Finding Balance

The Balance & Motherhood Podcast – A Practical and Insanely Effective Approach to Finding BALANCE for Mamas
(episode 004)

Why this podcast?
You may remember that back in September I published this post about the Doing It At Home podcast. Hosted by married couple Matthew and Sarah Bivens, the DIAH podcast takes you on their journey to home birth.

I am a little bit addicted to that podcast and LOVE how open and honest both Matthew and Sarah are about their journey into birth, parenting and their relationship in general. The DIAH podcast also features a whole bunch of home birth stories from families who have listened to Matthew and Sarah’s story and been inspired to share their own.

The Balance & Motherhood podcast has just recently launched and is hosted by Sarah. Solo style.

I couldn’t not check it out.

According to Sarah  –

“You are ridiculously worthy of a balanced, joyful and badass life. Let me show you!”

Her website, www.sarahbivens.com, features some great resources focused on finding balance in the craziness that motherhood can be.

The podcast is just one of these. Also available are courses and, oh yes, a couple of freebies.

It’s definitely worth checking out.

How does it look?
This podcast is absolutely, brand spanking new and there are eleven episodes to date.
Episodes tend to be twenty to thirty minutes long and have covered self-care for mothers, Sarah’s own journey, how to stop being a martyr and ask for help and how to pick a word for the new year and set powerful intentions.

More recently, ten minute long “Monday Mantra” episodes have also been released.

Why this episode?
You may have noticed that this is the first blog piece I have written in about four weeks. December was a wonderful but busy month for our family and I simply let go completely of any ambition to get anything done, at least as far as this blog goes.

I don’t regret it, it was amazing to be able to just focus on family but at the same time, I realise it was not the most balanced approach I could have taken. More of an all or nothing approach actually!

I felt that with all the December craziness behind us and with many people aiming to start afresh moving into the new year, an episode on finding and achieving balance would be perfect.

Who should listen to this episode?
Anyone who might be looking for some super simple, practical ways to put some balance back into to their lives.
Dare I suggest that perhaps mothers are the ones who need this the most?

The episode
Sarah talks about how balance is not a straight line or a final destination. That once you find it it doesn’t mean that you will somehow just stay balanced. Life has curves and turns, hills and valleys and sometimes that sense of balance will be missing. I love that Sarah underlines that that is ok and that what matters is that you get back on that balanced path.

Sarah uses an acronym to help you easily remember these simple steps.

Breath
Intentional, slow, deep breathing. Not only is it calming but it can help to regulate your heart rate and blood pressure and just give you a few seconds to pause and re-group.

I actually do this when I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed by all the things that need to get done and Sarah suggests using it to avoid joining your toddler in a full-on meltdown.

I would add that deep breathing is different for everyone. Focus on breathing slowly and calmly rather than forcing super deep breaths that make you feel like you’re going to pass out.

Aqua
I was kind of hoping this one would mean we should take a long, hot bath each day or maybe visit a spa regularly.
What Sarah actually means, however, is drinking enough water. I guess that’s going to be easier to achieve than a daily spa trip….

Begin simply by paying attention to how much water you’re drinking. If you’re feeling kind of achy during the day and feel thirsty you might want to increase your water intake.

Sarah actually gives a formula for estimating how much water you should drink. You take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. That number is the amount of water (in fluid ounces) that you should aim to drink each day. I know, I’m going to need to do some google conversions too….

Getting enough water can improve, among other things, your quality of sleep, mental alertness and digestion. So, definitely worth keeping an eye on your water intake.

Lengthening
Stretching. Out. Your. Body. That can mean a full stretch first thing each morning, a few head rolls or even just giving your arms and legs a good shake out.

Yoga is great of course. You could take a class or just check out a few resources online and take what works for you and your lifestyle.

Sarah recommends Yoga with Adrienne. Here you can find yoga for various levels, that fits whatever free time you have, to target certain areas of your body and even for different feelings (eg yoga for when you have your period).

Stretching can be great, Sarah says, for both body and mind. Think of it, she says, like a mini-meditation moment. You can even combine a few stretches with your calm breathing. It’s win-win!

Anaerobic
This doesn’t necessarily mean running three times a week. However you choose to move your body is great. Do a few squats whilst cleaning your teeth, a handful of jumping jacks before getting in the shower or a few situps while you wait for the kettle to boil.

None of these requires a change of clothes, a babysitter or even more than a minute or two. Slotting in bits and pieces of exercise throughout your day will definitely add up.

Sarah is a personal trainer and, if you’ve seen her Instagram pictures, you’ll know she’s in amazing shape. I was surprised to hear her say that she only does two formal workouts a week and the rest is just throwing in a few squats or planks at random moments during her day.

Not only does she look great she says that she feels more energetic, stronger and more limber than she did before starting to exercise this way.

Nutrition
“It’s not what you’re eating. It’s what’s eating you”

How do you feel about the way you are eating? What do you tell yourself when you eat? How do you feel afterwards?

Sarah talks about her belief that the emotion that you hold surrounding food has just as much of an impact on you as the food itself.

It’s a concept that resonates with me but I think you will have to listen to Sarah lay this out for you rather than me trying to take you through it here.

Oh, and breakfast salad.

Cleansing
Detoxifying and releasing.
Think about letting go of social media for or at a certain time each day.
Consider making small changes to your diet – have one day or two days a week without alcohol or cut out one cup of coffee each day.

Again, this is about balance. Not going all in because, for most of us, that kind of approach isn’t sustainable.

Small, simple, real changes.

Energising
This is all about refuelling, replenishing yourself. This one is so important for mums. It’s so easy to put ourselves last.

Meditation, writing down your thoughts and emotions, going out for dinner with your partner or a friend, these are all energising for YOU and makes you feel like you again.

What do you do to give back to yourself?

To wrap up
I have to say that I am not as in love with this podcast as I am with the DIAH podcast. I miss the interaction and back and forth between Matthew and Sarah and, I guess, the elements of pregnancy and birth.

Having said that, I am looking forward to checking out more episodes and following Sarah on her solo journey. I think she has a lot of very useful, down to earth advice and ideas and she just comes across as such a warm, open person.

Oh, and I don’t think anyone can argue that spending ten or thirty minutes here and there to introduce a sense of calm and balance into your days is not time well spent.

I’m super curious to hear what you think of this one, please drop me a comment!

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By emilywills

Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.

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