Now that I have returned to work I have quickly fallen back into old habits that I was in during my working day. The main one being drinking roughly two litres of water per day. This has made me realise that my ‘self care’ has dramatically fallen.
When I was planning my pregnancy and during it, I took such great care of my body. I felt like I had read every blog and article that I could find on how to prepare my body for a healthy pregnancy and from then on how to keep my body and baby at the healthiest it could be. I completely cut out caffeine, made sure I drank three litres of water per day, always ate a minimum of five pieces of fruit and vegetables per day, and exercised regularly.
Even with my exercise I really researched what I could and couldn’t do. I was already practising a lot of yoga and a class called Willpower and Grace (which is a mix of yoga/pilates and some cardio work), so I continued with these. Previously I did a spin class a couple of times a week but I found that this became challenging with a bump and especially hard as I found it hard to not push myself so much during the class. I continued doing weights in the gym until about 30 weeks. My main exercise was swimming, which I continued up to 34 weeks. I got very large towards the end of my pregnancy and suffered with pelvic and back pain, so being in the water and swimming felt like a huge relief, and I really enjoyed being able to exercise without it being weight bearing. I would swim three-four times a week and anything up to a mile – so 72 laps of the gym’s pool.
After Freya’s arrival I was quite ill and took a good while to recover. I had ended up having an emergency (ish) C section and lost over half of my blood volume, resulting in two, nearly three blood transfusions. Luckily my family and friends were an amazing support to me and looked after me emotionally and physically. Steve was just amazing – looking back I feel sad that he saw me go through that and be so unwell, but we got there! I couldn’t drive for six weeks but to be honest I didn’t mind, I wasn’t feeling up to going out much anyway and happy to recover at home in my comfort zone.
Once I started to feel better I started to think again about my diet. I was breastfeeding so was aware that I needed to be eating enough through the day and eating healthily, as well as drinking plenty of water during the day. However when I stopped breastfeeding, just before Freya was six months, my diet went out the window! I would often skip meals and sometimes get to the evening and realise I hadn’t eaten much more than a few digestive biscuits. Some days I would survive on chocolate, coffee (yay coffee! I really missed coffee) and not a piece of fruit in sight.
Now that I am back at work I’ve realised how bad my self care has become. Not only my diet but my general self care – skincare, exercise and general down-time. Before I had Freya I was in a good skincare routine but now I survive on makeup wipes (argh!), something I thought I would never do as it really drys out my skin. Freya is sleeping well now, so I have no excuse not to take more care now that I have my evenings back.
So, I plan to think about me a bit more now. As mothers we are all guilty of putting everybody else first – we come last…but try to take the time to remember what you did for you before you had children, even if you are not a parent you may have fallen out of routines and lost your self care. If you can just do one of those things again to make you feel like you, then do it. For me, this is making sure I drink enough water – I use a Hydr8 water bottle – and aim to drink three of these per day. I also plan to look after my skin again.
I have recently bought some products from Clinique – the facial soap, cleanser and exfoliator and plan to start incorporating these into my routine again.
So, whether it is taking a bubble bath once a week, reading that book that has been on the shelf for years, getting back to the gym or baking – try and plan out the time to look after you. You deserve it.