I am always safe and protected. The butterflies are from another craft session Hannah, Blake and I enjoyed, representing transformation and change.
And above all else is a visual depiction of our 5 year vision. Maybe I’ll save that story for another time. I hope this has inspired you to make your own Self-Love Shelf too, you’re worth something beautiful in your home just for you. Clear a shelf on the bookshelf, buy that gorgeous candle you’ve been coveting or try some meditations (The Little Sage have quite a few lovely ones) if you’ve never done them before. Sometimes us mamas neglect our spiritual and sensual side the most. Fall in love with yourself again.