Self Care in Early Motherhood

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This week I was interviewed by Carol Beck for her podcast BELIEVE and we discussed the evolution of self care practices. I've shared a variety of creative practices including 100 Days of Bijou Tiles, completing a small piece of art every day for 100 days. 

In our discussion I shared that my creative practice has evolved quite drastically as a new mother and it's been a challenge to adapt to this new pace of life AND continue a creative self care practice. How does a new parent not only find time to shower, eat nutritious food AND make art? 

It's about setting priorities. 

In those early months so many things trumped a creative practice. The constant care for a newborn can be quite overwhelming, and the thought of adding anything into your day other than basic needs can seem impossible. For many it takes several months to get into the flow of parenthood and reestablish self care practices that have been put on the back burner. 

Teaching Zentangle workshops allowed for the time and mental focus to refocus on artwork. Creating class content pushed me to pick up my art materials and begin making art again. 

Create a plan.

I recently told a fellow mom and yoga instructor that I had scheduled and cancelled a yoga class three times before setting foot in the studio. Our discussion was a reminder that in order to take care of yourself, you must create a plan and stick to it. It is SO easy to cancel that yoga class, skip the walk outside, pack away your art materials and put other's needs in front of your own. 

You cannot pour from an empty glass. 

If you are running on empty, constantly putting other needs in front of yours, it can negatively impact your mental, emotional, and physical health. What if you viewed "self care" as "health care?" Sleep, eat, relax. Take care of your health so that you have the energy and attention to share your experience with loved ones.

Identify where you can refocus. 

Do you find yourself scrolling through social media for 20 minutes? Perhaps you trade that time to practice self care at least once a week. It's about making mini shifts to your life in workable amounts. 

Establish your tribe. 

Surround yourself with support. Search parenting groups on facebook, look up a local gathering of parents, or make it a priority to gather with those who are uplifting. Turn to your tribe for support or to give you a much needed break. Schedule in time for yourself so that you support your health and approach parenthood rooted in wellbeing. 

If you're struggling with overwhelming anxiety or depression, you are not alone. Art therapy can be a space for you to explore these feelings. Please reach out to schedule a consultation. 

If you are having thoughts to harm yourself or your baby, please seek immediate mental health care by calling 911 or visiting your local emergency room. 

Please note content in this blog is for general purposes only and does not serve as medical, mental health, financial, or professional advice of any kind. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat mental health needs. 

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Adele Stuckey, LPC, ATR-BC, CZT is an artist, board certified art therapist, licensed professional counselor and certified zentangle teacher. She provides art therapy and counseling services for teens and adults seeking an alternative form of therapy in Old Town Alexandria. She teaches creative arts workshops to help others tap into their creative side. To work with Adele, set up a consultation