#BeYourOptiMUM is &Breathe's campaign to help parents be their best selves, because selfcare is key to your own and your family's wellbeing. &Breathe's founder, Clio Wood, explains why being your OptiMUM is so close to her heart.
I don't know about you, but I certainly don't feel very optimum when I've just been sicked on for the third time or I've run out of baby wipes just when a poonami hits. Sometimes all the balls I'm trying to juggle conspire to fall at once, like when your brand new baby decides that nothing you do will settle her cries or when the house is a tip and you're eating your fourth pizza of the week.
I really struggled to come to terms with my new mum identity after my daughter was born. I didn't know what to do or how to fix it. I was sad that I didn't have my old confidence and knowledge, especially when I'd been brought up to be strong and independent. For some of us, it's the first time in our lives that we feel truly out of our depth. To get through that postnatal period, touching on postnatal depression and coming out the other side, it was key that I spent time on myself in order to recognise how strong I could be. Ultimately if I wasn't feeling good, there was no way in hell I was going to be a good mother (or person to be around!)
Even in the post-new-mum phase, spending some time on me, rather than in an endless round of nappies is so important. I like to exercise, to feel my body moving, my heart working, and the endorphin rush. Eating well is a key component to your body feeling its best. Mindfulness and massage are ingredients for a calmer mind and less-stressed life. I wanted all of those things but I couldn't put a name to them. I was looking for a retreat but I couldn't find one that catered for all of this AND babies (with childcare) AND dads (my husband missed our baby as much as I sometimes needed a break from her).
So I created &Breathe, to give new mums and dads the time and space they need to re-boot, spending time on themselves but also with each other as a new family and as a couple. Self-care is the reason we exist! And that's why we at &Breathe believe so strongly in self-care. It can feel like there are hundreds of resources out there for your baby, but none for you. But, as some very wise person once said, you can't pour from an empty cup; and you can't be your best you (in whatever facet of life) without self-care.
It's so important to make time for you, to snatch even moments of time to take care of you, so that you're healthier and fitter in yourself. Having a healthy body and mind is reason enough for selfcare, but it also means that you're better able to take care of others. Being your best you, being at your OptiMUM, fine tuning yourself and helping your own wellbeing is our mission, whatever form that takes.
Whether it's allowing yourself time to shop online rather than watching Peppa Pig, getting childcare so you can go to the gym, sharing parenting so you can get five minutes peace with your coffee, eating more healthily so you can feel good inside and out, or remembering to pause and be mindful every day. Selfcare is vital to us as parents and we want to share our exercises, advice and tips with you to help you #BeYourOptiMUM this Spring.
Look out for the best postnatal and parental fitness moves, hiit workouts, recipes and nutrition tips, mindfulness exercises and guided meditation as well as pelvic floor and sexual health advice, all focused on the specific needs of exhausted new mums and dads. Above all, we're here to remind you that you deserve to #BeYourOptiMUM.
At &Breathe we believe in Being Your Best You to be at your best for everyone around you. Our retreats and events allow you the selfcare time you deserve and through this Spring, we're sharing ways to #BeYourOptiMUM - what's yours?
Tag #BeYourOptiMUM and tell us!