Two Minutes With Iben Sandahl, Mama to Ida, aged 18 years and Julie, aged 15 years

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When was the last time you had “me-time” and how did you spend that time?
Three weeks ago I went to get a full body massage for 1 ½ hour, which to me is pure love. Afterwards, I always feel rooted, relaxed and full of gratitude. I need me-times to fill me up once in a while, otherwise, I very easily am spun into practicalities and demands that consume my energy and don’t do me any good. Me-time helps me reload and connect with my inner world and my heart again – and a massage sometimes helps with that.

What are some of your favourite ways to practice self care?
I have some daily routines that I value a lot. I walk with my dog twice a day in the forest or at the lake nearby. Especially when something bothers me, I take in the beauty of nature and I know that I will feel good again. Our great nature helps me to find peace within. I drink a big kop of green tea just after the walk with my dog, and that’s also a special me-time moment. Three times a week, I go to my Bikram yoga class – I have done that for one year now and it is definitely one of the most valuable and mindful things, I have ever done to take care of myself. My body, my spirit and my mind are nurtured and I value that to the greatest extent.

What advice would you give to mamas struggling to create “me-time”? How do you make time in your schedule for yourself?
I haven’t always been good at it myself. Especially when my children were small, I was more aware of being present to them and meeting their needs than caring about myself. I sometimes felt discouraged if I completely ignored to take care of myself, and so I took a choice. I decided to be aware of creating daily routines that should be my “me-time”. I am still aware of my children, of course, but what I did then was to go for a run when there was some space in the program. It became my little Iben room, where nobody expected anything from me, besides myself. Even a nice cup of good hot tea or some deep breathing, meant a little self care to me, and so it grew from there.
My advice to other mamas would therefore be: Start with realistic baby steps – like something that only require 5-15 minutes. Figure out, what makes you feel good, and put it in your schedule equally with cooking or bedtime reading for your children. It is a choice and we have to take ourselves seriously. With a happy mom comes a happy family.

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Iben Sandahl

Iben Sandahl comes from Denmark and is an internationally-renowned public speaker, best-selling author, psychotherapist and educator. She has more than 20 years of experienced insight into child psychology and education, which in a most natural way anchor the Danish way of practicing parenthood. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Salon, El Païs, Reader’s Digest, Greater Good Science, Elle and many more - and her main mission is to help parents raise happy and confident children. She writes for Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/experts/iben-sandahl ) and leads an European Erasmus financed project on how to implement empathy in schools and institutions all over Europe.

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