If you’re a busy working mom like me, you know what it’s like to juggle a hectic personal and professional schedule with a never-ending list of things to do. One of the few benefits of the global COVID-19 pandemic is that it has caused many people to pause and reevaluate who and what truly mattered in their lives. I used the time during lockdown to launch my dream coaching business My Life Couch and more importantly – to learn how to take care of myself, respect my own time and ask for help.
I compare us working mothers – and parents in general – to a very sophisticated smart phone: Running a ton of applications at once, a life saver for many and a constant companion that always deliver value. But what is the use of a phone if the battery is low or not charged? It becomes a very expensive paperweight, right? Or whatever use you have for a phone that isn’t charged at all. We need to be intentional about carving some time to nurture and care for ourselves more, not just when the battery has died out completely, so we can be the best mom/dad/sibling/friend we can be.
Here are my 5 strategies to recharge your batteries to be always on and full of energy:
• Take some time off
Knowing yourself, what makes soothes, heals, recharge you is key to defining your self-care exactly HOW and WHAT you want it to be. Whether is being surrounded by people or staying alone to do some self -discovery, meditation, reading a book , journaling, running a bath, do whatever nourishes your soul
• Learn the power of NO
If like me your natural tendency is to say yes to keep people happy, you will quickly feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of commitment you are taking on, without the bandwidth to match. By being selective on the responsibilities we undertake, we can truly focus on the tasks at hand and being present – think quality vs quantity – and deliver outstanding results every time, minus the extra stress.
• Ask for- and accept help –
Asking and accepting for help doesn’t always come easy for working mothers, myself included. I used to see it as a reflection of my inability to “be it” and deemed myself a failure. But you realize that by asking, you are opening your doors, your mind to the kindness of people who in some case may just be waiting for you to ask. Asking for help is another way to extend your reach and getting things done. And you have to be willing to accept the help, even if it’s not exactly how you are doing it, aka don’t focus on the HOW it’s done – of course safety is primordial – but WHAT is done. At best, you and your family are exposed to a different way of doing things! And you can always repay the favor when someone else needs help .
Get your body going by incorporating movement into your routine. It could be a walk, running or even dancing to your favorite tune or playlist. Exercise is proven to release tension and stress and it’s good for your mental health overall so it’s a win- win. Find your movement and practice. I also count singing on top of your voice on a song you like – karaoke nights anyone – as exercise, although your family, neighbor etc… might disagree.
• Have your tribe
Have in your circle, someone other than your spouse that understands the pressure you may face. It could be another mom, a close relative, or a friend. The point is to be having a safe place to show up as you, to share your joys, doubts or vent your frustrations. It’s a place to been heard, understood, and connect with another person on common topics and interests and get another perspective on things. Bonus point if you combine making a phone call with that friend whilst going for a walk!
It’s sometime feels we don’t have time to even recharge, but let’s not leave until our batteries are completely out to put a plan in place shall we. By carving a non-negotiable time often to do things for ourselves, we are filling ourselves so we can pour out love, support , focus , guidance or whatever we can , instead of constantly running on an empty tank. I would love to hear about what works for you and if you need some motivation to create a recharge plan , I’ll be happy– to be part of your tribe !
If you would like to read more about my self-love tec
Gladys Simen – a life coach for moms who are trying to balance their work and family life.
She is a life enthusiast who lived in 5 different countries, mastered 2 languages, and changed several professions. It took becoming a fabulous mama for her to tap into some BIG superpowers within herself.
Former quiet introvert, today is passionate about helping women live big, beautiful, shooting-for-the-stars kind of lives right now. Gladys considers herself an advocate for the working mama!
We kicked off summer with an INCREDIBLE vacation to Port Austin, MI. It is our favorite spot to camp, and we go back as often as we can.
We tent camp, and I could write a whole blog on camping with kids and a dog. It’s a lot of work, but the work is totally worth the reward!
I wanted to talk about this awesome small town at the tip of Michigan’s thumb! This is the second family trip we’ve taken, and we plan to go back again as a yearly tradition.
We always camp at a Michigan state park, Port Crescent State Park. It is called that because the park is on a crescent shaped bay right before the Saginaw bay.
The water is shallow and crystal clear and super sandy for many yards out. It is perfect for kids or young swimmers. The sand bar was insane this year. It actually started at the shore which is something I have never experienced at a Michigan beach.
