Mama Bear & Mama Wolff
How Bells Palsy Diagnosis Changed Mama Fox’s Life
Mama Fox reached out to us a few months ago, expressing interest in being part of the MBMW magic. We are so excited to have her joining our team and urge you to connect with her. She is a multi-talented woman and mama. She teaches post & prenatal yoga. She’s an early childhood educator and also offers yoga for littles. She is a mindfulness and wellness coach. As well as a postpartum doula. See what I mean? All the things!
You can find her on FB
and through her website: https://www.atyoga.ca/about-asha
We thank you Asha for sharing your words with us! We look forward to more of your guest posts in the future.
“Should I go to the hospital?” I asked my husband in dismay.
I couldn’t move my smile, the entire right side of my face had stopped moving, and my face became droopy. All I could think was “is this a stroke?” The doctor would later tell me that I was suffering from an episode of Bells Palsy, typically triggered by stress induced illnesses. I was given directions by the doctor in the hopes that the symptoms alleviate, including to reduce any stressors.
As a yoga and mindfulness facilitator it should have been something I had under control, however I still fell victim to taking on too many tasks, working a job I wasn’t happy at and not taking enough care of myself mentally, emotionally or physically. Upon looking back, in reflection of my mental, emotional and physical health I should have noticed some of the triggers. When my doctor directed me to make choices to relieve anxiety and stress, I made some big changes for real self-care strategies.
Learn to say no.
Stephanie Staples, a motivational speaker I saw last fall at a conference spoke on a topic that hit close to home for me. She sang a song about how “I’m nice for a living” and so when we head home, we have nothing left to give.
Not for our families and especially not for ourselves. I had organized my priorities all wrong, taking on too many yoga classes, volunteer rolls, and leaving my family and myself on the back burner. I sat down and looked at all the places in my life where I was replaceable, and those were the first to be cut.
Things that made me happy, but at the drop of a hat they could let me go and just replace me with someone else, such as work and yoga classes. It was hard to cancel commitments I had agreed to do, and honestly it was sad. I began stretching myself too thin with everything I agreed too and I was not honouring myself. Since then I have continued to say no to a lot of opportunities in order to be sure I could keep my priorities in line, and saying no has felt fantastic.
Before settling down into my family life I was a very physically active, and a very mindful person. I spent hours happily at the gym, committed my nights to a few yoga classes and meditation sessions, and found myself very in touch with my actions. While having a baby never ruined these activities, however my time and energy was now spent on other activities. One day after my son was born, after another doctor’s appointment, instead of rushing in to the house while my six-month-old slept in his car seat, I turned off the engine of my car and just sat there for five minutes in silence.
I was so overwhelmed from all of the running around, instead I just focused on my breathing and the way that it felt as it moved in and out of my body. The rise and fall of my chest. The temperate on my nostrils. After the five minutes I felt so much better. After that day
I began to include this into my day any time I could. Any time I turned the engine off or sat for a moment in my sons’ bedroom, I just took five.
Five seconds to say nice things about myself.
Five minutes to breath.
Go through my five senses to ground myself.
Mind your business.
The corporate companies would like to sell you the thought that mindfulness comes in a studio, pair of pants, spa or a jar. Thankfully I would love to share that they are completely wrong. Mindfulness is different for everyone but typically can take just a few seconds or minutes a day with very little materials; the key is to reframe it.
A quick 2-minute shower could turn into a beautiful 3-minute shower if you add 60 seconds to really focus on the water as it washes away anything which no longer serves you.
Or that mixing 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, Juice of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp honey in a bowl from your kitchen and scrubbing it on your skin for 60 seconds before the 2 minute shower, should may feel like you’ve removed any built up of frustration.
Perhaps before bed as soon as the baby falls asleep, you can rest in child’s pose, a yoga pose in which you crawl to the ground, spreading your knees wide, arms forward and placing your forehead on the floor for five full breaths, to as long as you want.
When I was over coming Bells Palsy I had to lay with my eyes closed and a warm compress on my eyes, that alone was soothing! However, I added a guided meditation session from YouTube which I found removed my thoughts and lead me into a scripted relaxing story.
It is never about the quantity of time in which you take some time to care for yourself, its about the quality. Even one minute of anything can elevate your happiness.
Share the love.
Self care can include others, such as your friends, pets, partner or children. I try to include my own son or partner whenever I can into the things which bring me joy. Once a week we take a walk in the river valley.
Whenever I take my son to the park instead of sitting on the bench or hovering him while he plays, I join him such as sitting on the swing. I’ve even used the time on the bench to practice grounding activities in which my eyes can be open. I’m also lucky because my son loves yoga, so sometimes we pull out our mats and just move together. Typically, I try not to think about it too much since he’s only two and let him guide the poses and how long we stay there.
Lately though, my favorite time for mindfulness is sitting with him at bed time while he falls asleep. After he was really sick, he insisted I stay with him in his room. Originally, I was annoyed, but one day instead of rushing out to do “something” (dishes, a Netflix show, nothing of major importance honestly) I just sat there in dark of his room and focused on my breath.
Removing the stress of “things” and enjoying the small moments has brought much more joy to my life. It has become a small trickle effect of me looking for more ways to be mindful. It was unfortunate that my smile had to be broken in half for me to notice I had pushed myself to the furthest side of my limits, but I truly believe you cannot start to late.
So ask yourself, where can your self care fit in?
Thank you again Mama Fox for being part of our special Guest Post month!
Don’t forget to follow her on all the social media’s. She shares awesome content all the time.
-MBMW 🐻 🐺