The Art of Self-Care
Prior to having a baby my ideas of self-care fell along the popularized social media promoted types- long luxurious baths with expensive face masks while sipping a medicinal mushroom tea & listening to something meditative & zen. But the second I was out of the bath, I was back to business. “Self-care” checked off the list & promptly forgotten.
Since I had a baby, my ideas of self-care have radically changed. I am LUCKY if I get a shower in (and as I write this I still have my amazing husband at home along for the ride!), let alone wash my hair. We have been blessed with a continual supply of food from friends & of course Uber Eats. And sleep! Ha! I sleep in 2.5 hour chunks if I am lucky.
So how am I finding moments of self-care while in the midst of trying to figure out this motherhood thing?
- Warm drinks - having a baby midwinter means alot of cozy time. I am trying to follow traditional postpartum methods of rest & restore which includes drinking mainly warm (at the very least room temp) drinks. I am loving whipping up a quick concoction of ginger, pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, honey, almond milk beverages sipped plentifully throughout the day. When I have both of my hands free I prep the ginger (peeling, cutting), so that it is ready to go with the grace of one hand.
- Netflix binges - while breastfeeding ( and to give me a break off my phone) I am allowing myself to binge on Netflix & Crave shows. I am not able to exercise at this moment and still healing from a C-section which means my mobility, & ability is limited. We also have a very unseasonable amount of snow in Vancouver which means getting out for walks with baby is difficult (and not actually allowed under the Eastern based postpartum plan I am following). And so I am passing time by catching up on different sitcoms, series & movies and I am loving every second. Bonus is that baby loves to sleep in my arms & I can actually catch a nap sometimes too!
- Food prep- I adore cooking. During my pregnancy I was sick for the entire pregnancy & so was unable & uninspired to cook. Sourdough bread, butter, cheese & yogurt was my go-to. My formerly super clean diet was completely eliminated by week 7 of my pregnancy. Since I gave birth however I am LOVING all things soupy, stewy & fortifying. And I am dying to get back into the kitchen! So whenever I have a few minutes of uninterrupted 2 hands time, I get into the kitchen & start chopping, peeling & freezing veggies so that when we need to cook up something fast, I have ingredients to hand. I have also become an Instant Pot addict and can quickly throw together overnight steel cut oats on a timer so that in the am when we finally get out of bed, we have a hot & healthy breakfast waiting for us!
- Norwex face cloths- these things are GOLD. Whether you are traveling, post-gig, apré gym or breastfeeding, all you need is water & one of these babies. These ultrasoft cloths remove ALL makeup, dirt, sweat & the remnants of the day without using any other cleansers. All you do is wet, wipe, rinse & air dry. Each cloth can be used for 3 days before sending off to be washed. I am able to do this while breastfeeding, rocking baby, during my Netflix binge watching or when I am dead tired & wanting to sleep fast.
- Communication- this one should be a given really but its hard. I have had to come terms with accepting & honouring my hormonal state of being by not holding back tears, thoughts or feelings. I am just too much like a covered boiling pot that is threatening to spill over if I don’t stay true to what I am experiencing at the moment. Allowing myself to communicate with my partner, midwife, doula, friends & family helps me feel seen & heard which diffuses the situation. I also speak to an online therapist every 2 weeks who provides a neutral & validating space for me to share my thoughts & feelings with no judgement. I am a big fan of therapy!
While these may not seem like much, to me at this time is how I am holding my sh!t together. As a former voraciously independent person, I was used to getting multiple things done in a day. To do check lists were my jam.
Now I am living truly moment - moment fully present. I do what I can when I can.
I believe that self-care is so individual & is a fluid act. I may look back on these weeks from now and laugh - or cry. These may no longer be valid this time next year. But for me right now, these things are of vast importance to keeping my sanity, helping me feel grounded & also holding on to pieces of my former self. While I don’t have time to have long soaks in the tub, I am still meeting my needs in other ways.
How do you show up for yourself & practice self-care?
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