I feel that I pretty much hid throughout my pregnancy. I didn't really 'announce' that we were expecting, friends and family knew, and I only told clients that I would be shooting their weddings pregnant when I was getting bigger and my bump was too obvious to hide. I think I just felt very self conscious and really didn't like not 'feeling myself', plus I found out I was pregnant when wedding season kicks off and I was genuinely too busy during the Summer to do too much else anyway. In short, I much preferred lying around the house in my maternity PJs growing by the week feeling sorry for myself that I was so worn out all the time..
Fast forward to now, and Sylvie is over 9 months old. I've reached the end of a really hectic few months from pretty much getting straight back into shooting a month or so after I had her.. it's been a busy old year. I've started making a conscious effort to take time for myself and time to reflect too, as well as more seeing friends and getting out of the house again. Even going to the gym feels like real time off these days, and I've been really trying to restart a routine now we have full childcare some days. (And I have to admit, at the moment it still hurts every time.. but I'll get there.)
It feels like such a cliche these days to talk about 'self care' but that's exactly what it I'm trying to do.. And it's not about 'Treat Yourself' things and throwing cash at candles and bath products promising to make you feel pampered, for me it's just been about slowing down a little more and taking some time out for myself here and there. I've been going out for tea with friends much more than I did last year, arranging to see people I haven't in a while, spending quality time out with the girls and also asking David to take them out for a few hours sometimes too, not even so I can do work necessarily, but just to have a few hours to myself.
At times in the past I've been so busy that I've wondered what it's all for, and I try and remember what my interests used to be before family life came along. With this in mind I've decided to make an effort to take pictures and offer myself up for some projects out of my comfort zone, and I've also been to a few different art classes locally, a watercolour class by KLB Design House, and a few of the Sunday Art School classes run by A Still Life Workshops. I'm hoping to cook more as it gets colder and darker outside, and make time for us to all sit and eat as a family some nights. And I want to get out walking in the hills before it gets that little bit too cold to be out in the elements for too long. I've found that anything that makes you forget about the time or to check your phone is absolutely wonderful for headspace.
I thought I'd make a little list of more 'calm living' things I'd like to do before the end of the year, mainly so I have something to refer to..
- Walking in the hills with Sylvie wrapped to me
- Taking pictures purely for myself and *actually* getting around to processing and printing them
- Cook a *full* Sunday dinner, and more week day family dinners
- Teach Vivienne to cook a few dishes
- Make some proper hot chocolates with Vivienne after school
- Cycle with Viv on the tandem, and go for our annual conker-hunting bike ride
- Book a sports massage to sort my shoulders out
- Email out small companies I'd like to work with to expand my commercial portfolio
- Get much more of an eating and gym routine going. Drink more water.
- Read, and stop working on my phone when I'm in the bath
- Do some Autumn crafts and paint with Vivienne
- Do another Sunday Art School
- Hopefully take a weekend to see friends in London
I saw this picture below on Instagram recently and it rang so true. I'm definitely going to try and draw on that thought over the next few months. If you have any calming, self-caring and 'feeling yourself' activities too I'd love to know.