Without Limits Health
My body and mind have been screaming these words to me for the past 9 months. "Nourish me. Please..... nourish me........"
As a new mum who is back at work and still breastfeeding and getting up multiple times a night to my beautiful daughter, I was starting to become a zombie and forget the shell of my former self. If you are a mum I already see you nodding your knowing head. Motherhood changes you in a way that you can't quite explain, for me I have never felt more vulnerable in my life and motherhood is both the greatest and most challenging thing I will ever do, sleep deprivation was certainly getting the best of me as I found myself in a cycle of overwhelm and desperately needing to listen to my body screaming at me to nourish myself!!
But what does nourish mean when you are a sleep deprived working mum who never knows how long your child could nap for? anywhere between 20 minutes to 1.5-2 hours? Do you sleep? clean the house? make a cup of tea? Do some exercise and stretches? Do the piling paperwork or attend to work emails? There is a long list of what I could be doing in this short space of time that gives me anxiety just thinking of the options. Most of the time I do three of those things all at once but finish none, a few dishes, some emails and usually I leave what my body really needs to last..... why?
Because before I became a mum I was very practical in my approach to my day. I liked to get things done before I would give myself time and space to stretch and exercise and nourish myself. But before I was a mum I actually had ample time for this and now I am time poor and I have really struggled to get my priorities in check.
So one Sunday morning I decided to forget the mess of my house and as soon as I put Sofia to bed I was on my yoga mat, with incense burning to set the mood and ready to nourish myself. In fact, the theme for my Vinyasa flow was nourish. As I moved through the postures I realised that nourishing myself each day is the key to balancing the chaos of life, something I new pre-children but because of sleep deprivation I had somehow forgotten or it seemed too hard to start because I was so tired.
In the midst of the flow, my mind started to wander and ponder, what does nourishing myself mean and look like each day? And why is it such a challenge to actually do?
For some people, this may be easy, but most people ignore what they need to do to nourish themselves and continue to do what they think they "should" be doing.... Myself included.
So how do we break free from this societal pattern ingrained in our brains? Firstly you need to develop a dialogue with yourself that is honest and start listening to what your body is trying to tell you and act accordingly. Mine was screaming Nourish me....
Time and time again I see people in practice that have really lost that dialogue with themselves and need help to develop that relationship with themselves again because they have either ignored a niggle and "pushed through" or ignored the bodies call to get up off the couch and get moving!! Knowing yourself and building a dialogue with yourself is the first step to knowing what sort of nourishing you need in any given moment. Sometimes people need help to start understanding the language of the body and others need to simply stop and take off the earmuffs and listen. (I finally decided to take my ear muffs off)
For some people, it could be going easy on yourself and taking your foot off the gas pedal every now and again and allow recovery time. For others, it may be to move more after being at a desk all day. Some people need that time alone with themselves to nourish, others may need to surround themselves with friends and family to nourish. The biggest challenge I find for most people is knowing when to push through and when to back off.
Nourishing yourself can mean eating nourishing food or giving yourself time to do what sets your soul on fire. For each person it is different and each day you may require different forms of nourishment.
For me as a busy working mum it was simply forgetting the mess and giving myself time and space to be me, to be mindful and to listen to what it is I really need in that moment with no judgment, somedays it is exercise, others it is nourishing food, catching up on sleep or filling my mind with inspiration, or just sitting and enjoying a cup of tea.
Nourishing myself is still a daily challenge to break free of what I think I "should be doing", practicing self-compassion goes a long way on this journey.
This is my Nourish me pledge:
Nourish my body
Nourish my mind
Nourish my soul
Nourish my relationships including my relationship to myself.
Watch this space!