Transcript: Self Care Ideas For Moms – Tips to Be Your Best Self
This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is called Self Care Ideas For Moms – Tips to Be Your Best Self and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.
Helen Thompson: Not surprisingly, the topic of self-care comes up on First Time Mum’s Chat fairly regularly, and it’s something that many moms struggle with, whilst juggling the needs of their little one. It is of course easy to suggest contacting friends and relatives to see if they can give you time out, but this isn’t always practical or even possible in some situations.
I feel that self care is also about personal development, involving our own internal journey. This week’s guest wellbeing coach LaKeisha Entsuah, helps working moms create systems and routines for a better work-life balance to ensure they avoid burnout. LaKeisha is a mom of 3 who found that there was never enough time in a day to do what needed to be done and whatever she did, never felt enough.
She’s made it her mission to support women with practical tools and support, and her approach is centered on helping moms get in touch with their needs, so they show up their best self each and every day. I very much like LaKeisha’s approach of building a proactive self-care routine that fully aligns with each mom’s personal and professional goals.
During our chat, you’ll hear LaKeisha talk about the importance of figuring out who you are and what your interests are and what things really get you going. Working out what things bring you joy and what things that you do make you perk up and her 4 step process that she takes her client through and how figuring them out will help you figure out your life and how to live with less stress and more joy, knowing what phase of self-care cycle you are currently in and the 3 phases and so, so much more.
Hi LaKeisha, and welcome to First Time Mum’s Chat. I’m delighted to have you here. I’m looking forward to chatting with you. I will let you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do and your background.
LaKeisha Entsuah: Sure, well first, Helen, thank you so much for having me, I really appreciate it. My name is LaKeisha and I am first and foremost a mom of 3. I have 3 girls but I am also a author and a wellbeing coach. In my work, I help women, mostly working moms, find ways to make their life work better for them.
So what I mean by that is helping them to figure out what it is that they need in order to show up as their best selves, and then figuring out ways to make that fit into their life so that they can be there for the people that they love the most, but also so that they can achieve their goals and dreams that they have for themselves.
Helen Thompson: It sounds really interesting and you mentioned you are an author. What’s the name of your book and what’s it about?
LaKeisha Entsuah: So the first book I wrote is actually a Christian devotional and it really is just about prioritizing your life and ways to live. I also write many resources for the women that I work with. So workbooks and journals and things like that, that I provide to help them on their journey.
Helen Thompson: So with your coaching, how do you inspire women to be able to find out who they truly are and help themselves to be the best women they can be.
LaKeisha Entsuah: So what I like to explain to my client is, before you can be everything to everyone else. And I don’t actually recommend trying to be everything to everyone else, by the way but before you can really take care of everyone else, you have to really get in touch with what you need in order to function.
And so a lot of us will say, oh, I need to eat, I know I need to sleep, I probably need some form of exercise and then I’ll be good. But we never really dig deeper beyond that. We usually try to keep it really basic.
So what I try to get them to think about is, but what are the things that bring you joy? What are the things that you do or you can do that make you perk up! What are those things? Beyond knowing that you need to eat well, what are foods that really you’re like, Ooh, yes, I want to eat that and when I eat it, I feel good. What are the things that you read that are very interesting to you or hobbies that you may have that give you energy and make you want to make time for them?
I think when we find ways to figure out who we are as people and what our interests are and what are those things that really kind of get us going, then we can start to say, okay, this is how I need to live my life. So I tend to take my clients through a 4 step process, and I say, you need to know your needs, you need to know your limits, you need to know what phase of the self-care cycle you were in, and I’ll explain that in a moment and then you need to know your resources and if you can figure out those four things, you can figure out life, you can figure out how to live with less stress and more joy, and how to avoid the overwhelm and so figuring out your needs are kind of those things that I talked about. Knowing what are the things that bring you joy, what are the things that make you happy, what are the things that bring you energy? Knowing your limits are not just about your physical limits, because our bodies are really good at telling us what our physical limits are.
