We previously featured Personal Trainer and mum-of-three, Tricia Paisis-Oakwell , as our #mumhero of the week. We’re delighted to say she’s back, with some great advice for all us mums, on the importance of self-care and some suggestions on how we can all grab a little piece of me-time each day.
As a health and well-being advocate, you must see a lot of mums who want to do something for themselves, but can’t seem to find the time. Why do you think it is that we, as women, often put ourselves last?
Our role as wives and mothers is to nurture and take care of the needs of everyone else first. I hear it daily – a mother’s guilt. Guilt about taking time out for themselves, and about wanting some ‘me time’.
Why is self-care (physical and emotional) so important?
Because we need to be the very best we can be – not only for our families but ourselves, too. Our families rely on us and if we don’t take care of ourselves, we’ll become tired and run down – and this can lead to other more serious complications, like ill health or much worse.
‘Mindfulness’ has become a bit of a buzzword recently, but what does it actually mean?
For me, mindfulness means ‘a stillness of both the body and mind’.
When my clients ask me how to practice this, I encourage them to find a quiet and peaceful place. Relax by either lying down or in a comfortable seated position.
Try to block out the thoughts of what’s going on around you and just be in the moment – try to stop the brain and thoughts from rushing around.
Focus on your breath ( this helps to quieten the thoughts), breathing in and out through the nose slowly. Try to do this for at least 3-5 minutes-longer if you can.
Can you suggest any ways that even the most time-starved mama can take 10 minutes out for herself each day?
Look at your week and set aside the time in your day that works best for you and your schedule. Treat it as a diary event or meeting. If it’s booked in and written down, then you are more likely to set aside the time to complete it.
I set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier than I need to get up in the morning. When the alarm goes off I don’t jump out of bed rushing around or reach for the phone to check my messages. I take a few deep breaths in/out and stretch out before climbing out of bed. We often jump out of bed in a rush and the whole day is then set at that state of stress until we crawl back into bed at night.
Likewise when you go to bed, you can do some slow breathing and mediation to help relax and unwind. This will also help you de-stress.
If you work, don’t eat your lunch at your desk whilst trying to finish emails. Go outside, find a park bench, enjoy the sunshine and fresh air (especially in summertime).
Find a friend and go for a walk during your day. This will help you if you’re time-poor and find it hard to exercise, too.
Whilst grocery shopping put on some relaxing music or an audio book – this is a great way to make time to do some personal development or catch up on your favourite story/author. ( I find it so hard to sit down and read these days, so I use this trick in the car or when out at the shops)
Find a sport or hobby and agree with your partner a coupe of times a week to block that time off for yourself, so you can take an exercise class, play a sport or go to Yoga.
If you have a baby – take a nap when they nap. Leave the housework or chores for a short time. The world won’t end if the bathroom isn’t cleaned or washing isn’t put away right now.
Relax with a nice herbal tea, a good book or your favourite pet. Pets are proven to help de-stress us.
What ever you decide to do, just honour that time as your time to rest, recover and recharge. This isn’t selfish – it’s self-preservation.