320: Making Space for Self-Care: It Might Not Be As Hard As You Think // Dr. Nicole Sparks

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In my Self-Assured Motherhood program, we devote an entire month to the topic of self-care…or “Soul-Care” as I like to call it. Because this is about more than just caring for yourself; it’s about caring for your soul…the deep down most vital parts of who you are–the life force inside the busy, burned out mom. 

But I know this topic can be annoying for overwhelmed women. You may be thinking, “Sure it sounds wonderful to care for my soul…but I am juggling the demands of my children, my job, my partner, and life in the modern world, full of so many distractions and demands.” 

If you feel this way when you hear about “self-care,” I hope today’s conversation will provide a bit of a reframe for you–because self-care doesn’t have to be completed when we are all alone and conditions are perfect. Nurturing our family relationships in conscious ways can be an incredibly meaningful part of soul-care, and I am so grateful to today’s guest Dr. Nicole Sparks for bringing this conversation to 3 in 30.

Dr. Sparks is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and currently practices in rural Georgia as an OB Hospitalist. She is passionate about empowering women to take charge of their health and decreasing maternal mortality rates in the US through awareness and patient education. 

Nicole is also an active blogger and lifestyle content creator at nicolealiciamd.com where she discusses everything from balancing career and family, to menstrual wellness and advocating for yourself during pregnancy and the postpartum period. She is a mother of three little children, ages 7, 4, and 1, so she understands the challenges of fitting in self-care when you are stretched really thin. 

 

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3 Takeaways from Dr. Sparks on Making Space for Self-Care: 

  1. Be intentional about quality time with your children. When it comes to building relationships with our kids, quality time matters just as much as, if not more than, quantity of time. If you are in a busy, demanding season and you can’t spend as much time with your kids as you’d like, that’s okay–just be sure that the time you do spend with them counts, so that it can become soul-care for them and for you. Put your phone away, be present mentally and emotionally, and build in some daily bonding routines that you and they can start to count on…such as a walk or a board game after dinner, maybe read aloud time all together snuggled under blankets in the family room, or a move night once a week. What sounds soul-filling for you, and how can you do that with your kids in a way that will fill all of you? 
  2. Be intentional about quality time with your partner, if you have one. It is so easy to become consumed by the busyness of life with kids and to become almost like business partners or ships passing in the night. I speak from personal experience on that one! Sometimes my soul truly misses connected time with my husband Ryan, and it is a form of soul-care for me to prioritize it, not as part of checklist or a “should” in order to be a good wife, but because he is my friend, and I feel more like myself after I’ve spend focused time with him. For me, getting intentional about building this kind of quality time back into our life might look like insisting on a decent bedtime for my kids, even as they get older, as well as setting aside my work some days so we can eat lunch together. Think about your unique life circumstances and find pockets of time where you can focus on quality time with your partner as a way to emotionally refuel and reset both of you.
  3. Be intentional about quality time with yourself. This might look like more traditional self-care such as booking a monthly or quarterly massage for yourself, but it could also look like just truly enjoying a slow, warm shower in peace and quiet. It’s important to notice the pockets of potential self-care time we have in our busy day. Once we start to notice them, we can allow ourselves to take them and soak them in, without guilt. What can you give yourself permission to do today just because it sounds really fun or peaceful or refreshing for you? Schedule it in if you have to, or be on the lookout for that rare moment of quiet when instead of immediately checking off one of your to-dos, you can instead seize the chance for some quick soul-care.

 

>>>Are these tips from Dr. Sparks helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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