There’s one 8lb 3oz reason why I decided to start my 2018 Happiness Project with a month dedicated to Self Care...
This little guy:
Introducing my sweetie, Jacob, who joined us on the 29th December 2017 after an absolutely perfect labour/delivery and has been spending the last week dominating my every living moment because he is so damn cute and I can’t put him down even if I wanted to.
He is now a week old, my older children are back at school and my husband has gone back to work after Christmas and New Year so I'm right in the throng of it all, recovering from labour, dealing with my body going back to it's pre-pregnancy state, hormones, nursing, sleep deprivation and just getting to grips with things like how to use the pram and you know... bonding with this brand new person who's just walked into my life and calls me Mummy.
Basic self care, sleeping, eating, drinking enough water, can all easily get put to one side and from past experience I can recall how much harder that made things, so this time I promised myself that once I'd given birth I would commit to making life as easy as possible for myself and showing myself as much care as I do my baby.
Welcome January 2018 and the opportunity to put all those things into place.
My Quote for the month?...
'You can't pour from an empty cup'
I've been amazed at how much better I feel when I feed myself kindly, take my iron supplements, drink enough water, take care of my appearance, allow myself a minute or two of silence and solace, napping in the day and weirdly- doing the housework.
Even though I'm exerting a little more energy to commit to doing all those tasks, the pay off of feeling looked after, fed, hydrated, rested, comfortable and organised means I feel happier, and far less stressed.
The task's I've chosen this month cover a variety of self care areas that I wanted to commit to either because I felt they were key to my happiness, or were areas I knew i'd struggle and I wanted to remind myself not to avoid them.
Do the Minimum. But do it.
This is in regards to completing tasks, mainly housework, and it's something I've introduced to my family too. The idea is, don't aim to do everything perfectly, just do the minimum that needs to be done to get a task over and done with as quickly as possible. And most importantly of all, DO IT. Don’t just leave jobs to fester and get out of control. At the end of every day I’m doing a quick tidy up, no matter how exhausted I am, because when I wake up the next day the feeling of being in a tidy, organised space is utter BLISS.
Heal my body
I have to admit, I didn't have a particularly difficult labour. In fact, I had one of those dream labours you only hear about in hypnobirthing books so I find myself in an incredibly privileged position in terms of recovery. But none the less I still need to heal my body. Pregnancy and labour are intense. It changes you biologically and physically, and all of that has suddenly lurched full speed into reverse. So that means listening to my body and helping it along. It means accepting life at the pace it dictates and loving myself even when my hair falls out or doing my exercises to repair my diastatis recti- which is particularly bad this time. This is a reminder to heal. Take my pain relief. Eat well to sustain nursing. To get comfortable. To say ‘no, I’m busy right now’.
Obvious really? I’m a fussy, light sleeper so sleep right now needs careful maintenance, especially as I’m also the type of person who prefers 8-10hrs a night. I doubt I’ll get that for a while but I also know from experience I can function on 4hrs broken sleep a day so I’m going to aim to give myself 6-8hrs sleep a day, whether that’s at night or through napping during the day. Either way it MUST be an absolute priority. Sleep is essential to my well being and I am on a fast track to misery if I don’t respect it.
Feel beautiful. Indulge yourself.
For me, I can tell if I’m struggling when I don’t take care of my appearance or forget to indulge myself once in a while. It’s the first thing of my self care regime to slip. This isn’t about deliberately putting myself in the path of inconvenience or expense however, it is about defining what REAL indulgence and luxury feels like to me and that can vary from wearing my favourite lipstick to spending the whole day reading. My indulgences this week have included buying a comfortable nursing bra (why are they so torturously uncomfortable???), treating myself to pate and a walk to the shops. It also forces me to think about myself once in a while, remember who I am, and not get too lost within the label of Mother. Ultimately I’m Lianne first, and that should always be honoured.
Ask for help. Check your ego.
Making sure I ask for help seemed like a great way to practice self care, but history will testify, this isn’t one of my strong points. Relying on others, asking for help... it all makes me a tad anxious. Not to mention the fear of being rejected, let down or then ultimately being left to fend for myself anyway. A lot of the time it looks far easier to struggle alone then to ask for help but I know deep down, figuring out how to delegate and trust others to watch my back is vital to my well being right now. This month I’m going to try and explore that and find ways to lighten my load that don’t leave me exposed or uncomfortable. Starting with smaller favours and then dealing with any problems as the occur. Ultimately the buck will always fall on me but if I make sure I communicate my needs clearly, ask for help at the right time, choose the right people for the job, and try and not take hesitation/refusal personally, I think I’ll feel much better relying on others.
To establish a healthy, happy foundation for more intense tasks later on in the year.