Monthly Archives: July 2016

Why mums can’t do everything…

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newborn-1506248_1280Mums do so much. So, so much. Yet they always think they can do even more. They feel guilty if they stop, even for a few minutes.  Sitting down, in the day….NO! Going to bed when they’re exhausted….NO WAY, there’s still more chores to do!

But here’s why us mums need to take care of ourselves. (That’s us mums of whatever age, with one, two or more children, babies, toddlers, or teens). We can only give our best when we feel at our best. And we frequently feel way less than our best. Sometimes, we forget what our best even felt like.

When we become tired, exhausted, and depleted, we lose something of ourselves. Mums frequently say they can barely remember who they were before they had children. Becoming a mother is certainly a life-changing event, a momentous thing for any woman. We grow very quickly, learning our baby’s, and then our older child’s needs. We very quickly learn to put their needs before our own. There’s probably nobody more selfless than  mothers. And that’s the way it has to be.

But when we get tired and neglect our own needs for too long (and we all know it can be VERY long!), we start to lose ourselves, that glimmer and sparkle that makes us who we ARE. We may lose our sense of humour, we may lose our vitality, we may even start to lose that vital empathy and ability to see things from our child’s point of view. Those things that bother them can start to feel so small compared with our own mountainous fatigue. We may become impatient, irritable, or depressed. We may stop enjoying and savouring this time with our children as much as we feel we should (oops, there’s that guilt again!) The sheer wonder of being a parent can start to pass us by, and it can feel like an endless uphill struggle.

So – we need to take time out. It isn’t selfish to look after ourselves from time to time. Who are we kidding if we tell ourselves we can be awake for 20 hours a day, every day, and still be supermum?! Yes, the house might be tidy, but the children crying again will feel like the last straw. Someone else can wash up for a change, someone else can bring in the washing and fold it away. Take those few  minutes for yourself, have a sit down with a good book, your favourite music, do some exercise, have a lovely warm bath – whatever you need to replenish your energy levels and bring back some of that lovely sparkle that makes you YOU!

What are your favourite ways to relax and recharge? Leave your comments below!

If you’d like to have more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox, and receive a FREE deep relaxation recording, sign up for the Sunfish Yoga and Therapy newsletter here: http://bit.ly/sunfishnews

Alison x

 

 

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Opening the heart

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When we are ruled by our emotions, we create a knot, a constriction, around the heart area. In yoga philosophy, this is called vishnu granthi, representing the constraints we place around our heart space when we hold on too tightly, finding it hard to let go of our hurts and move forwards.

Conversely, when we start to work with our emotions, recognising them, truly feeling then and then releasing them, we begin to create a sense of space, a new sense of ease and comfort in our chests; we release the tightness we maybe hadn’t realised was there. There may well be tears as we release old griefs, losses we may not have fully acknowledged before….there may be an emotional outpouring, but we will be taking a step towards greater freedom, a space for our breath to deepen and relax, and a new sense of ease in the muscles of the chest, the upper  back and the shoulderblades.

To find this space, I thoroughly recommend sitting quietly with the breath, in meditation, or, if that word sounds too intimidating, too unreachable, just mindful of the rise and fall of the breath. The aim is not to empty our minds of all thoughts, but to flow with whatever arises, without holding on. Emotions and thoughts will surface, and without judgement, we watch them and let them go. I recently read the wonderful The Cancer Whisperer: How to let cancer heal your life by Sophie Sabbage, and found the chapter ‘Dancing with Grief’ particularly moving. As she says, for someone diagnosed with a terminal illness, dealing with our sense of loss and regret is a matter of urgency; for all of us, though, feeling and releasing rather than burying our emotions is vital.

If you can, attend a mindfulness or meditation class so that you can learn appropriate techniques and have the opportunity to share and gain support from others if you feel you need help with this. If you prefer movement, try a Dru yoga class and learn Energy Block Release 3, a flowing sequence which can help so much with releasing tightness in the chest and finding this sense of space, of peace, in the heart.

I teach regular Dru yoga classes in which you can learn these techniques, as well as classes in mindfulness, incorporating both mindful movements (yoga), breathing and meditation. Either of these can help you to start untying your knots, and become easier in your body, mind and soul.

To find out more, please go to http://bit.ly/sunfishclasses, or sign up for my regular newsletter with articles like this and details of upcoming classes at http://bit.ly/sunfishnews. You’ll also receive a free relaxation, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Alison x

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Unfolding

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When we are born, we are like a bud, brimful of potential, primed and ready to unfold. From the day we are born, we are learning, developing, witnessing our world and responding to the environment we find ourselves in. Even in our earliest weeks, months and years, we are being shaped by our world, our very brains being wired by our surroundings, by the activities and relationships we experience. And, primarily, by the care we receive from our parents.

A humbling thought, as parents. The enormity of the task of raising – shaping – this little human being! How can we ever do it well enough?

None of us are perfect, but we continue to try our very best. There are days we are tired, exhausted and feel we cannot carry on. That’s normal – yet we feel guilty. Parents are particularly prone to guilt. We are, after all, doing the most important job in the world. Many of us are juggling so many other things – our jobs, our relationships, our roles as children to our own parents. It is inevitable that there will be days any one – or several! – of these things may suffer. And, often, we feel we haven’t been there enough for our children. We may have missed a milestone while they have been cared for by others – their first word, their first step – and feel we should have been the one to witness that moment in our child’s life. We feel we should be there all the time. When our child starts nursery or school, we feel the separation keenly – we may be working, doing the food shopping, or the housework, but we are thinking of our child. We would – if we could – take those difficult steps for them. If our child is upset, we would gladly take those feelings from them, feel them for them.

But here’s the thing….our children not only grow up, they grow away. We want our children to become rounded, mature adults, just as we have had to do. They have to unfold, like a bud, into maturity. And it can be painful. Both for them, and for us. Every step our child takes is a step away from us. They have to take each step, so that they can function in the world without us one day. That first day at school, that can hurt so much? It will come again, as a first day at secondary, first night away, first week away – and eventually leaving home altogether. We have done it, and survived. They will too. It’s just very hard as a parent to watch them go.