It's Saturday and I have a day off.
A day off from my job as a midwife.
A day to catch up on the stuff that has taken a back seat whilst I have been busy at work all week. Housework, cleaning, shopping, sorting out the laundry, catching up on family stuff.
Today I'm feeling tired and once again am reminded of the empty jug analogy-you cannot pour from an empty jug.
As midwives we are constantly giving, and if we do not replenish ourselves, eventually we won't be able to give any more.
So I wondered how we take care of ourselves in a career which is so focussed on giving.
The first step, I believe, is to recognise and acknowledge how much we give of ourselves and then we can focus on those areas and work on replenishing them.
Lying in bed this morning I was thinking of the ways both physical and mental that I give to my job and the women I care for and I thought of the thousands of other midwives the world over who give so much to the job.
So here are my thoughts on how we can recognise our giving, give thanks to our bodies for all they give, and then give some love back to our bodies and to our minds.
One thing I like to do is recognise and acknowledge how much I am giving. I think about my day to day work and what areas in my body and my life are giving and in need of replenishment.
Think about the hours and hours you give care to women.
The hours spent kneeling in awkward positions, massaging shoulders, rubbing backs, getting into positions where we can listen to a fetal heart.
Acknowledge the work done by your knees, give thanks to them and show them some love.
Take a look at them, really look at them, take in what amazing structures they are-carrying you around, enabling you to walk and sit and give them a loving rub.
Think of your feet, maybe they've not stopped carrying you around a busy ward for 12 hours, answering buzzers, running to emergencies , walking from your car to a home visit, standing through c-sections
Give thanks to your feet, they work so hard for you.
Give them back some love today; look at them and take in what amazing things they are.
Give yourself a foot rub, or even better get someone else to do it for you, put those feet up while you relax, soak them in a foot bath with some essential oils, paint those nails-they deserve it!
Think of your hands, the hands of a midwife work hard and are so skilled.
Palpating, holding hands, giving back-rubs, holding newborns, suturing and making cups of tea, our hands are very important.
Acknowledge the work your hands do, look at them, take in every detail of them-they are unique to you. They have done so much good in this world; thank them and give them some love.
A hand massage with some lovely hand cream, a manicure, remembering to wear gloves in the winter,
Think of your spine-that beautiful bony work of art which supports your whole body as you go about your life.
How is it feeling?
Have you been in some awkward positions supporting women?
Are you feeling aches and pains when you move around? Give your precious back some love-it's the only one you'll ever have so treat it with care.
Stretching, yoga, pilates, massage can all replenish backs which are aching from work.
Give your back some love and care.
How are your neck and shoulders feeling?
These are areas where many of us feel tension when under stress giving us neck pain and headaches.
Acknowledge the work your neck and shoulders do in holding up your head (did you know your head weighs approximately 15 pounds??) and give yourself a neck and shoulder rub, or get someone else to do it.
Try a warm wheat bag around your neck to ease stiffness and soothe any aches.
How is your skin feeling? Have you been drinking enough water lately, especially at work? It's so easy to forget to drink when we are busy, but it's essential.
There are so many different ways we can take good care of ourselves, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Do something today as an act of self-love.
You are worth it!