So many of us are busy juggling jobs, kids and a social life (mine involves a sofa and Netflix most of the time but you catch my drift)-we are BUSY, people- and it can be tough-going at times as we struggle to keep all of those damn plates up in the air and spinning, while feeling happy and strong with it.
Those who follow me on here and across my social platforms will know that I’ve written my first book #Mumboss out in May (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 5 and 8.
Life is packed to the rafters but I flipping love it.
I live for my kids, have a loving relationship with my husband Peter, I adore my job: it’s creative and fulfilling, endlessly stretching and stimulating me and as I work flexibly and best of all: I’m in charge of my schedule. Fab, fab, fab you’re thinking. Yes, but…. while it’s liberating that the internet never sleeps and I can work when the kids are at school and once they sleep, it can also become a bit addictive too. The internet doesn’t sleep and often that means I don’t either!
My life is my job. Literally. I write about my life in both editorial and advertorial features on the blog and vlog our milestones too as well as holidays and work events too. I’m 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 it only lasted a few weeks compared to the 10 months plus post traumatic birth, it was a stark reminder that I need to keep an eye on how I feel and give myself permission to rest, relax and switch off.
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 helping us to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.
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 ourselves happy.
It’s a strength, not a weakness to recognise when you need to slow down. My kids always help me to focus on what matters in life and work. They’re my compass.
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 working late (I wrote my book in the early hours), which leads to being a grumpy mum and in truth, pretty unproductive the following day. Working that way, in the long term, is a false economy when it comes to productivity. You think that you’re catching up by working late, but the fatigue catches up with you eventually. 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 a hot bath and burning a scented candle). 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 included) try to be superwoman and only ask for help 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 and don’t put so much pressure on yourself. 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?
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.
I need to work longer hours during the day now that I’m not up until crazy o’clock at night so the kids go to After-To-School Club several times a week now so I can cope with my 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 in person) has helped me budget and the after-school fees make sense financially for me when it comes to my business.
It also means I get to properly switch off and focus on them when I do collect them.
3. Winding Down Before Bed
I am a complete night owl but I realise that it’s not great 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 most importantly, before my head hits the pillow, I take Vitamin B6 and Zinc with Magnesium which can aid 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 which 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 or remove yourself completely from their drama. Can you refrain from seeing them as much and slowly pull away? Could you unfollow them on social platforms? Whilst no one wants to hurt others’ feelings, often we end up hurting ourselves by keeping bad energy present in our lives.
Once you get more ruthless about who deserves your time and energy, you’ll find bigger reserves for those who matter and you’ll feel happier in every part of your life.
Again spring cleaning physical junk (whatever the season) will also unburden you. I’m constantly sorting and filtering out things I don’t need or want so I have more physical and emotional space both at home and in 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 passed down to me) or the complete opposite!
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. Every meal includes a salad and or seasonal vegetables too.