When I became a doula, it was important to me to support women in the…
We’re moms. We don’t have a lot of extra time or bandwidth. So, if we’re going to take time for ourselves and practice self-care, that shit needs to work. And fast.
I know because I’m right there with you. As a fellow mom (of three), I am no stranger to exhaustion and adrenal fatigue. And I’ve had to get creative in the self-soothing department.
When you’re short on time, you’d probably appreciate an arsenal to pull from, right? One that takes just a few minutes and doesn’t require manicures or lipstick. Well, I created that arsenal for you. Here are the top ten things you can do to boost your energy quickly.
Cuddle Your Baby
Feeding, cuddling, and having skin-to-skin contact with your newborn stimulates oxytocin. That’s the feel-good hormone that protects your body from stress. Because it is impossible for your brain to release cortisol and oxytocin at the same time. Read more about the powerful healing of touch here.
Eat Regular Meals
You run out of fuel just like your car does. And the same way you need to fill your gas tank regularly, you need to refill your tank regularly. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, eating regular meals with ample protein ensures even, steady blood sugar levels, which means you’re ready for whatever life throws your way.
I know, I know, easier said than done. But hear me out. Long-term sleep deprivation impacts your body’s ability to heal, your mood, even your ability to bond with your baby. All things that are very important right now for your wellbeing and your family’s. So please don’t feel guilty about taking a nap or resting. Pass chores off to another family member and take a moment to rest. If you want guidance on how to survive sleep deprivation, read these tips from a sleep consultant.
Hydrate first thing in the morning
Yes, before coffee. A dehydrated body is a stressed body. Our body works all night to repair, rest, and recover. And you know what makes all of those systems run smoothly to do the work? Water. So, fill up a glass first thing and drink it all. If you need to jazz things up because plain water isn’t your thing, check out this recipe for an extra supportive, energy-boosting, hydrating drink. Looking for mega hydration? Check out our Postpartum Aid.
Explore herbal adaptogens
These magical herbs help our bodies adapt to stressful situations. They support the entire endocrine system (hormones) and according to master herbalist David Winston, they “strengthen the entire body by allowing the cells to have access to adaptive energy. They work to protect energy resources from depletion, thus working as tonics in states of fatigue and stress.” My top three faves are Ashwagandha (duh), Schisandra (you know her?), and Astralagus (you’re welcome). I love the capsules from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Breathe deeply and often, especially when you’ve just about “had it!” Breathing deeply brings our bodies back to that parasympathetic or “rest and digest” mode in mere minutes – faster than medication and with zero negative side effects. Shallow breathing is one of the first signs that there’s trouble brewing. This breathing exercise is the best.
Energize Acupressure Points
Apply firm yet gentle pressure with your fingers to the Zusanli acupressure point aka Stomach 36. This point is used in acupuncture and acupressure to increase energy, address digestive issues, and so much more. Talk about multitasking!
To find it, sit on a chair and place the heel of your hands on the top of your kneecaps, fingers pointing down towards the feet. Your fingertips will be about level with the Zusanli point. Move your middle finger to the outside of the shinbone where it gets soft and press on that point for up to 10 deep breaths. Keep your finger and the pressure still rather than massaging the area.
Mindful & Embodied Movement
We tend to live in our overthinking minds. And when we have time for movement, so many of us view “exercise” with the goal of losing weight, building muscle, running faster and farther. An embodiment practice allows your body to lead the movement instead of your mind. It’s an intentional, sensorial movement free from thinking and judgment. So, close the shades, shut the door, turn on your favorite song, and move your body. Dance, sway, shake, jump…whatever feels good. This article has more about using mindful movement to reclaim your postpartum body.
Muscle Relaxation Meditation
This evidence-based practice guides you to complete the stress cycle and stimulates your parasympathetic (rest & digest) nervous system. Starting at your feet, you move through your body tensing muscles and then fully releasing them. Exploring the space between tension and relaxation signals to your brain where you are holding stress, and the release let’s your brain know it’s safe to let go. This allows your brain to start secreting feel good hormones, your heart rate to decelerate, breathe slow, digestion to regulate, and your whole system to recenter.
Legs up the wall
Viparita Karani in Sanskrit. Viparita means “inverted” and karani means “in action.” By turning your relationship to gravity upside down, we shake things up internally. Lymph and other fluids can more easily flow back into the trunk and pelvis. This also relieves swollen ankles and sore knees. The increased ease of venous return (blood returning to the heart) gives you a gentle, refreshing energy boost. Plus, being inverted can give you a whole new perspective.
The greatest gift of these simple practices is that we can experience positive results while doing less. Not more. We’ve been so conditioned to believe that we need to be doing more in order to achieve anything. These practices, and especially legs up the wall, derive benefits not just from inverting an action but also from inverting the whole notion of action. When you relax with your legs up the wall, you are practicing the opposite of activity, which is receptivity.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re an amazing woman doing your best for your family. Take a moment to honor yourself for being here, because that’s the first step of radical self-care!