We are all incredibly busy juggling jobs, kids and a social life (mine involves a sofa and Netflix most of the time but you catch my draft)-we are BUSY- and it can be hard at times. Hard to keep all the plates in the air and spinning, and feeling happy and strong with it.
Those who follow me on here and across my social platforms will know that I’m excitingly writing my first book #Mumboss (a guide on how to survive and thrive at work and at home), whilst working as a full time blogger and vlogger here at Honest Mum®. I also have two sons (my literal suns), aged 4 and 7.
Life is packed to the rafters but I flipping love it. I live for my kids, have a loving relationship with my soul mate of a husband Peter (sorry if that makes you queasy but he’s my rock), I adore my job-it’s creative and fulfilling, endlessly stretching and stimulating me and as I work flexibly, I’m completely control of my schedule. Fab, fab, fab you’re thinking. Yes but…. whilst it’s freeing that the internet never sleeps and I can work during the day and then once the kids are asleep, and remotely too if I like, it means my work is never done or I don’t have to stop in theory. I can easily become addicted to my passion. We all know the internet’s addictive too right?!
My life is my job. As in literally. I write about my life in both editorial and advertorial features on the blog and film milestones, holidays and work events too.
I am a personal brand and honestly, sometimes it can be hard to switch off.
The good news is that I’m pretty adept at self-care. I don’t ever want to return to the dark times I experienced post birth that I suffered with my first son.
I also had a period where I felt very low last summer due to the effects of a close relative being ill, and whilst they only lasted a few weeks compared to the 10 months plus after a traumatic birth, it was a stark reminder that I need to constantly regulate how I feel. I need to give myself permission to rest, relax and switch off.
Only then will I be most content which reflects in how I am around my family and of course in my work. Happy mama equals happy kids and a thriving biz!
So, as always, this post and the tips within are a reminder to myself as much as to you guys. To always check myself before I wreck myself.
I’m sharing what’s working for me right now and want to emphasis that self-care is an on-going process. Life and careers evolve and as they do, new challenges arise forcing us to adapt in order to keep strong, productive and happy.
It’s a strength, not a weakness to recognise when you need to slow down. Kids for me help me focus on what matters in life and work.
1. Become Strict With Your Schedule
I oscillate between being strict with my schedule, integrating daily exercise and switch-off time, to chaotic days where I stop for the kids after school and nursery then work until 3/4 am in the morning, which leads to being a grumpy mama and in truth, pretty unproductive the following day. Working that way, in the long term, is a false productivity economy. You think that you’re catching up, but the fatigue catches up with you. I’m now consistently trying to get to bed at the same time each night following a similar routine which doesn’t involve burning the midnight oil. More of that below!
2. Reach Out For Support
Another obvious one right: to reach out when you need support, yet most of us (me) try to be superwoman and only ask when we feel at breaking point! Not good. Ask for help when you need it, from friends, your partner etc. reach out and discuss your woes, take time out together and allow yourself to process, cry, release your frustration with those you love and trust so you can feel better. Ask where you can for practical support too. Can family and friends have your kids for dinner one night, can anyone cook you a meal or could you take it turn on the school drop-off and pick-up.
I need to work longer hours during the day now that I’m not up until crazy o’clock at night so I’ve upped my youngest, Xander’s days in nursery and I’ve extended my eldest’s time in After-School Club hours so I can cope with the workload. Yes it’s pricier than before but by making cut-backs elsewhere (supermarket shopping online for example where I’m not distracted to buy everything in store) has helped me budget and the childcare fees make sense financially for me when it comes to my business.
Of course the kids complained and I’d love to see more of them but I return to the why I’m doing what I do and my purpose. I work because I love my job and it makes me happy and collecting my kids an hour and a half later than usual is better for all of us. I get to properly switch off and focus on them without trying to run to the park, get dinner ready and answer work-related emails.
Also accept invitations from others when they offer to help. If you have family who have asked to help you where needed, accept this or work out ways you and other parents can take it in turns to offer childcare support for one another.
Could your partner take over childcare once back from work so you can focus on your own business in the evenings? I just ask that you make tweaks to your working day that ensure you feel supported.
3. Winding Down Before Bed
I am a complete night owl but I realise that it’s really not good for my health. Now I switch tech off for at least 2 hours before slumber (hello beautiful, enriching books), I sip 2 cups of chamomile tea (2 is my magic number) and often do some yoga to fully wind down before I sleep. Lastly and importantly, before my head hits the pillow, I take Vitamin B6 and Zinc with Magnesium which prevents nightmares in me, and aids restful sleep (ask your pharmacist and doctor about this for yourself).
A good night’s sleep HONESTLY means a cracking day’s work the following day and a chance to feel more relaxed during down-time with the family. Sleeping well affects every waking moment of my life to be fair. It sounds so simple, ‘Just go to bed earlier’ but I know from experience that it can be hard to get into a good sleep routine. It’s not just your kids who need it.
Go read Arianna Huffington’s ‘The Sleep Revolution’, it will transform the way you think about sleep.
4. Remove Physical and Emotional Clutter
Don’t put off an emotional and physical spring clean. Ask yourself if there are negative people in your life and how you can distance, remove yourself from their drama. Can you refrain from seeing them as much or slowly pull away? Can you unfollow them on social platforms? Whilst no one wants to hurt others’ feelings, often we hurt ourselves by keeping bad energy present.
Once you get more ruthless about who deserves your time and energy, you will find reserves for those who matter: your close friends and family and you’ll feel happier in every part of your life.
Again spring cleaning physical junk (whatever the season) will also unburden you. I am constantly sorting and filtering out things I don’t need or want so I have more physical and emotional space in my home and my mind.
5. Making Exercise and Eating Well a Priority
Again, being a woman of extremes means that I’m either full throttle into running most days and eating virtuously (slow releasing Mediterranean diet my ancestors loved) or the complete opposite!
For the most part, I stay clear of sugar which hates me as I suffer from PCOS, and gluten and I fell out in my late teens… When I stick to eating well 90% of the time, I unsurprisingly feel fab 90% of the time. Rocket science it is not!
I cook in advance, even making up a big pot of brown rice this morning that will last for a few days, and I like to make soups and casseroles that can be kept in the fridge and freezer and enjoyed in different meals for the family throughout the week.
I’ve got tons of recipes that will hopefully inspire you on the blog.
So there you have it, 5 tips that could change your life. I just need to stick to them myself!