The sunsets are INCREDIBLE. I live on the east side of MI, so we get stunning sunrises, so experiencing sunsets is my favorite part about the trip.
It’s also a pet friendly park, so we were about to take Addie with us! She REALLY enjoyed digging in the sand with the girls. She loved exploring all things!
There is plenty of hiking and fishing you can do as well at the park. There’s also a nice playground and two bathrooms with showers if needed!
We kayaked one year to a very famous rock structure, Turnip Rock! That trip was so much fun. We rented kayaks from Port Austin Kayak. We rented them for the four hour time. It took roughly two hours to get to the rock structure. It was totally worth it. My phone died just before we got to the structure, so I borrowed an image from Huron County Park’s website.
There is also Caseville up there too! That is home of the “Cheesburger Festival”. Yes it is a festival dedicated to cheeseburgers. Such a fun little town.
We loved traveling so far and are planning another trip in August! Do you have any recommendations in or near MI?! Let me know!
As a mom I feel like one of the biggest struggles is staying organized.
It’s a huge goal but it rarely happens, am I right?
I know in my family, I’m the one being asked what time everything is at or what day and where is this and where is that?
It’s a tough job to stay organized!! I definitely struggle on the daily no matter how hard I try. I’ll be good for maybe a week and then I slack again.
So I came up with a list for myself to help me with the areas I struggle with most in hopes that it will stick in the long run. Plus I hope sharing it will help you as well.
So let’s get started on my 5 tips to becoming more of an organized mom ☺️
1. Clean out your purse.
If there’s one thing that makes me feel like a bad ass mom, it’s a clean and organized purse and diaper bag! Throw out those random receipts, old snacks that have found their way to the bottom. Go through your wallet and organize those cards and coins. It is such a relief when your purse is organized and it’s a great start!
2. Keep a planner.
Do I have a planner? Yes. Is it halfway filled out? Also, yes. It starts out so promising but I never keep it up! A planner can be a savior in the organizing department and I’m going to try my best to stick to it! Maybe putting it on display will help my hubby not to ask a million daily questions on activities…maybe 😉
3. Use storage bins/Storage furniture.
Now this I am wonderful at! Storage bins and furniture that is used to storage is my go to! I have an ottoman that stores so many toys and I love it. I always have cute decor bins all around that hold toys and other things as well. They not only help to stay organized but it helps your house stay more picked up!
4. Meal plan.
My downfall. I am a terrible meal planner and my biggest goal is to be a great one! If I am a better meal planner I can then avoid the “what do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” Argument that happens a lot. Planning dinner ahead and having a cute meal calendar is my goal! So let’s achieve it together!
5. A solid routine.
Let’s face it, it all comes down to routines! When you have a solid morning and night time routine your whole life is just so much smoother. Is it easy? No? Is it worth it? HECK YES! I strive to perfect a morning and night time routine and it’s a struggle but it’s a priority that needs to be made as we navigate through this mom life.
As I work on these organization tips, my goal is for it to help me be a better, a more calm and happy mom.
They all help make our everyday lives easier and therefore we have more time for the fun things!
What do you struggle with the most?
Let’s help each other out! Moms supporting moms it’s my favorite.
As always, thanks for reading and have a great week!
Does time get away from anyone else or is it just me?!
I just thought I would share a little life update since I’ve been so MIA!
We lucked out tonight, and softball was canceled due to weather. Michigan got snow last night, and if our bodies haven’t reacted enough to spring, we get to go through it again!
I am starting a new job with a huge corporation this week! I have been a dispensing optician for the past (almost) 9 years, and I truly have loved every moment of it!
The first office I started at was awesome! The doctor and his wife were some of my favorite people. What is that saying though? People don’t quit a job, they quit the management? Yeah, that’s what I did. The manager was not the nicest person. In fact the 7.5 years I was there, we had 25 employees come and go. Some lasted a year some not even a day… it was so sad because I had truly gained so much from that office.
The last office I worked at was amazing all around. Such good people! One of the docs though… I’ll just stop there. 😂 I just knew that it wasn’t going to be a good fit for me in the long run, so I’m taking a turn with a corporation from HOME! No more going to an office!
There is SO much to learn though. I am on the computer 100% of my day. Not really a bad thing, but there is no face to face interaction. Although during a global pandemic, I’m not mad about it.
