Self-Care? Just Do It!

I think I finally figured it out...

That elusive “self-care” ideal, I think I’ve figured it out! (Hint: It’s actually simple. Sometimes we make things harder for ourselves then they need to be)

That said I’m at a crossroads, as I see the end of my schooling in the horizon and the beginning of of a thriving midwifery practice in view, I’m in the middle of a “pause”.  

I’m currently “off-call” and using this time to rest, reflect, heal and reset.

My hope was that this 3-week period with no expected births, no prenatal or postpartum visits and unlimited family time, would be the exact right amount of time to refuel before going back on-call in the thick of a new school year starting for my kids, new demands, new opportunities and an impending September “birth storm”. I started getting worried however, when I found my first several days off-call with me able to do little but sleep, eat, and sleep some more. Some days it felt like I slept on and off all day. ‘

Maybe that's fine for some folks, but as a mom of 6, off-call doesn't mean off-call of my mothering.  It usually means that I have more time to actually spend with my children, and I set expectations for myself that all of it will be quality time. But for several days, I had my children occupied in all sorts of ways (including allowing a ton of screen time...I feel icky even saying it but it’s true) while I stayed in bed.  The scary part was that I really couldn't get out of bed...I was experiencing true, total and utter exhaustion.

Being on-call takes everything out of you. You don't have the luxury of going out of town while you wait on babies to be born, even getting a massage or checking into a spa for a bit is problematic because your phone needs to be with you and on at all times, plus it’s really hard to completely relax when you know that someone could call you or need you at any moment.

That said, my crossroads moment while I’m off call is to really figure out and bring in solutions to my life, that will enable me to feel more balanced, healthier and filled, as opposed to walking around on high alert, stressed, overwhelmed and depleted, and here is the catch, EVEN when I’m on-call.

How do I make balance, ease and grace a part of my life overall? How can I avoid burn-out, even while living a demanding life as mother, grandmother,partner, friend, lactation consultant AND midwife?  This is my challenge....and as I prepare for this final PUSH, while I have a moment to myself, my desire is to have this balance and self-care thing all figured out.

Last night, after showing my husband a powerful video on how yoga therapy helped an 86-year old woman with scoliosis straighten out her spine,(see it here  he gave me the simplest and most on-point suggestion. “Why don't you get a yoga mat and set it up in front of the TV and follow along to a few yoga videos when you are up early in the morning. You’re usually up before everybody else, and so that's some good private time for you.”

DUH!!!!!!! Why hadn't I thought of that?  As a matter of fact, I had 5 new yoga mats in my car I had purchased sometime ago for a mom’s class I was teaching. I didn't need to buy anything, didn't need to sign up for a class, none of that.  All I needed was my willingness to set aside some time for me. Well I’m happy to report that through the power of Youtube (and my own gumption) I treated myself to the most delicious yoga class this morning. It.Felt.Great!

It was easy to  search for a yogini that felt relevant and nurturing and since I had been hearing alot about kemetic yoga i searched for a beginner kemetic yoga video and found Watch the video I practiced with this morning here

Choosing a beginner class was ideal because even after doing yoga regularly for several years (before I fell off my self-care wagon), it challenging to do even the most simple poses!  That said the gentle stretches felt amazing and I felt my body start to “wake-up” in the process.

As a person of color the kemetic poses are so affirming!  I felt connected through the ages to the ancient practitioners of Kemet with poses mirroring things you would see in hieroglyphics or in ancient Egyptian stone reliefs.  I felt powerful and whole. The intention is now set for me to complete this practice everyday. I walked around the walking track across the street from my home a couple of times too, to get the juices flowing before completing the 45-min practice.  What a beautiful way to start my day.

While in the poses my mind scanned over my body, and noted all of the places i was having aches, pains, stiffness and dis-ease.  I sent love to those areas and compassion too. I felt tears release as my muscles softened...reminding me that pent-up emotions are stored in the body and need to be released on a regular basis and that is another benefit of exercise. I also felt into those areas and remembered that I have other tools at my disposal for my healing. I remembered how good it felt to receive acupuncture and vowed to call one of the many acupuncturists I know for a session, an adjustment from my favorite chiropractor and oh yeah, that massage I’ve been wanting...that needs to be hooked up. On a regular basis, that’s the key!

I’m writing this for me, but I’m writing this for you too.  I must practice what I preach, self-care, self-care, self-care, everyday!  Somehow, someway!  Even a little dab will do ya!

Follow me on my journey and watch me grow. I’d love to hear about your self-care journey too. Please share!  Cause you know what?  We’re in this together.

Wishing you Love, Peace, Wholeness and Well-Being!

Until next time....