Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

Becoming my own Mother

I've talked about just how much I don't have an "off" switch at times on NB before, but now that I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy, that fact couldn't have caught up with me and my bullshit quicker. I've been in tears on more than one occasion due to exhaustion and yet still I've tried to push myself and not realised how silly this is until it's a bit too late. I tend to be the kind of person who will take on too much (*insert all of those "yeah I don't mind/yeah I can squeeze it in" memes*) who doesn't like to let people down. Having the revelation that no one is going to take care of me except me is something I have frequently but it's really stuck this time around. Don't get me wrong, I have some very supportive family, friends, and partner, but realistically, it's true that only you can dictate and manage your own limits and expectations of yourself. It's only you that can really provide yourself with some true self-care.

I've also talked about that phrase - self-care - a hell of a lot over the years on this ol' blog. In my mind, I always picture self-care as something indulgent that you spend time investing in in some capacity and whilst I preach that that doesn't necessarily need to be the case, I fall short of following my own advice. I've realised I've been in need of some true self-care. The mothering kind of self-care that ensures you're running with enough juice and are nourished, looked after, comfortable... Basically all the things I've been lacking.

I know this feeling of self-care absence has only been amplified by the fact that I'm currently pregnant and not putting myself first always. What I mean by that is that I've already noticed that I'm still trying to keep others happy whether it's family members or in my job whilst also trying to put my unborn baby first (which often results in dreaded afternoon naps instead of a facemask). I guess on the one hand, I'm happy to see that some of my own mam's unselfishness has filtered through to me but, that also terrifies me. My mam is admirably strong, robust, kind and giving yet she very rarely shows herself the same generosity and I don't want to let myself get to that stage. I want to make sure I take care of myself - as I should - otherwise I worry that I'll burn out and won't be able to be the support mam I want to be for my own child.

lingerie set: Organic Basics* gifted, cardigan: secondhand, mug: Waitrose

So, I'm trying to get myself to a place in which I become my own mother. I don't want to replicate my actual mother, but I want to demonstrate to myself that I'm capable and deserving of that title. When I think "mother" I think of someone who has their shit together but who looks out for loved ones - and actually? One of the main "loved ones" she should be looking out for is herself because as the cliché saying goes: you can't pour from an empty cup. So here's the ways in which I'm trying to mother myself to make sure I am fulfilling this self-care to the maximum and how you can too:

Look after your MIND
One thing I keep thinking about already is "how on earth did my mam stay so patient with me when I was younger" (I mean, I still wonder how she does it now), because it's a gift that only parents can muster I swear. But making sure you're in a good headspace is always helpful for self-care. It obviously not only prevents you from feeling low etc. but also can make self-care seem like a nice, enjoyable experience rather than a chore. So many things work for so many different people, but some of the simplest ways to feed a happy mind include:

- Limit your screentime. I used to be pretty good at this and I've slipped off the wagon a bit and need to hitch a ride again. Mothers every where limit iPad and TV time for kids and we should absolutely do it to ourselves as adults too. So many of us stare at a screen all day at work and our eyes and mind need a break. Limiting screentime can stop us wasting time, comparing ourselves to others, and losing sleep. (Don't worry, the irony isn't lost on me that I'm saying all of this on yep, a screen).
- Challenge your mind. Whether it's brain trainer activities and puzzles or a new creative outlet such as writing poetry or painting, stimulating the mind helps us feel accomplished, knowledgeable, more skilled, and simply happy.
- Read read read. Of course after saying that I was going to tell y'all to read. Read books. Read articles. Read blog posts. Whatever it is you're into that gives you an escape or helps you feel a little more relaxed and brings you enjoyment - do it.

Look after your BODY
I've quickly realised how important it is to not burn out. You'd think, after years of repeatedly doing it I would have learned by now but it has taken trying to bend down to pick up a pen during my third trimester to finally understand what it's like when your body is just exhausted and can no longer deliver even the simplest of tasks to fulfilment. So look after that body inside and out by:

- Soak up that vitamin D! Who's parents/grandparents made them play outside no matter what? There's a reason children are usually so happy and this is definitely one of the culprits. Get outside and enjoy nature, the sunshine, and the fresh air. It'll work wonders on your mind too!
- Feed yourself good food and plenty of water. It's a no-brainer. Eat fruit and veggies (and most importantly, a healthy balanced diet - everyone's bodies operate differently and react differently to food groups. Eat what's good for you). Drink plenty of water every day. Feed your gut and digestive system probiotics. Nourish yourself from the inside out and I promise you will see a difference in your energy levels, your skin, hair, mood etc.
- Get a good night's sleep. Every night. Okay so har har, am I actually kidding when I'm currently riddled with insomnia and about to have a baby but, sleep is *so* important and for the longest time, I used to fight it because "I could be doing other things". Forge a good routine and try to stick to it. It'll benefit you in the long run.
- Exercise however you can. Whether it's a walk to the post box, lifting some weights whilst you sit and watch TV, or some simple squats whilst you're brushing your teeth, all physical activity has significant health benefits. I'm not even talking about it from a weight perspective, but more so from other benefit avenues such as keeping your blood sugar levels in check, keeping your heart and lungs healthy, and better yet, releasing those endorphins that make you feel on top of the world.

Look after your SOUL
Your mind and soul are completely different entities in my opinion and both need different nourishment because of this. You can have a calm and content soul with a mind still racing and I feel like if you have the soul in a chilled-out space, other hardships will ease up and things can fall into place more easily and comfortably. Feeding a healthy soul can have a domino-effect on everything else and here's some ways to ensure that can happen (and FYI, they're things that can be easily slotted into day-to-day life and take up next to no extra time):

- Spend time with yourself. One that might be hard to do if you have a baby around, but even just having a couple of completely quiet minutes with yourself can really help you centre yourself. Whether it's a full on "me time" session or a couple of minutes peace in the bathroom, feeling comfortable with yourself isn't always easy to do but it can help you feel oh so content.
- Meditate if you can. Remember being given "time out" from your parents? I like to think of meditation as the adult version of that reflection time as it allows you to reconnect with yourself and most importantly relax. Use an app, do some stretches, or just enjoy the quiet - extend that quiet time with yourself to a meditation session every now and again and it will help you shift those negative thoughts that may have been running circles in your brain for the last few days.
- Make sure you're interacting. I'm certainly not a social butterfly and I've talked about how much I enjoy my own company on NB before, but we are social creatures and having that time to connect with others can lift our moods and help us get out of funks, see new perspectives etc. etc. Parents encourage their children to have "play time" so much as they grow up and it shouldn't really change once you enter adulthood!
- Practice that self-love. Possibly one of the hardest things to do, but if we're going to mother ourselves, surely one of the most obvious things we are going to do is praise ourselves and point out the great things about ourselves to well, our selves and others! As a child, I was completely carefree and didn't have any hang-ups that hindered what I was doing, what I was enjoying, and who i was being. It was much easier to love myself and let my self-esteem blossom. My mam constantly reminded me to treat myself the way I wanted others to treat me and vice versa and as adults, we're really hard on ourselves and forget that that kindness we may show others should stretch to ourselves also (in fact, it should cover us first and foremost). Practicing self-love isn't easy and it can feel incredibly cheesy to do, but with practice, we can empower ourselves and feel truly proud of the people we've become.

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