Future Path Life Coaching is dedicated to bringing out the best in you, giving you the time to think clearly about what is important to you and encouraging you to reach your full potential. Their mission is to enable Mums to shine as strong leaders in their families.
I have always loved listening. As a teenager I would spend hours on the phone talking to my friends (yes, sat in the hallway with the phone attached to the wall by a twisted chord!) I love that every conversation has the potential to open up my world and challenge my thinking. Over the years I have honed my listening skills, and as a qualified Leadership and Personal Development Coach I have been trained to listen.
Here are 10 impactful benefits of being listened to well:
1. Builds mutual trust
To share and be vulnerable with someone requires mutual trust. Knowing that you are being listened to well encourages you to trust the other person with the information you are sharing.
“As we listen more sensitively to people, they start to listen to themselves more carefully and pay attention to their thoughts and feelings” (Rogers & Farson, 1957).
2. Opportunity to improve and enjoy your life
By taking time to express your thoughts you have an opportunity to reflect and shine a spotlight on your thinking. Are you saying what you really mean? By paying attention to your thoughts and feelings you can bring about the change you desire in your life, lining it up with your values and achieving your goals.
3. Increases productivity
In a work setting, when everyone in the team is listened to well, problems get solved faster and the group is able to collaborate well.
4. Cooler heads prevail
Sometimes you need to let off steam. In this situation if you have someone who listens to you without interrupting, you can think more clearly and rationally.
According to Nancy Kline, author of Time To Think, “Thinking stops when we are upset. But if we express feelings just enough, thinking re-starts.”
5. Helps bring clarity and perspective
By talking something through with the right listener, you can get clarity of thought and a different perspective. You can get out of a vicious circle of thinking patterns and challenge yourself to think differently.
6. Freedom to express yourself
Working with a coach is a safe space to express yourself fully. This can bring a lightness and an opportunity to get things off your chest.
7. Opportunity to sort through feelings and emotions
Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed by the thoughts in your head. Speaking them out provides an opportunity to remove their power and to bring more rational thoughts and calmer feelings.
8. Makes you feel cared for
Being listened to well makes you feel you have significance and that your life has purpose and meaning. The person listening demonstrates they care about you and what you’re saying.
9. Improves emotional and physical well being
Studies show that we are more able to deal with our emotions and cause our bodies less stress when we are listened to well.
10. Know you’re being taken seriously
Being really heard demonstrates that the listener respects you and it gives you credibility.
If you need a good listening to, why not seek out a qualified coach who has all the skills to bring out the best in you and to make you shine.
Recently I attended a conference called One Woman, facilitated by One of Many. This was me, taking time to invest in myself and my own personal development. As I sat with 400 other women I had the opportunity to reflect on how I am showing up as a mum and business owner.
During the conference we were introduced to five pillars – love, vitality, wealth, vocation, network. I’d like to explore each of these pillars with my own reflections. Starting by reflecting on the quality and strength of each of these pillars is a great way to focus on the areas which you need to be intentional about.
As human beings we are wired to be interdependent and interconnected to others. How are you showing up in the area of love? Are you intentional about making time to invest in close relationships despite the busyness of every day life? If you’re in an intimate relationship, do you know how you best give and receive love? One good book to explore this further is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
Yes, it is possible to be a mum and have vitality and radiance. Sometimes this can feel out of reach, especially as it’s so common to put our own needs last. Acknowledging that self-care is not selfish but critical to enable you to function well can be life-changing. One of my clients said ‘If I don’t look after my own needs, I turn in to Monster Mummy!’ I can really relate to this. Your needs matter. What do you need to do to invest in yourself? What is essential to bring you energy and re-charge your batteries?
‘It’s not how much or little you have, it’s your relationship to it which counts’ Joanna Martin, One of Many. A few years ago I listened to a webinar which introduced me the importance of understanding my money story. We all have a money story which is the by-product of our up-bringing and education around money. I come from a family of savers who buy the cheapest, my husband comes from a family of spenders who buy the best. Neither is wrong, just different. It is possible to change your money story by working on your money mindset. Here’s a blog by One of Many Joanna Martin about creating some good money habits: https://oneofmany.co.uk/blog/what-are-good-money-habits/
Since started building my coaching business I feel I have found my vocation, also known as your passion or your calling. All my experience to date, my strengths and my story have brought me to this point, the ups and the downs. When I coach, I know I am operating in my zone of genius. Operating in your zone of genius brings great fulfilment. As humans we crave significance, and this can be found in your vocation. What brings you alive and gives you energy? How can you take steps towards building a life which involves doing what you love?
