As an entrepreneur for Kinderbonnets & Aloha Workshop Gatherings, a Mama to two young children, and wife I have many things going on in my life. Our family moved frequently and not until this year (may it be age or that my body was telling me that it needs a break) did I realize the importance of self-care. I have always been active, exercised, went on walks, or had an evening at our local knit group – but self-care as I do it now greatly helps to boost my mental health and rejuvenates me for the life of a busy mama, pregnant that is at the time, and one that run’s her own business. I did not take it as serious until I started to work again after my three year old attended part time Waldorf pre-school and realized that the time away from my children is not spent resting but now working.
Every mama needs self-care.
I wrote about a few things that help me boost my mental health these days. So much so that I get more done during the times that I work because my mind is free and I feel a deeper connection to my children – because I feel like we found our rhythm again in Germany.
Some of the things I do as self care practice:
1. Slow Exercise / Meditation / Yoga: A regular yoga and meditation routine helped me tremendously. I realize its impact on my mood and body, especially if I had a week when I didn’t make a practice. Last year I signed up for an evening class that was mainly of women 50+. It was close to my house and 1 1/2 h of slow yoga which is what I needed. At home I have a few routines that I repeat weekly at 30 -45 minutes and now during pregnancy I switched to a slow Hatha Yoga class in person (unfortunately with a 30 min drive) that focuses on meditation, breathing techniques, and positive affirmations. However, I know that I would never be able to dedicate 1 1/2 hours to yoga at home thus the in person classes work great for me. Whatever it may be to you that relaxes your mind through exercise – its vital you take the time to do it. My friend Bri has amazing yoga sessions on her youtube channel and one of her recent ones is with me during a pregnancy yoga session.
2. Coffee / Tea / Gatherings: Taking time to sit and chat with friends during your morning of afternoon coffee nurtures my mind & soul. My friend Eva and I, along with another friend made an effort to meet weekly either at our homes or a cafe to chat and spend time together. Our little ones tagged along and played. As much as these types of gatherings help us as mothers to connect, share our joys & fears, and unwind from the stressful days of motherhood, it highlights the importance of meeting in person and allowing time to drink a “cup of slow” to our children. Eva wrote a blog about her herbal tea routine and especially herbs for women in this post – it has grown on me specially during pregnancy. Growing up in a busy world these days one of the most important things we can teach them is to slow down for the things they find important. Many communities have knit, craft, and women circles that you can attend to share life stories with likeminded women, create together, or learn old crafts like knitting that can help you to find a balance at home. When my daughter was only a few months old in Hawaii I used to take her to knit evenings and just sat with other women enjoying their presence and watched them knit. Once she got older and daddy watched her for a few hours the “Aloha Knitters” taught me how to knit myself.
3. Bath / Spa / Sauna: I have a friend who has always inspired me with her efforts to take the time to take an extended bath after a busy day with her infant daughter. Unfortunately, we do not have a bath tub but I found a practice I was introduced to during childhood to be my key to relaxing my mind and body. I realize that in order to feel my whole body I need to make time for regular sauna visits. Not only does it nurture your soul to go into a steam bath, take cold showers and then rest with a book – but there are many health benefits associated with going to the sauna. My routine is twice a month and it helps me to stay energized. Our sauna is attached to a pool and if there is enough time I try to swim for 20-30 minutes for exercise.
4. Nature walks / Family Rhythm: My family and I regularly take the time to take a simple stroll passt the fields near our house along the same path towards our local forest. These types of walks are, rhythmic and nurture all of our senses. Through the changing seasons here in Germany we observe small changes in the flowers that are blooming compared to a week ago, fields that have been plowed by farmers, or leaves that have fallen off the trees. These changes, simple as they may seem help us to ground ourselves and give us a sense of belonging in the world. While they are small, or a repetitive walk along the same fields may seem boring at first – once you try it you will see that it is the simple walks, without much planning, that your children and you remember and that connected you to each other and your environment. Yes, we also walk them when it rains. There is nothing better than rain drops falling on your face and a hot cup of tea when you return home.
Thank you for reading
Visual Storytelling for this post was provided by Eva Maria Smith Photography.
About the Author: Sabine Bryant is the designer and creator of Kinderbonnets. She currently resides in Germany with her family of soon to be 5. Aloha Werkstatt Blog shares her inspiration for Kinderbonnets, environmentally friendly life choices, and creative craft projects inspired by the simplicity of nature, and love for gathering amongst women and families of young children – to inspire a sense of self-sufficiency, creativity, and less materialism.