SPORTS! My daughters are in sports! I had mentioned softball earlier, that is what my oldest daughter is playing. My youngest is playing soccer! I know nothing about softball, however I played soccer as a kid and really enjoyed it, SOOO I volunteered to coach! I’m not sure what I was thinking when I did that!
We have had some health problems here too! No COVID, at least that’s what the tests say, but I’m not sure what to believe or not to believe anymore. My girls are still having issues that may or may not be related to whatever “virus” they did have, BUT they are overall healthy and were just praying the heal quickly!
Oh, and I dyed my hair pink! I love having fun with my hair, and this just seemed right!
That is my life update! Lots going on daily, but that is pretty much the just of it!
We want to thank you all for your support! This week actually marks one year of blogging for us! We enjoy every post we do, and every connection we make with each and every one of you! Keep reading, stay healthy and stay safe. ❤️
Lately I’ve just been so burnt out. There really aren’t enough hours in the day.
I just can’t keep up.
For a very patient person, my patience’s has been thin lately. Juggling all our rolls is tough.
I don’t know how some make it look so easy.
Full time working life
Plus all the small things in between. It’s exhausting.
I yell more than usual which is no fun. But when you have a toddler in the hitting stage and a puppy in the digging stage, it happens.
I feel like I’m either asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow or laying wide awake at night feeling guilty about not playing enough or not finishing the laundry or just knowing my head wasn’t in the right place that day.
I know this is just a temporary phase but sometimes even though I have all the help in the world which I am so grateful and blessed to have, I still feel alone sometimes.
It just feels like you have so much on your shoulders and even when the weight is a little bit lifted, something else comes long.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
I guess I’m just trying to say is that, I see you.
I see how exhausted you are.
I see how guilty you feel when you have a bad mom day.
I see the work you put in to your family and your life.
I see how hard you try every day.
I get that sometimes that’s all you want.
To be seen.
For everyone to know how hard you try.
I see all you mama’s out there and I hope you know how great of a job you’re doing.
How all these sleepless nights and tired days and exhausted body’s are worth it.
Hey Friends! I wanted to do something fun today and kind of a get to know me type post! I love reading these and wanted to share some things about me.
1. I am TOO optimistic! The glass is always half full in my greener pastures! Everything is sunshine an rainbows 99% of the time.
2. I wanted to be an algebra teacher. I know it sounds super crazy but math was always my favorite subject!
3. I performed in plays throughout my childhood until I was a senior in high school! My favorite was Anita from West Side Story.
4. I married my husband when I was 18! We were BABIES (kind of still are)!
5. I HATE cooking, but LOVE baking! If I’m cooking it’s either a crock pot meal or something very simple, but I will bake you ANYTHING from scratch.
6. I hate winter! It was my favorite season for ever, until last year. Now I long for the days of summer!
7. My favorite color is green. More specifically lime green! The brighter, the better!
8. I used to play a TON of musical instruments! I played the tenor saxophone in band, I played a bit of piano, and guitar once I got older. My favorite instrument is the hammered dulcimer. Look it up if you’ve never heard or seen one.
9. I’m very strong willed! I try to speak my mind as much as possible and stand my ground.
10. Family is THE most important to me, but it’s always God first.
Do you ever wonder what life could be like without comparing yourself to anyone else?
Well, I think it’s time for us moms to stop trying to live up to everyone else and just be ourselves!
Yup! You heard that right, my friend, just be ourselves. Not our neighbor, not our co-worker, not our mom, sister or best friend and just be ourselves.
Friends, your authentic self is the only one I want to be around.
Your authentic stories are the only stories I want to hear. I want to experience the downright ugly parts of your soul as well as all of your triumphs.
I want to cheer for all of your children’s amazing adventures and goals being reached but also gasp at how awful they have been behaving on a daily basis.
So can we make a deal as moms?
Can we stop comparing and rather live our lives as our true selves? Can we stop attempting to live up to all of the online parenting tips, that are often way too hard to attain and allow ourselves to make up our own parenting rules… the rules that work for our family? And rules that take into careful consideration each child living within our unique household.
And please, for our own sanity, can we please stop attempting to live life as a generic woman?
We are all molded, as our own unique selves, but somewhere along the way I think many of us forgot that truth. Or maybe society started to tell us how to behave, how to dress, what our homes should look like and how our children should behave.
But we need to stop this nonsense and just be…
So how do we do this?
It’s not an easy task, let me tell you.
But one thing I know is this…if we all support one another it will be much easier to live as our authentic selves.