So when I say that, I mean knowing your mental and emotional limits because I think, as women, we’re really good at pushing past our mental and emotional limits in order to serve the people around us. What that actually does though is raises our stress levels and leads us faster to burnout faster, to feeling overwhelmed, faster to those feelings of feeling underappreciated because we’ve kind of ignored all the signs that, hey, this is an emotional limit, hey, I don’t really have the capacity for that. And so I like to say, when you get on the phone with your girlfriends or with your family and they’re ready to kind of unload on you and pour out their day, think about for a minute if you really have the mental and emotional capacity to absorb that because they usually call the people who they know will empathize with them or sympathize with them or who will allow them to unload on them. So think about if you have the emotional capacity to absorb that. And then if you don’t, don’t be afraid to say, you know what, I understand that you need to talk right now, but unfortunately I don’t have the capacity for this conversation today.
And not being afraid to set that boundary for yourself. And the same holds true when you’re at work. We think about overloaded, like work schedules and things like that, and don’t be afraid to say, I’m sorry I can’t make that meeting today. I know it says my calendar is technically open, but I don’t have the mental capacity to take that on right now and being able to hold that boundary for yourself.
And then when I say know your resources, not just the people, cuz when we think about resources, we think about sometimes the people who are around to help us and things like that. But what are the services you can sign up for to make life easier, what are the tools you can use to make life easier?
All of those things are part of your resource kit in addition to the people who are around you. Who are not just available, but who are also willing to help. Because sometimes we have people who are available but they’re not willing and then what happens is we ask them, they’re not willing. And so then we shut down and we say, okay, I’m just not gonna ask for help because no one wants to help me.
And the reality is, is that some people might not want to. But there probably is at least someone around you who can help in some capacity. And so being aware of who those people are and how they can be part of your resource kit. And then the last one is knowing what phase of the self-care cycle that you are in.
And so when I talk about the self-care cycle, just like the ebbs and flows of our life, self-care kind of follows that same ebbs and flows. So at different stages of your life, you’re going to need different things in order to take care of yourself. So I call them 3 phases. There’s the creation phase, the elevation phase and the restoration phase.
So in the creation phase, that’s kind of when your life is feeling what some people call balance, you kind of have everything under control, you may have some time to adapt some new habits. You might have some time to learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby. You have enough time to work out if you want to. Spend time with friends when you want to, you’re getting a good amount of sleep. Everything seems to be in order. That’s the creation phase.
The elevation phase is when you’re kind of pushing to your next level. It might be a busy time at work, it might be a lot going on within your household. It might be a period of transition like bringing in a new baby or moving into a new house or starting a new job. Those are times where efficiency is the name of the game for you. So you might not have all the time in the world to do all of the kind of self-care activities that you normally like to, you might not have time to spend an hour every Saturday afternoon and read a book, but you do have time to make sure you get your workouts in and to make sure you have some quiet time, a couple of nights a week. So it’s really about being as efficient as possible, but still getting what you need.
And then the restoration phase is about really pouring back into yourself what you’ve kind of depleted during that elevation phase. So this is when you’re spending more time on you. It might be self-development, it might be recovery from an illness, it might be recovery after childbirth. It might be going away for a vacation for a little while where you’re really just kind of relaxing and tuning into yourself. But the name of the game with restoration is just as it suggests, restoring you mentally, physically, and spiritually. And when you get a handle of those 4 things, that is when you really know who you are as a person and then you can better navigate your life and make it work for who you are.
Helen Thompson: I particularly like what you said about expressing yourself. I know I’ve done that with podcasts. I’ve had so many podcasts in one day or so many podcasts in one week that this year I’ve made time in my calendar for me because there are times when I’ve just felt so overwhelmed and so exhausted because I’m trying to get so many things in at once. I felt the way you’ve just expressed, I’ve felt overwhelmed and also what you said about giving time for yourself, allowing that time for yourself. If somebody asks you to do something and you don’t feel that you’ve got the capacity, as you said, to do it.
I like to think of it more as trusting my intuition and believing in myself that if somebody’s coming too close in and expressing them, them, them, I think there are times when you’ve gotta say, look, I understand how you’re feeling, I understand that’s where you are at at the moment. I’m happy to help you, but at the moment I’m just finding myself, taking in too much, can we resolve this another day and I think those two things are so important. I learnt a lot about that in my self-development. I was taking on too much and not giving anything to myself. And I think that is a lot to do with self care. People always talk about self care as you’re saying, about just taking care of you and taking care of your baby and everything else, which of course is number one. However, you’ve got to go inside yourself to find out truly what’s going on and that’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to have a chat to you, because I think you’ve got a very good approach to self care. You see it in different stages, rather than going out there and saying, right, you’ve gotta ring somebody up and ask them to take care of the baby. It’s more being in tune with you and being in tune with where you are.
