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Women's Health
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Welcome to OptiMum.

Self care or Selfish- A mother’s dilemma

 

I’m sure you have seen the term self- care being used quite often at the moment. It seems to be something that many of us are obviously missing out on, to be reminded that we need it in our lives. I feel a pang of sadness that we now have to use a special term to remind each other that we need to look after ourselves.

I also feel as a mother, or just because of my nature, I’m not entirely sure, that there is a fuzzy line between self-care and selfish. A battle I face regularly when trying to establish whether what I am doing as ‘self care’ is actually having a negative impact on others.

This all come to mind after returning from one night away with my husband (the first in years), where our children didn’t come with us. We went to a spa and it was so important that we did go for our health (mental and physical) and for our relationship. It’s been tough few months. It was wonderful and I started to properly exhale and allow my shoulders to drop, something that doesn’t happen when I am being mum.

My wonderful mother was looking after the children and they had a lovely time with her, but I still felt guilt. Guilt that I wasn’t with them and that they would miss us terribly (they did a little but they were busy too). Guilt that I shouldn’t be leaving my children, as, we are their security, and I want them to always feel safe in the knowledge that we are there for them. Guilt because I can still tap in to that feeling I had when my parents ever went away (which was very rare!!) And.…guilt that I am working so much at the moment that when I have time, I should be spending it with them.

This got me thinking, that although the trip was self-care and necessary, perhaps I was now putting my needs above my children’s, and that’s something within me that just doesn’t sit right.

I know, and can totally see the value in parents feeling great and therefor being better parents, so it is inevitably a win-win. I also know that if one of us were with them, the guilt is not so strong. It’s in trying to switch off the instinctive ‘I should be there for my children at all times’ that I struggle with. I know I am not alone in feeling like this and wonder how others tackle the mum guilts?

 

How do you fair in the self- care/ selfish mind set? Do you suffer with the mum guilt’s or do you truly allow yourself to enjoy the moments when you get them? Or do you not even take those moments because you can’t or it doesn’t feel right?

‘Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud’ Maya Angelou

This week I am focusing mostly on mental health. Having been in the pits of despair with post natal depression I have a little insight into how one can go from feeling very much themselves, to utterly lost.
Lack of sleep, children pushing boundaries, babies getting sick, being responsible for others as well as yourselves can feel so overwhelming.
As your children get older we tend to think we should be finding it easier, but for some it isn’t.
Exercise can make such a big difference to helping you feel better, it was for me and I will be posting exercise suggestions soon.
If you feel that a friend of yours maybe isn’t quite themselves but might be too embarrassed to say they are struggling, how about doing a little something for them. Sending them a text, putting a card through their door ( or a little bar of dark chocolate) or offering to pick up their children from school. It doesn’t have to be huge, just a gesture that can boost those serotonin levels for them.
Be a rainbow.

Mood boosting exercise

Focusing on our mental health this week and ways in which we can help to feel better in our own heads.

Exercise and movement is a wonderful way for our brains to release those endorphins and give us a happy boost. When you are in the depths of feeling low, getting up and jumping on the trampoline probably isn’t the first thing you want to do. So why not start off with a walk, the mixture of fresh air, movement and a change of scenery can do wonders. 
Putting on your favourite music and dancing is also a fab mood booster, it is very hard to not feel happier when you dance. Lifting your gaze and opening up your body also helps. If things are getting a little too fraught in our house we often put on some music and have a little dance. The children love it too.

Trampolining is also super fun, although your pelvic floor needs to be strong and functioning well for you to do this. ( get in touch if you feel you could do with some help here).
I can’t help but smile when on the trampoline, i’m not sure whether it’s the motion or the fact I am taken back to feeling like a care free child!

Whatever way you like to move, choose that. The biggest hurdle is taking that first step and once you have, you will be so pleased you did.

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🤔The price of our Health.

 
So I got sent this link the other day, and yes it is real. It led to a big discussion with a physio and we were curious as to what drives some women to spend their money without question on luxuries/ necessities, but not always on their health. For example I know many women ( myself included) who don’t bat an eye lid paying ££ for a haircut and colour, having their nails done, eyebrows/eyelashes done, using mobile phones and going for a coffee and cake without questioning the cost. I’m sure these women won’t be spending £155 on a paperclip but…..Some wouldn’t hesitate to spend a few pounds on new shoes ( trainers for me) , going out for a tasty meal, a sneaky bottle of wine or paying for a number of clubs and events for their children to attend. Of course this is a big generalisation but I hope you get my drift. What is it then, that makes women hesitate to spend on their health?
 
It is common that women will suffer with a health issue for a while ( I’m sure I heard it can be around 7 years recently) before seeking help!
Surely without our health nothing else matters? Finding a well educated fitness/ health professional who has knowledge that will help you to feel better in yourself has no price?
 
Do you ever hesitate at spending on your health?

Is your pelvic floor hypertonic?

👂We hear so much about Pelvic Floor strength programmes and how important it is not to have a weak pelvic floor, but did you know a hypertonic pelvic floor can also cause problems! It is very common in many women and perhaps comes from lifestyles that simply don’t allow us much time to ‘let go’ any more.

🤔 Many of the symptoms can be that of a weak pelvic floor, so if you are suffering, or you know things aren’t right your first port of call should be to see a Women’s Health Physio. Then a down training programme should be followed.

 

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How was your post natal after care?

Many women suffer years after their children are born from aches and pains that may be easily fixed. It could be a weak mid line that hasn’t been rehabilitated, a weak pelvic floor or a c- section scar that is causing stuck tissue and creating a pull on other areas in their bodies.

What do you wish you had known about moving after having your baby? Did you get any information on when and how to move again? Any tips on what do to for your pelvic floor? Do you feel like your body ever fully recovered?

Do you think any of your aches and pains could be connected?

 

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Connection⠀⠀

Hi All. You too may be feeling a little bombarded by the fitness industry telling you that September is the new January. The return of school meaning we should be starting new fitness regimes, changing the habits we created in lockdown and this should be our time to go go go. Ahhh. ⠀
Another layer of pressure to add to our shoulders after the most stressful 6 months many of us have ever experienced. I don’t know about you but I don’t need that right now.
My classes will be starting in September, not because I am encouraging the ‘new term, new you’ motto, purely because I have children and spend my summer with them. The main focus of ALL of my classes will be connection (of course with all the other benefits of exercising), but connection will be key. Firstly, connecting with others in the class, be it online or in person. Encouraging a feeling of belonging to something, seeing others regularly and moving together as one.
Secondly, connecting with your own body. Bringing mind and body together to be totally present, by nourishing your body with movement.
Our whole being has been through a tough few months and I know I need to spend some time giving back to myself and allowing my shoulders to drop a little.
Movement can also be so joyful if we don’t always put pressure upon ourselves to achieve something from it. ⠀
I hope you can drown out the noise ladies, and focus on what is going to help you feel happier, less stressed and able to keep going with the unknown, whether that includes new fitness goals or not.
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Barre

Barre is such a wonderful way to move.
Reaching, twisting, bending, balancing, using all planes of movement. The barre burn/ shakes are unlike anything else.
It is adaptable for all levels of fitness and suitable for all ages. I have ladies in their 20s through to their 80s in my classes.
Have you tried barre? What did you think?
Fancy giving it a go? Come along and join me in class.