Upon a lot of reflection, and there has been a great deal the past year, I have come up with three ways to start living life as our authentic selves.
Take time for reflection:
Set aside a quiet moment or maybe twenty minutes alone, no distractions, just time with good old fashioned silence.
It’s powerful! Within this time, think about you… not the burnt waffles this morning, the four loads of laundry waiting to be folded, a conference call at noon and how you are in desperate need of a haircut. This is a moment for you to delve deep and remember who you are. What are your dreams? Your goals? Desires? What makes you happy? Truly happy? Have you been hiding anything lately? Pushing it away or numbing the pain? And most importantly how do you love yourself best?
I found it helpful to listen to my inner soul quietly and reflect, then write out my thoughts on paper.
My paper was a mess. There were words all over and not organized at all but it was a start.
The simple act of writing out these thoughts was bringing me back to my true self.
If I couldn’t recall who I truly was, how was I going to be able to live a life of authenticity?
2. Putting into action a part once lost.
Remember the reflection time where you made a list? Well, now it’s time to choose one or how many you are comfortable with and begin to bring them to light again.
For me, I knew my true self was a writer. It was my passion and the only way I could express myself as the honest woman I wanted to live. So, day by day I started to write more.
At first I began writing down some thoughts, which then lead to poetry… I forgot how much I loved poetry. I eventually realized it was time to take the next step and really let my true self out of the dark and start to share my authentic self, the writer in me. So for me, as scary as it was it meant starting a blog. My friends, for each of us the experience will be different, the time frame will not be the same but one piece will be constant for all of us and that is becoming the women we are meant to be… our true authentic selves.
So I urge you to take action with your list. Don’t let it sit there in a drawer or in the notes on your phone. Take the leap and call into action one or more of the amazing parts of yourself and let it take hold. You may be amazed at how far you will go.
3. Make peace:
Finding one’s self is not always an easy task. For some of us the thoughts of who we truly are may be easy to find, but for others, muddling through the murky waters of our own self can be daunting. I’m confident though, we can do this as long as we make peace with who we truly are as ourselves and love ourselves more than we expect any other person to love us.
It’s time, my friends, to live our lives fully and to the capacity which works for us… not for the comparison of what we see on HGTV or Pinterest, not for the comparison of ourselves and the other mom at the playground and how she parents. It doesn’t mean we are selfish. It doesn’t mean we should feel any mom guilt. It simply means we should be proud to finally show off our true authentic selves and the phenomenal women we are.
So friends, I pinky promise you this… our authentic selves will bring about more light than we ever imagined and what a blessing for our loved ones to experience. They will be blessed beyond measure with a woman who loves herself and radiates it out for the world to see.
Ali Flynn lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and husband. She is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real.
Being a mom feels like a full time job in itself, but last November I had to take the leap back into the working world. I work only three days a week but so far it’s been a good way to get out of the house, especially with the lockdowns going on, and I definitely think it’s helped this time around to be a little bit less difficult that the first one. It did take me a while though to try and strike the perfect balance with being a working mom. Here’s a few things that I’ve found helpful.
1. Leave work at work. I’ll give an example of this. I had an exceptionally stressful day on Friday, I was so stressed all day about something that I felt sick to my stomach and was tempted to ask to go home, but we all know with Covid going on that’s not something that’s taken lightly anymore. When I left work, I put on some loud upbeat music for my drive home, gave my husband and Baby T big hugs and grabbed a glass of wine. It took me a while to wind down, but eventually I managed to put the whole day behind me and enjoy the time with my family. Also, I don’t have a work phone that I bring home with me, but another thing I always thought was a good idea was something my mom did when she was working. She would turn off her work phone at 6pm when she clocked out and put it on a charger in her home office where she couldn’t check it again until 8am the next day when she started. It really helped her to keep her work separate even though she worked from home.
2. Cooking and eating dinner with my family. When I say I cook, I mean I am the sous chef for my husband who is a way better cook that I am. We spend the time after work in the kitchen together with Baby T in her high chair watching us and upbeat music playing. I give her some of the non sharp kitchen utensils to play with to keep her entertained, then we all sit down together at the table to eat. It’s a routine we started since I’ve been back to work and it’s probably one of my favourites because it’s a time for us to talk about our days and watch Baby T play with her food which is funnier than you would think. We have been trying lately to make sure we don’t look at our phones, a bad habit we have both unfortunately started, but it has definitely helped the conversation to be more free flowing.
