Today on the blog we have Sarah Holland, Fertility EFT Coach and founder of Fertile Mindset. Sarah has been a huge support to me this year and continues to help me manage the thoughts and feelings I have in relation to secondary infertility and baby loss as well as home and work life. I invited Sarah to share some of her wisdom for #thebigselfcareshare!
Tell us about yourself, Sarah.
As well as being a Fertility EFT Coach I’m mum to two boys, aged 11 and 5. I had my own long journey to parenthood which included both natural and medical fertility treatment and early pregnancy loss. Our first son arrived through birth and our second through adoption. Having experienced the reality of fertility issues myself and the different paths to parenthood, I have a greater understanding and empathy for my coaching clients’ situations.
Many people believe this is the reason I became interested in fertility support. However, my work in the world of fertility began even earlier, in the year 2000, initially as a reflexologist. Whilst I loved reflexology and saw many positive results, it was the emotional side of fertility that fascinated me. I wanted to explore how effective emotional healing and support could positively affect the outcomes for my clients – both for their fertility journey and their life as a whole.
Through a desire to overcome my lifelong crippling fear of public speaking I discovered an amazingly effective technique called EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques, also called ‘Tapping’). My public speaking fear was cured within 20 minutes (and never to reappear!) and I could see how powerful this approach could be for my fertility clients. Fertile Mindset, my Fertility EFT Coaching practice, was ‘born’!
I now support women and men all over the world via online consultations and my online membership group the Fertile Mindset Sanctuary, and closer to home at my Fertile Mindset support group in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
What exactly is EFT?
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques and is sometimes called ‘Tapping’. The theory behind EFT is that all negative emotions are caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system. If we remove this disruption – with the tapping technique – we can once again connect with our most healthy and natural emotional reaction to triggers, which is to be rational, to look at the facts instead of worry about the “what ifs” and discover our own natural positivity, strength and resilience – all wonderful qualities to have by your side in your home and work life.
How important is self-care to you?
Self-care is an important foundation of the work I do with my Fertile Mindset clients. In fact, it’s often an urgent priority the first time someone contacts me for support. When you’re trying for a baby and it’s taking longer than you expected, it starts to take over every area of your life. The focus is on becoming or staying pregnant, with all available energy being poured into ‘project baby’. But where does that leave the woman who is trying to conceive? If the ‘baby’ is her main or sole focus, caring for herself becomes a lower priority.
Many women tell me they have lost touch with who they were before they started to try for a baby, and feel a need to reconnect with their passions, purpose and true self. This doesn’t mean they will be any less focused on their path to parenthood, but they want to put themselves at the centre and start to prioritise their needs again.
If we are to rise to daily challenges and give our energy to them, we need to think about where we are sourcing that energy from.
Of course, this can be true for any overwhelming or stressful life situation, not just fertility issues. Working long hours in an all-consuming job, taking care of sick relatives and many other circumstances can also lead to a lack of self-connection and self-care.
If we are to rise to daily challenges and give our energy to them, we need to think about where we are sourcing that energy from. It’s very hard to pour your energy into other people or things if your own cup has run dry.
Whilst I aim to include self-care in my everyday life when I have bigger challenges arise I am conscious that even more self-care is needed at these time. It’s a paradox that it’s the time when we are most busy and overwhelmed that we truly need to make time for self-care. That is often the biggest challenge, but one well worth overcoming.
How do you practice self-care?
My ideal self-care is the kind that naturally fits into my daily routine. This way I can’t say that I haven’t had time, and it becomes an integral part of my life. One example is how I use ‘empty time’. I walk everywhere and use that time to listen to podcasts. My two favourites right now, which I switch between depending on my mood, are Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations and Kara Loewentheil’s Unf*ck Your Brain. Listening to them (or as I like to call it “putting good stuff in my ears!”) always leaves me with an inspiring or encouraging thought to support me throughout my day.
Walking is also my self-care for my body. You could say I’m sport-averse, and I was always that child who was “too poorly” to do P.E. at school! I’ve tried and failed to get into regular exercise routines including joining a gym, going to classes and exercising at home with online videos. But this structured approach doesn’t work for me and exercise then doesn’t feel like self-care. Taking a long walk on a beautiful route is something I can engage with and truly enjoy, and this is self-care for both my body and mind.
As I look at my days, I want to see that I have spent time with the people I love – my children, husband, family and friends – not just me and my computer until the early hours of the morning!
Working for myself and from home gives me the perfect opportunity to practice self-care. Of course, without set office hours and a never-ending to-do list, it can also be tempting to work too much. A few years ago, when my boys were younger and my available working hours shorter, I frequently used to work until 2.00am. This was not great self-care! I was sleep deprived, burnt out, and hardly seeing my husband. So now as part of my daily self-care routine, I work only a couple of evenings a week and have a much earlier finish time.
As I look at my days, I want to see that I have spent time with the people I love – my children, husband, family and friends – not just me and my computer until the early hours of the morning! Whilst my work is still extremely important to me when I achieve this balance it gives me a huge sense of well being.
I also believe that as a mother I need to fill up my cup to be the best I can be, for me and for my children. We can fall into the trap of believing that ‘good parenting’ means being with your children 24/7 and giving them everything you have (and then some more!). From day one as a mum, I have never been afraid to ask for help and support or to make time to be with friends and fill up my cup.
Share a self-care tip, something that’s helped you on your path to being kinder to yourself.
Going back to how I struggled with finding exercise and self-care for my body that worked for me, I’d say that personalising your self-care is essential. Just because other people are doing something, or saying you should be, doesn’t mean that it will be the best self-care for you. #thebigselfcareshare is perfect for ideas and inspiration. Then you can listen to your inner voice. What do YOU want to do? What does self-care mean for you?
When we are at our most stressed and overwhelmed I know it can be difficult to know what you need, but start small and choose to do something daily that you enjoy. It can be as simple as reading a magazine, having a coffee with a friend, or singing in the shower! As you take that small step, acknowledge that you are doing it for YOU. You are putting yourself first and enjoy how this feels.
Thanks so much for your contribution, Sarah. Whether I’m having a tough day or need to make an important decision, EFT is always there to help me balance my thoughts and I can wholeheartedly recommend trying it. It’s an integral part of my self-care practice these days.
If you’re struggling with self-care or any aspect of life and would like to chat to Sarah Holland about one-to-one support, she is offering 10% off her support packages to all Bide & Bloom readers. Read more about one-to-one support and then email Sarah to start with a free no obligation chat.
You can also follow Sarah on social media at:
And visit his website: www.fertilemindset.com