Owning Stress

Mumma, please look after yourself.

I know how you work tirelessly, sleeplessly, constantly as a Mum. You are up all night with the baby then the toddler is up at 6am. The true meaning of 24/7. 

 You think your baby has started sleeping through, then they start teething or they are sick or hungry (I have fed my then 2yo steak at 3am while saying to him “Listen buddy, you better be having a growth spurt or I will be so angry!”) How is it that broken sleep is harder after a period of good sleep, you wonder?

When that little three year old hand wakes you up at 3am “because I want to cuddle you Mummy”, you feel angry and loved at the same time.

Getting out the door is a mission. Where did the time go? How has one hour passed already?? How the eff are we late, we were on time a minute ago?? Then your child walks his little muddy boots across the carpet, and you know you have to clean it up immediately, before it stains. You are now 15 min late. Again. Every day. The kindy teachers must think you are so unorganised. 

Sometimes the stress release is screaming into a pillow or crying behind a closed door.

Sometimes it is laughing at the kids, who are deep in conversation about whether Daddy did a poo this morning. “Daddy did a poo” “No, he didn’t. Daddy is asleep” “Daddy did a poo” “No, Mummy did a poo but not Daddy”.

Life is scrambling to tick off the to do list, forgetting that it is PJ day at kindy, reacting to situations and trying to keep up rather than being in control of them. Life is balancing a job, exercise, housework, kids, relationships and half assing all of them. Everyday. On repeat. Motherhood is like swimming while learning how to swim. I get overwhelmed with it, I don’t know about you.

Stress is toxic to the human body. The stress hormone cortisol wrecks havoc on our system. It drains our nutrients, stress activates the Sympathetic nervous system putting us into “flight or fight” mode – when in reality the perceived threat does not require the body to pump extra blood to the limbs and take it away from the digestive system nor does the perceived threat (so this means your own children, or work, or finances, stress triggers) need your pupils to dialate or to pump adrenalin into the system – No, the perceived threat is a signal to you to “check yourself before you wreck yourself”. When you feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious, that should be your signal to say right,  life, today I am owning you. 

A widow I used to work with told me that stress is what killed her husband. She said no job, no amount of money, nothing is worthwhile if it causes prolonged stress. My husband was balancing two kids under two in his managerial position, working what I am sure are illegal overtime hours, and his stress physically manifested itself in the form of scalloped tounge. This was his signal to take care of himself.

Us Mums are so amazing at caring for own children. They are fed with careful thought into their nutrition, we buy supplements, we make DRs appointments for them, we clothe them, we make them laugh, we bath them, fill up their love tanks, we do all we can to give them magical memories while caring for every aspect of their well being. They thrive as a result. So why don’t we treat ourselves with the same love and respect? Don’t we also want to feel happy, loved and as a result thrive? 

Now we have needs, and while it is our job to meet our kids needs, it isn’t our children’s job to meet ours. So keep meeting your kids needs and take every opportunity to meet your own too! Meet a friend for a walk (kids in tow), organise a “whine and a wine” play date with friends, tell your husband to organise date night, buy yourself that nice coat you want, hire help, book in a massage – whatever, be creative and make the time. You would do this for any member of your family, you are just as important as them, so do something.

So today, while I was having a hard day after a hard week after a hard month (but a brilliant, rewarding time, just lots to do all the time, you know how it is #blessed). One kid was at kindy and the other went down for a nap. So I took the opportunity. 


I had myself a warm, Epsom salt and lavender oil bath. 

I made a honey and cinnamon tea and lit a candle. The berry candle by living light candles smells Devine! It is my fave.

I did diaphragmatic breathing and enjoyed the silence. 

Epsom salts are a great way to get magnesium. Perfect for sore muscles post boot camp, for healing and for muscle cramps. They relax the body.

Lavender oil helps with anxiety, insomnia and stress. 

Diaphragmatic breathing is the only voluntary control we have over our nervous system. Your breath is a true tool which communicates with your body all the time eg that it is time to freak out, that you are exercising or that you are calm. Breathing is being in control.

I loved this bath. My 1yo did not wake up during so I got lucky. 

Taking the time to pause and refuel my sanity tank today meant that I was better able to get on with the rest of the day with a smile. Not with a ragey Mum voice and angry face. 

My body is not tense under stress like it was this morning, rather it is like a normal body.

I even managed to shave my legs and put on matching undies when I got out of the bath. So now I feel like I am winning the day when just a couple of hours ago I was sinking under it.

Please, look after yourself Mumma.

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Garlic in the Garden

I never thought I would catch the gardening bug.

My Dad and older brother are keen gardeners however I was never bothered with it. I just happily accepted their generous offers of pumpkins, lemons, plums etc. when time came to harvest.

pumpkin

Now I am a home owner and the garden is calling my name.

