If you find your own needs frequently slipping down your list of priorities, behind shopping, the swings, school pickups, business meetings and cooking dinner, you’re not alone. But while you can’t afford to neglect your roles as a mum, partner and career woman, it’s vital you take the time to look after yourself.
Yvette Ankrah, owner of Ankrah Associates and manager of the Harlow and Epping Mumprenuers Networking Club, shares her tips for taking better care of yourself, and ensuring you have the energy and passion to pursue what’s important to you.
Why you need playtime too
There is something about the sun coming out which fills me with energy and renews my ability to get things done (although my energy levels will never match those of my toddler)!
But what about your energy levels? Perhaps you run a business by yourself or are busy trying to climb the career ladder? Whatever you do, trying to juggle it all can sometimes be stressful, and it’s easy to feel as if you are run ragged.
Life will always make demands of you and you need to find ways to manage the stresses and do things that are fun.
Here are some tips to help you take better care of yourself, and ensure you have the energy for everything you want to achieve.
Surround yourself with supportive people
You probably have several people in your life who support you in some way. So let them know if you need some help and how they can help you. It could be babysitting, helping with meals or taking on other tasks that free up your time to do something just for you.
Make time for yourself
Your diary is probably bulging at the seams, but how much in there is actually non-work or family related? Even if it is just 10 minutes a day, book a time slot and do something for yourself – go for a walk, read an article, do Pilates. Whatever it is, make it a regular activity and diarise it as if it were a business meeting. Missing it is inexcusable!
Stop and breathe
When you’re stressed or tense, you hold your breath or simply do not breathe down into your abdomen. So take a moment to focus on your breathing. If you are not breathing down into your stomach or feel tense, try this simple exercise:
- Take a seat, make sure your feet are flat on the floor, and relax your arms.
- Close your eyes.
- Slowly inhale through your nose and out through your mouth five times.
- Slowly open your eyes.
- Stretch out your arms and shake your hands.
Feeling better? This is a great technique to use before a meeting or presentation, or when the kids are screaming and the house is in chaos!
Start prioritising yourself and get more done
As working mums, it’s easy to prioritise everything before ourselves. But taking time out for yourself is important – without it you won’t have the energy or enthusiasm to do anything well. Don’t think of it as being selfish, see it instead as a necessary investment in yourself to be a better mother, partner, employee, businesswoman and friend. After all, you need to thrive in order to succeed!
You can find out more about Ankrah Associates, a company that supports female-led small businesses to achieve their business dreams on their website.Yvette Ankrah