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My first book Minding Mum is all about understanding that self-care is not selfish in fact it’s probably the most selfless thing you can do.

I learnt this lesson the hard way after I had my son James who is now just nearly six. I completely neglected my own needs post birth and was certainly not Minding Mum. I pushed myself way too hard, didn’t eat properly and it came at a huge cost to both myself and my son as I became very ill with postnatal depression. What I have realized the past seven years on my wellness journey is that if our own tank is empty we have no strength and energy to give to others.

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SELFCARE

Once I started to value myself enough to eat well, exercise, talk kindly to myself and practice daily happiness habits I began to understand the power of self care. I learnt what it truly means not only for ourselves but for those we love.

I now have more time (believe it or not), patience, energy and vitality for James since Minding Mum. Practicing self-care does not mean you are shirking your responsibilities. In fact as a parent there is no better way to instill confidence and self-esteem into your kids than to be a healthy and happy role model.

I know the first thing mums say is that they have no time for Minding Mum and since they have had their children they can’t even go to the bathroom alone anymore. The only time I have had a shower alone without 20 questions is when I’m away.

I was an impossibly stubborn Mum and thought this too. However when I was unwell I found it incredibly difficult to get dressed most days and knew something had to change. There is real power in self care and even more power in taking small steps to get there.

BABYSTEPS

Rome wasn’t built in a day and sometimes we need to relearn or learn in my case to like ourselves and value ourselves. The small changes I have made over the past few years have led me on a path of true wellness. Not only that I have discovered the true contentment I have always craved but never been able to find. After I had James I stopped placing my worth in external things like property, boyfriends and job status but I started to look within and face my fears.

It’s been a rocky road and some days I’ve felt brave and others scared but every day I have been giving life my best shot. I am now living an anxiety and depression free life, which is something I never thought, would be possible. I have daily happiness habits and if you scroll through Facebook for 10 minutes you can do this too.

TIPS FOR MINDING MUM:

  1. THANK YOU

Say thank you every morning as you wake and keep a gratitude diary. This should take no more than 3 minutes each day. Recent research from Harvard happiness researcher and author Shawn Achor says that if you pick 3 different things each day that you are grateful for not only does it help your optimism but also it actually rewires our brain. This is one of the most powerful tools I use daily and this habit helped to drag me out of some dark times. Sometimes we can become too focused on what is going wrong and miss everything that is going right!

Minding mum, gratitude, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, gill books, self care

2. FIND YOUR WELLNESS FORMULA

We’re all different which is the beauty of life and what’s works for one will not work for another so have fun and find a formula that works for you. In life we tend to focus on just one area at a time like diet or exercise but what I have found is that a little of everything is better than a lot of one thing to help you find that balance. (PG 23 in my book)

Minding mum, gratitude, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, gill books, self care3. EAT REAL FOOD

We’ve made food very complicated and there are thousands of diets out there now. My advice is keeping it simple so eat fresh wholefoods. Remove the word diet for your life, as they simply don’t work! Steer clear of processed foods and ease up on sugar. Stay on the outskirts of the supermarkets (usually where fresh produce is) cook and freeze for the week if you are short on time and try to eat a variety of colour.

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4. KEEP HYDRATED

You will never realise how bad you feel until you start to feel good, and hydration or dehydration can be the cause of so many illnesses [so too much hydration could make you sick too?]. For the past fifteen years I have started my day with lemon water. It all started at a photo-shoot one day, when my skin was bad as I suffered with adult acne. A make-up artist told me that drinking warm lemon water every morning would help. It is something that I have done ever since and since studying nutrition I have come to realise that the benefits are far greater than I could have ever imagined.

So my first tip for hydration is to wake up your body with a glass of warm water and lemon each day. This will kick start your digestive system and metabolism. It’s small changes like this that will make a massive difference to your health. Just think of how dehydrated you are after a night’s sleep. Does it not make sense to drink fluids first before putting more food in? When I take a break from drinking warm lemon water in the morning I really notice the difference in how efficient my digestive system is and I also notice a difference in my energy levels.

