10 daily self-care habits you should try – not just for new mums!

We all live such complex lives and it can be very easy to forget to take care of ourselves, this is often the case for new parents. But what does Self-Care look like? To me it’s all about keeping up some healthy habits on a daily basis, these are things I used to do before becoming pregnant and that I made a point to resume as soon as possible after my baby Justin’s birth.

Here are my top 10 self-care habits:

1-    Drink a glass of lemon water every morning.

  Just squeeze a few drops of lemon in a big glass of water. It’s a very easy and quick habit to adopt and a great way to start your day.  It helps you waking up faster, it freshens your breath and promotes hydration as well as supporting weight loss. It also aids your digestive system, it can help prevent kidney stone and it is a good source of Vitamin C.

2-    Meditate for 5 minutes.

You can choose any time of the day, anywhere you wish, if you have never meditated and don’t know how to start, just close your eyes and begin to breathe, slowly and deeply, just concentrate on your breathing. If you think you need guided meditation, YouTube is your friend or you can download a meditation app on your phone, like  Headspace.

3-    Make a short list of things to achieve on the day.

Write down 3 to 5 things that your want to get done, make your list realistic and achievable. I find that pending issues give me anxiety but I tend to procrastinate when I feel overwhelmed, so to avoid getting into this vicious circle, I make a short list before going to sleep to ease off the overloaded mind.

4-    Exercise for 10 minutes.

I know you are busy, I know you are tired, but believe me you can do this. The intensity and type of exercise is entirely up to you. Yoga, stretching, dancing, body weight workouts, Tai Chi … anything goes to release those endorphins !

5-    Count your blessings.

When we are tired and busy we often forget how much greatness we have in our lives. I count 5 blessings everyday and write them on a notebook, I try to find different things each day so they all add up and I can read back and feel even more blessed!

6-     Make (and drink) a green smoothie.

A part from the more obvious health benefits of drinking leafy greens mixed with fruit and topped with superfood, I find that the actual process of making it sets my mood to engage in other healthy activities.

7-    Laugh out loud. 

Yes that’s right! Endorphins again! Laughing out loud is good for you, I’m not talking about a little giggle, I mean a big loud awesome laugh! Find a way to do it everyday, with your child, your partner, call a friend, watch a comedy sketch! Laughter keeps you healthy by decreasing the stress hormone and boosting the immune system.

8- Listen to something uplifting.

Whether is music, an audiobook or a podcast it is important to feed our brain positive content. Mainstream media tends to bombard us with negativity as bad news seem to get our attention more than good ones, so I believe we need to make a conscious decision to counteract it with as much positivity. Keep yourself motivated and inspired.

9- Have a chamomile tea.

My favourite herbal tea since forever! I love to drink it before bed as it induces sleep thanks to its calming and soothing properties. It also aids digestion and helps with cramping, it has anti-inflammatory properties, protects the skin and can boost the immune system.

10- Log Off.

A little daily digital detox can really help you refocus, rest your eyes and make you feel happier. It is also good to switch off all electronic devices when going to bed for a better quality sleep.

So these were my top 10 self-care habits, I hope you enjoyed reading and you will give them a try !

Much Love 

Kikka x

Our breastfeeding journey…

Ever since I can remember thinking about being a mum, I always imagined myself breastfeeding.

It never occurred to me that due to a variety of reasons many women don’t breastfeed and that I could be one of them.

I was indeed naive.

Only when I became pregnant and started researching all things mum & baby I realised that this was a big topic with so many ramifications. Going by what I was reading, breastfeeding was not going to be easy, but I still wasn’t prepared for what was to come.

So, how does my story go?

I remember so well putting Justin on my breast for the first time. It felt very natural to me and I forgot all about the things I read on those blogs and forums.

Fast forward a few hours later, my left nipple was literally destroyed! Justin was finding it difficult to latch on the other side, so I kept putting him back on the left. At some point one of the midwives came to check the baby’s hearing and when she saw me feeding him she was horrified by the way I was doing it, she told me it was way too shallow, the position was wrong and that was why my nipple was getting so sore already. Was I in pain, she asked … I was, but I honestly didn’t care. My baby needed to eat.

At his check-up we found out that he had a tongue-tie.

Breastfeeding will be very difficult the nurse said.

It was.

The pain was excruciating, a whole chunk of my left nipple came off. I carried on. Crying for the pain, for the fear of him waking up to feed, for the guilt of feeling that fear.

My husband also felt helpless. He wanted to feed him for me, so that I could rest. So that I could stop crying. So that he could bond with his son. I felt guilty for his feelings too.

I felt like giving up, but I was determined to do what I believed best for my baby, so I carried on. I’m no martyr. I just really wanted to breastfeed, with all my heart.

Meanwhile, we were waiting for an appointment to have Justin’s tongue-tie assessed and probably cut. I started feeling guilty for looking forward to him having this little procedure. Would he have to feel pain for me to be pain free? I did not like the idea at all.

One morning they called to book him in, but due to a series of circumstances, over 5 months later he still has a tongue-tie (believe me this saga demands a blog post of its own!).

The same morning my husband came home with some nipple shields….and ta dah! The breakthrough! No pain, easy latch, plenty of milk and most importantly time to heal.

We quickly got to the point where we didn’t need them anymore and finally breastfeeding was truly established, and it became wonderful.

I’m no longer naive to the fact that this is not a path for everyone, but I hope that sharing my story helps any mum out there who wants to do it and might not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I am not afraid to say that after all that guilt I now feel proud, we have achieved this as a family, we made it through to the other side. The three of us.