LaKeisha Entsuah: Yeah and I think too, it’s also about not being able to express those needs so I think sometimes, we can, especially as women, as mothers, we get this idea that, well, I have to sacrifice for my children. I have to sacrifice for my family and we tend to sacrifice to our own detriment. And the reality is if you are not well, your family cannot be well, right? You have to be able to take care of yourself, and part of that means being able to say, to your partner, to your family, and sometimes even to your children when they get a little older saying, hey, you know what, I’m going to need a few minutes. Or, you know, I do need some help, I’m going to need assistance. No, I can’t do all of these things today, this week, this month, this year even, depending on what’s going on in your life, but being able and having the courage to actually express those needs and let the people around you know where you are.
Helen Thompson: Yeah and I think that also, talking about your children when they get older, if you do it from a very early age with your children, even when they’re 1, 2, even when they’re babies, if you do that from a very early stage, you are actually encouraging your children to be like that. You are encouraging your children to say, right ok, I’m not in the space to do this right now, but respecting each other and respecting that they can also have that space if they’re having a meltdown or whatever, understanding each other and I think that’s a good key too, to put that forward at a young age so that when they do get older, they will respect that you need that time and you need that space. If you need to do meditation, if you need to go for a walk, if you need to go for exercise, or if you need time to yourself, then if you start that, well, then your kids will say, oh, no, mom, I need time to do this, I’m having a rough time at the moment, I’ll just need time to sit then I’ll come and communicate with you and talk to you and give each other that respect, I think, is a key as well.
LaKeisha Entsuah: Absolutely and I don’t think that they are really ever too young to learn, at least at some level. And so I’ve taught my children from a very young age about understanding when you need time away in each of their rooms. My twins are 5, my oldest is 10, so they’re older now, but they each have a space in their bedrooms where they can go and it’s kind of their quiet space and they know that. Everybody in the house is aware of that. And so, my 5 year old can say, I need some quiet time right now. Okay, you know where your quiet place is. You can go to your quiet place and when you’re ready to join the rest of us, then you can just come back. But I think, to your point, it opens those lines of communications early. My kids also know that in the morning when I wake up, it’s my quiet time. And so they know, unless in emergencies we don’t bother mommy during that time. We know that there are things that we need to do, but we don’t bother her during this time because it is her quiet time. And so even my 5-year-olds understand that concept.
And so they’re fully aware. But that came because those were things that we established early on, especially once they could begin to verbally communicate. That’s when we really began to use the language of calming down, needing space, quiet time. So I think that you can begin to teach your children absolutely, very early on what that looks like, and then modeling it for them because more is caught than is taught, right and so as mothers, the more that we model that for them, and the earlier we model that for them, even if they can’t verbalize it, they are learning those concepts. And so to your point, once they get older, then it’s already ingrained in them and so that is what they expect to be the norm so then they become adult and instead of them allowing themselves to get burnt out and trampled over, they’re like, no, I’ve had a lifelong of lessons of my parents communicating and modeling for me what setting those personal space boundaries and setting those limits looks like.
Helen Thompson: I agree, and I know this can be very challenging for a mom. Sometimes you just need to step back and just say, okay, if my baby’s crying, I know my baby’s safe, and I know you know they’re not gonna get hurt. I’m only two minutes away from them, I’m just gonna sit here quietly and relax for a little bit and then attend to my baby. You are not ignoring your baby by letting them cry and I’m not saying you let them cry for 10, 15 minutes. You just give yourself that breathing space and as we said, they will learn at that young age to respect that.
And when they get older and they’re able to verbalize, they’ll understand because they can say, okay, mommy, I remember you did that when I was little and I understand that. I think it’s a hard one for a first time mom to be able to do that. To just step back for a few minutes and just chill before you get overwhelmed.