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LEMONS

Lemons are great because they contain bioflavonoids, potassium and Vitamin C. Bioflavonoids are super antioxidants that contribute to good heart health and have powerful anti-carcinogens. Potassium stimulates the brain as well as helping keep your blood pressure under control and the antioxidants from the Vitamin C will really help your skin (healing, especially after a C-section). Vitamin C is required to produce collagen, a protein that plays a critical role in the structure of our bodies. Collagen is the framework for our skin and our bones and without it, we would quite literally fall apart. Vitamin C also aids the absorption of iron and if you live in a big city just look at Vitamin C as a giant fire extinguisher for all the pollution and nasty toxins out there.

TOP TIP: Get more water into your day by keeping a bottle with you all the time and by drinking herbal teas (caffeine is a diuretic). Eat your water by including water-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, like cucumber and watermelon.

5. CATCH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND SWITCH THEM TO MORE POSITIVE ONES

This sounds easy but some of us are in a pattern of consistent negative thinking without even realizing it and it’s a habit that we can break with practice. I use my STOP- CATCH – CHANGE formula which is Stop your negative thought, catch it and change it to a positive one. This might seem unnatural and hard in the beginning but it becomes easier with time. I use it to catch negative thoughts about myself, others, work and life in general. Building good self-esteem means appreciating yourself and treating yourself with compassion.

6. FIND AN EXERCISE YOU ACTUALLY LIKE

Fitness is meant to be fun and if it’s not for you then try something new. Life is hard enough without dreading our exercise class or the gym. There are 100’s of options to keep moving and keep fit. I get bored so I switch it up all the time from yoga to Pilates and the gym. You need to feel good about what you are doing as our body, mind and spirit are all connected.

7. MY TOP BEAUTY TIPS ARE

Keep it simple and keep it real. Make up should be used to highlight your features and I’m definitely a “less is more” girl. From a health perspective I have also started to use more natural and paraben free products after all, a lot of the chemicals in our beauty products are absorbed by our skin and enter into our bloodstream.

When I was recovering from depression and anxiety I started to understand that the products we use disrupt our endocrine system and our hormones, which is all related to mental health. (CouleurCaramel.ie and Phyts are great brands) Try switching up your deodorants to a more natural alternative too. It’s the cumulative effect of all the products that causes the problems as our bodies are actually very good at detoxing naturally but they just can’t cope with being overloaded with environmental toxins, product toxins, bad food and a bad lifestyle!

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8. ALWAYS CLEAN YOUR SKIN PROPERLY AND WASH YOUR PILLOW CASE REGULARLY

I have suffered from adult acne so my rule with my pillow is

SLEEP-TURN-SLEEP-WASH

So you sleep on one side, then turn it over the following night and sleep on the opposite side, and then wash it. It’s simple and effective.

9. USE YOUR BREATH

Stress is our biggest killer these days and using mindfulness and meditation can help. Its simple, if you can breathe you can meditate. Our breath is our most powerful asset yet it is the most underused resource we have and its free and available all the time. As a busy mum you can feel overwhelmed quite often and very often just taking a moment to stop and breathe can make all the difference.

Stop, breathe and be

 Minding mum, gratitude, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, gill books, self care

 

10. STOP JUDGING AND START SUPPORTING

I have one rule and that’s always try and be there for another mum who needs you. All mums are working mums whether you stay at home or go out to work. There is no ideal situation as each one of us are completely different. To create a good work/life balance you need to do what’s right for you. There is a full chapter on PND (post natal depression) in the book, which is honest and offers great tips on asking for help and helping yourself!

Minding mum, gratitude, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, gill books, self care

There are many more tips in my book ‘Minding Mum’ which you can buy here which you can buy here.

Welcome to #MummyMondays where I will be teaming up with The Stork Box to bring you some great articles over the next few weeks on preparing for a new baby but first let me introduce you to this dynamic duo sisters Sophie Cafolla and Dr Vicky O’Dwyer

The Stork Box is a new and exciting Irish company specializing in products for Mum and Baby, including a prepacked maternity hospital bag, helping parents get ready for their new arrival and a range of Gift Boxes, which friends and family can ship directly to the recipient. Brought to you by sister duo, both of whom are Mums themselves, Sophie Cafolla, a sponsorship and marketing consultant and Dr Vicky O’Dwyer, a Doctor who has worked in Obstetrics and Gynecology for the last 11 years. I met with the girls to find out their story and what led them to create The Stork Box….

