Dr. Lisa folden is a licensed physical therapist and mom focused lifestyle coach. She is the owner of Healthy Phit Physical Therapy and Wellness Consultants in Charlotte, North Carolina. And she is one of our 2021 HER Expert panelists, we’re so honored to have her on the team this year. She works with clients recovering from orthopedic and neurological injuries and additionally, (this is my favorite part), busy moms that are seeking a healthier lifestyle by guiding their food, exercise and wellness choices through optimal organization, planning strategies, and holistic goal setting, which is just all my language. I love all of it. And that’s actually what we’re here talking about today with Dr. Folden. Specifically, creating a space for yourself as a mom. So Dr. Folden, why is it important to create a space for yourself as a mom?
Dr. Lisa Folden 1:17
These days, it’s kind of like body positivity or self care. Those buzzwords, taking up space is sort of a buzz statement these days. And when we talk about it, we mean it literally and figuratively. But the reason I think it’s important to have a physical space is because, we’re worthy of that, as moms, as the centerpiece of the family, the one who holds it all together. Like so many, I have so many husbands who have man caves, right? Or converted their garage to a shop where they have stuff, like, men have spaces all the time, it’s like the norm. Kids have spaces. You know, I grew up, I was the eldest of six, we had three bedrooms and one bathroom, so it was way different. But now that I’m an adult, each of my children have their own bedrooms. So they have it set up how they want them. They have a play room with a TV and toys. So everybody has a space. It’s like a norm for the family. And I think sometimes we just delegate the mom to the kitchen. And for me, as much as I love a beautiful kitchen, the kitchen reminds me of work. The work I have to do. So I think it’s really important that we go beyond defining ourselves just by our roles as as mother or wife partner, and create a physical space that speaks to us. I think it’s important and I think each of us are worthy of that.
How can this practice of creating a space for yourself as a mom contribute to self care?
Dr. Lisa Folden 2:41
That’s a great question. And, I like that because sometimes we see self care as this luxurious thing. Like, oh, I’m gonna go to the spa and I’m gonna get a manicure, pedicure, facial. I’m gonna have $1,000 bill when it’s all said and done. Well, that’s cool and if you can do that, absolutely indulge, but that’s not everybody’s reality. Everyone doesn’t have that time or those finances, to make that their self care routine. So I’m really big on finding, like we mentioned earlier, little pieces of sunshine, that you use for self care throughout the day. Self care is supposed to happen daily, all the time. And it can be like seeing something beautiful, a good fuzzy feeling, talking to a girlfriend, you know, the feeling of relaxation. All of that is self care. I think that having a space that you look forward to being in and working in or sleeping in or praying and or stretching, whatever you want to do, contributes to your self care because it reminds you that one, you’re important, two, you’re worthy and you deserve this and three, you can take ownership of something and have something that’s just yours. It’s not for the kids, it’s not for the spouse, it’s for you.
I love this! Now Dr. Folden, you brought up money though, you brought up some issues with money, and we just finished up a renovation project. I know that if I went to Noah right now and said, I want to make a mom space, he would look at me like I was crazy. Is this something that you can do with limited space and money? And what can it look like in a home that already has all these spaces and locations filled and don’t have a lot of money?
Dr. Lisa Folden 4:24
Yeah, so that’s perfect. So you can you can create a space for yourself with no money to be quite honest, or very small amount of money. It doesn’t have to be a whole room. It can be a corner of a room, literally it can be a closet that you gut. It can be whatever little corner of space you have. It can be outdoors, your deck, your patio, your front porch, you can create this space for you. I mean, think about it’s just for you. You’re just one person. So it really only has to accommodate you physically. And then incorporate things that you appreciate or things that bring you joy, make you happy. So you have to think outside of the box. And in some cases, it’s multiple areas. I’m actually in my office, my home office that I love. I created it for myself. But it’s kind of in the center of the house. So the dining room is in front, the kitchen is over there. So if people are here, I can hear them. Well guess what? I also curated a small space on the back deck. That’s really, not that no one can come out there but it’s really a place that brings me joy and makes me happy. And then we have a really large master bedroom. So I kind of curated the sitting area in there for my needs more so than my husband’s because he has a big space in the basement that he rarely uses, since I’ve curated my space I’d like to add, but whatever. You can totally do it. You can do it however it works for you. It doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy DIY stuff. Use stuff you already have. Repurpose things and make it work for you.
