self-care tips for mumsWritten by Melissa Mills, Like Minded Souls Natural Therapies

How many tip lists and articles have you come across in health and wellbeing magazines and websites, filled with great ideas for self-care and made a mental note to try some of them, but got caught up in the daily grind of The Great Juggle of family, work and life in general? As women, we are naturally nurturers and givers. We love our families and we enjoy taking care of them. But often this involves putting our own needs last. We feel selfish doing something for ourselves and feel guilty asking for help with the jobs we feel are our responsibilities – cooking, cleaning the house, washing, grocery shopping, looking after the kids, the list is endless. Does any of this sound familiar to you? You are not alone. We have all felt like this at times. For me personally, asking for help and not feeling guilty was the hardest lesson for me to learn when I became a mother. In fact, it’s still challenging and therefore a life lesson (sometimes I am a slow learner!). My tips for self-care in the trenches are actual tools I use to survive toddler warfare with my 2 year old twin boys and maintain some shred of sanity!

1. Move yourself up the priority list

Only you can do this. Let’s be honest, it’s usually pretty rare that our partners will suggest we take time off and they will look after the children. So it is up to you to ask for this time for yourself. You deserve it. Your mental and emotional states will benefit enormously. You may encounter resistance from those around you when you first start taking your me-time. Keep pushing and they will get used to it. If asking for me-time is new to you, start slow, take baby steps. Ask for 1 to 1.5 hours a week off. Find a weekly class that interests you or join a gym and go at a time that suits you. Or do a weekly Saturday morning catch up with other mums, who are also on me-time or friends you haven’t seen in forever. Enjoy actual conversations with no interruptions from children. These catch ups can be revitalising and keep you going for weeks in the trenches.

2. Yoga/Pilates

A truly wonderful way to spend your me-time and strengthen your connection with your mind, body and soul, is to try yoga or Pilates. Click here to learn more about these two awesome practices and their similarities. I have tried both practices and found Pilates incredibly beneficial during the last trimester of my twin pregnancy, to strengthen my lower back, legs and pelvic floor muscles. I’ve been unable to try Pilates post-natal, but will be adding it to my self-care plan this year, to strengthen my core muscles and support my massage work and the physical elements of motherhood.

After the shock and awe of first time motherhood wore off and my boys were six months old, I was drawn to hatha yoga. After experiencing the amazing peace that can be felt when you stop, relax your body and get out of your own way during the relaxation segments of the class, I was hooked for life. When I entered my first yoga class, I was in a place where I couldn’t hear any babies crying and no-one wanted anything from me. It was all about me and re-connecting with my body to enact healing on all levels. Within the first 4 weeks of attending yoga classes, I felt a noticeable improvement in my core strength, posture and flexibility. Most noticeable was the improvement in my mental and emotional wellbeing. Often, I’d turn up exhausted and running on 4 hours sleep a night and the guided relaxation exercises at the beginning and end of the class, helped calm my nervous system and slow down my rapid breathing and racing brain activity. Two years later, these are still my favourite parts of the class. When other interests I have tried to pursue have been put on the back burner until my boys are older, yoga has been the one constant in my life I have hung onto tightly. It keeps me sane and if it’s been a crazy week at home, it’s often the only space I’ve consciously created to do meditation and self-care for that week.

If you are unable to schedule time outside of the house for a class or cannot find one that suits you, I’ve discovered an app called Yoga Studio. It has collections of classes you can select from, broken down into levels of ability and length of classes. So if you are new to yoga, you can begin with 15 minute beginner sessions and increase at our own pace, as you grow in flexibility and confidence. If you’re time poor, but wanting to try yoga, this is the app for you! Check it out!

3. Nadi Shodhana – Alternate Nostril Breathing

Nadi shodhana or aIternate nostril breathing refers to clearing the channels of circulation. Deepak Chopra’s website provides some clear instructions on how to do this basic breathing technique.

I was recently introduced to this invaluable tool by my yoga teacher and love it. My teacher gave me the great tip that if you are out in public and feel anxiety building up (eg. your kid decides that the supermarket is the place to chuck a huge tantrum or take all their clothes off), you can simply visualise a triangle of white or gold energy in front of your nose and do the breathing technique amidst the chaos. When I feel the tension and frustration rising up within me, whilst dealing with two grumpy irrational toddlers on the days of no day sleeps, I visualise the triangle of energy in front of my nose, and begin breathing in my left nostril and out through my right nostril and let the tension go. Sometimes, I miss the cue and lose my cool and get all shouty at my boys. I’m only human. I get tired and grumpy myself sometimes. I’m a work in progress after all!