Being a student at the Naturopathic College of NZ, there are no surprises that what I want from a garden is a herbal medicine garden. I pretty much envision a medicine cabinet in the back yard! It is also known as a healing herb garden.

“Healing Herbs Garden” contains things such as:

  • Garlic – Forget an apple a day, garlic has been used for it’s medicinal properties for thousands of years and by many different cultures.
    Garlic is a triple power superstar. Just like tumeric, it is anti viral, anti fungal and anti bacterial. There is some evidence to show that garlic can fight against bacteria which is antibiotic resistant(!!!) It fights yeast infections such as candida and provides relief from colds and the flu.
    Garlic also has vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin A. It’s minerals are Copper, Iron, Calcium, Selenium and Manganese.
    In our home, we use a clove of garlic in the ear for ear infections, or raw chopped up in water as a shot when we are feeling ill. We eat garlic daily with dinner (sometimes lunch and breakfast).
    RECIPE: A breakfast garlic dish I was taught was to make stuffed portabello mushrooms by removing the stalk, making a mix of feta and garlic to pop in the middle, frying the mushroom and adding avocado, bacon, ciabatta bread to serve. A little thyme also works well here.
  • Lavender – Aromatherapy as a calming oil, great to induce calm and sleep/fights insomnia, purfume, skin healer, air freshener, helps sooth bug bites.
  • Peppermint – Upset tummy, abdominal pain, bloating, irritable bowel
  • Chamomile – Can be crushed and made into a tea plus has cute wee flowers which strongly resemble Daisy’s! Good for indigestion, anxiety,  burns, anti fungal, skin infections, can be used to help induce sleep
  • Parsley – Helps with bad breath, remedy for bloating and gas, boosts energy
  • Sage – I dry and burn sage to help with good vibes. Other uses are that it sooths mouth, throat and gum infections, antibacterial, astringent.
  • Rosemary – Improves mood, sweetens breath, boosts memory and concentration, promotes healing
  • Tumeric – Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti inflammatory

image-0-02-06-c9dcdf4fcc802e8642bbc082b7d3714e7ca40f22d1587cf15b6a118a0829d7ea-V

 

Garlic has delicious culinary properties too (which is the whole point, right?). It adds an incredible flavour to many dishes, it is a core ingredient in many cultures and spices up common dishes such as mashed potatoes.

 

Growing garlic is all about the timing.

 

On the shortest day of the year it is the Winter Solstice, in New Zealand this day is June 21st, and this is the best day to plant garlic. Why? Because Garlic establishes it’s root system over winter then shoots it’s tops out into spring. On the Summer Solstice, 6 months later, it is ready to harvest. Garlic grows itself from itself so if you have some in the pantry then you are ready to plant! Doesn’t growing garlic make you feel a little more tied to the planet and its seasons, it’s rotations? (No? Just me and my nerdy self overthinking about how I don’t even notice seasons on a deeper level than ‘Oh it’s cold’ ‘hey it’s hot’ so maybe this gardening with the seasons bizz might be good for me and the kids. Ok! Moving along!!!)

Fertilizing the garden for garlic planting

A growing plant gets it’s nutrition from the soil. If a plant has adequate nutrition it will thrive (much like any other living creature!) A little blood and bone (if not vegetarian) and compost turned into the soil will suffice otherwise a good old manure will feed nutrtients and beneficial micro organisms into the soil. Add blood and bone to the surface again every month.

 

Step by step:

  1. Fertilize the soil
  2. Plant on winter solstice (June 21st in NZ)
  3. Plant one clove in a hole about a thumb or finger deep. Plant each clove about one hand (your hand) away from each other so they don’t have to compete for nutrition.
    (Cloves should be pointed tip facing up and flat side down).
  4. Add blood and bone every month, if desired
  5. Watch for tips to shoot out of the ground. These tips will grow 9 leaves.
  6. When the leaves start to turn yellow in patches, the garlic is ready to harvest. Generally look for 4-5 leaves to be yellow and the plant may even fall over. This means it is ready to harvest.
  7. Hang to dry

 

Top Tips for growing garlic

  • Each individual clove can produce a whole bulb. So plant it and it grows itself! Money saved, you do not need to buy a plant or seedling. Just grab one from your pantry.
  • Look for the best, biggest cloves which show no sign of rotting or discoloration etc.
  • Growing garlic is all about the timing because the root system has to establish in the cooler months, then shoot out and mature in the warmer months
  • Garlic can be grown in pots
  • The flat part which faces downward will shoot out roots all winter long to establish itself and the tip will shoot out a stalk, visible above the ground.
  • In NZ the best day to harvest Garlic is about December 21st or 22nd.