Self-care for moms

August 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The craziness is about to begin again for moms -- getting the kids ready for school, running errands, driving your children to their afterschool activities. In the midst of all this, don't forget about yourself! Colette Lafia, the author of "Comfort and Joy: Simple Ways to Care for Ourselves and Others," shares her advice.

Colette's advice:

Caring for ourselves is key to having the capacity to care for others, especially our families. Drawing upon examples from within my book, as well as my experience working with women and mothers in retreats and workshops, I'd like to offer viewers a series of simple and effective tips for greater self-care and self-nurturing. I propose a series of five-minute segments with inspirational and practical suggestions to support women, in particular mothers, in cultivating this important aspect of their lives.

The underlying premise is that the simple, everyday moments of our lives, such as taking a walk, drinking a cup of tea, listening to music, eating lunch, are immediate and available sources of both self-care and caring for others. The segments also will have a seasonal tie-in, so that my tips and props will be selected in the context of the natural cycles of fall, winter, spring, and summer.

#1: Initiate a simple, physical routine: Now that the kids are back in school, it's a great time to start a modest exercise routine, such as taking a daily walk, swimming, riding the bike at the gym, or yoga. A quick tip is to leave your walking shoes, swim gear, or yoga clothes in the car, so you're always ready; that way you can take a walk or slip into a yoga class after you drop the kids at school.

#2: Find a few quiet moments in the day: Invite calm and peace into your life. Carve out a little time throughout the day to slow down. Even the simple step of breathing slowly and consciously can be soothing and relaxing. Try taking three calm and easy breaths, breathing in and breathing out in a gentle way. This can be done anywhere, when you are in the car waiting for your child to finish soccer practice, or when you are sitting at the computer.

#3: Do something just for yourself: Setting aside time to do something just for yourself is an important ingredient in self-care. This can be as simple as writing in a journal or listening to music, or more of a commitment, like taking an art class or joining a book club.

#4: Sprinkle gratitude throughout your day: Taking a moment to feel gratitude for the good things in your life can have tremendous effect on your well-being and the well-being of your family. Connect with gratitude in simple ways: by feeling grateful in the morning for a new day, or taking a moment to be grateful for the food you are eating, or saying thank-you to someone supportive in your life. Cultivating a practice of gratitude helps us to see the glass as half full, and not half empty, and nurtures us in a very deep way.

#5 Look for opportunities to help another: Be open and aware of others who may need a little of your encouragement or support. Call up a friend and meet for coffee, offer a helping hand to someone in need, donate some extra clothes or blankets to a homeless shelter, spend a Saturday afternoon with the kids participating in a beach clean up. Caring for others and caring for ourselves are interconnected.

For more information, visit www.colettelafia.com.

Buy the book on Amazon: Comfort and Joy: Simple Ways to Care for Ourselves and Others

About Colette Lafia
Through workshops, retreats and individual counsel, Colette Lafia teaches the art and practice of contemplative living as a means to achieving peace, purpose and an authentic connection to oneself and others. With an emphasis on deep listening, honest discernment and emboldened action, Colette supports individuals in the cultivation of authentic and healthier patterns of living - resulting in a more joyful and grounded experience of everyday life. Whether one is seeking renewal, discernment around major decisions, clarity of life purpose, or the ongoing cultivation of contentment, Colette's approach provides a means and perspective toward greater fulfillment and a more integrated life. Based in San Francisco, Colette Lafia is an educator, author, and certified spiritual director providing regularly scheduled workshops. She is currently speaking and organizing workshops around her new book, "Comfort and Joy: Simple Ways to Care for Ourselves and Others."


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