Let’s talk about self care during motherhood. Maybe you think it’s about booking an expensive massage, taking an elaborate bubble bath, or just doing less, and resting more. But self care is also about the simple ways we hold and speak to ourselves. We all have those moments when we ask, why should I make time for myself (“I’m fine, I’m strong, I can do it”) when there are children and teenagers and partners and meals and dishes and tidying up and paying bills, not to mention a thousand global and local concerns. I know that voice inside that says I’ll take care of myself when this is done, when I’ve finished the dishes, or when everything is neat and tidy and organized. But how exhausted are you by the time you’ve finished all of that? How much energetic weight are we carrying on our shoulders after all these years? It’s time to lay some of that down. All you need to begin is a little time, energy, and space.
Five Simple Self Care Rituals for Moms (That Don’t Cost Anything)
TIME Give yourself at least 15 minutes before everyone in your house wakes up and light a candle. Make a cozy drink and pick up a journal. Write five things you’re grateful for, and how you want to feel today. Getting in tune with yourself and where you’re at is the first step to self care.
POSTURE Stand up straight with your shoulders back and your head held high. So much of modern day motherhood involves a curling of the shoulders and neck. Carrying a baby or a toddler in our arms, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, doing dishes, cooking, driving a car, working on a computer and holding a phone – all of these every day activities cause us to hunch and slouch. Practice pulling your shoulders back (you can find a gadget that will remind you – or post-it notes strategically placed!) and raising your chin so that it’s at a 90 degree angle to the floor. Your energy, your mood, and your motivation will improve.
WATER The element of water is a powerful conduit and assists us in releasing any heavy energy we may be storing, particularly when warmth and magnesium (Epsom) salts, are added. So when your baby is napping, run yourself a bath, light a candle and let it all go. For those with a garden, you can practice a gentle cleansing of the subtle energy bodies by adding fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, rose petals, marigold and lavender to your bath water. When you are processing lots of emotion or in a high stress period, make sure to also drink a lot of water to help the energy pass through your body.
PRESENCE Practice being in this moment, and nowhere else. Motherhood is a spiritual path unlike no other. You don’t need to spend months in a monastery or an ashram – motherhood will teach you about presence and patience faster than any of that, but only if you are a willing student. Let go of what happened in the past (process, process, process your trauma in healthy ways, learn from what happened, and make a commitment to grow from it in a positive manner) and try not to worry about what might happen in the future. Worrying is not going to change it. Be in action. Be in the now. Be present with your children, with your sacred work. Without presence, you will feel stressed, rushed, frustrated, resistant, and it will all go by without you really being there.
EARTH The blue planet is our shared mother – we are born of her, and we will return to her. She provides us everything we could possibly need to survive – the materials for our homes, cities and transportation, the medicines for our bodies, the food and water we need every day. Our bodies are held by gravity to her body for a reason. Our bodies are meant to be in contact with her. The electromagnetic field of the earth operates on our body similar to the way a mother or father’s body calms and relaxes a newborn baby. Without that energetic contact, we are unable to thrive. Simply placing your bare feet on the dirt, the grass, the sand, the stones, is enough to replenish our bodies and repair the impact of stress in our lives.
As humans we carry the ocean, the earth, the sky and the fire inside our bodies – we are a complex alchemy of the five elements, and a sixth – spirit. When we can remember that our bodies need tending to like our environment needs tending to, we can begin to re-enter into a harmonious relationship not just with our bodies, but with all that is. Listen for what your soul longs for. Let your mind wander, your heart dream. As you progress through your day, watch for those moments in time when you have a choice between something you long to do, and something you “should” do. Should is not your own voice. It is an imposition of the culture on your inner knowing. Begin to listen deeper, and align yourself with your original knowing. It will always be there, and it will always guide you towards truth, love, and beauty.
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