I have not written a blog post in such a long time. I am not even going to try and give you a reason. It is just one of those things that I never seem to have time for. However, lately I have been feeling the need to write. To share with you my journey of one amazing time of my life. I want to share this with you because I feel it can help a lot of you to consider self care as something that is essential.
This post is for all women. Whether you’re going through a pregnancy, trying to become pregnant and or you are in need for some self care tips.
Yesterday marked the start of my 30 weeks of twin pregnancy. And like I mentioned on social media I am feeling really healthy and happy. I am starting to feel the need to nest and to be with myself a whole lot more. And what I mean by that is to do things that are nurturing and nourishing for me and the babies. Although I am having weekly scans I am working hard to try and keep myself centred and balanced and to not freak out about the pregnancy. There are quite a few stories thus far I have heard of with twin pregnancy and whilst I appreciate hearing those stories I also need to remind myself that everyone’s pregnancy and in fact everyone’s life is a totally different experience and journey, and for me I have specific wishes that I would like to see happen. If I want to see those wishes come to fruition I need to dig deep and practice my own self care that works for me.
And so this is what have I been doing for the last 30 weeks. If you have never explored self care I encourage you to try one of these tips below. Don’t ever feel you need to do them all. And always ask yourself what is it you need.
You know what I am going to start with don’t you? Food, glorious, nourishing and nutrient dense food. You can’t have a healthy body, mind and soul without nourishing your body with real food. It ain’t going to happen. Food needs to be number one. And here is how I am ensuring I am giving my body and the twins the best start.
I am eating good quality protein. Such as fish, lamb, beef, chicken, eggs, nuts and seeds and at times lentils and beans. The other week I made the best home made bake beans using borlotti beans and some home made passata from last years tomato harvest. It was the best. If you are vegetarian or vegan it is still important to ensure that your protein needs are being met. Avoid the packaged gluten free and vegan free products. We all know now that these packaged foods don’t give us what we need. Really nourish your body and enjoy fresh food such as fruit and vegetables and add other nutrient foods such as beans, lentils, quinoa, nuts and seeds for example to help you form a complete protein meal. If you do eat eggs, pop them on top of your protein list with nuts and seeds. Pastured raised local eggs is what you need to look out for.
For everyone, embrace and enjoy plenty of local and fresh fruit and vegetables. Go gangbusters with this and up your intake of leafy green vegetables. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season and in your local area. When I first fell pregnant, one thing I craved was oranges. I was eating three to four of them a day. Actually I didn’t but I could of eaten a whole bag in one sitting. They may not be local here in my area, however I intuitively listened to what my body was calling out for and I went and bought certified organic ones.
Eat vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What ever season you’re now in, enjoy meals that relish that season. So for me we are in Autumn and Autumn is a lovely time for soups and curries, baked vegetables and anything slow cooked. I am loving roasted sweet potato and pumpkin at the moment and apple and rhubarb crumble with cream. And a good hearty potato, corn and bacon soup. Yummo! Of course omit the bacon if its not for you.
And personally for me I am enjoying yoghurt and cheese. I grate cheese into my omelette and I am eating sheep or goats yoghurt. I add nuts and seeds to it or I just enjoy with some poached fruit, cinnamon and a teeny bit of honey. So good.
Fermented foods is another thing I have been eating through the last 30 weeks. And actually, I should say that apart from the craving of oranges all the food I am mentioning is what I eat on a everyday/week basis. When I fell pregnant fermented foods is one thing that I turned off a bit. From the second trimester I started to add it to my breakfast or dinner. Just a few tablespoons. I am not having any kombucha. Because I ferment my own and I don’t actually have any idea if there are traces of alcohol in there and my naturopath and I thought it is best if I avoid it. So speak with your own naturopath on kombucha. I am also taking two very good probiotics. Both recommended from my naturopath and again please speak with your naturopath to work out what is best for you.
