Have you ever felt that the "experts" offering advice on self-care do not get the challenges and realities of mom life, AT ALL? It's a huge pet peeve of mine.
Self-care doesn't need to look like a massage, bubble bath or hour workout to feel good and to make a significant improvement in our quality of life.
Pre-babies, taking care of myself looked like an entire Saturday...morning yoga or a walk on the lake, a leisurely brunch and a mani/pedi or massage. With 2 energetic boys who always need my attention, I'm insanely lucky if I can fit in an hour of yoga practice in. And it only happens if I wake up at 5 am or wait until 9 pm.
My home movement, breath and meditation practice IS my version of self care and if I practice 15 minutes most days, I feel like I'm winning at life.
I feel more energized, sleep better and generally feel better on the days when I move. I feel like a better version of my mom-self because I'm able to stay calm, patient and present with my kids.
Most importantly, by moving my body, by breathing through movement, I feel awake, peaceful and ALIVE. That, my friends, is self-care.
Here's the secret sauce...it doesn't take much to feel the effects of movement, breath and meditation if it's consistent, especially if you've been without daily care for a long time.
Just like we can retrain our bodies to correct years of poor alignment or unhelpful movement patterns, we can retrain our expectations. It's a complete reframe of what caring for ourselves in a compassionate way looks like, but it works!
I encourage you to throw out your expectations of what self-care "should" like like, what it looked like for you pre-baby and how it's portrayed by others on social media.
All that matters is that you feel good!
Your routine should be one that's realistic for the way YOUR life looks right now.
Plus...Doesn't it always feel better to set smaller goals and feel like a rockstar when you also squeeze in that extra strength training session, walk or spin class? Why give ourselves another reason to feel like we've failed, to feel guilty or negative about ourselves?
Here are the 4 elements of my 15-minute practice:
- Check in: Ask yourself, "How am I feeling today? How is my body feeling today? How am I feeling emotionally today?"
- Breathe: Lie down on your back and breathe through your nose into your ribcage. Feel your ribs expand from the front, into your back, into your right side, into your left side. Then take 2 deep cleansing breaths - inhales through the nose and big sighs out of the mouth.
- Movement: 10 minutes of yoga asana. In a brief sequence, I include poses to wake up the core, pelvic floor, upper and lower body.
*Note - this practice is designed for the postpartum body, including mamas with diastasis recti and pelvic floor issues. However, please check with your healthcare provider before beginning a postpartum yoga practice and only do the movements that feel good to you.
- Meditation: 2-5 minutes of meditation like the "Peace Begins With Me" Mantra meditation included in the below video practice.