One of the things we most crave as mums – as modern humans – is space.
When I chatted with the lovely Zoe from @motherkind_zoe for her podcast I said if I could give mums any gift in the world it would be the gift of ✨ space ✨.
❇️ Physical space – solo trip to the toilet, when you’re feeling too much of the touchy feelies?
❇️Headspace – distance from the bubbling over capacity cup of work to do lists, parents evening reminders, immunisation appointments, sleep deprivation.
❇️ Breathing space – a regular gentle reminder just to breathe: slowly deeply fully consciously ❤️ .
❇️ Space to find the clarity to love our children truly madly deeply ❤️.
This picture is of me on the final day of @ibizaretreats yoga retreat that I went on for my 40th birthday. Freddie was 15 months old and I hadn’t slept longer than 2 hours for 15 months 😬😱. I had 3 nights of B L I S S F U L sleep, yoga, stillness, time with my best friend. Oh my. For me, this 👆🏼 is the epitome of how I feel when I have space. Rested. Calm. Capable. Joyful. Resilient.
We’re always available on our phones. Constantly bombarded with bad news, opinions and rants on Twitter. Occasionally questioning whether our living room will ever be stylish or tidy enough judging by Instagram.
When you can rarely even go to the loo alone, suddenly there seems like there’s no avenue of your life that isn’t road blocked by your child’s need, want, whim.
When you start to feel like these blockages are making you bubble up with resentment and frustration – coming out in heightened anxiety, anger, worry, frustration, sadness, it’s time to press pause. Build SPACE into your regular habits, and you should begin to see that you don’t meet those road blocks quite so often.
How do I create space within the PJ Masks and the Lego Ninjago and requests for snacks? Three ways:
1. BREATHE. Fundamental to creating space is literally allowing there to be space within your body. Often we collapse our lungs and slump in defeat without really noticing. Begin to notice and honour your physical state by properly, fully, truly, consciously and mindfully breathing every day. Any breathing technique will do – simply pause and take 5 deep breaths. One of my favourites, which can be whipped out as a tool in emergencies such as at soft play: Breathe in through your nose for a count of 7. Breathe out through your mouth for a count of 9. Repeat 4 times. Space.
2. A little bit more time to spare? MEDITATE. Meditation seems complex. We might try it and think, er…is that it?? Nothing happened!? Or, too much happens and your mind goes into overdrive – But my mind is chattering, clearly I can’t mediate I won’t try again. But the chattering is the process. It’s like shaking a dusty rug out. No shaking, no dust ever releases. The dust is the process, you have to let it go and give it space to release, and with it you’ll find clarity and be able to organise your thoughts and find patterns and resolutions more easily. Meditation can be simply 1 minute in the morning of focusing on your breath. If you have more time, great. But 1 minute is a good start. We all have 1 minute, don’t we…? Meditation allows you clarity, serenity, when developed into a longer term habit it’s even proven to have a positive effect on your immune system, your resilience, lessens anxiety and helps with decision making. It’s a gift for the modern world. Try it. And then try it again. Keep trying it!
Breathe. Once you are settled into your breath, mindfully scan your body for tension. Soften. On your in-breath, silently say the word SO. On your out breath, say the word HUM. Repeat. So….Hum…..So….Hum…..if your attention drifts, this is only human – you are not “bad at meditating”. Simply return to the mantra, So….Hum…So….Hum.
You should emerge from your meditation after a few minutes feeling still and calm, able to take this space into your daily activities.
3. DISTANCE – lastly and when you can properly carve out time for mama self-care: give yourself some space by creating distance between yourself and your home, your commitments, your children. Escape to a yoga class on a Sunday morning. Go swimming on a Wednesday evening. Walk in the park early morning before work. Whatever it takes, whenever you can, commit to it weekly and you will begin to see an easing in the bottlenecks of tension and stress that can build up when there is no space.
Try it – give yourself permission to find space. Let me know how it goes – did you feel a difference? Did you notice any inner peace making itself quietly felt? I’d love to hear in the comments below how you find space within the chaos xxx