It all started when...
Motherhood knocked me sideways for the second time.
My best laid plans for great nutrition and making time for exercise were not enough to keep anxiety and depression at bay. I thought I was so prepared and knew what to expect after struggling with anxiety the first time round. I had even started a healthy snack food business, so passionate had I become about the power of food, and choosing the "right" kind of nutrition. And there I was, struggling again, and deeply disappointed that the tools I thought would see me through were not enough.
The help I was offered came in the form of medication, which I reluctantly accepted but vowed to find alternative ways to help myself.
And that's how the idea behind Raise up Mums (until very recently called Nourish to Thrive!) started to take shape. All the advice and counselling I received concentrated so much on creating more time for myself and getting a break from the kids - but with breastfeeding a tiny baby and no relatives nearby to help, a break just wasn't going to happen! I remember specifically asking for tools that would get me through each day, and through those moments when all I wanted to do was scream, cry and run far away or get into bed stay there. What I received in return however were generic suggestions that required peace and quiet and time. Lots of time. Time to sleep 8 hours, get up early, meditate, journal, cook, prep, exercise, read a book, body brush (seriously!) etc. Time that I didn't have / don't have with 2 small kids.
So I got cross. Cross with the advice I was given, cross with the speed at which medication was shoved my way, cross with the media, for making mums feel like they are failing if they are not doing it "all", which fuels the feelings of failure and anxiety. I channelled my frustration into researching my own self help / coping tools. I read books, articles and blogs. I listened to podcasts. And I made notes. I distilled tiny habits and actionable self care to save my sanity, soothe my aching body and frantic mind and nourish me in a way that food and exercise alone could not.
I recognised that food and exercise alone wasn't enough, but that a combination of self care, exercise, nutrition, stress reduction and mindset is a magical combination. But it has to be consistently sustainable. For mums. Every flipping day. That's what Raise Up Mums is all about. Realistic approaches and sustainability. And support and community, which is why there is a free Raise Up Mums Community you can join and get involved in on Facebook.
It's not about being ok all of the time (surprise - no one is!) but about finding tools to cope better, become more resilient and to recover quicker after a low point.
A little more actual information about me. I'm Silke, mum of 2 girls (currently 7 and 3). My husband works a fair commuting distance away. He's incredibly helpful, supportive and hands on, but arrives home towards the end of bed time, when the battle is almost won. And the sense of dread when the text arrives to say his train is delayed - anyone else? By the time we've eaten and tidied up, it's often 9pm before we can sit down and have time to ourselves. Which most often involves the basics of watching some TV and going to sleep. There's not much time for anyone or anything. Hence the obsession with finding things that will make me feel nourished and sane without the need for extra time in the day.
Most of my anxiety has always centred around the baby / toddler's sleep. Scheduling things around it, getting her to sleep, how long she or I were sleeping......I just couldn't find a way to cope with it.
We're through the worst of that now, with no more naps to negotiate. She sleeps OK at night and if she wakes up, my husband puts her back to sleep (something my mum guilt is still gnawing away at me for, but sleep is the most important thing to keep my anxiety in check).
I was prone to anxiety before kids however and it remains and pops up if I take on too many things and stuff gets on top of me. It's quite clever like that. Handy little warning system really! Lots of noise can set it off, too (which can be a problem when both kids are trying to talk to me or one is whining) and crowds of people / people I'm not very comfortable around.
But each day I discover new little tools to squirrel away in my arsenal and I can't wait to share them with you!
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