Do you ever think you can hear the baby crying, but when you go and check, he’s sleeping … well, like a baby?
Or do you find yourself so frazzled that even the tiniest whinge from your little one sends you off?
You know what that is?
That’s your nervous system. That’s your over-tired, over-stressed and overwhelmed body. That’s a sign to slow down, and take care of yourself.
We’ve all heard of the fight or flight response – when your mind and body believes you are in imminent danger, and prepares to stay and fight off the bear or get the hell out of there. That’s your sympathetic nervous system.
The other important part of your nervous system is your parasympathetic nervous system. This is your rest and repair response. This is when you realize the bear’s gone and it’s now safe to sit down under a tree.
Most Mamas live in the fight or flight response. We are rushed, stressed, juggling three different things at once. We’re on our phones while feeding, we’re on social media while pushing our kids in the swing, we’re running through our to-do lists while washing up. We never switch off.
And you know what that means to our bodies?
We can’t sleep, even when the baby sleeps. We can’t loose weight, because our bodies are hanging onto every calorie in case we have to run from that bear again. We get cranky over the littlest things.
Our nervous systems are shot to pieces.
I used to be like this. Like so many Mamas, I thought ‘busy-ness’ was the ideal, and I multi-tasked like a mad woman. Up at 3.30am everyday to produce Breakfast Radio, before rushing home to write for my website and magazines, before picking up my two daughters, before falling into bed at 8pm. Did I mention this was all while I was pregnant with our third? You will not be surprised to hear I ended up in hospital in pre-term labour at 28 weeks.
Thankfully, the wonders of modern medicine meant our little man didn’t enter this world for another 10 weeks. And in the meantime, I set about repairing my poor little nervous system.
On the top of my list of priorities?
Meditate. Breathe. Just be.
Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t easy at first! There were days when I just wanted to jump up and DO! Clean the floor, write a book, run a marathon, something! But thanks to a very wise baby who protested every time I did anything of the sort, I was couch-bound. And so I begin to slow down.
And here’s the thing I learnt: just learning how to sit and breathe is one of the best ways to switch on your parasympathetic nervous system.
Meditation does not have to be cross-legged lotus-position while making an Om sound (although that’s really great!) It can be simply sitting your tired butt down for five minutes, closing your eyes, and saying ‘let it go’ as you focus on your breath.
Let it go.
Once you start with this, you’ll begin to notice that panicked, rushed feeling slowly disappear. You’ll start to feel more ‘on top’ of things. You’ll be calmer even when your kids are screaming.
It can be that simple.
That’s the great news Mamas. Switching off that fight or flight response can be done. You can reclaim your health, your clarity, your sanity just by starting to slow down, breathe and treat yourself with kindness.
Your body – and mind – will thank you for it.
Join Amy Taylor-Kabbaz from Seek, Act, Love and Therese Kerr (mother of Miranda Kerr, speaker, author and wellness expert) in Sydney on April 10th for more insights into how to nourish your body and mind during motherhood. Includes self-care tips, meditations, support and yummy samples from Therese’s Number One on iTunes book ‘Lunchtime Solutions.’
For more details and tickets to ‘How to be a Divine Mama’, click here.