Self-Care from Ahhh to Zzzz

So I was thinking I’d change the name of this Mamahhh blog to Mamazzzz once I’ve mastered self-care. :-)

OK, not really, but those ZZZs? That is the epitome of excellent self-care for me: consistently great sleep. What is first-rate self-care for you?

Self-care is an ahhh to zzzz kind of practice (and ample ahhhs usually lead to the best zzzzs), and I’m excited to spend all day tomorrow talking about this crucial topic with women in Athens, Georgia.

In the morning, we’ll check in at the Georgia La Leche League 2012 Breastfeeding and Parenting conference.

Snuggles, shared laughs, special treats, extra TLC, a kind word, 5 minutes of undivided attention—sounds good, doesn’t it? We light up our children’s lives with these simple gifts every day. What about our own heart’s desire? Not so different! In the La Leche League session, we’ll explore the connection and attention that help replenish a mama’s well of comfort and joy.

I’m looking forward to a shared discussion about the self-care we require as women and as mothers. We’ll cover at least 35 ways we can nourish ourselves so we can truly enjoy our lives and our loved ones. I’ve got a list ready to share, but what I’m noticing is that every time I write out a bunch of self-care ideas, something new comes to mind. So while I’m presenting this session, what I’m most excited about is the wisdom & new-to-me ideas that I know moms are going to offer in the time we spend together! Maybe we’ll have 70 things on our list by the time we’re done!

If the session in the morning is a quick dip in the self-care pond, then the afternoon’s Self-Care Circle at womanspace is a luxurious afternoon spent wading in warm natural-spring waters.

Here’s how Jenna Farfour, mom of 2, who attended the March 2012 self-care workshop, described the experience last time we met for an afternoon retreat: “This was precious time for me that brought back sweet memories to remind me of who I am, a feeling of freedom, and tenderness to my heart.”

I love that! Who you are, free and tender. I can hear my spirit whisper yes! to that.

In the afternoon circle, we’ll use journaling prompts, a light-and-easy yoga practice, and vision board work to get a clear picture of what life can look like when we feel fully nurtured.

And when me and my self-care soapbox return from Athens, I’ll share some of the self-care ideas from the La Leche League Breastfeeding & Parenting conference and photos of the vision boards in the afternoon session.

In the meantime, here’s how you can create your own mini self-care retreat at home:

  1. Claim some quiet time in your space. Ask your partner to take the kids out for a few hours, or line up a babysitter. Plan ahead, and put it on your family calendar!
  2. Start with a short, simple yoga practice of your favorite poses, or try this mid-day practice from Yoga Journal (it’s about $6 to download the 20-minute practice).
  3. Spend 5 to 10 minutes writing what comes to mind about 20-Minute Retreats author Rachel Harris’ truth that “Self-care is about developing your highest Self.” (Writing rules: No crossing out! No criticizing yourself!)
  4. Spend 5 to 10 minutes writing a list of activities, experiences, and people who energize you, fill your life with meaning, and make life more enjoyable.
  5. Spend 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how much time you have, creating a vision board that shows in pictures and words what your fully nurtured life might look like. Jamie Ridler Studios has some great vision board instructions & examples here.

You know, I waited until I was well into my parenting journey to embrace self-care. It took having a second baby, a cross-country move, and chronic covert postpartum depression, I guess, to finally get my attention that this work is not optional! Better yet, it makes you feel better, happier, even sane!

So, enjoy! And then share: I’d love to hear how your mini-retreat goes, how you personalized it just for you, and how well you slept after such intentional self-care!

{breathe, mama!}

image ©Auremar |


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