3. Making the most of the weekends. The weekends are such a fun time to plan an activity together as a family and just enjoy each others company. I get to spend a few days with Baby T by myself during the week but having my husband home for two whole days has become my favourite part. Obviously right now we can’t really go out and do much, but if the weather is nice enough we’ll bundle up for the cold Ontario winter and go for a walk to the park, or a drive to pick up our online-ordered groceries. Baby T also loves mixing things in the kitchen so we’ve starting baking together, especially things that are easy for her to help us with (like three ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Cookies that I will definitely share the recipe for). Even after Baby T goes to bed, my husband and I make the most of our evenings together by ordering a late take out dinner for two, watching our favourite TV shows or playing card games.
4. Lowering my standards. Did I really just write that? I guess I did. This one was a tough pill to swallow for me, I am a very OCD person with keeping my house neat and tidy all the time. One thing I learned since becoming a mom is that it’s not possible to keep it that clean when you have baby, especially when they start walking and running around the house, pulling things out of drawers and throwing toys that you just put away all over the place. I really had to lower my standards because I started burning out very easily trying to get everything done in a day. One thing I found really helpful, was making a list of my main chores that need to be done weekly and assigning one, maybe two, to a day, so that I knew what was already done by the weekend and wasn’t running around like a crazy person trying to do it all. I still have standards that might be a little higher than a normal person’s but I’ve learned to not stress as much if I don’t meet them all the time. Even as I write this I’m staring at a basket of unfolded laundry, and a while ago I would fold laundry until I fell asleep to get it all done, but now I’m just gonna save it for tomorrow and I’m okay with that.
5. Giving myself time to rest. Like I said above, I found I was burning out pretty quickly after working, taking care of Baby T and getting her off to bed, and doing the housework. I would be disappointed and frustrated if I didn’t get everything done. I started to force myself to sit down and relax in the evenings, which looks a little bit different for everyone, but for me it means watching tv, reading a book, writing some blogs, playing video games (yes, my husband calls me a big nerd for that one) and of course, pouring a nice glass of wine.
These are all things that have really helped me to find the balance with working part time and being a mom to the point where I really feel like I have the best of both worlds. Even in a difficult time like a lockdown I still find myself enjoying both my time at work and my time with my family. If you have more tips to share I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Thank you so much to Evangelyn Tavares for guest posting!
When we women first discover that we are pregnant, we begin a journey in which we expect our lives to change – in the most wonderful of ways. We watch in awe as our bellies grow into these sweet bumps that hold our growing mircles, our wonderful little babes. We excitedly prepare a nursery in our home and we begin shopping for the smallest, sweetest pieces of clothing. We stock up on necessities like diapers, booties and the softest blankets you can imagine. It’s such a thrilling time for expecting parents and we allow our maternal instincts to go into overdrive as we prepare for the arrival of our first born babies.
We love counting down the nine months of pregnancy week by week, celebrating each milestone – we take monthly bump pictures, updating our social media followers, friends and family members on the size of fruit or vegetable our growing baby currently is. We wait for the tiny flutters of kicks and we enjoy the feeling of our babies rolling around inside our bumps until the grand finale of pregnancy is upon us and we are ready to deliver our baby. We are more than excited to meet the tiny person inside of us that we have created.
Then, suddenly….. it happens. Labour. Delivery. Birth. And, ahhhhh, the sweet arrival of our newborn.
It’s a whilrlwind of excitement and hormones and the biggest love you’ve ever known; and then – if all goes according to plan – you find yourself bringing this tiny bundle home, ready to begin your adventure as a new parent to this precious gift.
Up until this point, chances are that not too many things have caught you off guard. You were probably well read on and prepared for the pregnancy and birth of your baby. You likely had everything in place, planned and arranged. And – if you are anything like me – you kind of thought that caring for a newborn would follow in that suit. You did your homework, you were knowledgeable and prepared. You were ready.
And – if your experience was anything like mine – you quickly realized that, despite your best paid plans, you were in for a surprise.
Having a newborn is hard. Every single second of every single day is suddenly consumed by your brand new baby and any notion you previously had of being in control quickly goes O-U-T the window. Nothing is as you expected it to be. Your body is a strange place you now inhabit. Sleep is just not happening. Personal hygeine is nothing like it was before and you kind of feel alone in this, despite having a partner there with you. After all, YOUR body is the one recovering. YOUR body is the one feeding the baby. YOUR heartbeat is the one that’s familiar and comforting to your infant. It all feels as though it is 100%, completely, solely on YOU.
