I’m going to be really honest – the last month has been overwhelming and kinda knocked me off my productivity rails. Among all the regular crazy of our large crew, the start of hockey season and still trying to find my groove back at my day job, there’s been what seem like unending, unexpected stressors that are weighing on my spirit. Having so many things being thrown our way has left me scattered, stressy and like my wheels are stuck in mud. It’s meant surrender and release. I don’t like to complain. I know we all have our burdens to bear, and this isn’t a call for you to join any sort of pity party. What this month has actually forced me to do is slow down, give myself tons of grace and permission to find time and space to catch my breath. Sometimes, I feel, we get dumped on to evaluate areas we need to take the load off and pay attention to what we need. This has definitely been one of those periods.
And in my time of introspection, I found myself carving out space to return to things I once really enjoyed and have been put on the backburner for the last few years. I find myself dreading meal prep less and actually enjoying homemade cooking again. I’m getting excited about home décor once more (watch out Homesense!) – another area I’ve completely abandoned (I have bare walls to confirm!) but used to very much love. And I’m making more time for much needed “mom time outs” (thanks hubs!) for self care, reading, and a little retail therapy to refresh my drab wardrobe.
So on that note, and on the heels of the season we’ll be making sure everyone else is taken care of, I wanted to share some of my favourite “Mom Time-Out Must-Haves!” Don’t forget to treat yourself too, mamas. I know taking time out for ourselves is tough, sometimes impossible even, but it’s so essential to reacquaint with ourselves once in a while – guilt-free!
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I used to love reading a good book and napping in the afternoon on weekends. Since I don’t get to the napping part in anymore (*sigh*), I enjoy winding down my day with a good, soulful read. It clears my mind and helps me drift off quicker. These are some of my faves – most of them about mindfulness, slowing down, breathing more and reducing stress. All things I think all us mamas need.
Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
“A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.” – Shauna Niequist
Niequist’s telling of her journey back to self-love and deep connection in Present Over Perfect is so full of nuggets of wisdom and uncomfortable truths we can probably all relate to in some way. As a famed writer and in-demand speaker, she had what we’d all consider a successful career. But her story tells us something else – hustling and chasing things that aren’t meant for our essential selves does nothing but leave us exhausted and lacking true presence with the people most important to us. Busy doesn’t mean fulfilled. She invites us to “unstuff” our lives, giving the simple yet powerful reminder that even chocolate cake makes us ill after too much of it. There were so many wake up calls in this one, and things that really spoke to me (like I may have underlined the whole book!). One of them was this:
If I could describe what my motherhood journey has been the last few years it would be unlearning Super Mom. Letting go of needing to do it all and have it all and just giving myself bucket loads of grace to not feel like I have to execute every area of my life perfectly. If we’re to have any measure of joy in our life, we’ve got to hop off the hamster wheel and prioritize the priorities. Removing the shackles of unattainable expectations I put on myself has been liberating. That’s why I loved this read by Mom of 3 and founder of the Simplified Planner Emily Ley who encourages us to have a good look at the standards we’re trying to live up to, reevaluate them, and create space for what’s meaningful. She affirms “Without realizing it, many of us have decided to let the world tell us what the “good life” looks like…this isn’t it. The perfectly constructed, magazine-worthy life does not equal happiness…true joy isn’t found in having it all together. The good life is rich, slow, real, and flawed…” I am realizing how very true this all is…
Unplug: A Simple Guide to Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers
I never considered myself the meditating “type” before. I couldn’t get my head around the hype of just sitting with your eyes clothes doing nothing. I’m going to say that if I knew how transformational this practice was I would have started long, long ago. I could be having the most stressful, overwhelming day, and the aches and racing mind and heart to prove it, and when I make time to get still and get into a mindfulness meditation I feel completely relaxed and achieve a level of mental clarity I would not have otherwise. That’s why I love this book. It’s for beginners (still me!) skeptics (once me!) and people who feel they’re too busy for it (um, most of us!) and gives simple, practical ways to introduce this life-changing practice into our lives. It’s called a “practice” for a reason. The more you do it the easier and more transformational it becomes. You know that saying “Be still and know”? This is what meditation does for you. Our minds fill up with all kinds of clutter and can leave us feeling scattered. I’m telling you, when you cultivate silence and get still through mediation, you may get the answers to the things that are causing you unease. I know I have. It’s really unbelievable…until you try it! Go get this book now!
Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow and Finding Your True Purpose
I adore Gabby Bernstein and everything she’s put out, including the Universe Has Your Back. I love Miracles Now because she gives quick and effective tools (108 of them) to combat things all of us experience daily or at some point in our lives, like stress, resentment, burnout, frustration and jealousy. Not everyone has time each day to devote chunks of time to other spiritual practices like yoga or deep meditation. Gabby’s tools offer ways to achieve peace and calm inside us immediately. I think I’ve folded down almost half the pages in the book. This one’s too good!
The Wisdom of Sundays
Ok, so I haven’t actually read this one yet, but just ordered it yesterday…because Oprah! This book is comprised of the aha moments of inspiration and soul-expanding insight that have enlightened many on Super Soul Sunday. Wisdom of Sundays features selections from the most meaningful conversations between Oprah and some of today’s most-admired thought-leaders and visionaries like Tony Robbins, Arianna Huffington, and Shonda Rhimes, Wayne Dyer and more. I can’t wait to feast my eyes on this one, hopefully this weekend.
Pretty & Practical
These Bluetooth wireless headphones had me at “noise cancelling”. A true time out means a break from the commotion. I love the rose gold on these too!
“Happiness is pretty simple: someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to.” – Rita Mae Brown
When life gets tough, I find it beneficial to keep looking forward. To know the hard and heavy is temporary, and there are lighter and brighter days ahead. I’m not much of a “planner”, but I do love having a place to jot down notes and writing inspo, pretend i’m organized ;), and maybe get a few tips on simplifying with dashes of daily wisdoms and inspirations. That’s why I love this Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. I had the Pineapple design, which expired in August and I’m just waiting for a sale to get my new one for 2018. Sometimes just taking time out to get a grip on life management is so necessary.
I love writing my schedule and work priorities out with this glitzy pen. It brings out that “Mom Boss” mode. But you’re on a break and this one is just as good for scheduling in your facial, day at the spa, brunch with your girls, or whatever way you want to use your alone time.
If writing calms your nerves, I like this feather pen for journaling or creative writing. Feather symbolism is kinda big for me. I see them everywhere and love learning about their spiritual meaning. Writing with this pulls out some prose I didn’t even know I had inside of me. Pretty cool stuff.
I mean, a good holder for your mom fuel of choice is a given. Personally I’m coffee by day, tea or vino by night. Whatever your pleasure, I hope you get to sip it start to finish without interruption!
I’m not condoning binge-drinking here, but a glass of vino here and there can sure take the edge off. Love this “On Cloud Wine” glass!
I’m definitely lacking in the consistent hydration department. I know this is something I need to get better at. The evenings will hit and I realize how dehydrated I am. I love this rose gold, insulated water bottle, and plan to carry it around work and to the arenas with me.
Get Your Pampering On
As much as I’d love regular facials at the spa, time and budget doesn’t always allow for it. That’s why I’ll splurge a bit on home based products that can give that close to pro facial feeling. Dermalogica carries such an amazing line of products for all skin needs and types. These are some of my favourites – the charcoal mask, daily superfoliant and skin smoothing cream.
I love these bath bombs by Bath and Body Works for those times I reclaim my bath tub from my toddlers and actually get a relaxing soak in – rare, but amazing when it happens. I love the lavender scented one.
I love a good mani + pedi, and usually take a time out once a month to get one. But when it’s not possible, I love that my favourite brand OPI offers a gel option for DIY. Our mama hands are always doing something, so I appreciate the long lasting finish of their gel line. “Taupless Beach” is my current fave.
After indulging in some pampering, throw on some cozy socks, grab a good book, fur throw and beverage and just enjoy that mom time-out you so fully deserve. I have a bit of an obsession with all the cozy things at Indigo, and for our Canadian readers, you can grab that throw for $35 instead of $80 CAD when you spend $50 until November 22nd. Just got our 3rd one with my last order. The boys are catching on to how cozy they are and have swiped a couple already!
Although it doesn`t happen often, PJs all day is my favourite way to chill out and decompress. I love this cozy, soft one-piece set by Burt`s Bees Baby made of 100% organic cotton, available in Evergreen or Cranberry Buffalo Plaid. These made Oprah`s Favorite Things list for the holidays this year, and I can totally see why!
I hope that you find time to unwind and fill your mama tank regularly. You deserve it. What are your favourite ways to decompress? I’d love to know.
Love & light,