Jen's Sanity Survival Guide for Working Moms
It’s been a month. Between my birthday, plumbing issues that resulted in a minor basement flood, having to give our foster puppy back so he could go home with his adoptive family, and Ella deciding it was time to get her temps and learning to drive, to say I have been a bit frazzled would be an understatement. Add those things to my normal routine of work, class, after school activities, making meals, and generally keeping the house as clean as I possibly can with 5 people and a dog, and I consider it a miracle I haven’t had some kind of breakdown. It does explain how I forgot to wake Seren up for school last week though. Ugh.
I need a vacation. At the very least a day off to just sit and stare. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for that right now. I can’t even find time to squeeze in an hour to get my nails done. And these nubs could use a manicure. I think that’s the hardest part about being a working mom is finding time to do things for myself. And when I don’t, I’m sure my family would tell you I can get a little bit grouchy. What’s a mom to do? I understand that many other women struggle with this too, so I thought I’d give you a few things I do to parcel out “me” time during the day and hope that you can use them too.1. Meditate and move. One odd thing that has been a surprising help to my mental health, is my Apple watch. It does two things: it tells me to meditate, and it tells me to stand. Meditation is something I’ve tried to get into for years, but never managed to do consistently. The little reminder from my watch pings me in the morning after I wake up and I do 3-10 mins max/day. This helps bring me to the right mindset in the morning. Instead of worrying about all the things I need to do, I can focus on the present.2. My watch also buzzes me when I’ve been sitting too long. I take this opportunity to get up and walk around. Not for a long time, just a couple of minutes. I’ve never been good about taking that 10-minute break per hour at work thing we’re supposed to do, but now I at least carve out a couple of minutes to walk away from my desk and reset. Plus, I don’t know if you’ve seen the TEDx Talks “Sitting is the New Smoking but you’ve got Options”, but I watched it a few years ago and it was eye-opening. The gist of it is, being sedentary is pretty much killing us, so any time you can get up and move around, you should.3. Keep a journal. I use notion.com. It’s nice because there’s a template to follow. You can enter daily goals and check them off as you go. Who doesn’t love that?! You can also list your intentions for the day and things you’re grateful for, and there is space to write about what happened that day. I typically do this in the mornings before I start working. I use this time to try to prioritize my day and change my mindset. I am not the most positive person, especially in the morning (I am NOT a morning person). I spend this time being thankful and manifesting a good day.4. Declutter your workspace. Studies have shown that the tidier/more organized you are, the better you feel. Working in a mess negatively impacts productivity and wastes time. According to Forbes, the typical executive today wastes almost one month a year searching for lost information. That’s a lot of time! I’ve been working on instilling this in my kids. They can’t properly do their homework if their room is a disaster area. Working and living in clutter not only affects productivity, it also causes additional stress, which can lead to depression. If you tend to be messy, it may seem like a huge undertaking to get yourself organized, but once you do it, and you get into the habit of always putting things away, you should feel a big difference. Fortunately for me, I have always been a very organized person. Everything has its place and if it doesn’t, it goes. Nothing makes me happier than decluttering!5. Do something relaxing before bed. I am an introvert which means being around people all day leaves me extremely drained by nighttime. You would think being so spent it would be easy for me to go to sleep, but unless I have quiet time to myself, I’ve found it’s very hard for me to fall asleep. Now, I take at least 30 minutes a night to do something relaxing that I enjoy before bed. Lately I’ve been reading. Sometimes I paint while watching Real Housewives. Find something you can do that is calming and will help you disassociate and take a mental break. At the very least, it might help you fall asleep faster!6. Take a random day off. This is the last thing I wanted to talk about because I think it’s especially hard for women to take off a full day. There is some internal struggle we have where we think it’s selfish or something. It’s not! Sometimes, you need to spend an entire day not working. And I don’t mean spending the day doing household chores. I’m talking about spending an entire day doing something fun! Some days, you really need to recharge completely as an entrepreneur, as a spouse, and as a parent. This is an area I need to work on. Our office was closed on Monday for President’s Day and I told myself I was going to have one relaxing day over my long weekend. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. I found myself cleaning and doing laundry and grocery shopping the whole weekend. Don’t be like me!
Working moms have it hard enough. We shouldn’t be making it worse by relentlessly running ourselves into the dirt. According to Forbes, “Living in a world of “always-on” culture can wreak havoc on you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Constantly grinding leads to burnout, anxiety, and stress-related illnesses. Our immunity weakens, we age faster, and we become more susceptible to colds. News flash: you can’t grow your career if you’re running on fumes and stressed out.” Let’s face it, our families couldn’t function without us! We take care of everyone. We should take care of ourselves too!
I hope this has been semi-helpful! If you’re looking for any other self-care tips, would like to schedule a consultation regarding your financial situation, or if you feel like forcing me to take time off to do something fun, please shoot me an email – Jennifer.Jenkins@bluestonewp.com. Especially the latter…I could use some forced fun!