Motherhood has inevitably taught me so many lessons. Some small, some life changing, and so many more to come. One of my favorite things I’ve learned so far is how to really slow down. I’ll elaborate but first I’ll back track.
I worked full time as a waitress up until the last day of my pregnancy. After coming home with my baby, the lifestyle change came as a shock. Although thoroughly exhausted, the idea of taking a nap during the day felt so foreign. I found it impossible to just relax when I typically would have been active and productive. Laundry to be finished, errands to be run, relationships to maintain- all these tasks pulled me out of the present and into the future and sometimes the past. At a time when I should have been healing and easing into a new life, I was pushing myself past my limits everyday and didn’t realize it. It wasn’t until I was regularly experience pretty severe panic attacks, that I started listening to my body. Listening to your body requires you to slow down and tune in and show yourself kindness. Acknowledging the things that I struggled with, and approaching it with curiosity instead of judgement, kicked my interest in health and wellness into full gear. I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I stopped and breathed and let myself “just be.” And thus beginning my love affair with slowing down.
I started making small tweaks to my daily habits. As a new parent, all of a sudden future plans can feel critical and overwhelming. When my infant daughter was napping, I would be driving myself crazy wondering how much money I need to send her to a good schools, when I could have been resting and napping myself. (And at the time I truly didn’t find this unreasonable.) Until I was able to heal from these panic attacks, I vowed to only think of the next six months or so and no further. It made a world of a difference.
Come wintertime, what started as minor car trouble, ended up being nearly two months of my car in and out of the shop. It was just a long drawn out stressful situation. Home with my ten month old with no car and freezing weather outside was giving me severe anxiety on a daily basis. But it ended up forcing me to slow down even more, which was another gift. I got creative with playing indoors everyday, I fell in love with cooking and explored that daily, I organized pretty much everything I own (and turned it into a game to get Sienna involved), I zeroed in on my health, I set personal goals and accomplished them.
I approach my life so much differently now. I know my limits and I know what signs to look for. I know when to stop, just breathe and just be. And how to say no to things that drain me, so I have enough to give to myself and my daughter. In today’s “hustle culture” it’s easy to feel pressured to constantly be working and pushing yourself to your limits. But if you don’t do the inner work first, a burn out is inevitable. Life forced me to slow down so I surrendered and I fell in love with what I found there. I urge you to do the same- you never know what you may find.