If you’re, like me, a Mum and a business owner (affectionately known by some as a “Mumpreneur”), then I have a good idea of how you’re feeling at this tail end of the year.
They don’t call it the silly season for nothing do they?
I’ll bet you often feel stressed out. Totally overwhelmed by your to-do list and the million different demands on your time. “Make time for yourself” they say. Pfft. As if!
And “tired” doesn’t even begin to poke a stick at how freaking exhausted you are. All. The. Friggen. Time.
Then the number 1 reason for stress and fatigue won’t surprise you at all: it is poor work-life balance.
120 hours for working, 5 hours for sleeping, 20 hours for coffee…. Sound familiar?
Well I’ve certainly been feeling the pressure this last week, as I swear I’ve been dying. (Though it’s entirely possible I just caught man-flu off my husband – he’s been sick for a month…)
Add to that two of my kids’ birthdays, one kindy orientation, client work and delivering my new online program.
Who the heck has time for Christmas? Not me, not yet, no way!
BUT luckily for y’all, I’m a seasoned Mumpreneur and have learned a trick or two over the last 9 years and many, many ups AND downs of being in business for myself.
Let me let you in on a few secrets I’ve learned to keep the hair on your head, the wrinkles at bay, and the zzzzzzz’s flowing nicely at night-time!
#1. On a Sunday evening, put your Drill Sergeant hat on, pull out your calendar and schedule your week ahead with military precision.
Do not schedule more than 3 “must do” (work) tasks per day. If your to-do list is short enough that you can actually get it all done in a day and tick it all off your list, you will feel AMAZING! The lift to your mood and boost to your confidence this will give you should not be underestimated!
(And of course you may feel free to reward yourself by doing some extra work.0
Something I like to do at this particularly busy time of year, in addition to scheduling my work week, is to add reminders to my phone for everything – whether it’s my child’s library day, or husband’s cricket, or a family event, or school carnival or whatever, it goes in my phone with an alarm. Sometimes the alarm goes off days in advance so I don’t forget to buy a gift or prepare food!
And do not – I repeat, DO NOT, over-schedule your days! This is the root of all overwhelm and is a very bad habit that you must break immediately. Trust me on this one. Make “No” (or “no thanks” if you’re more polite!) your new favourite word!
#2. Tell that guilty conscience to wrack off already.
Whoever thought up that term ‘mother’s guilt’ has a lot to answer for. Although it was probably a Mum. We seriously are our own hardest task-masters and worst critics aren’t we?
There is zero value in allowing those feelings of guilt about what you are not doing to creep in. Tell that voice to shut the hell up!
Make it a mantra that you repeat to yourself daily: “I am enough just as I am.” Your kids, your partner, your family and friends, heck even your clients and customers, all like, love, admire and think you’re pretty damn cool just the way you are.
#3. Look after yourself.
Us Mums get full marks for looking after everyone else in our lives. When you are busy running around like a chook with its head cut off, doing a zillion things at once, your adrenalin is pumping and you feel invincible!
But then the minute you stop, your hormones crash and that is exactly when you get sick. (I know – I am in that boat now. I really should take my own advice ALL the time, not just SOME of the time…)
In that schedule you create on Sunday evenings, work out when you can get some exercise in – just walk the kids to school if nothing else, make sure you have food in the house so you can eat healthy, keep a bottle of water on your desk so you stay hydrated, and put yourself to bed when you’re tired.
Well I mean, d’uh!
But don’t worry, I don’t mean normal breathing, if you didn’t do that you’d be dead!
Recently I stumbled across an article about 4-7-8 breathing, which is derived from yoga techniques and is particularly useful in calming our adrenalin and cortisol hormones – those fight or flight hormones that flood our bodies when we’re feeling stressed.
Here’s a link to a video showing you how it works.
So if you’re feeling heightened stress levels, overwhelmed, anxious, like your brain is racing, or you just can’t ‘switch off’ to go to sleep, then I urge you to try it.
It literally takes one minute to do and you’ll be absolutely stunned by the change you experience. It’s almost like a magic cure for stress!
#5. The Sun will still come up tomorrow.
Remember the song from the original Annie movie? Well it’s so so true. Truly it doesn’t matter what happens, the world will keep turning, the sun will come up tomorrow, you’ll get up and keep going and everything will be ok.
I used to be so unbelievably stressed all the time, and at the root of it was a very deep fear of failure: What if I don’t make enough sales to cover the bills? What if people hate my idea? What if I miss this deadline? What if I stuff up this technology and make my website crash? What if I forget my kid’s school assembly? What if I get sick and can’t get anything done?
I mean the list could go on ad infinitum couldn’t it?
Well, every single one of those has happened to me, and worse, and you know what? It really didn’t matter in the end.
Hardly anyone noticed, and those that did were either understanding and forgiving, or didn’t have my best interests at heart (and therefore didn’t matter).
And I still achieved success despite all these “failures”.
I suppose the key is to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them, but even more important is to recognise them not as failures, or potential failures to be afraid of, but simply as a learning process.
And to also recognise that how OTHER people react when you stuff up says absolutely nothing about you and everything about them. Don’t bother taking their issues on board! Look for the useful critique and use that to refine what you’re doing and improve next time.
Make a promise with yourselves to make peace with “the worst that could happen”. Once you’re comfortable you can deal with the worst, then you have beaten fear!
And this, my friends, sets you up for massive growth and success. New Year’s goals here we come!