It’s no secret that eco living can take a bit more effort than conventional living, but you and I both know that the rewards are totally worth it in the pride, freedom, health and financial stakes.
I’ve always said that eco living is a journey, and not a destination, and you need to look after yourself along the way. I’ve always thought I’ve maintained pretty good self-care but I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve needed to crank it up a notch recently and I thought you may be interested to hear how I look after myself so that I can run both an eco-household and a conscious business.
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I see us as a pretty normal family but we had some pretty abnormal stresses last year like my husband being sued for a naïve oversight and us subsequently making the difficult decision to sell my first eco business Sustainababy, and I honestly think my body is still adjusting and coming down from that period.
But life has been very busy and a lot more stressful than normal lately…….
We spent the recent school holidays not chillaxing with the kids, but dragging them around while househunting in Adelaide. After a four week process of looking, bidding and looking again, just this week we signed the contract on a very tired house in one of our preferred suburbs. Yay for us!!
But at the same time this now kick starts the process of demolishing a house, designing a new one, getting council approvals and building our very own self-sufficient home in the suburbs…. All while living around 700kms away! It’s going to be a super exciting time for sure, but it does add another layer to what’s on our plate and the stress of managing higher repayments in the meantime.
Last month my husband Paul turned 40 and we had not one, but two parties. One with family and one with friends. Both were amazing functions but understandably, took a bit out of me to organise and host.
Looking back just a few weeks I can honestly say we don’t regret this at all though as our friends and family are so important to us and celebrating with them was perfect in every way. But at risk of being called melodramatic, I feel the party with family was extra special as I fear it may have been the last gathering of our full family with our children’s beloved Nonno, my husband’s father and my father in law.
Just two weeks ago he went into hospital and has spent much of the time in intensive care. He’s not in a great condition and we’re not sure what will happen next and he’s having test after test to see what the exact problem is. He is in his 80’s and his health has been on the decline for quite some time, but still, having this happen has really shaken our family. Not surprisingly Paul went to Adelaide last weekend to visit him in hospital and next weekend I’ll visit and spend some time with him and Nonna after fronting up on the panel of sustainability experts at the Transitions Film Festival.
Around this I’ve pulled my crowdfunding campaign together (albeit a little slower than I had planned), run the business, coached my amazing Conscious Coaching clients and kept the bare essentials of the household running (think food on the table and laundry piling up in the baskets!).
It probably was no surprise then that this past week I didn’t just hit a wall, I smashed into it at full force.
The warning signs have been there for a while (exhaustion, weight not budging, generally feeling flat) but some medical test results I received last week confirmed what I suspected, and that my thyroid was playing up and that I’m on the express train to burnout. Not great news for anyone, let alone a mother of young children!
On the plus, my medical specialist said that my self-care and organic wholefoods diet has “protected” me for a very long time. But I needed to be even more diligent with my self care and get much more sleep if I was to bounce back to my energy levels of old.
So, with this little wake up call, I thought I’d share how I look after myself so I’m best placed to run an eco home and a conscious business. I think it’s important that all ecoceptional mums work on the following areas to make sure they stay in good condition themselves. Because at the end of the day, we’re no good to anyone if we don’t look after ourselves!
1. Having Fun
Life needs to be full of life, and I get my weekly dose of “me time” and “fun” at my hip hop and tap dancing classes. I also love Thursday mornings when Master 3 and I hit the local “Mainly Music” program and we dance and sing away together and Friday mornings when I catch up with my mum friends at the local play cafe or playground is one of the highlights of my week.
I’m a person who naturally loves to be on the go so for many years I’ve scheduled in my “stop time” so I can recharge my batteries. For me this is my two yoga classes a week. They are not negotiable and are locked firmly into my schedule!
I also love my essential oils, and use Young Living Peace and Calming blend in a warm bath, Frankincense applied directly when I go to sleep and Stress Away blend applied directly during the day to calm me down (you can order Young Living essential oils directly here).
3. Getting Enough Sunshine
Results from my recent full check-up showed I’m low in Vitamin D, which is not uncommon for people where I live since we tend to hibernate all summer due to extreme heat. You’ll find me going for my daily walk at 9pm in the summer months when the temperature can still be in the high 30’s.
