Motherhood.Adventure.Slow Fashion.Sewing.Womanhood

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Self-Love and Awareness - My Journey So Far

At the end of November, I was in the midst of a particularly bad body-hate stage. I was bloated, sluggish and unhappy. When I looked in the mirror, I didn't even recognise myself. I wasn't going to allow myself to spiral downwards in this pity-party, I figured I best do something about it, rather than sit on my arse and cry about how big it is.



My relationship with my body image is something I've written about before on my blog. I have noticed that I seem to go through phases with it, journeying from not caring too much and embracing my body for what it is, moving through to complete hate and loathing of my body.

As someone who tries to actively promote self-love and body-positivity, I began to feel like a hypocrite. How can I possibly tell people to be happy with their bodies and love them exactly as they are, if I wasn't doing the same thing myself? What example was I setting for my children? I've always been conscious of not being self-critical of my body in front of Logan and Rori, but I'm sure it's something that as they get older they will begin to notice regardless. In the way I dress or the way I brush off compliments from Rich when I'm out-of-love with myself.

I've never been adverse to exercise, quite to contrary in fact. I've maintained various exercise regimes at different times over the years and lost weight successfully. But they've always been that dreaded thing that I have to make myself do, and I'm pretty glad about when it's over. I don't want to have to do that. To have to force myself to do an activity I dislike because of the fear of putting on weight is too great in comparison to not doing said activity. I don't want to have to make myself do anything I don't like! After Logan was born I stupidly decided to do the Insanity regime at home and ended up badly injuring my knee. I damaged the cartilage and my knee is still not OK now 4 years on. It makes cardio and certain activities difficult for me. 

When I was pregnant with Rori and practicing my Hypnobirthing meditations at home, I also dipped my toe into prenatal yoga. I found it extremely relaxing and a great aid to my hypnobirthing as it puts a lot of focus on your breathing. My hypnobirth was life-changing for me. Realising what my body and mind is capable of and how strong I am was a pretty big revolution. I carried my post-birth high around for a long time after Rori was born and I continued to look after myself well and care for myself. I was so aware of whatever I put into my body being transferred to Rori through my breastmilk that I only ate good, wholesome, plant-based foods. I lost all of my pregnancy weight plus some more within about 4 months. But I didn't really even notice. I wasn't weighing myself and I didn't care. I was in the happy bubble of hormones and endorphins and I felt so good!

As I grow older I feel more and more passionate that I shouldn't have to do anything in life that's not enjoyable. That doesn't make me happy. That isn't good for me mentally and physically. Life is too short to have to do shit we don't want to do! With my 26th birthday looming and after the stressful 6 months we had before we moved over to Spain, I'd fallen back into old habits and stopped caring for myself. I was stressed and worried and put myself last. I'd lost my self-love.

So, when I looked in the mirror in November and didn't recognise my reflection in the mirror I wasn't sad because I'd put on weight again, I was sad because I had stopped taking care of myself. This body is the only one I will get, I can't exchange it. If I want it to serve me well and aid me in all my adventures and journeys, I need to look after it! And to be honest, it had been neglected. It wasn't just my body, I'd fallen out of sync with my mind too. Some people may not have a clue what I'm talking about, but I really believe that being present, and mindful and connected to ourselves is highly important to our daily lives and our quality of life. As someone who is an avid over-thinker and worrier, I can get consumed by the 1000 thoughts that are swirling round my head that I forget to stop and ask myself  'Are you OK?'

I needed to do something that would soothe my mind, take care of my body and connect my mind and body. I needed to heal from the inside out. Remembering how great hypnobirthing and the pretnatal yoga made me feel, I figured I'd give yoga a try. I started with Adriene Mishler's channel on Youtube - Yoga with Adriene and jumped into the 30 Days of Yoga programme. (Adriene's chanel is a great free resource of online yoga videos and programmes.)

Almost instantly I began to feel better. My mind and body began to reconnect and I started to take care of myself again. I found the 30 or so minutes a day of 'me time' was incredibly important to me. I explored my body, my strength, my flexibility and learnt to listen to and acknowledge all of those busy thoughts flying around my head and hit the mute button for a little while.



Since competing the 30 Days of Yoga programme, I've also moved on to and completed the Yoga Revolution 31 day programme also by Adriene. I'm hooked. Seriously. I feel like a new woman. I've discovered that it's not about what the scales say or what size clothes I'm wearing. It's about treating my body with kindness, exploring my mind, taking the time to learn to love myself. Healing my body from the inside out. It's made me realise that I need to look after myself just like I would look after Logan and Rori. I wouldn't dare think of letting them eat rubbish and cry about getting a little soft around the edges, so why the hell would I do that to myself?!

I'm not saying this is a miracle and I've dropped 4 dress sizes without much effort - but it's not about that. I haven't weighed myself so I couldn't tell you if I have lost weight or not, but my body is starting to change. I feel stronger and leaner. I don't feel bloated after I eat and I don't sit and mindlessly eat anymore. I'm aware. Aware that food is medicine and we should treat it as such. Aware that our bodies are vessels that we inhabit to enable us to make these beautiful stories that are our lives. Conscious of the example I am setting for my children.

I feel calmer, more focused. Stronger. Happier. 

Yoga is now something that has become part of my daily life and routine. Lo and Rori are also becoming interested in yoga and love for me to teach them yoga moves. They have started to understand that we need to look after our bodies and our minds and love ourselves. And if that's the one thing that they remember their Mummy taught them when they were little, then I will feel like I have succeeded at this motherhood stuff.









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