Finding your self-care rhythm

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{image c/o Modify Ink}

Finding a new rhythm for anything is tricky.  Whenever life changes, it throws me for a loop.  It always takes time to work out the kinks, and it is no different for starting a new self-care regimen.

These are just some of the things that have helped me get back into the swing of things after becoming a mother.  Now, if you just had a baby, do NOT expect to embrace several new things at once.  Be gentle with yourself.  I have a nearly 5-year-old and a 2 1/2-year-old, and it’s taken me a long time to add these routines back into my life.  Slow and steady wins the race though.

  • Exercise.  I really took my time with this one after the birth of my first child.  I had an unexpected c-section and had a tough time with recovery.  My body just didn’t feel right for a few months.  I probably waited until around 3 or 4 months postpartum before starting to work out again.  And I started pretty slow with walks and some light yoga.  Joints are not the same after giving birth, as the hormones are still leaving the body.  I always err on the side of listening to my body.  After the birth of my son, I felt much more like myself earlier so I started working out right when I got the “all-clear” at my postpartum checkup.  But I do find that when I am working out regularly, I feel most like myself.
  • Find your tribe.  This is a must.  Find a community where you feel known and loved.  This doesn’t happen overnight, but I wrote a list of ways to make this happen here.  You will need to be with other mamas on this emotional roller coaster we call parenthood!
  •  If you find yourself struggling to get ready for your days, you may need to actually get dressed and ‘ready’ for each day – even if you’re staying at home.  It’s hard to make time to do this, but I find that when I look my best, I tend to feel my best.
  • Find the small things in life that bring a smile to your face and incorporate them into your days.  It is easy to forget about ourselves with all the demands placed on us with motherhood.  Maybe it’s grabbing Starbucks, reading a new magazine, or buying a cute necklace.  Just knowing that I’m making myself a priority, even if in a small way, can help rejuvenate me a bit.
  • Ask for help if you need it.  Being a mom is not easy.  If you have family nearby, ask them for help.  That’s what family is for.  If not family, then ask a friend.  I have asked friends for help so many times when in a pinch or having a hard time.  No one minds!  We have all been there.  We are not meant to do this alone.
  • Realize that you’re not perfect and you’re allowed to have bad days.  It’s important for your children to see this too.  It’s ok and even healthy to model that mom does not always say the right things or handle each situation perfectly.  This modeling gives your children permission to fall apart in a safe place if need be.  As a parent, this has been a hard concept for me to grasp.  I’m a recovering perfectionist and I have to accept it’s okay to show my kids my true self, even if it isn’t always pretty.  These are the building blocks of life.
  • Be brave – tell your story.  I love depth in people.  Telling your story is not selfish – it is who you are.  One of my favorite things in life is to get to know new people, and to hear their hopes, dreams and passions.
  • Find the things that make you tick and bring them back, if you haven’t already.  Whether it is your vocation, DIY house projects, writing or baking, I firmly believe that when we create, we are feeding the deepest parts of our soul and living as who we were made to be.  Our passions are part of what makes us unique.  “We need less posturing and more genuine charisma.  It’s about a sparkle in people that money can’t buy.”  -Marianne Williamson  

Your list may look completely different from mine, and that’s okay.  I encourage you to find your own set of self-care practices that work for your season of life.  May we all find a healthy rhythm of listening to ourselves regularly.

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