Being healthy is so much more than just not being sick. Are you ready for a holistic health audit?
It is Women's Health week, so what better time to remind you to look after your health. And I am not just talking about taking your vitamins and wearing your mask so you don't get sick. Nooooo
Being healthy is SO MUCH MORE than just not being sick! It is a holistic thing. It is about caring for ALL aspects of your life. It is about leaning in and asking for or accepting help in any parts that need a little support. It is about looking after YOU and honouring every part of your life.
Year in and year out!
Does that sound overwhelming to you and leave you freaking out because deep down you know this is not happening right now? Because you feel like a hot mess and have no idea where to begin?
Please don't freak out. I will be completely honest and say that I am not on top of every part of my life. Few people are. Balls get dropped, and that is part of life. Certainly part of Motherhood. If you are a new mum...well there's only so many balls you can juggle. So go easy on yourself. This is not about adding MORE pressure to your daily life. It is about taking a little time to slow down, and do a little audit on you and your holistic health. And to see where you can try to boost yourself. To consider HOW you might even begin.
Let me tell you, unless you are that full on, gung ho get things done kinda gal who jumps in with both feet and begins running, then the other best way to begin is one tiny step in front of the other. Slowing down. Looking at the big picture. Deciding what is important to you and what one thing you can do to begin shifting. Growing. Improving on your health.
I have just had a break from work, play, social media, social life and even caring for my own kids with my own health challenge these last few weeks (minor, non catchy & all well again). But those days in bed unable to move, near 2 weeks unable to focus on any screen to work in any way gave me time to think. Like seriously THINK!
About my health & how I take advantage of it.
About what happens to my day to day life when/if I am not well. (Or wht does NOT happen)
About how much I neglect what I could be doing when well & how I really do take it for granted. Which is kind of hypocritical considering my role is to support women and encourage you to CARE FOR YOUR HEALTH!!
Body! Mind! And soul!
And so I ask you now, as I have been doing these last few weeks, to sit in and listen to all three.
How is your whole body health?
If your body hurts, or does not function properly, listen to it. Rest. Repair. Yes, you may be pregnant, or have just had a baby, or be chasing after toddlers with little time to yourself, but I want you to stop for a minute and consider what is normal and okay to accept in your life. And what you deep down know needs help.
Lot's of times mums go to a Dr after they have their baby, concerned about how their body is functioning...or NOT functioning....and they are told "you just had a baby. What do you expect. Welcome to your new you".
Here's the thing, your body has changed. It has grown an entire human. There will be shifts and it is important to recognise this and be comfortable with your beautiful new Mama you.
BUT....that does NOT MEAN you need to blindly accept in your body what you KNOW does not feel right! If you have weakness or injury after birth in your pelvic floor, you do not have to live with this forever. Sometimes there is long term damage for a Mama, but most often, there is so much room for repair and strengthening. There is so much help available to you and you should NOT just expect or accept these changes as an inevitable process in Motherhood. It certainly does not hurt to seek a professional opinion with an experienced pelvic health physio.
The same goes for ongoing pain in your body. Your back, neck or shoulders.....perhaps you need help with your posture, strengthening your core, massage to release tension from holding your bubba in this same position. Physio or gradual supported exercise to repair and strengthen your body before racing back into your pre baby exercise regime.
Are you ALWAYS tired....Yes, sleepless nights and early mornings are a factor, but often it is more than that. It is about a profound depletion as you live on cups of tea or coffee, snacky foods and whatever you can manage...perhaps the leftovers off your toddlers plate. Filling your body with nutritious food and hydration is SO IMPORTANT. It does not need to be difficult. It does not need to be complicated recipes, or crazy expensive ingredients. Food IS medicine. Simple clean, healthy, delicious food.
Recipes are a plenty online, and I am working hard to release my own recipe book in support of this. Simple, healthy affordable recipes. Limited by your imagination. and your supplies at home. I will explain to you how you can adapt a recipe to suit your tastebuds or dietary requiremnets. How to use base healthy delicious, nutritious recipes....and to make them your own. If this sounds like something that might interest you, simply email me on email@example.com and I will put you on the list to let you know when the book is ready. You can decide for yourself at the time if it is something you want.
Perhaps you are not a cook, and prefer to have pre-made meals delivered. There are some excellent companies out there doing just that. How ever, wherever you find your food, think about how you can combine comfort with valuable nutritious boosts to your body. So you can boost your energy and lift the fog.
