In the first few years of motherhood we need – more than ever – to surround ourselves with the people who lift us up, who give without expectation, who love unconditionally, and who celebrate us. Along with the many physical and emotional changes that occur when we bring a new life (or lives) into this world, we may also reflect on life and ask ourselves some of the "big questions". Some of us feel our identity shift completely, some of us question our parenting ability, and some of us make life choices we never thought we’d make. And throughout all of the new experiences, challenges and joys of motherhood, we will inevitably encounter champions and naysayers.
The “champions” are the people in your life who are your biggest supporters. The ones who accept you completely for who you are, who are there for you through all the joyful, crazy, wonderful, stressful times - and everything in between. They are the friends you can call sobbing at midnight as you sit in the dark with cracked nipples and a heavy heart, the siblings who know just what to say (or what not to say) as you struggle with your toddler’s tantrums, the parents who remind you that you are full of love and compassion, the husbands/partners/lovers who tell you you’re beautiful even though you haven’t showered all day and have spit-up in your hair. Your champions help you out without you having to ask, and they are the ones that make you smile right down to your toes.
The “naysayers” are the ones who leave you with an uneasy feeling, and who always have an opinion on what you’re going through, whether you ask for it or not. They are the ones you dread bumping into on the street or at the grocery store. Before you’ve even had a chance to speak, they bombard you with their opinions on "how to do this,” or "why you should (or shouldn't) be doing that.” Every decision you make is processed and judged, often with responses like, “Really? Wow… that’s so…brave of you.” or, “Are you sure you want to do that….?” The naysayers are the ones who – with just a look, a sentence, a response to your status update - can drop a heavy load of negativity right onto your already-overburdened lap.
So, who would you rather surround yourself with – champions or naysayers?
During the past few weeks, this blog has explored ways that we can “feel good” through positivity, healthy mindsets, and choices that support our physical health and wellbeing.
This week’s task for the Feel Good Project is:
Make a list of your champions. (Don’t spend time making a list of your naysayers – better to focus on the positive people in your life.) And then make sure you surround yourself with these people in your daily life.
Because when you’re around people who support and celebrate you, it’s uplifting. And you, in turn, can be someone else’s champion
As you can probably glean from the “Meditating Mummy” moniker, I meditate. I find it a grounding practice, an effective way to get rid of all the mental junk that fills my mind on a daily basis. I marvel at how quickly my mind refills with clutter, and meditation is something I imagine I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.
But I wasn’t an easy convert. My parents used to call me “wriggle bum”, referring to the fact that I could not sit still for longer than a nanosecond. I have also been described as a “busy bee”, a “dynamo”, and a few other names that imply fast movement. So when I began my love affair with this whole yoga thing, my family and friends were surprised. Although I quickly learned the physical postures and breathing techniques of yoga, meditation was a harder sell. I resisted it. And resisted it…
Until my first month-long yoga teacher training, where I had to sit in meditation for up to four hours a day. The first few days were torture, but as time went on I began to look forward to the daily meditation sessions. And meditation became one of my favourite parts of my personal yoga practice.
Even now, although I could still be called the “wriggle bum” that I have always been, I find time to meditate wherever I can. Sometimes it’s in the ideal place – seated in a quiet space - but at other times I find ways to meditate “on the go”.
Regardless of how or where I’m meditating, I’ve never finished a meditation and felt lousy. There is a peace that comes with it, a centredness, a firm footing and sense of clarity. And this, to me, feels good.
If you're up for it, here's the first step:
Meditate every day.
It could be for 5 minutes or it could be for 20 minutes. It matters less where or how you meditate, half the battle is just showing up.
And please, let me know how it feels.
If you need a little more guidance, The Chopra Centre regularly offers 21-day FREE meditation challenges. You’ll get a meditation delivered to your inbox every day which is a helpful reminder.
I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible holiday time with my husband and kids this summer. After an especially hectic first half of the year, it’s been fantastic to have open-ended days as a family to do as we choose. Lazy mornings and big healthy breakfasts, swimming and building sandcastles at the beach, picnic lunches, exploring new country towns, finding playgrounds we’ve never frequented, barbecues with the in-laws, and quiet evenings on our front porch. It’s been glorious. In the quieter moments, both my husband and I have commented numerous times on how grateful we are. For our life together, for our health, for the amazing support of our family and friends, and the wonderful relationships we have with both of our respective families.
Feeling grateful is an attitude or mindset that makes me feel good. And while I was on holiday I recognized that it’s easy for me to feel grateful when I’m in the midst of sunny summer vacation days. But it becomes a little harder when life gets busier, the to-do lists are piling up, work is challenging, the monotony of motherhood grates on my nerves, or life throws me an unexpected curveball. I know that it’s in these times that the need to be grateful is so important. On those “blah” kind of days, being grateful can create the much-needed shift within me towards the positive.
On that note, here’s this week’s task for the feel-good project:
Adopt the Attitude of Gratitude
At the end of each day, as part of your bedtime ritual, write down 5 things that you are grateful for. If you think you’ll forget, sign yourself up for this amazing free gratitude journal service Happy Rambles. The service will send you an email at a set time every day and ask you what you’re grateful for.
Being thankful for all the positive things in our life fosters an environment in which we can recognize more and more things to be grateful for. This Time article reports that gratefulness increases happiness and wellbeing, and aren’t they an integral part of feeling good?
What are you thankful for today?