“This got us thinking about our own experiences” according to Sophie, “When I was preparing my bag I didn’t start to do it until I was about 34 weeks pregnant, I was working, tired and totally overwhelmed by the number of things I needed to get. I couldn’t find anywhere that sold all the essentials together, or even better, somewhere online that you could order in one go and have it shipped to you. So we thought, why not create a box which contains the essentials for both Mum and Baby! With Vicky’s professional knowledge and both of our personal experiences it seemed like a good fit!”

The duo wanted to create a service that takes the time and stress out of preparing your maternity hospital bag, while also providing the very best products to help make the hospital stay as comfortable as possible for expectant parents. Vicky admitted they have added a few extra touches to really treat new Mums too. “We have included a Social and Personal magazine in the Mum bag as well as a Just Eat gift voucher, I know I would of loved to have ordered a meal online one of the first few days I was home, we were far too tired and consumed by our new arrival to cook!”.

Value is also important to The Stork Box; both the Mum bags and Baby bags are discounted, the Mum bag contents are worth €80 however the bag is sold at €65, and the Luxury Mum bag contents have a value of €125 but is sold at €100 and the Baby bag is worth €135 but sold at €120.

The Baby Bag has everything to make baby happy and comfortable in their first few days.
•    5 x Short Sleeved Baby Vests
•    5 x Long Sleeved Baby Grows
•    5 x Bibs
•    1 Hat
•    1 Set of Mitts
•    1 Cellular Cotton Blanket
•    Pampers Nappies (Pack of 24)
•    Cotton Wool Balls (100)
•    Mamia Newborn sensitive wipes (pack of 56)
•    Sudocrem Care & Protect (40gm)
€120

The storkbox,hospital bag,pregnancy,parenting,new baby,

In addition to the Maternity Box, the Stork range includes 3 Gift Boxes, the Newborn Stork Box, the Night Night Stork Box which plays on the bath, bottle, bed routine, a favourite of many Mums and the Playtime Stork Box. Each box contains a bonus gift for Mum, a unique selling point of the brand, “it is important not to forget about Mum!” says Sophie

The Mum bag, €65.00 (retail value €80), includes;
•    Phyto Shampoo (50ml)
•    Phyto Conditioner (50ml)
•    Uriage Shower Gel (200ml)
•    Deodorant (35ml)
•    Elave Daily Lip Balm (15ml)
•    Karite Hand Cream (30ml)
•    Uriage Thermal Water Spray (50ml)
•    Sample of Nia’s Just Balm – suitable for Mum & Baby (5ml)
•    Hair Bobble & Hair Clips
•    Mini Brush
•    2 Tooth Brushes – for Mum & Dad
•    Toothpaste (25ml)
•    Monochrome Notebook and Pen
•    Maternity Pads (10 pack)
•    Sample of Lanolin Nipple Cream
•    1 set of Disposable Breast Pads
•    Sample of Lansinoh’s Breastmilk Storage Bags
•    Social & Personal Magazine
•    Just Eat gift voucher €10

The Luxury Mum bag, €100 (retail value €125), includes everything from the Mum bag plus;
•    Payot Hand Cream (50ml) instead of Karite hand cream
•    Cleanse Off Mitt
•    Mustela Bust firming serum (75ml)
•    Mustela Stretch Marks Recovery Serum (75ml)

The storkbox,hospital bag,pregnancy,parenting,new baby,If that wasn’t enough to start with, Sophie has also developed her own baby clothing range, Mini Style Addict, which is included in The Stork Box Baby bag. Inspired by her daughter Sienna, the range includes baby vests and baby grows. The Mini Style Addict clothes are gender neutral, with a nod to the monochrome trend, a key look in baby and toddler fashion at the moment.

The girls stated they are committed to providing a service that grows with their audience; “we research, we invest our time and use our knowledge to find the best and most appropriate products for Mum and Baby. We have more exciting products coming to the range soon so be sure to keep an eye out!”. Keep an eye out for more to come from these two!