If you need it, seek support in repair through whatever therapist you need. Massage, physio, chiro, physical training, dietition or nutritionist or anything else that resonates with you and your needs.
Your Mental load MATTERS!
If your mind is heavy, sluggish, sad, angry or tired, beyond what feels right for you, be kind to yourself. Stop and check in. Listen. Is this heaviness new...ish? How long has it been going on? Are these feelings overwhelming your day? Are you here, in this state more often than not?
There may be so many factors influencing how you feel. The energy of the world is so heavy, it can be easy to get wrapped up in it and carry it's load. You may be exhausted or nutritionally depleted, and yep, that can effect how you think and feel too. You may just be feeling the pull from all directions. As you fill everybody elses cup, are you remembering to replenish your own....because if not, you will run out eventually. Or if you really listen in, do you feel it could be something more?
What have you tried to lift your mental state?
It could be a case of some simple self care. Studies show exercise is incredibly important, and as you exercise, your body boosts endorphins and can lift your mood.
Are you someone who meditates? Have you shelved this practise at this busy point in your life? (If you are not, and would like to, I beg you, start small. Training yourself to meditate is hard enough when life is calm, much less when you have tiny humans seeking out your every quiet moment)
Meditation does not need to be an hour long process. The stress of finding an uninterrupted hour might end up having more negative effects than the hopeful positive benefits of meditation if you find that juggle too unrealistic. Just a few moments can still be replenishing. THe simple act of mindful daily activities is a great start if meditation at all seems a stretch.
If you are not sure how to begin and have active babies or young children, watch them to learn. The way they focus on an activity or play they are involved with is generally 100% mindful. This is why small children sometimes seem to ignore you. If they are in the middle of something 'important' (anything they are interested in), they are so mindfully focused that they often simply do not hear you. So next time you make a cuppa, go for a walk, sit on your deck or take a shower, make an effort to be present. LIsten to the sounds, smell the smells, feel the sensations, taste the air, observe what you see, hear, taste touch and smell. And then take note of how that process has an effect on your mind and how you are feeling. A simple disconnection fron 'everything' in the day to day chaos to focus for just a few moments on the simplest of activities can be a powerful process. And let me warn you, it takes practise. So keep trying with simple daily tasks.
Have you looked at your body's nutritional intake. We've already talked about that in how you feel physically, but it is equally as important to how you feel mentally.
If your heart and soul feel burdened, what do you need to do to care for you? Slow down? Get back into nature? Set up boundaries to people/environments that cause toxicity in your space? Lean into people or environments that bring you joy? Try something new that you have always wanted to? Speak to someone? Find YOUR spirituality? Be that religion, Mother Earth, Jedi or something else. Find what makes your heart sing.
These are just a few simple practises and ideas, and there are many more, but if you have tried some or all and still feel no difference, or if you know deep within yourself something just feels 'not right', then perhaps this is something more. If this feels like something that right now feels bigger than you, perhaps it is time to speak to someone. Your partner or friend, sure? But maybe it is time to consider some more professional help too.
Chatting with your GP and reaching out to a mental health worker may be just what you need right now. There are so many out there wanting to help you. Mental health challenges should no longer raise feelings of shame or fear. But they can. Please know that there are so many amazing people on this planet who seek support in their mental health. It does not make them any less amazing. Sit in with yourself and listen. If you feel you need help, it does not make you any less amazing. It makes you brave and strong and responsible in your choice to help yourself be well.
How is the health of your relationships?
There is no avoiding it. Relationships are ever changing, and if you have a young family, or are preparing for one, this is more true than ever. With your partner, your children, your Mother or MIL, your sister or friends? Some grow and evolve. Others...well.... Do you sense strains, or downright damage? Can you repair? Can you communicate to repair? Do you want to repair? Because to do so you must be brave and willing to communicate.
Perhaps just the two of you speaking, perhaps begin writing a letter. Perhaps leaning into a 3rd person to help you if you need it? Or perhaps, for some of those relationships it may be time to let go. People come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime. Perhaps their reason has come and gone? Perhaps their season is over? Perhaps choosing to let go will open you to create space to let in the relationships you need and deserve. Of course knowing when it is time to let go or when it is time to heal can be tricky, as both are so hard, and must be for the right reasons, not for ease alone brecause things are tricky in this moment.
