How to Take Care of Yourself and Put Yourself First

How to Help Yourself

I have recently been thinking of the Audrey Hepburn quote, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

I had never felt the truth of this statement as much as I have now before I became a mom. I didn’t fully understand selfless, unconditional love, or the fierce devotion I’d have to wanting to help and protect my daughter as much as possible.

At the same time, I also never understood how vital it is to take care of myself, or that the ONLY way to take care of others is by taking care of myself first.

Becoming a mother has taught me what a great helper I am, and it’s also forced me to learn to help myself by taking simple, doable, and consistent actions that make a big difference in my quality of life.

By learning to help myself, and take great care of myself, I am better able to show up in the world as the wife, woman, and mother that I most want to be.

I am currently facing some new stressors in my life. My grandmother, who I am extremely close with had to have emergency surgery and has been in the hospital for almost two weeks. My 90 year old grandfather has been alone in their home, and needs help going back and forth to visit my grandma. I’ve been spending most days at the hospital with them, while also trying to juggle motherhood and all of my other responsibilities, and I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t stressful.

The only thing that’s keeping me sane through this ordeal is my commitment to self care; my dedication to helping myself first.

This is what helping myself first looks like these days:

  • Practicing yoga every morning
  • Spending a little time outdoors each day
  • Eating a healthy breakfast
  • Bringing my own lunch to the hospital
  • Using essential oils to ground me throughout the day whenever I need it
  • Taking a daily break to go for a walk
  • Listening to good music and inspiring podcasts on my drives to and from the hospital
  • Putting away my phone and being fully present with my husband and daughter each night
  • Crying to my husband or a friend whenever I’m feeling particularly burdened
  • Relaxing and reading before bed every night
  • Asking for help when I need it

These activities may seem trivial, and maybe doing one of them by itself wouldn’t have as big of an impact. But the culmination of taking these small moments to take care of myself daily adds up to my feeling grounded, safe, and supported, even during uncertain times.

It is only from this place of being cared for, that I am able to help others. By filling myself up first, I can show up as the patient and loving mother that I most want to be. I can help and support my grandparents as they age. I can be a devoted wife, and a good friend. I can hold more space for my coaching clients and be of greater service to them. I can write meaningful blog posts. I can show up to the world ready to give and ready to help…. But ONLY if I am helping myself first.

This is true for all of us. I would love for you to take some time this week to think about the ways in which you are helping others, and also the ways in which you are helping yourself. Notice if this give and take feels balanced to you. We are here in this world to help one another, but we simply cannot do that to the best of our ability if we are not first helping ourselves.

What can you do to help yourself today?

Please share in the comments below, or reply to this email to speak to me personally!

Take care and have a beautiful week.

Be well,
Ambar

 

P.S. If you are someone who struggles with making self care a priority, I would love to help! I am getting ready to start working with new coaching clients and am offering a free Self Care Strategy Session to anyone who is interested in seeing how life coaching works. I know that this time of year can get a little stressful, and I would love to support you in putting yourself first so that you can have an easeful and peaceful holiday season. Simply send an email to ambar@mamabirdwellnest.com if you would like to claim your free session and we will get it scheduled right away!

 

Stop Stress with this One Simple Step

how to stop stress and overwhelm

 

Hey friend!

I have a question for you… how do you handle stress and overwhelm?

I’ve recently had the realization that there are two major ways in which most of us manage stress in our lives.

The first way that many of us manage stress is by shutting down. Many of us feel a need to retreat when we feel overwhelmed by the world around us. We feel like there is just too much to manage, and so we choose to close ourselves off and take a break from dealing with the stressors at hand. We may isolate ourselves from the people that matter to us, avoid responsibilities, and feel a bit rundown and lethargic.

The second way that many of us manage stress is very much the opposite of the first. Instead of shutting down, many of us decide to add as many things as possible to our to-do list. We turn into overachievers and spend every second of the day checking things off our list. We believe that by being productive, we are proving that we can handle it all, and oftentimes handle it all by ourselves. We overextend ourselves so much, that we don’t have time to even think about our stressors. We may feel a bit exhausted and drained as a result.

The truth is, neither one of these two extremes is particularly helpful. In both instances, we are avoiding the very difficult task of coping with our feelings. Whether we choose to avoid our stressors by laying on the couch, or by adding on to our never-ending to do list, we are still very much avoiding something that needs to be addressed. And avoidance never leads to us feeling good. The only way out of stress and overwhelm is through these difficult feelings. We must take the time to figure out what is causing us to feel this way, do what we can to change the circumstances that are within our control, and accept and let go of the ones that are not.

So think about it… which of these two habits is your natural method of coping with stress and overwhelm? Do you tend to avoid and isolate, or overextend and overachieve?