4. Massage

Massage is no longer a luxury or just the realm of day spas. Remedial massage has documented scientific benefits of reducing stress and hypertension, increasing mental health, as well as preventing injury and chronic pain. Often the responsibilities of caring for children, remembering all of their health requirements and extracurricular activities and all the other things it takes to keep everyone in the house alive and operating efficiently, comes down to us mums. These physical and mental requirements can take their toll over time. Scheduling a monthly remedial or relaxation massage can help reduce tension in the muscles you use most and restore balance to your mind, body and soul. If you find yourself time-poor but in need of relief for your tired, aching muscles, there are many mobile massage therapists like myself out there that will come to you and work around your schedule. Many of them are mums themselves and understand the struggle we have to book time in for ourselves.

5. Cry when you need to

This is one of the best forms of self-healing you can do. I learnt the valuable lesson that crying is not a weakness, 7 years ago during my first weekend course of Reiki level 1, where self-healing was the focus. Up until this point, I had always thought the opposite, so this was a significant lesson to learn. I have cried more in the past 2 and a half years than I ever have, since I became a mother and learnt a multitude of lessons, with many more to come. When I feel my emotions build up, I try to take deep breaths and take myself off to my bedroom when I get the chance and just let the tears flow. Afterwards I feel lighter and my inner wisdom kicks in and I can see the situation I was upset about with a fresh perspective.

6. Find your tribe

This one is so important and one I find the most difficult to fit into my life, whilst my children are young. My first experience of finding my tribe was when I was 25, and I sought out likeminded souls, who had an interest in intuitive development and meditation. I have never really had many friends or family, who share my interest in intuitive development and alternative therapies. The benefit that arose from this situation was that I was forced outside of my usual social circles to find my tribe of lightworkers. I’ve been in several classes and courses over the past decade and they have been fantastic and uplifting experiences. Other recent experiences of finding my tribe are seeking out other multiple mums, after the birth of my twins and seeking out other mums in business, when I started my own small business last year. Both of these groups have been invaluable with the emotional support they’ve provided. To find yourself accepted into a group of likeminded souls, who share your interests and where you can be 100% yourself is amazing. You can speak your truth and share your challenges, without fear of judgement or ridicule. It’s wonderfully freeing! So whether you are into intuitive development, meditation, yoga, sports, books, plants or whatever gets your passion ignited, go forth and find your people and experience the freedom that comes from connecting with the awesome soul you are, when you are not being somebody’s mum, partner, employee or daughter.

As always, my underlying message with anything I write, is do what works for you. If none of these tips resonate with you, but I’ve set you on the path of thinking about what you can do to improve your self-care, then that’s awesome! I’ve achieved the purpose of my post! If you are already doing any of the tips I’ve listed as part of your self-care plan, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Or, if you have some new ones for me to explore, get in touch.

self-care tips for surviving motherhood

 

Melissa Mills from Like Minded Souls Natural Therapies, offers mobile massage, Reiki healing and intuitive readings across the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

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PR for small business ownersWritten by Kate Gniel, Headstart Communications

PR success isn’t mysterious.

PR is different to advertising.

Advertising is very much one-way and about selling, whereas PR is a two-way process and about the age-old talent of telling a good story.

Ultimately, PR is the way that a company communicates with the public and media and will help a business stand out in the crowd.

Before you start, you need to plan. Ask yourself:

- What are you trying to achieve? Do you want more people to know who you are? How many? Are you trying to sell more products/services? How many?

- Who are you communicating with to achieve this? It’s important to know your audience and know them well. For instance, what do they read, how do they like to receive information, what motivates them, what are their likes dislikes, age, gender, geographic location etc

- How can you target these groups? It’s important to know how your target gets information, for example online or via TV, radio, or newspapers/magazines.

- Are you continually building and maintaining your relationships? Once you have taken the time to establish relationships it’s time to build and maintain them. Make sure you keep in regular contact with clients, suppliers, media etc through newsletters, social media, networking events.

- Are you ready to respond to a successful PR plan? Do you have the right processes in place? Can you respond to a large demand of your product/service?

Don’t leave your PR to chance. Get planning!

 

PR for small businessKate Gniel, PR Specialist, Head Start Communications

Kate Gniel has worked for almost fifteen years in PR and Marketing roles in Australia and the UK. She has experience of working in a variety of sectors including education, not for profit, parenting, fashion and health & beauty.

She started Head Start Communications in August 2009 so that she could use her experience and skills to offer smart, effective public relations support to other individuals and businesses.

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This post is brought to you by Helplingfeather-duster-709124_640

Outsourcing some of your household chores is a great way to free up more time to spend with family or on developing your business. But it isn’t necessarily as simple as booking a cleaner and leaving them to it. If you want to get the best out of your cleaner, here’s a few things you should know.