Other things I thoroughly enjoy. Good quality sourdough bread and dark chocolate. For me it is 90%. Although what I have found is that I am only eating once piece every few days. Where before I fell pregnant I was two pieces every single night with a cup of tea. Crazy that I am slightly turned of chocolate. This pregnancy thing sure does create different wants and needs from the body.
I am also enjoying making my own chai tea. I have given up my one coffee a day because one of the twins had a ectopic heartbeat. And even though I spoke to the Dr and asked would my one coffee a day be a cause and the answer was no, I still felt in my own intuition that I needed to give it up. And after a week of doing so, I had a scan and twin B had no more skip in his or her little heartbeat. Who knows, it may be a co-incidence, but honestly it is super important to tap into your intuition. It is speaking to us all the time. Other things I am enjoying is a big varied diet. No one day is the same. I am simply eating fresh, local food that is nutrient dense and is real. If you would like more clarification, please comment below and I hope I can guide you.
For anyone who wants to nourish and really look after their body I suggest going back to basics and start with fresh, real food. If there is one advice I can give you all is to not feel like what you’re doing right now is wrong. Nothing is wrong. Things may just need a little bit of tweaking. And what works for me may not work for you. However one thing is for sure, just relish in all the good, local fresh food that is in your area or that you’re growing. Crowd out the processed food with fresh and real food. And within that eat what YOU like. I think the biggest thing is to not put pressure on yourself to stick with rules. It causes way too much stress and stress is not what you want. There is a solid back to basic foundation that does work, however if you feel like a piece of cake your mum made go and enjoy that piece of cake with your mum. It has been made with love and love always trumps.
Here is my recipe for the chai.
Small Tablespoon of cardamon pods and two cinnamon sticks pounded
Small tablespoon of organic ginger
In a pot of water (around 3 cups) bring the spices to the boil and once boiling add in the rooibos. Turn down low and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add your favourite type of milk. I have been using coconut milk. About two cups.
Simmer for another ten minutes. Strain and add it to your cup. I add a teeny bit of honey. And I wrap my hands around my mug and I sip away. It is so yummy. You can play around with the amount of spices and if you’re not pregnant you can add in other spices. Also choose the milk you like. Keep the excess in the fridge and either have cold brewed chai or heat it back up slowly.
The next thing I would love to share with you is to embrace a yoga practice.
And lets not let your mind go to “I don’t have time” I know that some of you will be thinking that. We all have time. Whether it is 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 15 minutes of spare time that you have you can do a yoga practice and you can do it at home. I practice yoga in my Pj’s as soon as I get out of bed. Yoga does not mean you need to always do a 60 or 90 minute class. If you can get to a weekly class for that amount of time, fantastic. Keep going. But if you can’t that’s totally OK too. One lovely YouTube yoga account that I just love is Yoga with Adrianne. She is awesome to practice with and she has lots and lots of YouTube videos that go for under 20 minutes.
Why yoga? Because it is a place where you can come and be with yourself. It is a time to just be and to put everything else to one side. Yoga has been my lifesaver. It has helped me to deal with thoughts going on in my head, to deal with feelings of anxiety and it has truly helped me to focus on my breath, to build body awareness and to turn inwards. I always ask myself “what is it I need today” And when we stop and get out of our own way, the subconscious mind will tell us what it is we need. If you have little ones, pop them on the yoga mat with you and stretch with them. It is a great bonding time. If you have older kids, it is time to say and be strong “It is now my time for some self care. I need 15 minutes of alone time, and after that we can do this together…….” Self care needs to be a priority. Because once you’re feeling grounded and well, you can shine that beautiful light of yours onto others.
