Guest post written by Dominique Antiglio, founder of BeSophro. I had a mini session of Sophrology and I felt really lighter and more relaxed. Read the article and try the exercise she is suggesting.
As a young mum myself, I know it can be challenging to take care of your baby, look after yourself and juggle home and work life. It is very easy to neglect your own health, but you need to be fit, healthy and well balanced to be able to look after your child. I practise Sophrology every day to help me deal with everything life throws at me and it helps me focus, feel less tense and be more present for my baby and my life.
Sophrology is a therapeutic discipline, a practice and a philosophy.
It uses the mind/body connection to build resilience and connect with inner resources. It is a wonderful blend of Eastern and Western philosophies and practices, combining breathing, visualisation, gentle movement, body awareness and relaxation techniques to bring both body and mind into harmony.
‘Sophrology’ means ’the science of the consciousness in harmony‘ and was created by Spanish neuro-psychiatrist Alfonso Caycedo in 1960. This technique has been used in Continental Europe for more than 30 years and has several applications in the medical field, particularly birth preparation.
How can you put Sophrology into practice?
Sophrology is a practice you learn and then adapt to your own lifestyle.
Ideally, it’s better to learn the technique from a qualified practitioner, but there are a few things you can do in your daily life to make you feel calmer.
Going out for a walk with the pram might be one of the few times you have for yourself: why not take this opportunity to let go of your tension and re-balance. During your walk you can regain your energy for the rest of the day or simply recuperate from your tiredness. The temptation when you go out is to check your phone and run a million errands but the priority here is to take some time out so you can feel better and be more energised afterwards.
Once you are out of the house, take the first five minutes to walk consciously: this means feeling the weight of your body on your feet, the movement of your joints, how your feet make contact with the floor, being aware of the body moving while you walk.
Listen to your breathing, making sure you breathe with the abdomen and release your shoulders. This is a way to connect and to start to release any tension you may have in your body.
In the next three minutes think about what your worries are at the moment, and every time you breathe out and take a step you let go of one of your worries. Exhale through the mouth and release the tension consciously, like if you could simply blow the worries away !
Continue the walk observing if something has changed. If you feel there is still a lot of tension in your body you can use the tense/relax exercise. The aim of this exercise is that, if you acknowledge you have tension, then the tension will go.
Gently inhale, tense the shoulders up, breathe out and release them down. Inhale, tense the stomach, exhale and release the tension. This can be done as you hold the pram and with any part of your body.
Further down the way, find a bench to sit down and take a moment to rest and have a conscious break : concentrate on the present moment and on how your body feels while you are sitting, notice the surroundings. As a busy mum you don’t have much time, as you are constantly looking after the baby and its demands, so a few minute of doing nothing and just being can really feel amazing.
Make an effort to really observe your surroundings: the trees, the people, the sky. Inhale and focus on this moment, think of something positive like the beauty of nature, the joy of being a mum, looking at your beautiful baby. If you’re having a bad day, try thinking about a calming word and invite it into your consciousness.
On the way back, decide on what you want to think about, something positive obviously and try to stay focused on it. When I go out for a walk, on my way back to the house I will concentrate on looking at what is beautiful around me, something new I didn’t notice before, like nature or the flowers on windowsills.
I simply observe how everything unfolds from there and concentrate on the positive.
Hopefully, by doing this exercise, your mood will have changed by the time you get back home and you may feel more energised after oxygenating your brain and muscles. You might also notice that you have slowed down and feel more grounded. Of course be aware of the traffic and be careful ! Until you get used to this routine, you might want to start practising it in a park if you feel more secure there.
The most important thing you have right now is the love for your baby despite the chaos of being a busy mum and the tiredness you are feeling.
If you need more help and support or further advice on how you can practise some relaxation and visualisation exercises, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or have a look at my blog for inspiration.