Once you have figured out your natural tendencies, you can start taking small steps towards balance. The best way to do this is to notice when you catch yourself falling into your old patterns, and start to take a small step in the opposite direction.

If your natural tendency is to shut down and retreat from the world, you might decide to meet a friend for coffee, go for a walk, or have a dance party. These activities will uplift you and may give you the extra bit of motivation that you need to keep moving in a more positive direction.

If your natural tendency is to add on to your to-do list, you might instead decide to slow down by drinking a cup of tea, listening to some soothing music, or binge watching your favorite show on Netflix. These activities will encourage you to give yourself some space to breathe, rest, and recuperate.

I hope that you find this helpful! In the comments below, I would love to know which of these two tendencies do you naturally gravitate towards? I personally am more of a lay on the couch and avoid the world kind of girl, and I am well aware that this behavior is not serving me so I am going to be taking steps in the other direction. I hope that this encourages you to start noticing your own patterns and start taking steps towards more balance in your life.

Wishing you a peaceful week.

Be well,
Ambar

P.S. If you enjoyed this conversation, you would love my new Facebook group, The Stress Free Society. It’s a private space to connect with other women who are working to find inner peace in their busy lives. We have daily discussions on simple ways to decrease stress and anxiety and would love for you to join us! Click here to join the group now! 🙂 I look forward to connecting with you more personally in the group!

 

Want some help reducing stress and increasing peace? Click the photo below to download my FREE e-guide, 50 Ways to Feel Good Fast!

 

3 Steps to Bust Through a Bad Mood

How to bust through a Bad Mood

Through the years, I’ve learned many different ways to relieve stress, decrease anxiety, and cope with the stressors of life. You might think that I’m walking around in a little happy bubble all the time, but that’s not the case. I have challenging days just like everybody else, I get into bad moods, and sometimes I have trouble snapping out of them. The most interesting thing I’ve noticed is that the times in which I am feeling particularly stressed or anxious are usually the times when I am most resistant to doing the things that I know will make me feel better!

Things like taking an hour long yoga class or going in a quiet room to meditate are my go-to ideas for getting out of a bad mood and feeling better. But, they are not always conducive to my life. So, I’ve developed a simple 3 step process that I use to clear my energy and bounce back quickly whenever I find myself in a bad mood. The whole process does not take very long, and when I take the time to do it, I find myself feeling better immediately. I wanted to share with you, so that you can give it a try too!

3 Steps to Bust Through a Bad Mood:

1) Breathe

Many times when we find ourselves in stressful situations, our breathing gets shallow. When we are not taking big, full breaths, it sends a panic signal to our brain, that makes us feel even worse! Whenever I am feeling stressed or anxious, the first thing I do is bring my attention back to my breathing. I take deep belly breaths and imagine that my belly is a balloon that I am filling up with air. I breathe in and out slowly, counting to 5 on each inhale and exhale. Bringing the focus back to our breath is the simple first step to feeling better.

2) Feel

When we are in a bad mood, there is usually a reason behind it. It can be a simple irritation or aggravation, or result from weeks of pent up frustration. Instead of trying to forget about the things that are bothering us, it’s best to allow ourselves to feel them out. Take a few moments to try to recognize what you are feeling and try to give a word to it. It might be anger, sadness, guilt, anxiety, or something else. Notice what you are feeling and let yourself feel it. Sometimes I end up crying when I sit with my feelings, and other times I just breathe into them. The important thing is to give them permission to be there and actually FEEL them. (I have another blog post on How to Feel Your Feelings that you might find helpful if this is something that is difficult for you).

3) Move

Now that you’ve focused on your breath and given yourself space to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling, it’s time to move! Our emotions can get stuck in our body and make us feel worse if we don’t do something to get them out. Doing some sort of physical activity is a great way to move that negative energy out of your body. If you have some time at hand, this would be a great time to go for a long run or take your favorite exercise class. If time is limited, I might put on an upbeat, high energy song and have a dance party in my living room. (June and I have made dance parties a part of our regular routine for this very reason!). It’s almost impossible to stay stuck in a bad mood when you’re dancing like a maniac to Pharrell’s “Happy” or Katy Perry’s “Firework”. Other quick ways to move the energy out of your body might be to do 20 jumping jacks, jump on a mini trampoline, or even just hit a pillow. A few minutes is usually all it takes to get things moving and flowing through you.

And, there you have it; 3 simple steps to help you bust through a bad mood. Next time you are feeling a little bit off, I encourage you to take a few minutes to Breathe, Feel, and Move your way to feeling better! Please let me know how this goes for you in the comments below.

Be well,
Ambar