Meditation is the next thing that I won’t skip on. And lately I have been using this amazing app called Insight Timer. There are so many different types of meditations you can do through the app. I highly recommend that you download the app onto your phone. And again, 5 minutes is all you need. You can even meditate in the car at the lights. And remember you don’t need to be good at meditation. Meditation is not about perfectionism or stopping thoughts. Totally the opposite. And it is impossible to stop thoughts. But what we can do is to learn to be more aware of them. Meditation helps us to acknowledge the thoughts for what they are. Without any judgement, and to allow the thoughts to come and go. This will help you to learn how powerful it is to connect with your breath. And to learn how you can become non attached to the thoughts. The breath is so powerful and once we learn to get out of our minds and into our hearts with connection to our life force, prana, the breath; amazing things happen within the body, mind and soul connection.
So download the app or you may already have a favourite app. Smiling mind is also another great one. And if you’re pregnant both of those apps I have mentioned have great meditations for mums and mums to be.
I am a firm believer in holistic and natural self care. I have also reached out to my naturopath, acupuncturist, sacred body worker and Osteopath. I am seeing these wonderful people on a rotational basis. With my naturopath I am seeing her every few weeks to ensure that I am on track with each week of my pregnancy, to go over any concerns or anxiety feelings I may also be having. I have a visit coming up and in that visit we will be addressing breastfeeding and also the placenta. Yes I am deciding on what I will do with my two placenta’s.
I am taking supplementation through this pregnancy, and I recommend that you take all your blood work to your naturopath to ensure that you are having what is required. Please don’t guess work this. Blood tests are the best thing you can do. Then either find a good naturopath or go to yours and work closely together. My supplementation has changed through each trimester. And If you’re not pregnant I also recommend that you find a good naturopath that you feel connected with to help you with your self care needs. Don’t jump onto the internet and guess what you need.
My acupuncturist and osteopath are what I call ‘tune ups’ And they are monthly appointments. And my sacred body worker is an amazing massage therapist. Who uses breath work, drumming and deep massage to help me through this last trimester of pregnancy. Obviously you don’t need to do all these things. Budget will be a factor and so I recommend that you just pick what resonates with you. You may find at first that you want to explore all of these options and then only choose one. There is also kinesiology and a chiropractor for self care. Many options out there for you to explore
All these tips I have listed is to encourage you to explore. Because my way of self care does not necessarily need to be your way. You can also include going to the gym, dance, drawing, hiking in nature, swimming and or gardening. The list is endless. But having self care is important. Each day carve out the time just for you. Nourish and nurture yourself. Because once we do this, we can then feel a whole lot more grounded and can give to others without biting their heads off or feeling stressed and un-happy. And we may find out certain things about ourselves that need to be explored.
I invite you to give this a try.
Find 30 minutes to lock yourself away from everyone. Go to a place where it makes you feel peace and you won’t be interrupted. This could be the garden, in nature somewhere or the beach. Sit for five minutes and close down your eyes. Take ten slow breaths in and ten slow breaths out. And when you have finished the breathing ask yourself this question
“Where do I need to start with my own self care” – Wait and see what comes up. Try not to push it down and try not to create an emotion to it. Such as guilt. Because you deserve every bit of self care. Everyone does.
Write on a piece of paper what the answer was.
Next, Close your eyes again, take ten slow breaths in and ten slow breaths out and ask this
“What do I need to do first to enable me to start acting on this”
For example, the first intuitive words that came to you could of been cut out processed foods. So instead of going in hard and fast, slow down and just cut out the main processed food that you seem to eat all the time. And know exactly what you will replace it with. It could be that you’re eating too much 50% milk chocolate. So how about switching that to 70% dark chocolate and slowly replacing all milk chocolate with dark chocolate. Huge achievement.
And lastly close your eyes again, take ten slow breaths in and ten slow breaths out and say this
“Everything I do and the little steps I am taking is because I am deserving of self care. Self Care shines the light on my happiness and self care teaches me exactly what I need. I don’t need to be perfect and I don’t need to do it all at once. Self care is a journey of self discovery which is exciting and never ending”.
Thank you for reading. And I would really love to know what you do now for self care. And if self care hasn’t been on your radar I would love to know what you will start with.
Namaste my friends. Stay naturally well.