12 days ago I delivered a healthy 8lb 5oz little miracle we named Clara Joyce Irlbeck. Having delivered twins almost 3 three years ago to the day, lots of people were telling me how this one would be a "piece of cake" and how much easier it will be raising a singleton. I want to believe them, I really do. However, when my kids started getting a barking cough and fever the day we came home from the hospital, I knew we were in for a whole new experience in dividing our time between a new precious baby, our adorable two 3 year olds and...oh yes, managing to notice my spouse too. I find myself hanging on to bits of advice like, "spending even 10 minutes of one on one dedicated time with your three year olds will be adequate in the beginning". Now that I am in the midst of nursing a newborn, I can see how that is almost all the time I have!
We all have our own daily distractions. Those things that keep us from tending to our needs, that pull us from doing the things we keep re-adding to our to do list, and that make us feel small because there is "never enough time to get it all done".
I am a recovering perfectionist. I am haunted by the belief that who I am and what I do is never good enough. But when faced with adding a third child on top of my dreams to build up confidence in others by empowering and strengthening their bodies...I will admit I am anxious about how much it seems there is to do in so little time.
What I am learning, is there is SO much to be said for doing less to gain more. From your relationships to your workouts, this mantra is where I believe we all need to start to begin finding our freedom and confidence again.
I've summed up my secrets to how to make less more here:
1) Get out of the way. In giving other people more responsibility in my life I have realized the beauty of collaboration. Not only does it empower others, it allows you to reap the reward of bestowing purpose to others. During my maternity leave, I have referred clients to trusted trainers who have turned out to be an amazing fit. In my own need to be seen and find value, I had to let go of needing clients who needed me and instead trust that there are many other people who are capable of stepping up.
2) Forget expectations. When I find myself being pulled down the rabbit hole of postpartum blues, I remind myself that there is no play book for my life, or anyone else's for that matter. Every day we get to create our own expectations and vision for what we will allow and what we will embrace in our lives which adds to the enjoyment and mystery of being truly present in the moment. And yes, my kids are watching entirely too much Thomas the Train right now...but in the end, my sanity is saved and they are happy little guys.
3) Nap more. There is a plethora of research showing that even in our sleep deprived world, taking a nap of 10-30 minutes can boost our brains, improve our mood and feelings, and is good for our heart, blood pressure, stress levels, and surprisingly, even weight management. Even if you tend to run on too little sleep, taking a quick nap will boost your energy and brain power more than caffeine!
4) Power pump. This applies in so many ways in my life right now. Pumping out work should be like pumping out milk for a new mom. A quick lesson...the more a new mom's breasts are stimulated to produce milk, the more milk they will produce. It is better for a baby, or pump, to have short frequent sessions than long stretches of nursing/pumping and then no stimulation. We tend to believe that they harder and longer we work, the better output we will create. Nope. Crank out as much as you can in as little time as possible, then take a break. Breathe. Stretch. Get some water. Your mind and body will thank you.
5) Apply the minimum effective dose (MED) principle. Tim Ferris popularized this priniciple in his book, the 4-hour body. The MED is the smallest dose that will produce the desired outcome and anything BEYOND the MED is wasteful, and could even be a detriment to the body. For example, water will boil at 100deg C at standard air pressure. Turning up the heat beyond that won't make water "more boiled", it just wastes heat. The same is true for our bodies. You don't need to do crazy workouts 6 days per week to accomplish incredible results. You do, however, need to focus on getting a total body challenge that includes a variety of intensities to stimulate strength gains and fat loss or improved metabolism. That's why hiring a trainer is so great...we can help you find your MED! And here is a great example of how MED works.
6) Practice Being. My biggest take home and ah-ha from maternity leave so far is this: challenge yourself to just be. As I look into little Clara's eyes, all I can think is how beautiful and amazing she is- simply for existing.
You are the same. You are a beautiful gift to this world beyond what you look like in the mirror, beyond what your resume or your checking account says, beyond any diagnosis or past trauma. Take 5 minutes and let go of all need to be more than just the living and breathing YOU.
No need to do more. Just sit back and let your less be your most.