And, sweet new mama, if you truly are anything like me – you’re not going to ask for help. You are going to do it all yourself. You are going to fight to stay in control and you’re not going to open up about your struggles as a brand new momma. I get it. I didn’t want to, either.
Well, it’s been two babies and five years now since the first time I was a brand new mama and I am here to tell you that if you don’t reach out, speak up and validate the way you are feeling; if you truly do take the weight of the world on your own shoulders – you are going to crack. Life, parenting, and raising children is not a one woman show. And it certainly is not a show you can put on when you are not maintaining your own health – mental, spiritual, physical and emotional. It is imperative, new mama, that you are prioritizing your own wellbeing, even though your life has drastically changed and chances are you’ve probably put everyone else at the top of your priority list.
It turns out that is is not just a slogan we have all joked about, heard or on a t-shirt; the old adage ‘if mommy’s not happy, nobody’s happy’ – it’s the actual truth. You NEED to take care of yourself, for your baby. For your family. For yourself. This is a lesson that I personally learned the hard way and, even when it isn’t comfortable or doesn’t come naturally, I am learning to ask for help and to lessen the amount of pressure and expectations I have put on myself.
There are a lot of ways to practice self-care and everybody’s practice looks different. But, what I am going to share with you today, are seven really awesome ways that most momma’s will enjoy that are designed to cultivate mindfulness as a way to help restore sanity and promote self-love and self-care – even when you have a newborn and a circus of a household around you.
* If I had written this article prior to being a mom myself, I probably would have suggested waking up before your children in order to secure yourself some quiet time in the mornings -which actually is a beautiful way to begin your day – but if your children wake up before the crack of dawn like mine do, that might not be a realistic option. Therefore, it is crucial that you intentionally take time during the day to practice mindfulness.
1) Something I like to do in my home is to set up little ‘stations’ that serve as little reminders for me to take a quick moment to decompress. For me, my ‘stations’ each have a diffuser, some essential oils premixed and ready to drop in as well as a roller to apply, a book with a short reading and some flowers, just because I love them. I can quickly pause what I am doing, read something inspirational, get some oils going and take a few deep breaths before I continue along my day. I have several of these throughout my home and not only are they beautiful, but they serve as a physical reminder for me to pause and reconnect to the present moment.
2) If space allows it, having an alter or area to lay your yoga mat, meditation pillow and some relaxing essential oils readily available is the perfect way to offer a gentle reminder for you to practice a short flow during your day. Stretching our bodies, getting the blood moving in our system and allowing ourselves to breathe is a beautiful practice to employ when you have a minute or two to spare. My space like this now has two mats because I have a little blonde three year old yogi who likes to stretch alongside her momma, but that’s just fine by me. Whether she and I stop for five minutes or thirty, having my mat ready reminds me to stop, stretch and breathe and I hope it models that same practice for her, too.
3) A mindful practice you can employ on the go, whether you are out dropping your children off at day care, in like at the grocery store, watching their sports practice or on the phone is a breathing exercise. One of my favourite ones is a learned practice from Gabrielle Bernstein – my personal guru, picutres below – called ‘Nodi Shodhana’ or Opposite Nostril Breathing. It is designed to calm your mind, relax your nerves and help you focus as you balance the left and right hemispheres of your brain. There are many ways to practice this, but what I like to do is simply doing a full exhale, then covering your right nostril with your right thumb and doing a full, deep inhale. Hold for 3-5 seconds and then remove your thumb and exhale. Repeat on the opposite side with your left thumb and nostril. A few minutes of breathing this way helps settle our bodies and minds, as well as our emotions. Often times we find ourselves feeling frazzled, anxious and ‘out of sorts’ because we are unbalanced. We can find ourselves doing too many things at once, having ‘too many tabs open’ in our minds or are simply overwhelmed by our surroundings. This practice helps restore this balance and is a wonderful way to reconnect to the present moment.
