I am a new mother ; my beautiful baby boy is just 5 months old. I vacillate between feeling like he has been a part of our family forever and the feeling of it being like yesterday when I first saw his beautiful face. It has been quite the whirlwind!
A girlfriend recently visited me to meet the baby, and as we sat on the couch, sipping our tea and playing with the little one, I shared what a hit on life it has been to become a mom. Everything turns upside down! From your physical body to your physical environment. In many ways, when I left to the hospital back in late November, I left behind one life , and when I came back a few days later in December, I came back to a completely new and different life .
Yet, I shared with her there wasone key thing that was not upside down and which I have been able to maintain: my level of self-care. Through it all these past 5 months, I have maintained my meditation and yoga practices , and these have been my lifeline. They have been my security blanket, a thread to my previous life, and the consistency any new mom needs to keep her sanity.
Now, how in the world do I find time to meditate every single day, and exercise 5 times a week (3-4 days dedicated for Yoga and 1-2 for cardio). I made a choice. And then I took these three key steps to support that choice:
- I got comfortable with “guilt” and the word “selfish”. OK so in the best case scenario a brand new mom would never feel guilty to take time for herself. The reality is that, as a new mom, you will probably feel guilty for something during those first months (and for the upcoming years, from what I hear). So instead of playing that broken record in your head “I shouldn’t do this, it’s selfish….Oh I shouldn’t feel guilty…Oh but…” and you go in circles chasing your tail, just get comfortable with the feeling. When it comes up, you know it’s your DestructiveSelf talking and you can choose to ignore it.
- I got flexible as to how I got my meditation and yoga done. Maybe I couldn’t make it to the fabulous Sunday morning 90 minute heated Vinyasa Flow class at YogaTree in San Francisco (my mouth just salivated at the idea of this). But I can do 60 minutes at home on a Tuesday night at 8:54pm. If you don’t do your own practice, there are a ton of resources for this, among these videos, livestream, DVD’s, YouTube, hereare some I shared a while back. I must confess: I have done yoga locked in my bathroom (tricky, but because my bathroom is more rectangular, I can pull it off). I didn’t want anyone to interrupt me. Yes I did minutes. I took a really, really long “shower”.
- I got committed and scheduled it in. Even if I moved it around (e.g. scheduled for 7a.m., yet not done until 7pm), the fact that it was in my schedule helped me organize how much I could take on that day.
At the end of the day, I have taken the popular analogy of putting your oxygen mask on first on a plane before you help anyone else, to heart. I am clear, that unless I take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of my 5 month old. And that clarity has made it so easy to not let go of my lifeline.
Judith Duval is a Latina wellness guru. She inspires and teaches through a mind, body, and spirit approach to mindfulness. Her mantra: Live With Purpose. Her goal: Inspire the world to Think, Eat, and Live Better. She is a TV personality and can be found on TV, radio, and online @ JudithDuval.com. Judith was listed on Huffington Post’s “10 Latinas Think Big Innovators to watch in 2016".