By Loveday Why
Self care has at last, beautifully and naturally, come into my life during these last months of my pregnancy. I had a reasonably precarious start to this wonderful and surprise baby journey and, at one stage, was put ‘on rest’ for two months. Got to say, not even that slowed me down fully.
I’m a naturally high energy person. The positive side is the get-it-done attitude and the creativity high; the not so helpful stuff can be the random afternoons spent feeling strung out or wiped out and, more seriously, on the brink of burn out. But today and yesterday have been self care days. Straight up. Ritual usually assists me, but these past couple of days I haven’t done anything in
particular. A little light stretching, meditation, some relaxation tracks designed for hypnobirthing, spending time cuddling and connecting with my inside baby, writing a little, napping a little, getting outside into the sun a little, filling my body with hydrating smoothies and watching a trashy TV series. The union of zen and modern life with, at its core, carelessness.
Because sometimes I think (for someone like me) even ‘self care’ can feel like a bit of a standard I need to live up to. If I note the warning signs and think: ‘Lovers, slow down. Go do the self care thing’ I can feel quite pressured about maximizing that time and really making it count. Whereas if I simply roll a rug out in the garden and gather some books and notebooks around me, often I’ll not open a single one.
I’ll just stare at the sky, watch the leaves lifting, listen to the comforting chatter of the chickens, let a bee alight on me. These moments of total unstructured daydreaming stillness are the most pure form of self care for me. And I feel the relaxation pour through my body like a soothing drink for my soul. My grandfather used to say: ‘it is very important to just do nothing.’ After the war, he would sit staring out of the window for whole afternoons sometimes. Who knew what he was seeing?
I expect if we had asked him though, he would have simply said: ‘I am seeing what is there.’ Because self care is private and it is exactly what you want and need it to be at the time. I have come to follow the moon in my self care, especially now baby is here. Full moon and new moon are intense periods of growth for this small bean, so these are naturally my slower times. I don’t rush now because there is someone else whom I simply cannot rush. Someone else who is doing more important work than I am. Someone who is co-creating their body with mine. To connect to the earth rhythms and the moon cycles is to see clearly that all things require periods of dormancy in which to regenerate.
To have my baby guiding me already to a path of greater stillness, flexibility and pure carelessness or surrender, which to my mind is true self care, is a wonderful gift.
Three top tips:
- Throw out the self-care guide book. Trust that your body will guide you into a state of complete surrender. If that means a day of absolutely nothing, so be it. Your self care doesn’t need an end game.
- Spend time outside in nature, walking slowly along a Winter beach while the waves roll in and out, or lying in a sunny garden while the clouds drift by. To change your perspective on life is key and nature is the best place to feel loved and wanted, yet wonderfully small.
- Relaxation meditation tracks on YouTube will help kick-start your self care and will wonderfully rapidly slow your mind, release adrenalin and allow for full body regeneration.
Loveday is a writer, cook, dancer and coach, offering nutritional and spiritual wellness services from Dunedin, New Zealand. Specialising in helping those challenged by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, on her blog she shares healthy recipes and simple shifts into vibrant, heart-led living. Always on the move, always with an eye on the ocean, she is currently nesting in anticipation of her first baby coming into the world. You an find her blogging here, on Facebook or Instagram.