I attended a beautiful evening spent with nine other women who took some time out to focus on their self-care with a ‘self-care session’ run by the lovely Liz at Elizabeth Santos - Whole Living.
It was lovely to share with each other what we do and what self-care means to us and not surprisingly, most of the mums in the room said self-care was very low on the priority list.
For quite some time self-care was low on my priority list as well, actually it was non-existent after having my first child. Whenever my son was sleeping I was cleaning or trying to get things ticked off my to-do list.
I didn’t have much time off on maternity leave and when I went back to full time work it left little time for me, and at the time I was ok with this. To me, the self-care didn’t seem important, having a clean house was more important. I felt guilty going to work and being away from my son so I wanted to spend all the time I had with him, but didn’t know at the time that looking after myself would make me a better mum.
I was always focussed on getting through my to-do list always pushing and striving to achieve goals both personally and professionally and never really took time out just to be (I always had to be doing something). This is still something that I struggle with, but I am working on it.
Liz touched on a concept that I was not aware of (and now it makes a whole lot of sense). She said that as women and mothers when we give, care for and serve others it is actually using masculine energy. When we are busy doing and being goals oriented and getting things done irrespecitive of our feelings we are actually using masculine energy.
I hadn’t thought about it like that before. Being a mum and caring for others to me seemed like a nurturing, caring, feminine thing to do, but it’s not.
I did a bit of reading (particularl this article) after the workshop so I could share a bit more on masculine and feminine energy here.
This is what the article said:
When we experience blockages or imbalances with our masculine/feminine energy, the results can be disastrous on our physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
When a man or a woman has too much masculine energy, they will pursue external goals and achievements irrespective of their feelings; they become outwardly-focussed and can sometimes be perceived as cold, selfish, overly critical and even aggressive. They will go to work sick or upset and achieve regardless of how they are feeling. They can easily separate their feelings from their thoughts and are very in tune with what they are thinking but hardly ever stop to consider how they are feeling.
When a man or woman has too much feminine energy, they become very inwardly-focussed and concentrate on their feelings above their goals and desire to achieve. They can become timid, passive, clingy, superficial, overly dependent on others and unable to make decisions.
The article suggests two ways to rebalance your energies:
Got too much masculine energy? Try to get in touch with your feelings. Ask yourself how you feel when you wake up every morning.
Got too much feminine energy? Try to establish some clear goals and take a step towards your goals every day.
Meditation is one of the most effective tools to balance your masculine and feminine energies. Yoga practice also aids in bringing balance to your masculine and feminine energies by observing the dance between Shiva and Shakti. Reiki, Chakra balancing and Pranayama work are also used as tools to balance energies.
When your energies are in balance, you feel calmer, happier and healthier.
All of this rings true for me. I was out of balance and while I didn't seek out the oils (I often say they found me), they have been the vehicle for change in looking after myself and taking time out to just be and actually taking into account my feelings when striving for the next goal. And pushing back when I need to, in order to look after myself.
In the workshop Liz ran us through some gentle stretching, yoga and a mediation (which for me was the first time I have ever done a meditation) as well as smelling essential oils.
And although I have been hesitant to try meditating I have to agree with the article that it made me feel calmer and more in balance. Something I will definitely incorporate into my self-care routine.
There are many ways you can incorporate self-care into your life. For me personally, I noticed a huge shift in 2016 with using essential oils for self-care. Adding some drops of essential oils to Epsom Salts in a bath is super relaxing, helps me switch off and gives me time to just be. Taking time out for a face mask or body scrub, even the simple act of taking the lid of a bottle of essential oil, inhaling deeply and just breathing and taking a moment to not think about anything can be incredibly grounding and help you feel calmer.
Here are some simple self-care ideas for busy mums (the focus of this post is on mums but anyone can apply these simple ideas).