Make a booking through a reputable company

The first step is choosing the right provider. There are a lot of companies out there offering cleaning services, so it’s important to pick one that’s right for your home. Look into whether or not they have a thorough registration process for cleaners. For example, all cleaners on the Helpling platform have been interviewed, background checked and had their insurance documents verified. You can also see what previous customers are saying about each company on review websites.

Communication is key

Once you’ve made your booking and your cleaner has arrived at the agreed appointment, the most important thing is communication. Occasionally customers aren’t completely satisfied because their cleaner has perhaps missed a hidden spot they were expecting to be cleaned. If there are specific tasks or areas you want the cleaner to make sure they cover, tell them before they begin. If you would like them to spend more time in certain rooms, be sure to let them know. This will help the cleaner manage their time more efficiently, and ensure they don’t miss anything that you’d expected them to clean.

Stick with the same cleaner

Once you have a cleaner who you are happy with, stick with them! At Helpling, customers with recurring bookings can request the same cleaner every time. Many of our customers have developed great working relationships with their cleaners. And it saves you time as you don’t need to show a different cleaner around your home and explain your preferences each time.

Create a schedule

This is important if your cleaner will be coming to your home on a recurring basis. Define what you would like them to cover during each visit. Certain jobs only need to be done every other week, so if you have a cleaner coming weekly, a cleaning schedule helps them get to work on the most important tasks right away. It also helps you keep track of what tasks have been done and when they should be done next.

Remember, cleaning a dirty bathroom or kitchen properly is no quick fix!

A dirty kitchen or messy bathroom can take a lot of elbow grease and hard scrubbing. Consider this when choosing the duration of your booking. If you just need your cleaner to give these rooms a once over, the duration of the booking can be shorter. If they haven’t had any TLC for some time, you need to allow your cleaner ample time for scrubbing, sweeping, mopping and whatever else is required to make these rooms sparkle.

James McLoughlin, from HelplingHelpling is an online marketplace for finding a registered and insured cleaner in Sydney or Melbourne.

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PerfectionismThis post is brought to you by Tanya Cunningham, Coaching Mum

When you start thinking about perfectionism and how it affects the progress you are able to make in your business, what do you feel? Is it something you continually struggle with or something you’ve worked hard to overcome?

When I first started on my entrepreneurial journey about 12 months ago, I listened to a series of interviews with business owners. When they were asked about their number one regret, it was that they didn’t start earlier. We’re always going to be on a huge (and uncomfortable) growth curve when we start something new, especially when we start trying to figure out which pathway we want to take to start and grow our business. But one of the big hurdles along the way might be perfectionism: the need for every word, every graphic and every product offering to be just right.

Perfectionism leads to procrastination.

The need to be perfect gets in the way of us pressing ‘send’ or ‘record’ or ‘publish’. It stops us just short of making the call or doing the action. So often, we’ve actually done most of the work but the desire to make it ‘perfect’ keeps us hesitating and fiddling with small changes.

But real progress is made through consistent effort, through learning and engaging with your ideal client and refining your message and offering. Sitting around day after day trying to tweak your work to perfection isn’t actually going to go anywhere (she says with a sigh of experience).

It turns out that this seems to be my pattern from a long way back. I develop a vision for what I want to have happen, and then when I start working on it and the vision isn’t coming together in quite the way I expect, I give up, halting the progress, never getting it out there.

Alternatively, I try to consume three hundred articles and books and webinars so that I can double-check that I am doing things the ‘right way’. I’m trying to save time by learning from others rather than learning through my own experience… but there comes a point where I need to actually make the choice to put my own stuff out there and see what happens!

Here are three questions I want to ask you to consider if perfectionism is stopping you from where you want to be in your business:

How is perfectionism holding you back?

As I mentioned earlier, I have been so scared of putting myself out there in business – ‘what if I’m not good enough’ – that I’ve held back from making offers to my email list about actually buying my services. Now there’s a recipe for business failure! One of the business coaches I have worked with said ‘80% done, 100% out there’ – and I am working on being happy that 80% will give me feedback and results that will help me grow and improve my business.

What’s behind the need to be perfect?

Often it’s your ego that is the thing that is driving your perfectionism. Ego is the ‘need to look good and the need to be right’. But how would your actions look different if you let your business values be the driver instead of your ego – values like professionalism, authenticity, respect and creating a ‘wow’ experience? I know that for me the motivation would change from fear that I wasn’t going to be perfect to a desire to do my best for clients. It would still mean consistent, hard work, but I would be more likely to move forward with projects than letting them languish in the final stages of preparation.

What are you going to do today?

You’ve probably pondered the question ‘what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ I want to challenge you to work towards progress, not perfection. What thing have you been working on that you can put out there for your customers to see? What action are you going to take today?

You may have heard the phrase: Prior preparation prevents poor performance.

