We’ve all heard the sayings around hindsight being a wonderful thing and wishing we had known then what we know now. And I bet, like me, you’ve said versions of these at one time or another.
At 44 years of age there is so much I wish my younger self had known that I have since learnt, especially over the past 7 years since specifically working with mums.
What are the top 4 things I wish my younger self had known?
ONE – Understand your menstrual cycle
Like many women, when I was younger my period was just a monthly inconvenience and I spent most of my 20’s trying to prevent myself from falling pregnant.
In my 30’s I desperately wanted to fall pregnant, not truly understanding that my daily choices were impacting my ability to fall pregnant as they impacted my menstrual cycle.
Understanding that your menstrual cycle is a reflection of your health means that if you are struggling with elements of your health then potentially addressing them will also be reflected in your cycle.
Fluctuations of our hormones during our cycle impacts mood, energy levels, appetite, the way we utilise the fuel we nourish our bodies with and our performance both during a workout and in our daily activities.
Once we understand our individual cycle better than we can use it as our superpower to assist our overall health and wellbeing.
Some simple changes and increased awareness of our body, inside and outside, will positively impact us both physically and emotionally.
TWO – Focus on your health, physical and mental, rather than just the way you look
In our 20s and 30s so many of us focus on the way they look rather than their inner health and I so wish that I had focused on my inner health more.
In my 20’s I partied hard and did everything to keep my weight down: not eating well, restricting foods, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough sleep.
Understanding the importance of fuelling our bodies with a range of nutrients to support our immune health, gut health and nervous system was never a consideration before I had children.
Alcohol was a rite of passage when I turned 18, and it became so ingrained into my daily life to support all the good times as well as dealing with all the challenges. It never crossed my mind that with every drink I had I was essentially poisoning myself.
Exercise to me was the way to control the way I looked and punish myself for eating and drinking things that were ‘bad’ for me. And, I thought, that I had to annihilate myself every session. I wish I had understood that movement should nourish my body, and different types of movement could support me in different ways.
Finally, to me sleep was something only the lazy did! I partied hard, I worked hard, and I slept very little in my 20’s and early 30’s. Then I had children, and for many years sleep became an elusive luxury.
Improving the quality of our sleep is arguably the single most effective thing that we can do to reset our brains and recharge our bodies, yet many of us just aren’t getting enough, especially us mums.
Your body is your temple. Take care of yourself from the inside out will not only see you thrive but will be reflected on the exterior, and you will glow on the outside even more.
THREE – Learn tools to manage your stress and look after your mental health
During my teenage and young adult years, mental health was very seldom discussed. Meditation was for yogis and essential oils were considered to be a bit woo-woo. Self-care was not even really a thing, especially for mums who were supposed to do it all and struggling with motherhood was not talked about.
I wish I had been given the opportunity to understand the importance of meditation and breathing on my mental health, and, in turn, my physical health.
I wish I had learnt that rest was just as necessary for our health and well-being as an intense workout.
Now I have a box full of tools to support me on my journey of motherhood and as a single woman, which support both my physical and my mental health.
Take time to learn what supports you best, and watch how your life becomes calmer and more joyful!
FOUR – Trust Yourself & Your Intuition
I always thought, not consciously though, that if someone had a medical degree or was older than me, they knew me, my situation, and my body better than I did. So, I stopped trusting myself. And I stopped asking questions.
But, my body is my body. And I know it best.
My children are my children. They are a part of me, and I know them better than anyone does.
So, trust in yourself. Trust your gut.
And never stop asking questions until you feel you have the answers you need.
So, yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing! And neither you, nor I can go back in time. We can only take this new knowledge and apply it to our lives now.
We can also share this with our children, both our daughters and our sons, and support them in becoming the healthiest, strongest and most informed young people they can be.