Check out Their website for more info

minding mum, dreams come true, love, life, motivation , new book, mothers day, gift ideas, thank you, book launch, I spent a lot of my life thinking I couldn’t do a lot of things and being really hard on myself for not doing and being enough. I have pushed myself, studied hard and broken down a lot of my fear barriers in the last few years and let me tell you although difficult at times it is incredibly rewarding to keep pushing through your comfort zone a little each day.

I have been completely overwhelmed by all the support for my new book and I am so grateful for everyone who turned up to support me on Tuesday evening at my launch but more importantly I am so grateful to every single mum who has taken the time to write to me over the years. Often you mention that I inspire you but actually it works both ways and this book was written and inspired by your kind words of encouragement on very difficult days when I felt like giving up.

The day James was born is the day I was reborn into this world. Through the eyes of a child I learnt to see the beauty and wonder in everyday things.

On this journey I learnt to love myself but more importantly I learnt that I am enough!!!

This book is my hug, my hand and my smile that I’m reaching out to give to any mum who needs it.

Two sayings ring true to me

No man is an island

and

It takes a village to raise a child

We have some of the loneliest people living in the biggest cities in the world. Professor of Positive Psychology at Harvard Shawn Achor, has been studying happiness for many years now and what they are starting to understand is just how important human connection is which is what our busy lives are preventing us from having. New mums often feel isolated and lonely at home with a new baby so it’s important in the early days to have help and support.

Six years ago all I saw were broken dreams and personal disappointments but now I’m standing here doing something that some people only ever dream about and there is not a second of this journey that I have taken for granted.

Our lives are journeys throughout them we either learn or die. There are too many people walking around already dead and I did not want to be one of them, so I fought hard to learn everything I could about myself, my illness and how to be happy.

Our brains are primed for survival not happiness. Happiness is our job and a job we need to work at every day.

It’s so important that we value self care. I try to be better both professionally and personally every single day. These past few years like everyone I had some great days, good days, OK days and some very bad days but every day I tried. I initially fought because of James and for James but because of him I now do it for myself. I now value myself enough to treat myself better, be my personal best and really try and live each day no matter what it throws at me!

minding mum launch, book, james and alison canavan, house dublin, dreams, selfcareI’m so incredibly grateful for this opportunity and know that the catalyst for all change in anyone’s life is taking risks and some ONE person taking a risk on you. Deirdre and The team at gill did just that and I wanted to make them proud.

Never under estimate the influence you can have on a persons life as I said no man is an Island and we need each other to succeed and grow.

Dalai Lama:

“Hard times can build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger”

Enjoy #mindingmum in all good bookstores now €16.99 and send me your pics with the book to alison@alisoncanavan.com or tag me on social media

AVAILABLE IN EASONS

 

 

Event slider working moms event

Are you heading back to work after maternity leave or just struggling to find a balance between work and home? Are you starting a new career or even just thinking about returning to work? If you answered yes to any of these questions then Eumom’s Next Steps event is for you!!

This event is the first of its kind in Ireland and I’m delighted to be presenting it alongside some truly inspirational women like journalist and author Emily Hourican ; owner of organic baby food company, Organic Little One, Niamh O’Dwyer; lawyer & CEO of Swim Ireland, Sarah Keane; and politician and working mom Lucinda Creighton.

There will be a series of hands-on workshops from LinkedIn, Mumager and Interviewtutor.ie to provide guidance and support if you:

  • are returning to work from maternity leave or perhaps a longer career break.
  • are looking to change career or upskill.
  • would like to start your own business.

 

Tickets can be booked on Eventbrite at: http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/next-steps-an-event-for-working-moms-tickets-18474295114

 

Attendees choose 2 workshops , one from each section below.