Now that the weather has cooled down to days in the mid-twenties I’ll be ditching my gym sessions for brisk walks in sunshine instead to help boost my Vitamin D. I’m also trying to get some more incidental exercise into my day like walking into town with the kids on their bikes, rather than driving at the last minute. I love an environmental win as well!
4. Scheduling “Me Time”
In addition to my weekly dance lessons I try and enjoy a monthly hot stone massage. #bliss
5. Keeping a Positive Mindset
I keep a daily gratitude journal and I also find that kinesiology and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) helps to keep my mindset positive.
6. Eating Well
I’ve eaten an organic, wholefoods diet for years but over the past week I’ve upped my bone broth consumption to at least 1 cup a day as well drinking a glass of water with a splash of apple cider vinegar on rising. It’s all about maintaining healthy gut flora!
I’ve also been advised by my medical specialist to cut out gluten for a while, to avoid any inflammation.
7. Getting More Sleep
This is the biggie.
Since becoming a mum I’ve always worked when the kids are asleep, which means I’m often burning the midnight oil.
It’s well documented that every hour of sleep you get before midnight is equivalent to two after the clock strikes 12 and I’ve known for a long time that getting more sleep alone will help my health. I just hadn’t prioritized it, until now.
Over the past week I’ve had lights out before 10:30pm at the latest every night, some nights by 9:30pm! And boy is it making a difference!
With Paul and the boys in Adelaide last weekend I took the opportunity to go to bed early on Friday and I slept for 10.5 hours solid!! In darkness (no hallway light on).
Given our results here and boosted energy levels as a result Paul and I have decided that we’ll make it lights out by 10pm every night and start getting up earlier…..anything to shift our circadian rhythms and improve our energy levels and health. If you’re after some tips to get some more shut eye, check out my friend Ditte’s free sleep sheet here.
8. Saying NO
Like going to bed earlier, this is a tough one but it’s essential.
Saying NO to others means saying YES to yourself.
This past week I’ve said no to plenty of things that haven’t served me.
I skipped a gym session, had a pyjama day and I even passed on a dinner out with friends opting for a quiet night in (first weekend in forever alone without hubby and kids)….allowing me to catch up on me.
Here I was having FOMO and even worrying that my friends would forget to invite me to the next dinner but a message from my awesome friend Violet said what I needed to hear: “Sometimes we need funks so we appreciate feeling normal”.
9. Asking For (And Accepting) Help
Possibly the hardest one of all!!
My wake up call this past week has made me realize loud and clear that I need help in my business so I advertised for a PA. I’ve just advertised locally and I have some fabulous applications coming in so I know I’m going to find my perfect offsider.
Going local also sits with my values – eco living is all about think globally and acting locally (like my eguide!) and although so many online entrepreneurs use overseas VA, many Australians use VAs in the Philippines, or use Australian VAs who have a team under them based in the Philippines, I’m not feeling that pull. I have nothing against people in the Philippines at all, but I’d like to create employment in my own town, a town that was ravaged by redundancies at the main employer last year. And I’m ready to have a local resource on my team who is dedicated to my business and I’m prepared to invest in them. Someone who I can catch up with face to face each week and who is right by my side, because I believe that I deserve to have that level of support.
And that’s what getting help is all about, believing that you do deserve that support.
So I urge you to ask and accept help right now if it helps keep you on track for your eco or life goals or just helps get you through a funk.
Getting more help for you might involve hiring a cleaner, doing a child care swap with a friend each week so you can catch up around the home (only to have it messed up when the kids come back home), or accepting some home cooked meals from a friend, or just letting your partner or children do more around the home…. If you run a business, what can you outsource that you’re currently doing yourself?
So tell me, what are you going to change in order to look after yourself more? Please share in the comments below!
How to run a self-sufficient household is the first module in my new program Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs. In this module I share all my tips and tricks for how to run your self-sufficient home so you can lead a cleaner, healthier, simpler life that’s more aligned with your eco values….. even in the busy times.
But I’ll tell you right now and let you know that the key to running a self-sufficient household, a conscious business or just to turn up day in day out as a present mum who has the energy to give to her kids, you gotta look after YOU.
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