LaKeisha Entsuah: You know, I’ll say, I remember when my oldest was born and I struggled with my fertility for over a year before conceiving my oldest daughter via IUI (Intrauterine insemination) and so my entire pregnancy I was kind of on edge. It was like, okay, we’re finally pregnant and so it’s holding on for dear life. Okay, let’s just get to delivery and deliver a healthy baby. And then once she was born, it was almost like she was a glass vase, right? It was like, okay, no, I have to jump in and tend to her every whim. So I understand the moms who are like, no, I’ve gotta go and if my baby even whimpers I gotta jump up and tend to them and see what’s happening. I will say that will have you spiraling down very quickly. As if the first year of life isn’t hard enough and comes with all of its challenges and the sleepless nights and things like that, you will literally worry yourself if you continue to move at that pace. And so I had to learn very early on and figure out a way to function and still meet my own needs while understanding that she was not gonna break and she was going to be okay. And so for me, the first step was things like being able to take a shower during the day. And it seems very simple, but for those moms who are listening who are a month or two in and it’s like, oh my God, it’s so hard to even, eat or get a in a shower every day, I got to the point where I said, you know what, I’m gonna sit you in this bouncy chair, I’m gonna strap you in, that way you can’t go anywhere. I would sit her in the bathroom just outside of the shower, and then I would take my shower. So I got a nice hot shower and she was perfectly safe. This was like, you’re not gonna go to sleep, fine. This is where you’ll sit. First couple times she squirmed and maybe fussed a little, but she was safe.
I could see her and I was still able to do what it was that I need to do. It’s a hard thing to learn, especially if those are behaviors that were not modeled for you. And so if your mother or grandmother or aunts, the older women in your life, the things that they are suggesting to you are contrary to that and a lot of times they are, it can be very hard for you, one to do things differently. It can always be hard for you to do things differently than the generations before. But to also be self-assured in yourself as a mother enough to know that your baby is still taken care of and is still loved and still feels your love, even if you take time for yourself and better yet, you are in a better space to love on them and to guide them and to take care of them when you take care of yourself.
So I definitely understand where they’re coming from and it was something that, it took me a few months to learn after my first child was born. But I will say those kind of hard moments that tug at your heartstrings a little bit, where you feel like, oh, am I doing a good enough job if I step away and do this? I will assure you that all of the love that you pour into them in all those other moments, those few moments that you take for yourself doesn’t even phase them.
Helen Thompson: Yeah, I think as you say, you’ve gotta fill your own cup first with love, before you can give love to somebody else. I think that’s a good key. So is there anything else that you’d like to add?
LaKeisha Entsuah: I think the biggest thing is to trust yourself. I think, we a lot of times will second guess ourselves, especially if we start to believe that we’re being selfish by taking time for ourselves. And so we’ll say, oh, do I really need to do that? Do I really need this time? If your mind, if your body is telling you you need to take a break listen to it. And then you will definitely feel the rewards later. You will feel yourself being in a better mood and being better equipped to, as you said, pour out love back to your family and those around you because you did listen to your body, and take the time to pour that love into yourself.
Helen Thompson: Thank you, that’s a very good tip for any mom. So if somebody wants to get in touch with you and find out more about your services, how do they go about doing that?
LaKeisha Entsuah: Well, you can find me on my website. It is WellBeautyLab.com. That is the easiest way to learn more about me, learn more about my services, to check out some of my resources. All of those things can be found on my website.
Helen Thompson: Well, thank you for joining me and sharing your wonderful tips. I’ve actually learnt a lot from you as well and I really appreciate that. So thank you for being on the podcast.
LaKeisha Entsuah: Thank you so much for having me. It was truly my pleasure.
Helen Thompson: Wow, I really enjoyed talking with LaKeisha, and she certainly shared some great tips on self-care. I do hope you’ll take on board her suggestions to make life easier for you and your family. I highly encourage you to check out LaKeisha’s website, and I’ve also included links to her Instagram as well as a free self-care guide in the show notes which can be accessed at MyBabyMassage.net/podcast/111.
Next week I’m chatting with mom to a 2 year old Jen Cooper, who is a certified toddler yoga teacher and also infant massage instructor. We will be discussing the importance of building emotional resilience and intelligence in our children. Be sure to check this out. Please subscribe to First Time Mum’s Chat via your favorite platform so that you don’t miss each week’s episode.