If the relationship challenges are with your children, it is certainly trickier. It is time to look beyond the struggles into yourself, and to your child (no matter their age) and decipher the why? Are you open in your relationship, encoraging of them growing into their person, not who you want them to be? Are they feeling heard? And loved?
Are you hurting from your own past and this hurt impacting your relationship? Is your child going through something and their 'coping' results in you being their safe space and dumping ground? It is nice to know that you are their safe space, not so fun to be the dumping ground. Can you help them through this? Or yourself through this? Can you find a way to communicate? Or do you need to lean in to someone to help you find your way and heal? There is no shame and all smarts to lean in if you need.
What about your partner? As with all relationships, communication is key. Both in words, respect, interest and physical connection. And sometimes this can all get mucked around, particularly when your family is young. You both matter and you both deserve to connect as you need. You both deserve and should feel good about those connections. If you do not, can you communicate? Repair? Grow? Do you need to reach out for support to help you find your way through this rough patch?
Or do you need to let go? I implore you, if you are in the early years of babies, and feel an inkling of 'let go', slow down a moment, take some breaths. Think about how things were before bub/s came into your life. If you were strong and in love then, and feel shifts now, there is a good chance that this is just part of the messy teething of parenthood. It is so important to try a few things first before giving up. Do not make huge decisions quickly while your whole life feels unsteady. It is part of the parenthood process.
Communication first! (unless your relationship is truly toxic (you know what I mean), then please, LET GO. Ask for whatever help you need, and let go).
But if it is just about disconnection and maybe too many arguments, consider first trying to reconnect. To communicate. Ask for help if you need it. There are many a strong relationships that have been shaken to their foundations with the addition of young babies for a few years. It takes more than love - strength, courage, communication, support, time, space, healing and growth and patience to survive those early years. But I promise if you love this person, talk to them and let them talk to you. Gives yourselves a chance. Open up your lines of communication. Work together to help each other feel seen and heard. Your relationship can be stronger again (stronger than it was before) once through these early years, if you both want it and work for it.
Even if your relationship is feeling a bit dull, don't wait until you feel uncertain. Begin reconnecting today. One tiny step at a time.
How is the health of your work life?
Are you working right now, or an at home mum? Do you need to get back to work. Or do you want to get back to work? Do you feel angst or guilt around work? Not wanting to go back? Or wanting to go back? Do you still want to do the same work you did before you had your babies? Because there are MANY Mamas who change their profession as they become a Mother. Or are you back at a job you hate because you need the income? Is your head a whirlwind of confusion when you think about work and babies?
Ideally, you should love what you do when you work, children or not. You will spend most your adult life working, so if there, try to find a way into something you truly love. It may take time and gradual transition or study, but I try to tap into what brings you joy, and think about how you can get paid to do what you love.
If you already love your job and it makes you happy, that is so wonderful. Do you feel torn because you want to go back although your bub is still young? Know it does not make you a bad mum to want to go back to work. It may even make you a better mum if you are happier because you are doing what you love. There is no right or wrong here.
There is just thinking about where you are at, working or not. If you need to be, or want to be. And how you can make the most of this, or shift from it if it makes you unhappy. Maybe not immediately, but if you can focus on a goal that brings joy, and work gradually toward it so that your work-life balance and happiness feels like a healthy factor in your life.
Your health is so much more than not being sick. Your health is holistic, and if any one of these parts of your life feel burdened or unwell, it is important that you tend to them. Maybe not all at once....definitely not all at once. That just sounds like too much! Bit by bit lady, in small manageable chunks. At your pace. It does not matter how slow, as long as you can see gradual shifts toward a healthier, and so happier you.
And remember that it is perfectly okay to lean into someone who can help you tend to any part of your life that you feel needs support or growth. Because NO ONE can manage everything alone!
PS. I am working on a new project supporting the new Mamas (and especially the Mamas-to-be) in their holistic health. I will soon be releasing an online course helping Mamas consider all of these components of their health and more. How it is impacted, how in may change, be hurt, can heal, grow and evolve as as she transitions from maiden to Mama, or Mama again. If you are pregnant (or know someone who is) and want to really begin considering YOUR wellbeing in preparation for your postpartum, drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll let you know when it's up and running. The very first course will be offered to a few special Mamas at a very reduced rate, and it would be an honour to have you join us. Coming very soon.
But for today, sit in with you. Body, mind and soul, and feel into what you need to feel healthier. (Chances are you already know) And then be brave lady. Take just ONE. SMALL. STEP! Xx
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