From the moment you fall pregnant, or decide that you want to, those powerful maternal instincts cause us to focus our attention on the baby. What we eat, what we think, our goals, our dreams – everything becomes skewed to prioritise these little people we are bringing (or have brought) into the world. But focusing a bit of attention or energy on yourself
 is healthy and, indeed, in the best interest of your children. The more full you are with energy, positivity and calm, the more you can share that goodness with others.

Check out our list of the top workshops, programmes and rituals that you can sign up for over the coming months, so you start the year off with a good dollop of self-care.

Pregnancy Wellbeing with Laura Weyel, at Become Alive

Laura Weyel, Becoming Alive

Nutritionist, yoga instructor and mother, Laura Weyel, runs wellbeing consultation programmes for men and women to help them achieve their health and wellness goals. Her Pregnancy Wellbeing programme is designed to help women to thrive physically, mentally and emotionally during pregnancy.

“It’s so important during pregnancy to be eating the right foods and to be emotionally and mentally healthy. Water transmits everything
– sound, light, energy... Your baby is forming inside you. This is why it is so important to make sure you are thinking positively and feeling calm during pregnancy. What you feel is what they will become. If you are anxious during your pregnancy, your child will be more likely to be anxious. If you are calm and positive, your child will be calm and positive, too.”

WHAT IT INVOLVES

• Nutrition guidance 
“What to eat during which phase of pregnancy. At certain times, the bones are developing, at another stage, the neurological pathways are developing... Eating the right nutrients during these phases to support the growth of the baby can have significant impact on its development.
• Supplements

• Inner wellbeing

“As the baby is swimming in water that picks up every emotion and energy, it is important to be relaxed and joyful during pregnancy. Emotions and thoughts can suppress, or activate, immune functions.
 I guide expecting mums through meditations to reach a calm and blissful state.”

• Breath work
 “Our number one nutrient is oxygen and we need an abundance of it for every cell to function optimally. No nutrients can be absorbed on the cellular level if there isn’t enough oxygen. No matter how healthily you eat, if there are no O2 molecules in your body, you won’t be able to absorb the minerals and vitamins. In general, we are poor breathers and need to first know how to use our breath in a correct way. In my sessions, I do breathwork with people to help them fully oxygenate their bodies. We also do some meditation and visualisation.”

DETAILS AND PRICING

The programme consists of three one-on-one sessions with Laura for Dh1,800. Can start before, during, or after pregnancy – the sooner you start, the better. Included in the price is ongoing support throughout your pregnancy through calls
 and messages. For more information, contact Laura on 050- 9100789, or follow her on Instagram at @laurarweyel, or visit www.becomealive.ae.

Read more: '5 Chats every couple should have before having a baby'

Becoming a Family with Helen Williams at Mindful ME

Helen Williams, Mindful ME


Helen Williams is a counsellor as well as a meditation and mindfulness expert and the founder of Mindful Me. As well as her consultations with individuals, couples and families, Helen also runs mindfulness workshops, such as her upcoming four-week programme for parents, Becoming a Family – A Mindfulness Journey into Parenthood.

SHE SAYS:

“Mindfulness is a conscious awareness of what’s happening,” says Helen. “People come and do the workshop together as a couple, recognising that they will need to support each other. By the time they get to six weeks, or 12 weeks, there can be issues for both parents. For some it happens instantly, in the first few days, or weeks. For others, it happens slowly over months. Deep wounds and fears from the past can come up. By practicing mindfulness daily – the daily noticing of oneself – you can quickly recognize if you’re not OK and learn how to let things go – how to let them pass through you without calamity. Mindfulness needs to become part of daily life before the baby arrives.”

DETAILS AND PRICING

Four morning sessions in January – Jan 9, 16, 23 and 30 – from 9am to 11am. Dh1,300 per person. Learning and practicing mindfulness techniques to help with the adjustment to parenthood. For more information, call Mindful ME, on 054-4668400, or visit www.mindfulme.me.