Yes, but: Practicing perfectionism prevents progress.

Begin today. Do the thing.

Tanya xx

 

coaching for mums

Tanya Cunningham from Coaching Mum is passionate about empowering women to discover their purpose, and her business coaches mums to embrace their unique vision of motherhood. She lives with her husband and two boys in Canberra.

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Productivity for WAHMsThis post is brought to you by Kate Mackay from Invigorate Wellness

Working at home can be convenient, fun and support you in living a flexible lifestyle. But, it’s not always a dream. There’s still the matter of getting motivated and stuck into your work, deciding where in the house you will set up shop (if you don’t have an office) and then there’s the potential boredom and / or loneliness that creep in from having a one-woman show.

Here are three scenarios that perhaps you can relate to, and strategies to help you work around these situations and get you more motivated and productive than before.

SCENARIO 1: Your Business and Home Life are Jumbled Together

You might be thinking: “My house feels messy; the lines between work and home are blurred. Where and how do I draw the line or create structure or boundaries?”

Working at home can be exhausting if you don’t set up any structures, rules or boundaries to help you achieve balance in your life. When you don’t know how or when to effectively stop working this can harm your family relationships. Not having a system to manage your time can make you feel like you’re always lagging behind in your work or feel plain out of control.

While we could continue to break this example down deeper and really explore the area, here is one strategy to help you create boundaries and structures to separate work from everything else:

Strategy: Segregate rooms in your home and use rooms only according to their purposes

How to implement:

- Decide on your core place of work in the house. If you don’t have an office or study, choose a location that has a table and chair. If possible, a room with a door or that is separated from the rest of the house.

- Avoid the lounge room; your back needs the support of a table and chair (sorry comfy couch!) and the TV might get a little too tempting. Avoid blurring the lines of work and rest.

- Do your absolute best to keep the bedroom free from work. You want to create a sense of complete rest in the rooms not used for work.

- If you are fortunate enough to have an office or study, set up a section of the area to motivate and inspire you into action. Get creative and consider making a vision board or put up a few inspiring pictures or quotes.

- Inform your family / those you live with about your strategy to segregate your work from home life. Explain utilising one key area of the house for work. Sharing your goals can boost your chances of success and can provide support in implementing changes.

SCENARIO 2: Work / Life Balance has gone out the Window

You might be thinking: “I don’t have specific work hours, so I feel guilty when I’m not working. I feel like I should be working all the time.”

It can be a confusing feeling. Perhaps you’ve had a day where you felt you weren’t very productive, so you decide to continue working that evening. You may not have created a specific start or end time for work. And, to make it worse, you end up thinking about work and wishing you were home working when you do get out to spend time with family or friends.

Strategy: Set your work hours and create a general schedule (if you don’t have one)

How to implement:

- Realistically, what hours are the best and most conducive for you to work? Are you working around crèche / school hours? What is achievable?

- Factor in your other responsibilities. Consider housework, errands, children’s activities and other commitments. This is about being real about what is possible.

- Keep in mind that QUALITY is more important than QUANTITY. Keep your work hours productive, rather than trying to reach a number of hours per week.

- Note down your “must do” tasks for each week and work them into a generic schedule that you can work along to. This gives you a chance to be absorbed in one task at a time and avoid multi-tasking or wondering which task should come next.

SCENARIO 3: You’re Feeling Bored and Isolated Working from Home

You might be thinking: “I’m sick of being at home all day!”

Working at home has a lot of perks, but also has its downsides. Maybe you’re used to being around people and now you spend a lot of time at home alone. Maybe you’re starting to feel isolated and lose motivation, which can impact on your productivity levels. It’s time to bring a sense of balance and creativity.

Strategy: Schedule regular escapes to change up your work environment

How to implement:

- Consider how often you’d like to change up. Dedicate one day a week to working outside the house.

- Know another friend who works from home? Why not plan days to work at your place or theirs? You’ll have company for the day and someone to bounce ideas off.

- Hunt for your best local café that caters for business owners like yourself. Look for a place with good Wi-Fi, good power outlets for charging your electronics and a relaxed atmosphere that will let you work away in peace for a few hours without the pressure of having to buy 10 coffees.

- Consider checking out some co-working spaces nearby. These spaces can be affordable, sociable spots to connect with other business owners and get you into a new environment that could spur on creativity and ideas.

Working from home can be fun and productive when you have some good systems in place to keep you motivated. Have a great, productive day and get in touch if you’ve found these tips useful! I’d love to hear your work from home success stories!

 

keeping mum

 

Kate Mackay is a health & wellness coach at Invigorate Wellness with a passion for helping business women & entrepreneurs get energised and productive in their businesses & lives through building healthy lifestyle habits.

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