As humans we are wired for collaboration and interdependency. We were not built to be alone and operating in isolation. Who is in your network where you feel supported? Your network can be built up of various elements – practical help, advice, mentors, accountability, emotional support, spiritual input, buddies. How strong is your network looking? Is it providing the support you need? Where are the gaps? It can be difficult to ask for help. Often it’s easier to give than receive. What can you do to strengthen your network?
Take time to reflect on each of the pillars and commit to being intentional. A coach can help you gain clarity and perspective and help you to create a clear plan to bring about change in manageable steps.
Last month I had the opportunity to speak at a networking event for consultants on the subject of planning and achieving your goals. It made me appreciate how closely linked these two things are.
“If you have a vision but no plan, then you have a pipe dream” – Brian P Moran, The 12 Week Year
COMPLETE A WHEEL OF LIFE
When I start my planning, I always being with completing a Wheel of Life. I start with two blank wheels and complete one for my business and one for my personal life. This gives me a quick pictorial view of how balanced or out of balance things are.
START WITH THE END IN MIND
To coin the phrase from Stephen Covey, I start with the end in mind. What lights you up, gets you excited? My way of doing this is to write a letter to myself, one year ahead. I visualise where I want to be in my business and personal life, writing in the past tense as if it’s already happened. This helps my brain to act on the vision, just by thinking about it. After I’ve written the letter and read it through, I draw out one word or short mantra which sums up the letter. For me in 2019 my word is Abundance. My mantra is – I am consistently growing my business, investing in my family and taking time to re-charge. This needs to hold your attention and be meaningful enough to get you through the hard times and keep you on track.
BREAK VISION DOWN IN TO MILESTONES AND ACTIONS
Keeping your letter to yourself in your mind I then look at my two Wheels of Life and annotate what I want each segment to consist of by the end of the year. These are your milestones. So, for example, in the Health and Wellness section I might want to have competed in two 10km runs. Then break each milestone down in to manageable actions. To get to the point of running a 10km race, my actions could be to start a couch to 10km programme, run three times per week and get the races in my diary. Take your vision and commit to working towards it consistently, every single day.
PLAN IN 90 DAY BLOCKS
Brian P Moran in his book, The 12 Week Year, noticed that employees often got more done in the month before their annual appraisal than they had in the previous 11 months. He recommends planning in 12 week blocks. Start by writing down what’s already in the diary, routine commitments, days off and then list all the actions you want to take over the next 12 weeks. Then break down those in to weekly actions.
COMMIT TO 3 TOP PRIORITIES EACH WEEK
It can feel overwhelming, but the best method to combat this is to commit to three top priorities each week. These are non-negotiables. If possible, use an accountability buddy or a Facebook group to share you top three priorities. This increases your chances of getting them done.
USE THE POMODORO METHOD TO STAY ON TASK
Using the Pomodoro method increases your focus and productivity. It involves setting a timer for 25 minutes. Use that time to work on a specific task. When the timer goes off, stop what you’re doing and take a 5 minute break. After 5 minutes, set the timer again for 25 minutes and continue your work on the same or a different task. Do not let yourself get interrupted.
NOTE DOWN YOUR SUCCESSES
I find that recording my successes helps me to see what I’ve achieved and gives me a chance to remember and celebrate the wins. Work out how you are going to reward yourself when things go well and be proud of what you have achieved.
Whether it’s breaking up with an ex, grieving for a loved one, being made redundant or moving to a new location, change is never far away. Even good change such as having a baby or getting a new job can be stressful and unsettling. Navigating your way through change can be uncomfortable but it is possible to manage it in ways to make it feel less scary.
Acknowledge your feelings
Don’t run away from the emotions which come up. Listen to them. It is ok to feel worried and fearful. Try to identify and name your feelings and explore why they are arising. It is beneficial to write them down or speak them out loud. For example, “I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed because I am moving to a new city next week.”
Replace expectations with plans
When you form expectations based on something which may or may not happen, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. You can influence your tomorrow, but you can’t be sure of the outcome. Instead of expecting the future to give you something specific, focus on what you’ll do to create what you want to experience. Write down what you can do to minimise the impact of the change. If you’re starting a new job, what practical things can you do to ease yourself in? You could find out about the organisation, could you meet someone you know who works there, for example.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new” Socrates
Create a mental script
Listen internally to what is being said by you about the change you are facing. Is it true? Or is it your primitive brain trying to protect you and keep you safe? If the change is something outside your control, then it may be hard to accept the situation. However, you can work towards acceptance by replacing your unconscious thoughts with a mental script. You could say “I have enough, I am enough.” Or “Life is a journey”.
