Prioritising self care is hard. The reality is, most mamas feel there is no time, they always have a million and one things to do and are juggling so many roles in any given day, their head is often spinning.
Now, more than ever, the way are world is, the multifaceted nature of things and the constant virtual and visual connectivity, means it’s really hard to not do stuff, to prioritise yourself, to slow down and meet your own, self care needs. So I hear you, I relate whole heartedly and I acknowledge all you do as a mama. There is no denying that the energetic expenditure that's required to care and nurture a new born, a baby, or a toddler is immense.
Our culture is obsessed with doing and productivity so when you are catapulted into the world of motherhood, it can feel like a virtual impossibility to do the exact opposite. To gravitate away from ‘doing’ and that which we are praised and validated for in the world of work, and daily living.
As mamas and especially in the first 40 days post birth we need to slow down. We actually need to try and do less, yet I know the reality of this is really hard. I struggle with it as a mama of two, its hard to do less. But acknowledging the need is the start, then creating easy ways to achieve it.
So that's where I come in, or rather I want to share my own daily self care checklist which I made for myself as a mama of two. Which I try to uphold to ensure I feel good, I feel nourished and loved first and foremost by myself. I recognise that then I have the energy to love and nurture others.
MAMA DAILY SELF CARE CHECKLIST
The body is roughly 75% water. Most of our imbalances in the body are a result of dehydration.
In pregnancy and especially in the post natal period hydration is vital.
Post birth Onward and particularly if breast feeding, keeping fluid intake up is key to supporting the body through the dynamic changes which are happening.
Water is part of the 5 element theory in Chinese medicine and mainly corresponds to the kidney organ system. In essence your kidneys are responsible for cellular hydration - the movement of water to and from your cells..
Post natally this is key as without sufficient hydration the body struggles to process toxins, can lead to inflammation, hormonal imbalance, headaches, fatigue, and other health imbalances.
Most notably the kidney system, specifically the adrenals are in short responsible for handling stress. The adrenals produce excessive amounts of hormones when we are stressed. In short stress can lead to dehydration. So many factors which will impact women in the post natal period.
Tips to stay hydrated:
1. Drink first thing ideally 30mins before food to ensure complete hydration. Water before food also helps to hydrate your stomach lining supporting production of digestive enzymes & absorption of nutrients from your food.
2. Small sips - too much in 1 go can effectively shock and therefore ‘dilute’ your kidney system. A larger amount slipped slowly in the morning and then small amounts through the day.
3. Manage your stress levels: Meditation, yin activity, acupuncture all help to calm and support healthy kidney function.
4. Support kidney health: Ashwagandha helps to decrease the overstimulation of the adrenals and stress hormones. Checkout my favorite mama’s smoothie recipe here, and read more about my 3 favourite superfood supplements for mama’s to support hormonal balance, boost energy and promote restful sleep.
5. Juicy fruit: Fresh fruit contains a variety of minerals and electrolytes that support cellular hydration..
Ensure you drink enough fluid, herbal teas, hot water & lemon, water - daily recommendation varies but in the post natal period aim for 8 glasses of water. In winter and the early post natal period - warm is better.
For a woman and a mama movement is essential...self care is an absolute must. I increasingly observe & witness that mamas NEED this particularly in the later months and years after babies not just in that immediate 4 trimester period.
After having babies, whether it’s in the months after or years after, yoga can be such an amazing practice. But the key factor here is, it’s not just any old ‘yoga’. As a mama it requires you to start a line of dialogue with yourself, an act of conscious and loving self inquiry...and this inquiry needs to move from a deep cellular place, from the inside out...
As a woman it requires us to listen very acutely to what are inner landscape is describing to us. It requires that we tune in and respond to those needs that we speak back to our body with the language it understands, and that is the breath.
It is that beautifully simple and uniquely profound. It mirrors all the things we ultimately need in pregnancy and all the things that will guide us gently and consciously in birth.
For the post natal body the focus may need to revolve around helping to restore integrity and elestacity to your pelvic floor. Poses to lengthen the spine and relieve upper and lower back ache. Breathwork and mindful movement that will restore balance and calm both the nervous system and the mind which can often be in a state of flight due to the multi complex demands of motherhood...
So find something that resonates with you. Find a teacher who speaks your language and invest some time in your own self-care so you have the physical, emotional and spiritual vitality to share that love.
If you want to do some home practice, check out my tips for safe post birth practice here, and look out for my nurture and stabilise sequences which will be on the blog soon.
Food is like natural medicine for the body. It can heal and restore you to your truest and most vital self. The process of growing and birthing a baby uses up an immense amount of energy, and in particular yin energy due to the natural blood loss during the birth process. We need serious nourishing to enable our body to restore.
Healing Foods - Soft, soupy foods are favoured around the world to honour and support the body during the post-partum period (post birth), when there is illness, injury or trauma. A new mother needs warm, soft foods and certain herbs to support a digestive system which is slower post birth, to promote internal healing and cell tissu