Oh my! What a crazy two weeks I have had since returning from holiday in Bali (which already seems a million years ago!). I don’t know why I do it to myself, but with me, it never just rains, it always pours.
Not only am I now 8 months pregnant, but last weekend we also moved house. These must be two of the biggest life events that people can go through (with marriage, divorce and death also on the list!) and doing two of these things at the same time was, shall I say, ambitious?
Even with the help of my handsome hubby and the removalists, it was a stressful experience. Not just the packing and moving and then attempting to unpack with a giant belly in the way, but also having to eat out for most meals several days in a row (urgh, making me feel sluggish and gross!) and not being in my regular routine. It was overwhelming and tiring. And I could feel myself fraying around the edges, culminating in a mini-meltdown on Sunday night.
This is when I knew I had reached the end of my tether and it was time for some self-care. One of the five foundations, the all-important Soul Foods that I believe we need to nourish in order to happy, healthy, grounded, is practicing self-care. It is amazing how when this is missing, how crazy, unbalanced, jilted, unfocussed and stressful our lives can feel . And these feelings then lead to a lack of energy, so we lose interest in eating well and moving our bodies which can then easily spiral into an unhealthy and unhappy life. Eeps!
So in order to avoid that from happening to me, it has meant opening up my coaches toolbox and implementing some self-care practices this week to get myself out of the feeling of stress and anxiety (not for me but also for Little One growing inside me).
1. Took time out
I gave myself permission to stop, sleep, and NOT do any work for a day and that did a world of good for my overall emotional well-being. It still ended up being a busy day but not having to focus on work and being able to take things slowly was very nourishing. Taking the slow road is not something I find easy, but this has become more essential as my pregnancy has progressed.
2. Practiced yoga- even though I was tired
I have had a pretty consistent prenatal yoga practice during this pregnancy (I did lots of yoga before being pregnant too) but I was out of routine after my holiday and then with moving, so I knew that had to be a priority again to get grounded and moving gently. I subscribe to Yogaglo which I love because I can just do a 20-30 min session if I am feeling tired, and it always makes me feel great afterwards.
3. Did one nice thing for myself every day this week
I gave myself a little mini at-home facial, did some shopping for things for our new house (yay to retail therapy!), sat in the sun for ten minutes for a little lunch break, treated myself to a (not vegan and not healthy) chocolate brownie (of which I savoured every mouthful, un-guiltily!). Little things that made me feel good in that moment and filled my cup.
4. Prepared home cooked dinners
I actually don’t enjoy getting take-out or eating out that much, because I find it so hard to find food that is healthy and vegan and still yummy. The past weeks have been eating out for almost all meals and it really stopped being enjoyable. I couldn’t wait to get back into the kitchen and to get creative, to take time out mentally to make something yummy and nourishing for my body (and soul!).
5. Took one thing at a time
I was feeling overwhelmed because I was looking at the house full of unpacked boxes and couldn’t find the things I needed. But rather than trying to tackle it all at once (as is my nature!) I made a pact to just unpack one box a night until everything has found a home. This gave me order and space and a very do-able goal and I could feel my overwhelm diminish the moment I made that choice. I also made lists of things that I need to do, buy and organize and that helped reduce the mental clutter that was causing me to feel stressed.
6. Spent time engaging with family and friends
It can be easy to retreat into your own bubble when life gets tough. I knew that this was not the best approach to take, and so I have done a lot of Skype calling this week, as well as interacting with my new mum-friends group on Whatsapp. Being able to vent and share and laugh and giggle and interact with other people outside of my own bubble has been healing and helped me to gain perspective and realise that actually, my life is great and I am blessed and all is going to be ok.
7. Made herbal teas and did some journaling
I found the box the cushions were packed into, found my favourite mug, boiled the kettle, made a delicious herbal pregnancy tea and then sat down with my journal for 30 minutes every night this week. I have loved this little time-out. It has given me a chance to integrate how I am feeling, to rub my belly and connect with Little One and to rest, oh joyous rest!
The upshot is, I feel better for allowing myself to do these things even though my natural tendency would be to just keep on going with a steely determination to finish the unpacking and all the stuff that needs to get done, and not really stopping to breathe. But one thing that being pregnant has taught me is the importance of slowing down and practicing self-care, regularly, because it isn’t just me now, but baby who is also affected by my feelings, thoughts and actions.
In a way this kind of self-care is a selfless act, and I know that if I hadn’t followed through with these things I’d be a mess right now. Even when things are crazy- in whatever that means for you in your lfie right now- it is possible implement a few small things that can have a massive impact on your overall well-being.
- I’d love to hear from you and to find out some of your simple self-care practices that you incorporate into your daily life. Do any of these practices resonate with you, and if so, how can you make them happen in your life today?