Guest Blog Feature: Danielle of Blue Cascade Doula shares her perspective on the importance of self care as a new mom! You can follow Danielle & her business partner, Gabby, on Instagram at @bluecascadedoula! Find more amazing doulas in our Collective here! Interested in joining the collective? Apply here!
self-care is non-negotiable
It’s really simple- self-care is non-negotiable when we are caring for tiny humans. Being a parent is legitimately such a hard job. Self-care can be seen as putting your own oxygen mask on in an airplane before attempting to assist your child. Within my work, I encourage parents to set patterns early on that ensure they meet their own basic needs. Taking time for yourself so that you are able to be fully present for your children is the greatest gift you can give to them. Being ‘present’ means that we are fully engaged and emotionally connected with what is happening. If we do not take breaks- time to find our chill space, to get quiet, we tend to drift off- being physically but not emotionally present.
Taking care of ourselves can be hard work. Some days it’s impossible to find even ten minutes to ourselves. We feel guilty for leaving items on our to-do lists, and for leaving the kids with our spouses. We need to recognize that it’s not easy, and chances are no one is rocking it all the time. We need to be gentle with ourselves. Keep it simple. A massage or day at the spa is amazing, but not the kind of care I’m talking about.
If I get too busy and let my self-care routines fall off, I focus on one to two areas at a time. My two recent non-negotiables are yoga and meditation. Countless studies reveal the powerful effect of meditation on the mind and body. I could write so many pages. In my experience, when I commit to a regular meditation practice, my energy completely shifts. I feel such a sense of calm and peace. I am given the choice on how I react to my babies and to the world around me. There’s no more running on autopilot.
I can create space between me and the experience which gives be a broader perspective of what is happening in the moment. This leaves me feeling much more in control of my emotions and actions without having a tight grip on them. My go-to app most recently for guided meditations is called the Insight Timer, where you can find libraries of delicious content. No joke, it is literally the largest free library of meditations on earth, and has truthfully turned me into the biggest meditation junkie. You can find quick 5-10 minute sessions here that I ensure if you take the time to pursue, will leave you feeling centered and full of bliss.
As Seattleites, I don’t need to talk to you about yoga studios in the area, but I can encourage you to get to your mats as often as possible. Yoga is so much more than exercise and perfecting the poses- it is a powerful union of body, mind, spirit, and breath. A moving meditation that is grounding, strengthening, and empowering. An hour of complete silence, just you and your mat- to take a break from the noise and chaos of the outside world and just be quiet.
I love hot yoga for the detox and flexibility I feel once the heat has settled into my muscles, but “cold” yoga is just as awesome. Yin/Restorative yoga is absolutely delicious, and what I call the “dessert” of yoga. This class is usually offered in the late evening, and is a great way to do some deep stretching and zen out before bed. Most local studios offer comfy props and scented eye pillows which makes the experience so relaxing and rejuvenating. No matter which style of yoga you choose, as long as you go in with the right intention and listen to your body, I promise you will step off of your mat a little lighter than when you stepped on.
keep it simple
My personal self-care journey has been wild you guys. I only really began after I had my son, when I took action to avoid postpartum depression. I uncovered so much information on my quest for all of the self-care articles, worksheets, and other resources written specifically for Moms, and got so inspired. There are so many things you can do to refill your cup that really don’t take any time at all. I cannot stress the importance of keeping it simple and light as a busy Mama- I have tried to add way too many things to my self-care routine and ended up falling off because I got too overwhelmed.
So- start small. Wake up a bit earlier tomorrow, light a candle, and take a few breaths. Maybe make something warm to drink- hot water with lemon is super invigorating in the morning and helpful to the digestion system. Then read something inspirational. Write down a couple of intentions for your day. Eat food that feels good in your body. Walk outside and take in some fresh air- whatever energizes you, and grounds you for the day ahead- do that.
In the evenings, I love to journal for a couple minutes, spend time on my spiritual work, take a bath (I spend so much time contemplating life in the tub), massage my feet with some warm lavender oil, and crawl into bed with a good book with some blend of calming essential oil going in my diffuser. You could also do a mask, listen to some mellow music, make some soothing bedtime tea, you get the idea- whatever helps you to relax and nurture your body and spirit at bedtime.
make you a priority
Try a couple of these in the morning and evening and soon taking care of yourself will become the norm, and you will become more available to your life. As moms we take care of everybody and everything, but we need to make ourselves a priority too. Doing so is the opposite of selfish. Making your physical, mental, and spiritual health a priority not only keeps you living your best life, it ensures that you’re able to show up for your people. Peace and be well friends.
Read more about Danielle & Gabby and Blue Cascade Doula here!