Sharing your body for 40 weeks, slightly less or slightly more for some of us, isn’t the easiest! I think it’s fair to say, regardless of a healthy pregnancy or not, we all have days when we struggle and for one reason or another don’t like what we are faced with when we look in the mirror.
Whether it’s bad skin, bloating, stretch marks, tired eyes, sore boobs or an ever expanding waistline that this is at the forefront of your worries, I’m hoping to share with you some tips to make coping with these changes a little easier.
I don’t have a miracle to take away the negative side affects of pregnancy and not a word of what I’m about to write will improve the physical appearance of it, but over time I’ve realised there are certain things I can do to make myself feel better and if I can help someone who is struggling or inspire anyone who is in abit of a rut, I’d love that.
My starting point is an obvious one, but bear with me. If like me, you are already a mum, a wife, work a job, you are a daughter, a sister, a friend and run a home, finding ‘you time’ can be almost impossible but for me it’s so important. Cliche, I know. It’s taken me awhile to get a routine into place and not feel guilty for taking an hour out but I can honestly say I’m a better person for it and I should have treated it with far more importance before now.
Here’s how I make it work – Isla is in a routine from morning to bedtime so I always try to plan my me time around her. This may mean going to the gym for an hour when she is sleeping or arranging for someone to cover breakfast so I can get an early morning swim in before I get dressed and ready for the day. Isla being in a routine means she has a set bedtime and I can always guarantee myself an evening soak in the bath and or a nice dinner and snuggle on the sofa with James. Planning my time around her also means I’m planning time with her so everyone is a winner. Going to the gym or swimming may not be what you want to do with your time but use a routine to build in slots to do something for yourself. An hour doing something just for me makes me feel so refreshed and I always return feeling ready to tackle whatever might be waiting for me. As a mum, you spend so much time giving, it’s nice to take something back and focus on you albeit for 3 hours a week or however long you manage.
James is out a few nights a week playing basketball, so I do the same, ensuring there are 2/3 nights a week when we are in together and can have some us time. The nights he is out I might ask a friend over, spend an hour on the phone to my mum, catch up on soaps or sit in silence.. whatever tickles my fancy. We have a weekly planner up on the fridge which was originally for Isla’s dinners but now we use it to plan our evenings and weekends and it’s working so well. We plan for 7 days straight on a Sunday, making sure everyone gets some time out for themselves. I appreciate it all seems very planned, and if you like to be more spontaneous this may not work for you but it works pretty well for us and for family life in general.
My second point – do stuff that makes you feel good. Another obvious point (sorry!) but sometimes we can get so wrapped up going from day to day and looking after others that we can forget to look after ourselves. I love to get a spray tan and have my nails done so I book them in twice monthly and when I’ve had both done I feel so much better about myself which is crazy as I don’t look much different but inside I feel it. Both ladies that I use work flexible hours so I can see them in the evening and on weekends etc. I get exact appointment times so no waiting around and my nail lady even comes to me at home which is a massive bonus. For years I went to a shop in town to have my nails done and sometimes it could take up to 2 hours so finding someone to come to me has been revolutionary and means I have more time for other stuff. Getting a tan and having my nails done might seem menial but it boosts my confidence and makes me feel good.
Another one – Make a conscious effort to relax and give your mind a rest! I love to soak in the bath and listen to music at the same time as it helps me to completely switch off and recharge my batteries. I don’t do this often, maybe once/twice a month but I always feel refuelled when I do. To put the cherry on the cake, I get out and moisturise my entire my body with one of my nicer body creams and then climb into bed and always have the most amazing deep sleep. Some people bath a lot so this might not work for them but if like me it’s more of a luxury as and when you’ve got the time, it works wonders!
Lastly, think outside the box. My annual leave year at work comes to an end in April and instead of carrying over my unused leave or taking it in my salary i decided to book every Monday off for 6 weeks. Isla is at nursery on Mondays so this means an entire day to myself. A day to get the house straight, mooch around the shops at my own pace without the weekend crowds, enjoy a latte at Costa in peace or do absolutely nothing. Previously, I would never have done this, I would been more sensible about it and taken it as cash to spend on something that I won’t ever remember. But this time round, I’ve done the best thing possible and considered myself first as being sensible isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway! It’s Monday today and I’ve done absolutely nothing and I feel so good for it. Sometimes it pays off to do something different and break away from the usual.
Lots of love