4) Something I love to do at least once a day is a quick, 5 minute Journalling + Gratitide practice. To make this quick and easy, I literally use The 5 Minute Journal because it’s a simple way to jot down my thoughts for the day and it’s a guided writing practice. Meaning, I fill in the blanks and carry on. It’s designed to be written in in the morning and again in the evening, but you can create your own ritual with it. It’s a proven fact that being grateful for what we have helps adjust our mindset and can help us attract even more things to be grateful for. Especially for new moms, when the days truly blur into one another, having a keepsake like this will be a beautiful thing to look back on for years to come.
5) EnVISION your future. OK, this is kind of a cheat one because it can sometimes turn into a little bit of a ‘mindless’ mindfulness practice – if that makes sense. This form of mindful practice is a Pinterest Vision board. Done on your tablet or cell phone, use the Pinterest app or website to design a Vision Board. I like to do one for each year. I save pins that have inspiring quotes, trips I want to take, moments I want to create with my family, big ticket items I would like to puchase, renovations I would like to do to our home, goals I have for myself, etc. This is something I can come back to when I need motivation or inspiration and something I like to add to all through the year. It’s fun to look back on year after year to see how my dreams and vision change. The reason I say it can be mindless is because I do often tend to get lost in the endless scrolling that’s available on Pinterest, but it can be a useful tool to take a mindful minute, grab a coffee, relax a bit and save some dreams – big or small – to your board.
6) If you need some guidance in getting into a more positive frame of mind, or you simply need some assistance in being mindful, I suggest giving a walking medititation a try or testing out an app like ‘HeadSpace’. A walking meditation allows your mind to wander as your senses take in your surroundings, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and then be released as they pass. An app like ‘Head Space’ helps guide you through a meditation, so whether you are practiced in meditating or are brand new, you can spend a few minutes getting zen with the guidance from a pro. When practicing either (or really any form of meditation) I apply + diffuse oils, tell my husband that I need some time alone, and truly cherish some time to be alone with my thoughts. I am slowly learning through meditation that it is safe for all my feelings to come, to validate them, and then to allow them to pass – knowing that both good and bad emotions serve a purpose and that they are tools I can use to help learn more about what is really going on inside of me.
7) Of course, my mini-list here of ways to be mindful would be incomplete without incuding a truly mindful practice – albeit one many new moms truly may not have time for – and it is reading. Reading for joy or to further your learning and self-development, something all new moms can do for their own mental well being is to rest, relax and read. My favourite author, Gabrielle Bernstein, is a wonderful source of inspiration for me and I use her works as guides for my own spiritual journey and to improve my mental wellbeing. I also like to read romance novels, books about spirituality, home design inspiration and cookbooks – the options are endless for topics to discover and read about. If you’re not a reader, but still want to tune in, Audible or PodCasts are great, too. Anything that you can read or listen to that directs your thinking and gives you the sense that you are doing something solely to benefit you momma, is great.
Like I said, there really are so many wonderful ways to practice self-care and sometimes it takes testing several out before you find the one that works for you. Sometimes even just loading the kids into the stroller and getting out of the house to go for a walk is enough to get you – and them – out of your environment and into some fresh air. Maybe you’ll find that a creative hobby is what moves you and makes you feel mindful, maybe it’s cleaning your home, talking to a friend, writing or journalling, cooking or building something – whatever it is that works for you, it is important that all moms – whether you’re in the newborn days or are a mom to teens now – find ways to take some mindful moments, to create space and to intentionally focus on mental health and wellbeing in whatever way suits you best.
Please remember; if you are truly struggling with being mindful, if life seems unmanageable, if your emotions truly are not in check and you feel your anxiety/depression heightening – seek professional help. Whether its an online counsellor, a therapist, a service you can call into or something else. Connect with your family doctor and discuss what’s going on, making sure to consider your environmental, sleeping, eating and substance use habits. Speak to someone you trust, someone who is educated in the field of maternal mental health and who can direct your best on the path to healing.
We moms spend our entire lives giving our love to our families – it is imperative that we practice self-love first. Taking mindful moments in our day is a beautiful way to show our own selves that love, to honour our needs and to create space in our day to care for ourselves.
Parenting, mothering, nurturing and raising babies is a beautiful, messy, unpredictable and hard season. It is one to be honoured and celebrated and enjoyed, too. Our hard moments help us grow and our joyful moments help us cherish our days. Wherever you are in your journey, know that your worth is important and that self-care is not selfish.
Take some mindful moments, momma, love on yourself and then share that love with your babies.
Thank you so much to Marlys Morden for guest blogging for us!
To connect with her be sure to visit her blog and website for a healthier lifestyle!