Self-Care with Dr. Rebecca Ray
You know when you come across someone doing magnificent things and it just stops you in your tracks, because their whole vibe just speaks to your soul? Well, I found that, and of all the places to find such true bravery? Instagram!! Honestly, there are some incredible humans over there, you just have to know where to look.
I first came across Dr. Rebecca Ray in the midst of my Post Natal Depression, almost at the exact point I opened myself up to the universe and decided that I was going to stop running and be brave instead, I stumbled upon her account and it has been a constant stream of wisdomy goodness since.
Dr. Rebecca Ray is a Clinical Psychologist, Author, and Speaker. Rebecca is the creator of the Happi Habits program, has just released a new book aptly titled ‘Be Happy’ full of powerful methods for personal growth and well-being. Possibly her best creation so far? Her *beautiful* baby boy.
Everything Rebecca puts out to her Instagram speaks to my soul, so I had to reach out to Rebecca and see if she would like to share her words of wisdom with the beautiful Mum’s in my Tribe and of course, Rebecca delivered.
You have recently given birth to a beautiful baby boy (congratulations 😍) What advice do you have for new Mums navigating the newborn phase?
The best advice I was given by a close friend of mine was “Lower your expectations and then lower them some more.” She wasn’t saying this to be negative about the newborn experience – instead, she was speaking firmly to the perfectionistic side of me who is known to have unrealistic expectations about productivity on the daily! It’s been helpful to redefine what it means to be productive.
I would add to that advice to remember that hormones have a huge effect on our minds and bodies. On days when I’m a little too sharp at the edges, a little too stormy internally, I try to speak kindly to myself with a gentle reminder that my hormones are still adjusting.
And finally, you might not be able to do all the things, but the tiny things you do every day in the service of nurturing that small person will change you viscerally in the most beautiful ways. Watch out for the smiles when bub is falling asleep – they’ll get you every time!
*As an aside, I had a horrendous pregnancy. My sole advice for pregnancy would be to make sure you have an obstetrician who gets you, who validates and treats any problems as they arise, and who makes you feel confident that you can make it to the other side! I was lucky enough to have a doctor who ticked all these boxes and she kept me sane during what would have otherwise been a traumatic physical experience.
The transition into parenthood can be challenging, particularly letting go of your former life. How have you moved through this season of change in your life whilst still preserving your self-care?
Support. I am in the very fortunate position of having my wife who has been present for every minute detail of Bennett’s conception, my pregnancy, birth, and beyond. It’s Nyssa that reminds me when I need a break. She is the one that holds space for me when I am on the edge of irrational because of sleep deprivation, and it’s her who takes Bennett from me so I can rest my back. She reminds me I’m doing the best I can and she does everything she possibly can to make my day easier. Thank you for asking me this question so I’m reminded to go and thank her for being the most precious partner a person could ask for.
A lot of Mums that I work with struggle to build personal boundaries, particularly around the balance between motherhood and career, what advice would you give?
This probably speaks to my friend’s advice from the first question. And I am not sure that I can speak with any authority given Bennett is only two months old and I’m still finding my feet with routines. However, Nyssa and I have a process. We ask each other what one thing we’d like to get done that day and then we go out of our way to manage Bennett and our time and tasks so that each of us can get that one thing done. Most of the time we make it, sometimes not. We’re lucky that we both work from home and have each other’s help. Not everyone has our situation though. In that case, I say do whatever works! Including accessing support wherever you can and reminding yourself that you’re only one person and small beings are very demanding (but this too, shall pass).
What does self-care mean for you and do you have a routine or flow that you can share?
Self-care means different things at different times to me. Sometimes it means forcing myself to go to bed early because I need to sleep when Bennett is sleeping. Sometimes it means doing the thing on my to-do list that’s hanging over my head like a cloud to relieve the pressure. Sometimes, it’s about getting out of the house to change my geographical view to recharge my soul. And sometimes it’s as simple as having a bath and breathing deeply. BUT my most important act of self-care is to remember to speak to myself in a kind and friendly manner. It takes a huge amount of effort into my often critical internal voice, but the effort is always worth it.
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