One of the things that I struggle with in my house is, when I’m in my space, or looking around where I am, so for example, you said you have a little corner of a room, or you have your office. So when I’m in a space, I look around, and it just reminds me of all the things that I have to do. If I’m in my room, and I have a little safe space, I might look across and see a pile of laundry. Or if I’m in my office, I look at my computer, and I’m like, oh, I’ve got a lot to do there. Will you share your top three tips or considerations for creating this space?
Dr. Lisa Folden 6:32
Absolutely. So my first one is kind of along the lines of what you’re saying. I want you to consider where you can best set a boundary around your self care. So like I said, I’m in my office, I love it. My kids are 10, 8 and 6. I can kind of shoo them like, Okay, look, mommy’s busy, get out, get out. And they’ve understood that they know when I’m doing something, I’m busy, or I need a little “me” time. But I understand that, kids, family members, partners, they can be a little bit overbearing and want to come into your space a lot. I think it’s important for you to consider how you can set a boundary and say, Okay, this may not be the best place because I’m right on the main floor with everything that’s going on, it’s going to be impossible for them to leave me alon, so my space might need to be in the basement where there’s not a lot of traffic, and it’s a lot more quiet. Think about where you can set the best boundary. Is it your bedroom? Because there’s a lock on the door? Is it your bathroom, because there’s a lock on the door or again, it’s just not high traffic. But the first consideration is where can I do this where I can set the best boundary around this thing, my space. Please respect my space, give me my space, give me my time. Once you’ve done that, I think it’s important that you consider what you enjoy doing. Make that a consideration for your space. So is your space going to be about you completely relaxing? Is it going to be where you nap? Then you’re going to need a comfy couch or bed. Is it going to be where you watch TV? Obviously you need a TV or your iPad or something, a plug socket nearby. Is it going to be where you sit and chat with friends or stretch? Maybe it’s just a little corner of your bedroom on the floor with a yoga mat so you can stretch and move and breathe and meditate… totally fine. So once you know where you can set a boundary, what is it you want to do? The last thing I tell people is to consider what brings you joy and what makes you happy to look at. What do you want to see in this space? Is it nature? I’ve gotten into bird watching. I know I’m aging myself, but I think it’s fun. So are you interested in nature in your space? You might need to be outside or maybe right by a big window. Are you into the TV make sure there’s a TV nearby. Whatever it is you want to see. Fresh flowers, bright colors, is there artwork or something you can put on the wall, make the space friendly to you. It doesn’t have to fit the whole design aesthetic of the rest of the house, but make something for you, and take ownership over that. So find where you can set your boundary. Consider what you love to do and consider what you love to see. And that should help you sort of map out where you can create this space for yourself.
I love those suggestions. That was great. I’m not knocking birdwatching at all! I enjoy birds. I love birds!
Dr. Lisa Folden 9:27
They’re beautiful. I knew how beautiful they were I guess I just never stopped to look at them really. But now I sit on my deck and I’m like, oh! If a bird comes on the deck, I’m like, oh my gosh! It’s so like a kid. It’s really funny.
I’m assuming that what I might need to do is find a little space, a little corner and just turn my back on things so that I can’t see what I have to work on.
Dr. Lisa Folden 9:52
Yeah, it’s perfect because you’re right, we can find stuff all over our house that reminds us of what we need to do. So yes, find a space where you can focus on outside, or TV or beautiful artwork, and your back is to all the rest of the nonsense. If you can shut yourself off in there, awesome, if you can’t just hyper focus on what’s important in that moment.
Well, Dr. Folden, this has been a joy. We completely appreciate you, and spending time with you is always lovely.
Dr. Lisa Folden 10:23
The feeling is mutual. Thank you.
Dr. Lisa N. Folden is a licensed physical therapist and mom-focused lifestyle coach. As a movement expert and women’s health advocate, Dr. Lisa works to help busy moms find their ‘healthy.’ The owner of Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants in Charlotte, NC, Dr. Folden works with clients recovering from orthopedic and neurological injuries. Additionally, she assists busy moms seeking a healthier lifestyle by guiding their food, exercise and wellness choices through optimal organization, planning strategies and holistic goal setting.
A regular contributor to online and print articles on topics related to health, wellness, self-care, motherhood, pregnancy and pain, Dr. Lisa has had the distinct honor of being featured in Oprah Magazine, Shape Magazine, Livestrong, Bustle and several others.
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