When mom is happy, everyone is happy. Right? I remind myself of this because, my this year’s project is not exactly about saving the world. But nevertheless, I’ll be focusing the 2015 project on myself: Getting back to shape, feeling healthier and happier.
After four years of being pregnant, breastfeeding (first 21 months, and now going on 7 months), having had one miscarriage and given birth twice, I feel I don’t know my own body. It’s nearly the same size and shape as it used to be, but it doesn’t feel quite as strong, flexible and – well, let’s face it – young.
As I get tired and worn out, I’m simply not the best me. Not only am I suffering from increased migraines and backaches and the lot, but I’m also not really fond of myself. I find myself short-tempered and humourless. I’m getting tired mentally, spiritually, intellectually, too. With these findings I think it’s safe to say that focusing on my own well-being, I might be saving at least my family’s world.
Here’s what I’ll do
Walk. I love walking. Alone. With the dogs. Up and down a mountain. In the woods. Through the village. It’s the easiest exercise I can think of and it fits my routine perfectly. The idea is to be walking several times a week from our house to the guesthouse. I’m aiming at four times a week the approximately 3 kilometers. I’ll be carrying our smaller one in a baby carrier, or pushing the stroller, thus adding a little to the exercise.
What are the benefits of walking? I do it because it makes me feel good. It gives me time to think, feel the ground under my feet, enjoy watching the scenery in the changing seasons. According to several studies it also reduces stress, boosts immune function, and increases supply of oxygen in the body, among other things.
Yoga. Another form of exercise I really miss! While living on the mountain, I haven’t found a way to commit to an organised lesson in a studio in town. However, I’ve found a few online yoga studios, and now I’ve only got to choose the one for me and start! I’d like to see myself doing yoga 3-4 times a week, even short sessions are better than nothing.
Why yoga? Most of all it gives me the best opportunity to be present in my body. I love the idea of the ground, the mat, and me, and that’s all that’s needed. I know there’s a multitude of opinions and studies etc. about yoga, but here are a few widely approved benefits of doing yoga: It builds muscle strength, improves flexibility and posture, increases blood flow, lowers blood sugar, relaxes ones bodily system, and releases tension. And these are just some of the physical effects. There are other benefits, too, such as increasing self-esteem, inner strength, and encourages self-care. Yay!
Meditate. Oh, meditation. I’m the type of person who loves to say “I meditate” – but in reality, I rarely do. I know it’s good for me. I know I would benefit from it. I know my family would benefit from my meditation. So why not? All the usual reasons, no time, no space, and when I do, I fall asleep or my mind is quickly occupied by the next to-do-thing or a crying baby. I start by aiming two short meditation sessions per week, and come summer, four meditation sessions per week.
Meditation might affect in the following ways: Decreasing tension headaches, increasing my energy level, as well as increasing creativity and happiness. Apparently meditation sharpens the mind by gaining focus and expands through relaxation. Good stuff, right?
On top of these I shall reduce the sugar, gluten, and caffeine in my diet. I’m not even dreaming of going absolutely sugar-gluten-or-caffeine-free. But cutting down, that I can easily do. I did four weeks of no-sugars last year. During that time I put off also nearly all fruits, honey etc. I wanted to see how a sugar-addict like me could live without sweet tasting foods, and found it surprisingly easy. However, I find a fruitfree diet boring and pointless and with our lifestyle it seems compeletely unrealistic to stay away from gluten and caffeine for a year. Baby-steps is the right approach here.
But that said, my main aim this year – if you can call it ‘aim’ – is to enjoy more! Bring more joy, pleasure, and fun into our everyday life. It’s been fun so far, but we’ve been caught up in stress, struggle, kind of fighting for survival after all the changes in our lives. Now finally I feel we might be able to relax without feeling guilty, have a summer holiday, go out on dates with my husband, and enjoy and take pleasure of our everyday life.
It really looks like a great year! Good to have you with me, let’s have fun!