Read more: How not to hate your husband after kids

Reclaim, Reason and Ritual with Willow

Vanessa Woodthorpe-Wright, aka Willow from Womanspace


Vanessa Woodthorpe-Wright is an expert in women’s spirituality and
 a spiritual coach, who is passionate about empowering women by helping them connect to their inner femininity and power. As well
 as offering one-on-one consultations, Vanessa (or Willow, as she is known in her sessions), runs regular women’s circles, where small groups of women can connect, learn, heal and grow. Her Reclaim, Reason and Ritual workshop is preparing to start it’s 12th round in the upcoming months and she has other workshops and gatherings on the horizon.

SHE SAYS:

“Even though the structure of the course stays the same, it changes each time with the people in the room. As women, our real selves can get lost during the course of our development from child to adult. As teenagers, stereotypes and a need to fit in mold us into something we are not. We are told to hide our periods and act like they aren’t happening. When we become a mother, it becomes all about the baby – we give everything to that role. Our husbands still need us. Perhaps we have other children that need us. We can become depleted and feel like we are lost in a vacuum. Even women’s empowerment is about disconnecting from everything that is feminine and becoming more masculine. But it should be about reconnecting and reclaiming your truth as a woman before the world started telling you who to be. This is what my workshop is about.”

WHAT IT INVOLVES

Four sessions, once a week for a month. Choose to join either the morning or evening group. Maximum of 13 women per group. Each session runs for approximately two hours and includes information on women’s spirituality and ceremonies and rites of passage throughout history 
in different cultures around the world, as well as the opportunity for participants to share some of their own experiences. Additionally, each session includes a mix of visualization, music, sometimes some dance, food, making your own keepsakes to take home, self-care rituals, journaling and lots more.

DETAILS AND PRICING

For details of the next Reclaim, Reason and Ritual workshop (prices start at Dh1,200) and Vanessa’s other workshops and sessions, email her at vanessa@womanspace.co, follow her on Instagram at @ womanspaceme, or call 050-5016914. In January, catch her new evening workshop, which is open to men and to women. Two sessions of 90 minutes, starting on January 25. Dh550 per person.

Read more: Why so many UAE wives feel invisible in their marriage
 

Build Your Tribe with Manal Omar at Across the Lines

Build Your Tribe workshops will be held at Al Barari



Global rights leader Manal Omar is passionate about encouraging and enhancing women’s leadership through workshops and training in the Middle East and Africa. She is visiting Dubai in January to run a woman-only workshop to help women identify their values and build a supportive community around them.

SHE SAYS:

“Nowadays, every social cue is encouraging women to put her needs second. The challenge is that we then put an incredible amount of pressure on ourselves – and those closest to us – to be able to meet all of our needs. The reality is that we need a tribe to support us for our true potential to emerge.

“The main purpose of the workshop is to provide women with the tools needed to identify their key values and principles and to build a supportive and enabling community. The global citizen is more isolated and vulnerable than ever. Throughout the workshops, individuals will work together to formulate key skills that will provide them with the tools to identify and build their own tribe – a tribe that enables them to reach and unlock their full potential as leaders in both their own lives and within their communities.”

WHAT IT INVOLVES

The workshops will be held over two days. You can decide to do just one day, or to do both. During the workshop, you will learn specific tools for holding brave conversations, building and maintaining allies and coalitions, and protecting authenticity. Whether you choose one or two days of workshops, everyone benefits from the following:

1. Rejuvenation and self-awareness – understanding how to pause, reflect and refuel


2. Skills and Tools – to help us have brave conversations,
 to understand our conflict style and to move the negative out of our bodies


3. Growing our network community

Day One: Tools to Build

The first day is about learning how to map out your skills and core beliefs, so you can walk away at the end of the session with the tools to build your tribe.

Day Two: Tools to Maintain

The second day involves further building into your safe space through tools to embrace conflict.

DETAILS AND PRICING

The workshops are being held on January 30 and 31 at Al Barari’s Nature Reserve, Dubai. Dh1,000 for one day, Dh1,500AED for both, (breakfast, lunch and snacks included), for more information, visit www.acrossredlines.com/retreats

Read more: 

UAE Mum Burnout: What it is and how to avoid it

The invisible stress of expat motherhood

4 Ways to rediscover yourself after becoming a mum