Art and Soul

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By now we know that self-care is key to healing your body, mind and soul (and sanity!) but women tend to be not-so-good at putting this knowledge into practice. This past weekend is a great example of just ONE of the ways I refresh and rejuvenate for the week so I thought I’d share. (and it’s not even nutrition or fitness related, wow!)

While you may have a giant to-do list most weekends- cleaning, working, caring for children, catching up on laundry (ALWAYS) and oh yeah, maybe a social life (I’m working on that one) I have found that by squeezing in something CREATIVE, I feel more relaxed, rejuvenated and happy by the time Sunday night rolls around. Sound too good to be true? Try it! Creativity taps into the right side of our brain which can help balance out that left-dominant thinking we use in every day life and can even increase our HAPPINESS! Over the years I’ve adopted many little hobbies and the inspiration usually pops into my head and I can’t get it out until I just DO IT! (pretty sure my friends and husband think I’m insane) This weekend it was jewelry.

Like always, I get an idea, set a budget ($20 or less works for me so there’s no guilt if it winds up in the trash, which it never has) and then I get after it. My weekends are full of those things mentioned above (mostly kids and cleaning and LAUNDRY) but in the moments in between, instead of being on my phone, mindless snacking or vegging out on the couch I choose to create. Sometimes I sew, or paint, both of which I am not very good at but it simply makes me happy to use my head and hands and create. 

This time it was a necklace, and since there were extra beads, soon there were bracelets too (and now I totally want an Etsy shop...I’m kidding, mostly.) My point, it was so freeing for my brain that I woke up Monday morning feeling like I had an ACTUAL weekend. You know when people ask you what you did over the weekend and you simply can’t even remember…that’s no bueno. If you’re filling your weekends with a combination of chores and crap food or alcohol, you’re probably not feeling so rejuvenated by Monday morning. Try squeezing in some creative time and see where it goes. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and your brain will thank you.

My “Why”

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I think the last year of my life has truly been one of the most transformative yet. I probably say that every year, but this one has really stood out with all that has transpired in my life since entering “middle age.” With how far I’ve come and what got me to where I am, I feel compelled to share the stories that helped get me here. “Here” meaning calm, happy, healthy, and feeling like my best, most “sexiest” version yet. In my line of work I get to help people every day, a truly rewarding career. But as I noticed I was hearing a lot of the same grievances and found myself giving the same advice from client to client, I realized there are SO many women who need this stuff. They need somewhere to turn for advice or guidance when all of the sudden they don’t feel in control of their bodies, their minds or their lives. They need someone to listen or a shoulder to cry on. From this, Sexy in the Middle was finally born and will be the guide and support for this community of women. You’re not alone here in the middle. We all have different stories of how or why we are where we are in our own little worlds but we’re connected by that strong, deep and powerful energy that is the middle aged woman. Perhaps you’re too damn tired to have tapped into yet, but that’s why you’re here, we will all guide each other. I’ll start...

Body After Baby

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Here's the thing about "getting your old body back" after having a baby (or two or three...) You won't. Your body is permanently changed and for good reason. You grew a human and pushed it out! (or had assistance, which works too, and has changed you EVEN MORE, that's surgery! It's trauma to the body!) My point, you are a mother now. Organs shifted, muscles changed, skin stretched, nutrients were lost and your body composition rearranged so that you could form a perfect human. Phew. You need to start by giving yourself kudos for all of that. But now what?

Society, including social media and magazines talk about 'losing the baby weight' and 'getting your body back' but those expressions are not only toxic, but just wrong all around. You are a new being, a mom, and your priority is keeping this tiny human alive and well. Love is a verb and boy will it exhaust you in those first few months (years.) That said, I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't lose weight or strive to regain lost strength, mobility, flexibility, etc... YOU need to be a priority as well. If you're not taking care of YOU, your mothering (and wife-ing and life-ing) will suffer as well. Been there, done that.

After baby number two, I knew I had to rearrange my schedule to be the best mommy I could be to both my newborn and six year old son and not lose myself in the mix. With support from my husband (be vocal ladies! That's a whole 'nother post) I was able to do things for myself to help me feel good both inside and out while also being there for my family and being the mom I want to be. Paint your OWN picture of a good mom and do that. Take care of YOU, ask for help and don't listen to society. Prioritize and when "you" time comes into play (because sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't) use it wisely and towards the big picture of who you want to be. A belly that loved and nurtured a baby is not ugly or wrong. But if you're feeding yourself guilt and donuts and anger, then re-focus on nurturing YOU and things that bring you peace and happiness- baby time, family time and most importantly, mommy time.