In the last year I have become a huge cheerleader for mindset and working on yourself. I am not going to preach to you all that you should be having daily workouts and green juices (although I love both of these) I am going to suggest small hacks that can make a big difference to how you feel.
As a parent you are often completely knackered and I found that I often was just “getting through” the day every day feeling pretty crap most of the time. My weekends were often a right off as this gave me the excuse to claw back some sleep and maybe go for a walk in the park or out for food (an excuse not to cook)
I would always say I didn’t have time to do anything for me, I was a brilliant mum because my daughter was always my priority. The fact is half the time I was with her I was checking my phone or trying to muster a little enthusiasm for the 100th rendition of Dear Zoo so I was not always “present”.
Last year, I realized that if I was going to be a better parent, friend and still have a fiancé I needed to start working on myself a bit more. There are only so many times you can say “I am so tired” without it getting boring.
I have completely integrated self-care into my daily routine and focus everything around my mindset. The premise is if I am feeling happy, positive and rested my relationships will benefit.
In terms of self-care taking time for yourself every day is essential. Giving yourself time every single day to focus on something that you enjoy, this doesn’t have to be huge – for me it is simple things like going to a yoga class, having a coffee with a friend, walking in the park (on my own!) or reading a book. By giving yourself that time you are saying that you value yourself.
The biggest barrier that comes up in conversations with my clients is time. “I don’t have time to…”, or “if I had more time”. Be honest with yourself, how much time do you spend on social media? On your phone? Watching Netflix? I know I used to spend hours every day inanely flicking through my phone. Now I only use it a few times a day as I realize it was a time vampire.
If you want to feel more positive and get more done you need to have routines in your life. Just like babies flourish with some sort of routine (or so I have been told!) we do too.
The two key parts of your day are your evening and morning routines. I always say start off with the evening first.
Sleep is so key, I am writing this after being up every hour from midnight with a teething 6-month year old. I have managed a couple of hours sleep this afternoon during my “working hours” as I know my brain is virtually useless without sleep.
When you look at your sleep think about getting consistently 7 ½ – 8 hours every night. If one of your kids is a nightmare take turns sleeping in separate rooms (it won’t be forever) so at least one of you can function. If you don’t get the hours in you may as well be drunk – especially if is only 4 or 5 hours.
When you have worked out what time you need to get to bed to get that 8 hours sleep work backwards and get rid of all screens half an hour before. Wind down, read a book, talk, meditate, write a journal.
With your evening routines in place you can focus on your mornings. When you wake up you are dehydrated (even if you haven’t had wine the night before) so keep a massive glass of water by your bed and down it as soon as you wake up. Then do some exercise – anything from gentle stretching to HIT to a run to some yoga.
After your exercise sit down and plan your day, focus on your priority for that day and then think about the people that you need to contact and who you are waiting on. If you are very time poor, you can do all of this in 10 mins. I would aim for 30 mins so you can have a bit more exercise but do what works for you.
By creating these morning and evening routines every day you can increase your productivity by 30%. By planning your day and not being reactive to your emails your day is on your agenda. By doing something you love every single day you are prioritizing yourself.
As a parent we can’t always control what our routines are like, my advice is to aim for the above and when things don’t work out move on. Part of self-care is realizing that things will go wrong and accepting that it isn’t the end of the world when they do.
Ruth Kudzi is a Business and Mindset coach who specializes in working with mums who want to start up and develop their dream businesses. She has a MA in Psychology and numerous coaching qualifications.