Don’t ask for more perfume this Christmas.  Ask for more time.

It’s December and a time of year when Mums make even less time for themselves (if that’s even possible). So this month we are sharing a series of tips to help you survive the Christmas craziness. 

This week’s post is from new team member, Shona Mitchell Beat. As former COO of meditation App Headspace it’s fair to say she knows a thing or two about mindfulness. As a new Mum she also knows just how hard it is to make time for herself. Here are her tips for how to squeeze in a few minutes that are just for you…

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Before I got pregnant, I was in a blissful place.  Having gone through a debilitating period of anxiety and panic attacks at 30, I discovered meditation, and it was a game changer.

As soon as I realised the immediate benefits and positive impact on my health and wellbeing, I got stuck right in!   I sat for 40 minutes in the morning, (yep, that’s 40, not 4), and 40 minutes in the evening.  That’s 1 hour and 20 minutes to myself a day meditating, finding peace, clarity and calm.  The kind of calm that followed me around all day like a waft of beautiful incense or the light of 100 candles.  Life felt totally doable.

As I said, that was before I got pregnant.

Morning sickness, (which is a stupid name – it’s 24 hours a day), hit me hard.  No one, and I mean no one can meditate when they are vomiting in the toilet for hours a day.  How can you meditate for even 10 minutes when you only just managed to get to work and back before your head hit the pillow (or floor, if the bed was too far away), and you were out like a light until the following day, by which point the toilet once again became your best friend for a few hours?

Getting pregnant was my first experience into the world of motherhood.  And the lesson was hard and fast – your life will never be your own again, and from now on, a magical little being(s) will be the boss of your time.

So us Mums have to dig deep.  There is no question that we have to put our own oxygen mask on first.  Motherhood pulls on your energy sources in so many ways, so you have to top them up each week as best you can.  It’s vital.  Do not underestimate the impact on your nervous system and stability of nightly wake up calls, chaotic birthday parties, and drawn out negotiations to get a coat on little arms whilst stood in the pouring rain.

No I don’t meditate for 40 minutes a time now.  I do 10 minutes a few times a week when my daughter naps, or I’m on the bus, or I’m walking with the pushchair, (yes, walking meditation is a thing).  I run (proudly sporting my #Fearless TMR jumper!), for 20 minutes when I can, to feel the rain, to get some peace.  And when I can’t meditate in the day, I do it lying down as I fall to sleep, (try Yoga Nidra – it’s the ultimate meditation for the woman with no time).

So in the lead up to Christmas, don’t ask for more perfume.  Ask your loved ones for more time.  Just 10 minutes of it.  Plug in your earphones, sit back, and let someone guide you through a meditation. Prefer to meditate on the go?  Add a meditation practice to your run.  There’s a whole series of running meditations on the Headspace app.

However you chose to take your ‘me time’, just make sure you take it. I promise you, it’ll be the best gift you get.

I Ran to Meet New Friends & Found Myself

As part of our birthday celebrations this month, we are taking a moment. To reflect and think about all that the amazing This Mum Runs community has achieved over the past 4 years.

As part of this moment of reflection, of course we wanted to tell your stories too. To shine a light on stories of brilliant transformation for women in the This Mum Runs community. To showcase how running has given them new found confidence in other areas of their lives too.

Meet Stacey.

How did you find out about TMR?

I remember hearing about This Mum Runs quite a few years ago when Mel set it up. Back, what feels like eons ago, in my pre-Mum life Mel had done some consultancy work for the company I worked for and we always got on well, so when I saw she had set up the community I was intrigued and wanted to support her. I didn’t think I would ever really have the confidence to get involved with the running or the social media myself though!

What do you love about running with TMR?

I completed the RUN30 course this year and I really enjoyed it. Initially I was really nervous but I decided to push through myself to start it and I loved meeting new people! My Run Maker (Sam) was amazingly kind and supportive and made me feel like I would be able to do it! I loved it so much I cried when the course was over!

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Because of where I live and the hours my husband works I don’t get to go to any social runs so I’m a bit of a lone wolf when it come to TMR runs, but I get so much support through the TMR Bristol Facebook page that I feel like I carry the support of the TMR ladies with me when I pop out for a trundle across the fields or around the village!

Has running with TMR helped you in other ways?

Before joining in with TMR I hadn’t run for years. After doing the Bath Half in 2008 I never really got back into it, then I had my daughter in 2010 followed by my son in 2012 and exercise really took a backseat.

I struggled with post natal depression after having my daughter, who cried all the time, and was very isolated so I would walk for miles. After I had my son I couldn’t do that and I started to struggle with my health generally. I found a class I loved but that stopped and nothing else would stick. I became  anxious and depressed and after finding myself crying for ‘no reason’ a lot decided to go on antidepressants.

After stalking the TMR Facebook page for a long time I decided I needed to start somewhere with exercise again, and that a 10 min walk/run with my daughter was better than nothing!

Running over the past year to 18 months has become a really positive way to support myself mentally and physically. After completing the RUN30 course I kept up my running and at the same time was helping a very small team of runners with moral support to train for the Bath Half 2018. When it was cancelled everyone was gutted. I sat in the bath and cried (no pun intended), but a few days later and a new Half Marathon booked in for the team I decided that I might as well give it a go myself!!

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I posted my runs and my progress in the TMR Facebook group and people gave me the thumbs up, I asked for advice and I got support, I even took pictures involving my bare arms and legs (#freeyourarms) and journey to complete a Half Marathon and to recovery began!! Without the TMR Community I don’t think I could’ve done it! The TMR ladies have me the confidence to carry on!

How your life is now and how you manage your mental health?

I have managed to come off the antidepressants now and when I feel the anxiety rising and the fog of depression re-emerging I know a run will help, either with a friend or on my own. Running has really helped increase both my mental and physical resilience.

When I went to the doctor to ask her if I could come off the medication she asked my what coping mechanisms I have and I said “I run now” and she agreed that running can do wonders for you and as as long as I could keep that up I could give it a go. 

I still have the odd panic attack and my down days but I know there is a way out and that going for a run will help me clear my head and find the solution. Plus I feel like a positive role model for my kids which is worth it’s weight in gold … (or even running medals!!)

This weekend is commonly known as Black Friday. At This Mum Runs we are actively encouraging you to switch off the laptop and the tech this weekend, to get outdoors for a run! Share your pics, tag them #blackfriday #thismumruns and you could be in with a chance of winning a whole load of exciting spot prizes!