The importance of self-care (especially for young moms) - Nanja Massy

May 16th, 2022,

5 min read

The importance of self-care (especially for young moms) - Nanja Massyfeatured image

In our busy and often hectic world, consciously seeking relaxation is essential to stay in balance. But how do you do that? We asked Nanja Massy (34) who, as a make-up artist, hairstylist, content creator, and young mom, keeps many balls in the air at the same time.

Nanja, how are you (really) doing?

“At the moment I am doing very well, thank you. I've been a mom for 1.5 years now, and that's been a big change in my life. The first period was intense, but I'm finally getting more rest now, as she's sleeping through the night.

It has definitely been quite a search for a new balance between work and my new role as a mom. But also my roles as a girlfriend, sister, and wife. At first, I experienced fatigue and stress, due to the combination of work and life as a young mother. But now, 1.5 years later, I have the feeling that I have found my balance again.”

What drives you in your job?

“As a make-up artist and hairstylist, I am constantly working on making other people happy and pretty, so that they can live life with more faith, power, and self-confidence. This also applies to brides, who are about to experience the most important day in their lives. I want to make them shine, that gives me a lot of energy.

In addition, I also get a lot of energy from the creative part of my work, when I’m working as a content creator. I find it really cool to work with a creative team to figure out how I can translate a new launch to my followers. I can really let my creativity run wild.

Because of all the different things I do, no single day is the same. That's really my motivation: every day is different, with lots of new projects, fun challenges, meeting people, getting to know unknown brands… I really enjoy it because I can make people happy through my work. Actually, I studied to become an art and history teacher. I taught at a secondary school for four years, but then followed my heart toward more creative work. And this passion has been my main profession already for ten years now!”

When was the last time you weren't feeling good about yourself?

“About a year ago, when my daughter was about six months old, I wasn’t feeling so good. The first period that I was back at work, in combination with motherhood, was very difficult. I needed time to adjust to the new role in my life, to being a mom.

The period surrounding childbirth has also had a major impact; my daughter was born one month premature via an emergency cesarean section. Every day the scar on my stomach reminds me of how lucky we were. If we arrived at the hospital half an hour later, she wouldn't have been here.

My daughter being born a month early also meant that I had to embrace motherhood a month earlier than I had anticipated. Many things happened at once, and that had an impact on my being.”

How does that manifest itself, physically, mentally, and emotionally?

“Physically, this mainly manifests itself in a flu-like feeling. During that period I had a lot of muscle pain - all over my body, but especially neck pain and shoulder pain. For me, stress mainly reveals itself in those places. I also lie awake more at night and find it difficult to fall asleep.

Emotionally I experience fluctuations as well. I become extra sensitive, irritable, and 'difficult', for no good reason. My eating habits are not improving, I tend to resort to unhealthy food more quickly. I can also experience this in the week before I get my period, although, of course, that has more to do with my hormones, and not really because of anything demonstrable.”

What is your strategy for feeling better?

“I am someone who likes to be on my own. For example, I really enjoy going outside for a walk. I also like to listen to music, which helps me a lot. Especially feel-good songs, they always make me feel better.

A day at the spa is also very pleasant, without a mobile phone and social media. For me, this is the ideal way to relax since I can't take out my mobile when I’m there and can therefore really de-stress. I experience so many stimuli in my work, so it is very important for me to regularly and consciously reduce my screen time.

I also often take moments with my moonbird, to breathe. When my daughter is asleep, I can take a break on the sofa and focus on my breathing. I really notice that calm breathing is important to be able to relax properly.”

Can you describe what it brings you?

“It helps me calm down and come to myself, away from all stimuli. I'm not someone who quickly turns to other people when I'm not feeling at my best. Exceptionally, I visit my best friend to express my feelings, or my husband, who is also easy to talk to.

Whenever I feel restless about something, I prefer to be alone for a while. I always make time and space for this. It is often said that you have to listen to your inner voice, to get clear what exactly is going on. This requires silence so that you can actually hear that voice.

I think it is important for everyone to know what is the right way for him or her to relax, this is different for each person. If you can't come to yourself when you feel the need, you're likely to get stuck. And of course, you don't want things to get worse.

In short, I take a lot of time for myself and plan enough offline moments, without my mobile phone. This way I avoid going crazy because of the social media buzz and it helps me stay upright as a mom, wife, and friend.”

What does self-care mean to you?

“It's important that you love yourself, including all your flaws. If you feel bad about something, for example, something you've done or said, when things aren't going well at work, or when you're facing disappointments, it's all about being able to forgive yourself. That is also self-care: loving yourself and being kind to yourself.

In addition, it also means that you take enough time to come to yourself. Self-care for me is me-time, like taking a bath with a book, listening to a podcast, or going for a walk outside. I also try to exercise three times a week. That is the ultimate me-time because at those moments I am focused on nothing but myself. Pilates, stretching, or dancing: that is pure relaxation for me. I am also really looking forward to being able to go to festivals again soon.”

If you could change one thing to make this world more beautiful, what would it be?

“I wish that people would be a little more tolerant. That we do not immediately see the bad in everything and everyone but live life with more openness and respect towards each other. Just giving someone a smile on the street has so much impact. You don't know what's going on in another person's head or what that person is going through. Being kind is worth everything and it actually takes so little effort.

YOLO is still one of my catchphrases: you only live once. If you are stuck in a job where you are no longer happy or have a boyfriend or girlfriend that you no longer click with, then dare to let go. It will be difficult at first, but you will eventually feel so much better. We only have one life and now is the time to live it the way you want to. When you do what you love, you last the longest.”

Nanja Massy

Want to know more about Nanja and all the pretty things she puts into the world? Go to Nanjamassy.be or follow her via Instagram: @nanjamassy.

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