What does self care mean to you? Does it mean going to get your hair or nails done? Taking a long bath? Reading a book? Going for a nap? Or going for a walk? Well self care can be any of the above but for me personally, before I practiced mindfulness I often confused certain acts of self care with doing something that actually didn't serve me well at all.
5 years ago the word Retreat would have been something that I would have ran away from rather than ran to. Mainly because I would have done what alot of us do - judged it based on what I thought it was. I just had a different idea of what a retreat was and associated it with images of my school day retreat experiences. I guess that was when I also wasn't really fully aware of what self-care was or how to really recharge my batteries and completely 'switch-off'.
This pic was taken one morning in October 2008 after I was asked by the Limerick Leader newspaper to take part in a feature titled "Can Women Have it All". I remember getting myself and my daughter ready that morning - we both got all dressed up and ready to be photographed. After the photographs were taken I was called by Anne Sheridan, a journalist with the Limerick Leader to ask me what I thought about working mums having to juggle their careers and motherhood and could we really have it all?
As Featured in "Quiet Ireland" - A Deaf Hear Publication
I’m Niamh, mum to Fay and Luke, wife to Paul and a creative director of my own design company. I set up Designers Ink almost two decades ago and since then we have had good days, bad days, and like everyone else - those want-to-run-away days! I have been lucky enough to have designed some well know brands such as Munster Rugby, Thomond Park Stadium and Kildare GAA and went on to win national and international awards for some of those branding projects. Each role has taught me important life lessons - but one invaluable lesson I have learned is that life is moving quickly and sometimes we all need to slow down. Recognizing the need to slow down is crucial. Learning how to is the hard part.
When I started practicing mindfulness I quickly realised that some people are more naturally mindful than others. Both my husband and my daughter, regardless of their age, are, in my opinion naturally mindful. They have both taught me alot in expressing gratitude, being present and being attentive listeners. They don't tend to dwell in the past or worry about things that may or may not happen they just focus on the now...what's happening at presnt in their lives. mindfulness-based practices can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware.
I've always loved reading stories to both of my children and introduced them both to books at a very young age. Being a designer I have always been attracted to books that are beautifully designed and illustrated and got great enjoyment browsing through the children's books in every book shop. The many benefits of reading to you child are endless and we all know them but how often do we read the story from start to finish while being totally present? There were often those evenings when they were very young when I was so tired that I might have tried to skip a page without them knowing it. Or those evenings when I had a list of things to do that you just needed to get to the end quickly so that they would fall asleep. I don't think I'm alone when I say it's happened to us all at some stage! What I've discovered since practicing mindfulness is when you are completely present in the story as you read it you will not alone be spending quality time with your child - you will also be experiencing looking at things in childlike wonder and you might really enjoy the story as it unfolds - even if you've read it 20 times before!