TOP TIPS FOR KEEPING CALM AMONGST THE STORM (OF #MUMLIFE)
Drink less coffee.(gulp!) Notice I didn’t say, “give up coffee” – but it’s useful to notice how you are when you drink coffee, and how you are when you don’t. I tend to go into hyper-drive and do ERRRYthing, but then also notice I’m not as calm or patient with my kids, and tend to end up with an energy crash a few hours later. As a new mum you are often running on the smell of an oily rag) or little sleep, sometimes less than optimum nutrition as you learn to juggle a new existence) and so our body is already in the “fight or flight” mode to a certain extent. Caffeine can give an us an amazing energy boost, but consider that it may be tipping you further into this hyped up nervous system state which eventually wears us out. Moderation, please.
Take time for stillness. Even just a few minutes can do wonders. Famous yoga teacher and Author Baron Baptiste says, “The time for meditation is when you least have the time.” The busier and more overwhelmed you are, the more you will need, and also will benefit from, a few moments, minutes or longer, of stillness in your day. I know when I start my day with some meditation, pranayama (deep breathing) or a slow, concentrated yoga flow; my day tends to follow with less stress, reactivity and drama (though I’m still faced with the same daily challenges and stresses). So whether you take a few minutes in the morning to breath deeply and slowly, find a guided meditation of 5-30mins (I’m loving “rest and renew” by Dr Joe Dispenza, find it on You tube) or just begin your day moving slowly and with your body – as you make your cup of tea, the bed, or brush your teeth, prepare breakfast of breastfeed!
Breathe. When we are stressed, we can unknowingly tend to hold our breath, or take short/ sharp shallow breaths especially if we are in panic. Our physiological ‘stress response” can be altered simply by the depth and pace of our breath. So if you are running late, feel overwhelmed by a deadline at work or unruly children – stop, take ten deep and slow breaths, and notice how you feel. I always try to remember, especially if (well, when!) running late – that once I am in that situation I can only do my best to be as prompt from therein, and that getting flustered and stressed about it along the way only negatively affects me, no-one else – unless I arrive in that flustered state, and then this can ripple into the people around us. Our bubbas pick up on our energy – and so are good motivations to learn to “keep calm and carry on” 🙂 I’m loving the Breathe Sync App – which runs a timed and paced breathing exercise (you control how long, as short as one minute!) and helps me to re –centre.
Be with your body. Our body holds the wisdom of how we truly are, and so when we take time to listen to, and be with our body, we will know how to Honour our needs – to say no when we are too tired, to stop when we have had enough, and to rest when our physical body asks. I believe this is one of the key pillars of a healthy and balanced life – developing intuition to listen to our bodies, rather than our heads, which will generally not give us unbiased information about what we should be doing! Practice this: sitting in a chair with legs uncrossed, or lying down: do a 5 min Yoga Nidra/ body awareness exercise: start with your feet, and let your mind be really with your feet. How do they feel? Hot/ cold/ light/ heavy, does one feel different from the other? Once you have a good sense of the feet, follow with your mind to your lower legs, and to the same, feel for temp, evenness of weight-bearing, an sensation s that might be there, really feel this part of your body. Move slowly through each body region, – upper legs, hips, stomach, chest, neck, jaw and face, ending with the crown of your head, taking time to really be with each part of your body. It can seem counter intuitive to stop and take time out when you are busy or stressed, and have a mountain of #mumlife work to do, but even a few minutes a day can make a difference, as well as just starting to notice how you move and If you can be more mindful as often as possible.
Let go of perfection. This is a big one, and certainly one I suffer from and constantly need to keep in check. The house will never be perfectly tidy (with kids!), there will ALWAYS be another basket of washing (even as you empty the laundry basket there is more on the way!), and Uber delivers some of the most amazing and healthy dinners and is always a great back up! 🙂 My idea of perfection is different to yours, and the next persons, so it’s actually not something that is real/ tangible/ achievable. I prefer to just try to be the best version of myself. Give it a go 🙂