Tag Archives: self-care

Soulcare of a Different Kind

11 Apr

Mason was a gem yesterday.  Sweet and cuddly, quick to laugh, happy to play on his own fora  while, and easy to lay down for naps.  But beforehand, I was kind of worried about how the day would go.  Mark was going to be out late for a work event, so it was going to be just baby Mason and I all day and night.  No one to pass the baton to if things got tough.

So I developed a strategy for the day.  Each time Mason took a nap, I let myself watch a show on hulu.  To the unforgiving eye… this might seem like a lazy excuse for an excess of zoning out.  But let me tell you, yesterday was exactly what I needed out of the day.

Here’s the catch… it’s nice to watch a show every now and then.  But usually, when I do… I’m mentally beating myself over the head because I “should” be doing something more productive.  Something that will make the apartment cleaner or more organized.  Something that will contribute to dinner, or to a blog post, or something that will turn one of my collections of magazine cutouts or photos or blank notebooks into something creative and pretty.

But today I didn’t.  Today I decided, this was my day to start putting into practice some of the soulcare stuff I’ve been learning and contemplating over the past month.  So while tv watching isn’t generally applauded in the realm of self care, what was nourishing about it is that I laid down the whip.  And that’s about the best thing I could possibly have done for myself.  (Because even when they’re gems… caring for little ones all day by yourself is still tiring!)

So I watched my shows.  I did a spot of yoga when I felt too in my head.  I ate well and deliciously.  And I even treated myself to a ((vegan, gluten free, sugarless – sweetened with agave)) chocolate brownie cookie.  And when Mason was awake… I had the energy and enthusiasm to play with him.  To recognize when he wanted to be left alone.  To catch those times when he got sleepy before or after his normal naptime.

And after a couple post baby-bedtime shows… I didn’t feel like watching anymore.  And I turned off hulu.  Turned on some music.  And I wrote.  Listened to The Weepies.  Eventually turned that off too and just listened to the rain.  And can I tell you just how lovely yesterday was?!

Small steps to soulcare.

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Trips to the Bay

28 Mar

“There’s something about vacations that can reset your pace.  Even if they’re just a few days.  It’s the removal from the normal routine of life.  Distance from everyday crutches, positions, habits.  Although we brought a laptop with us, I felt silly using it when the beach was right outside our door.  So we took long walks at sunset, or in the morning mist, the baby and I, while Mark was in the conference.  We played, I flew Mason around the room on his stomach, sang to him as we danced around on the patio, set him on his stomach and he stuffed my books into his mouth.  And when he napped… I paused.  And considered what I wanted to do next with my time.  I had brought some knitting, a couple books, and a journal.  I ate when I felt hungry, I made some tea when I wanted comfort, I sat in front of the fireplace when I wanted to still my mind.  I had an informational book about baby’s brains for when I felt like learning, and I had a novel for when I felt like being told a story.  And I even watched a couple tv shows, but only when I checked in with myself first.  I did so little out of reflex, or habit… that I realized how often my days just disappear, leaving me frustrated by the end of them, because the hours were filled with activity, but I did very little that I actually felt was nourishing, or productive in the way that I wanted to be…

So this trip… I think it gave all of us a chance to reset.  I definitely become more aware of my approach to the days and slow myself down just enough to make sure I was headed in an intentional direction before I took off.  To remember that word I chose for this year, Attention, and apply it, not just to those special fleeting moments that I want to treasure, but to all of the moments in my day.  In paying attention… to how I’m feeling, how Mason’s feeling, how Mark’s feeling by the end of the day, and what we all need at varying points… those special moments happen far more often.  Because life isn’t just occuring without my participation.”

from our family blog, Oh Boy!

That was our Half Moon Bay trip.  We just came back from our second trip up north this month.  This time to Berkeley.  This time to a workshop for me!  And one that I have so many words and such excitement brimming about… but now my car is headed south, on another road trip, but a bit more impromptu.  So as much as I want to rave about this past weekend… it will have to wait for one more southern California pause.

hope

30 Day Mind and Body Challenge Finale

22 Mar

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

So it wasn’t really yoga, officially, but I did go to a stretch class a couple nights ago that was very yoga-like.  And although the 30 day challenge officially ended 8 days ago, that was my little nod to the loveliness that it brought back into my life.

It was actually my first yoga class of the whole challenge.  Because of my mommy status and my discomfort with leaving my little one at the gym kid’s corner, it has been easier to do yoga at home this past 30(8) days.

This challenge went through so many phases for me, and I really found myself shifting focus three times throughout the whole month.  I petered out in my yoga practice after the first 10 days or so… and although I continued to stretch far more regularly than I had done before, it wasn’t true yoga, you know?

But then again, I guess I shouldn’t say that.  Because one of the things I’ve learned through this, is that yoga isn’t just a practice you do on the mat.  It’s a state of mind, and a way of being present that you practice in your life.

Either way… around the ten day mark, my family went on a trip to Half Moon Bay.  That trip triggered my shift into the self-love aspect of the challenge, which I had all but forgotten about in my focus on the yoga.  It was there that I remembered how to pause in my day.  To breathe, and consider… what I really wanted out of that moment.  What my body needed (food? rest? movement?), what my mind needed (a stimulating book? a tv show entertainment? the emptiness of just being, in front of a fire, with a cup of tea?), and what my baby needed… because it was just the two of us for long stretches of time.

I realized how much my days at home are filled with activity, without very much consideration for what I really want or need at the time.  I’m playing with Mason, or making sure he’s entertained while I’m doing something else… and then when he naps, I go to the internet out of reflex.  Do nothing terribly important most of the time, while I half-heartedly try and figure out what I wanted to do during that nap.  And by the time I figure out what it is, and rush to do it, Mason is starting to wake up again.  And over again we cycle.

Half Moon Bay was a great weekend, for all of us.  And upon returning home, although old habits die hard, I’ve been able to bring more awareness… more Attention to our days.  Which makes me a happier lady, and a more fully present mama and wife.  And when I fall back into habitual mindless activity… I’ve been able to identify it much quicker.

My last shift was another mind, body centered focus… but a surprise one.  A groupon deal prompted a friend and I to sign up for 30 days unlimited classes at The Bar Method.  It feels like an amazing cross between pilates and dance techniques.  And although it kicks my ass every time I go, I feel stronger and more capable in my body after every class.  And the mental lift, energy and sense of discipline it’s giving me are an amazing handful of side effects.

So clearly… i think this challenge was rad.  And although I was enjoying my life as it was unfolding prior to these 30(8) days… i’m so smitten with it now!

Soooo a huge thank you to Laura, who’s amazing blog led me to this challenge, to Betsy who dreamed it up, and to all the fantastically brave women who participated.

I know I posted this video in the last post on this challenge… but it’s just so gorgeous that I have to do it again.