 

Workshop A Choice (10.45- 11.30am)

Choose one of the following:

 

  1. CV & INTERVIEW MASTERCLASS

 

If you’re questioning whether your CV would pass the recruiter test, then don’t miss our comprehensive CV masterclass with top interview tips that will have you prepared and confident in making that crucial next step on the career ladder. Hosted by mom and founder of interviewtutor.ie, Orla Donagher, Orla facilitates workshops for Job seekers and also for Employers. She has contributed to articles in Stellar Magazine and has appeared as a career coach in the RTE 2 series “The Unemployables”

 

  1. START YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Want to start your own business but unsure of the first steps to take? This talk will explore everything from exploring an initial idea, taking action and following it through to completion. Hosted by mom, Pauline Sargent, Pauline been running Social Zavvy a digital communications business for the last five years. She also founded DigiWomen in 2012 for female makers and users of technology. DigiWomen was chosen for the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program this year. Her mission in life is to make it easier for more women to set up their own business.

 

  1. HANDLING DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

We all have to have them – whether it’s a conversation with your boss about flexible working, or asking your partner to help you more at home.  Discover how to deliver your message so that the other person listens – and feels compelled to change their behaviour or take action. The working mom experts, Mumager, show you how in this pro-active workshop.

 

Workshop B Choice (11.55- 12.40pm)

Choose one of the following:

  1. MAKING SOCIAL MEDIA WORK FOR YOU

Mom of two, Abi Williams of LinkedIn presents ‘Super charge your career using LinkedIn.’ This workshop will showcase the power of leveraging LinkedIn tools to suit your needs and advance your career to the next level. Whether you want to keep on top of topical work-related news and in touch with work colleagues while on leave, or optimise your professional brand image, Abi will show you how. Abi is a sales professional and business leader who is passionate about developing people and helping others achieve their full potential. She’s been at LinkedIn for over 2 years and fully believes in the LinkedIn vision of “Creating economic opportunity for everyone in the world.”

 

  1. MANAGING GUILT

Wracked with guilt over being a working mum?  Or feeling guilty because you don’t feel guilty?  Find out how to get a grip on your guilt and feel more proactive.  In this module you’ll explore practical things that you can do to take charge and reduce how guilty you’re feeling. Our talented Mumager experts will be your guide in this super-helpful workshop

 

  1. GETTING WHAT YOU WANT FROM WORK

Do you know what your entitlements are as a working parent? Would you like to have a more flexible work schedule or more understanding colleagues? In this module we’ll explain how to get what you want from your employer and colleagues.

– See more at: Inspirational Working Mums

Full details on:

Eumom Next Steps Working Event

Read Sharon Tighe’s (eumom) article here:

Positive Next Steps Working Parents Ireland

I hope to see you there

Ali xxx

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NOW THAT THE KID’S ARE BACK AT SCHOOL IT’S TIME FOR MUMS TO HAVE SOME ‘ME TIME’ WHICH IS WHY MY 1ST COMPETITION IS FOR ONE LUCKY MUM

who needs help rebalancing her energy and recharging her batteries after the summer break! The award-winning Marker Spa & Wellness area includes a 23 metre long infinity pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and relaxation area right in the heart of Dublin’s docklands – the perfect setting to unwind and be pampered.

The lucky winner will select two of the following and indulge in 30 minutes of each (60 minute total treatment time)

  • Customised back massage: a deeply relaxing or a thoroughly invigorating massage.
  • Facial: a soothing facial, personalized for your complexion, is a wonderful way to relax and unwind.
  • An Indian head massage: perfect for releasing stress and tension in the head, neck and shoulder area
  • The award winning Lava Shell treatment: the world’s first self-heating massage therapy treatment encourages the body’s natural energy flow and nurtures a balanced body and mind

SHARE THIS POST WITH YOUR FRIEND AND TELL ME WHY YOU NEED THIS TREATMENT!

*If you would like to book the “Back to School” treatments or require further information please phone the Spa team on 01-6875194 or email spa@themarker.ie

Packages are available from August 31st – October 2nd 2015, Monday – Friday.

Post Natal Depression is far more common than any of us realise. I receive so many messages and emails from Mums who are still suffering in silence and I strongly urge you to get help. I know how hard it is but i promise you that you will recover once you get help and take the baby steps necessary. There are lots of helplines and charities in this article so pick up the phone. Recovery is possible Ali xxxx

ALISON-series one of mindin mumMINDING MUM WEEK 1 PT 2