My name is Aly Simons, founder of the Be Better Movement. For 2017, I have committed to writing a blog for every weekly #bebetter52 challenge telling about my journey to complete each one. My mantra is to simplify in 2017, and the weekly challenges help me to focus on what is most important: becoming a better person and making the world a better place.
Although 2017 is a couple of weeks away, I decided to start my public journey toward self-improvement this week. I hope my vulnerability and honesty as I try to balance my motherhood journey inspires others to join the #bebetter52 challenge. With every completed challenge, money is donated to Every Mother Counts, a charity committed to making pregnancy and labor safe for babies and women around the world.
This week’s #bebetter52 challenge: Epsom Salt Bath
Since my baby’s birth, I’ve had to accept the reality that my body hurts more when I exercise. (I can’t believe it has been 11 months since Cooper’s entrance into the world.) I just went on a run this morning into Old Town Orange. I decided not to take Tucker, my big goofy Golden Doodle, because I thought it would be fun to order a scone and enjoy a busy coffee shop with my daughter. When I returned home, I felt like a grandma, stiff and achy. I was simply trying to stand back up after crawling around with Cooper, and my left hip felt like it was going snap off. Painful hip and painful back.
I am constantly trying to figure out why my body still hurts after pregnancy. I thought the inner athlete in me would bounce right back, but it took a good seven months before I could run a mile without feeling like my tailbone was being smashed with a hammer every step of the way. My OB-GYN pretty much said, “Toughen up, Aly. You took months off from working out before she was born, and it is going to take a long time getting back into shape. You are going to be sore because you are building muscle and flexibility. Work hard and accept that your body is going to be different FOREVER.”
Tough love, right? But for some reason, it worked for me. Since that appointment, I have been trying to view exercise from an athlete’s perspective. I want to be my strongest self.
My current, “Don’t be too hard on yourself, but be hard on yourself” mantras are these:
#1 My body made and delivered a baby. Give it time to heal.
#2 I am still breastfeeding, and my hormones make my ligaments loose.
#3 My core isn’t as strong as before Cooper and this realization is my motivation to get back to that pre-pregnancy strength.
So today, after my achy run and during Cooper’s nap time, I decided to run a hot bath and pour in a cup of Epsom Salt that I bought last night at Sprouts. As I relaxed in the healing bath, it made me think about some mind-blowing facts:
-Epsom Salt is also known as magnesium sulfate.
-The body uses magnesium for more than 300 chemical processes in the body, and when our bodies have a magnesium deficiency, bad things happen.
-Bad things include: increased risk of stroke, heart disease, arthritis, joint pain, chronic fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, depression, migraines and asthma.
-If you sit in a bath with a cup of Epsom salt, the magnesium is absorbed through your skin and starts to work immediately.
When reading more and more about Epsom salt and its ability to reduce inflammation and joint pain, the more I wonder why I don’t take an Epsom salt bath daily.
My goal later in the week is to try a Sore Muscle Epsom Salt and Essential oils recipe. I will let you know how spicy and sweet I smell at the same time.
Last but not least, Cooper has a pretty bad cold, and the doctor recommended the following treatment: drop a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil on a towel. Stick the towel at the bottom of the shower and have it run hot for a couple of minutes. Get the bathroom all steamy and smelling of eucalyptus oil. I thought this was a cool alternative approach for my daughter's doctor to recommend essential oils, but it made me start wondering if Epsom salt is okay for babies.
Is Epsom Salt okay for babies?
Based on all my research, it looks like it can help aid relaxation and add to a good bedtime routine for the baby. The only issue is that if swallowed, it acts a laxative. So you have to monitor the baby closely during bath time. Good to know.