Know you can control your attitude and actions
Change may turn your world upside down, but you still have control over how your respond to the situation. You may feel like approaching the situation in an angry way or taking your feelings out on others. You could choose to view the change as an opportunity for new possibilities and approach it with a sense of anticipation and excitement. Some people find it beneficial to write a list of what you can control, to help to reduce anxiety and feel happier. Capture all the positives by flipping the negatives around.
Talk to others with similar experiences
Talking to someone who has ‘been there’ can make a significant difference to how you feel about the change you are facing. Ask for advice on what you can do to get through the change well. There may be a support group online which you can connect to. If you struggle to find someone to talk to, consider getting some professional help to enable you to function well during this period of change.
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” Benjamin Franklin
Utilise stress reduction techniques
Relaxation can help decrease stress and increase emotional health. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help you to relax and cope with stress more effectively. Physical exercise helps the brain by increasing the flow of blood, which delivers vital oxygen and glucose to the brain while carrying away waste products. Research shows that exercise can help keep your mind sharp, promotes feelings of alertness and well-being and wards off depression and anxiety.
So change is inevitable, but with some practical steps you can mitigate the damage it may cause and build your resilience at the same time.
No joke. I’m starting to research information for this blog post whilst helping my 10 year old hang up his laundry to dry and keeping an eye on fish fingers and hash browns under the grill….yep, I’m multi-tasking, again! With my Mum hat on, I find myself multi-tasking all too frequently. Is it good or bad?
Headlines such as “Multi-tasking Mum proves she can do it all” grab our attention and multi-tasking can be seen to be worn as a badge of honour.
I run regular workshops on The 5 Gears which is a simple coaching tool to enable you to be more present and productive when there is never enough time. Gear 4 is Multi-tasking and I confirm that this is the most over-used gear out of the 5 and often the most difficult to get out of.
Research online indicates multi-tasking is predominately bad, but most advice is aimed at office workers where I can understand that multi-tasking can be detrimental to the quality and quantity of work completed and also negative on personal well-being, but is that true of a Mum who is holding down a job or running her own business and is also acting as CEO at home?
As a Mum who is at home after a long day at work, it’s still difficult to move from room to room without finding a job to do/picking something up/tripping over something which is out of place! It feels like it’s a necessity to multi-task sometimes.
Apparently only 2% of people can multi-task effectively, and it’s likely you and I are not one of them. If you are multi-tasking in order to be more productive, the effect is negative. It causes a loss of productivity.
Multi-tasking is really switch-tasking and that incurs switching and start-up costs. By concurrently working on tasks means you are having to refocus your brain back and forth between the tasks. The rapid variation between tasks and the effort of having to change mental focus causes stress. Stressed people make more errors.
We aren’t wired to focus on more than one thing at a time. Attempting to complete multiple tasks on your to do list will actually slow down your cognitive processing. It’s hard to organise your thoughts or filter out unnecessary information. Efficiency plummets. In a University College of London study, subjects who multi-tasked, while performing brain sensitive tasks, demonstrated IQ drops similar to people who are sleep deprived or smoke marijuana.
Multi-tasking can also be an addictive pattern of behaviour and therefore hard to stop. It programmes the brain to operate in this mode, creating a debilitating thinking habit which is permanent. When we multi-task we are blasted with a reward hormone called dopamine. It feels good, and even if we have planned to set aside time to delve in to a time consuming project, the pull of email and social media keeps us distracted. Researcher Zhen Wang discovered that people carrying out multiple things felt good about themselves but the results of the tasks they had to complete were no where as good as non-multi-taskers. Zhen’s research indicates that multi-tasking serves an emotional need, rather than a productivity need.
But what about background tasking? This is when you perform two activities concurrently but only one requires mental exertion. For example, listening to the radio whilst folding the laundry, listening to music whilst cooking or exercising. Background tasking can be beneficial. I like to use the time whilst one thing is happening, to do something else. One Mum I know does squats every morning whilst her breakfast smoothie is blitzing!
Talking with someone, however, requires your full attention. Have you experienced talking on the phone to someone when you are aware they’re not listening 100%? Their tone changes and they pause before they answer. If we are constantly distracted we are not giving our attention to the people who are most important in our lives, our family.
So, my conclusions are:
It’s ok to practice background tasking but instead of multi-tasking, try creating schedules, habits and routines instead. Schedule in 1:1 time with your husband and children. I make sure I am not online once the children are home from school from 3.30pm to 7.30pm. This helps me to be available for them and not distracted when they need me. It gives them a chance to talk if they want to. I also make sure we have 1:1 time before bed and that’s often when they open up and appreciate my undivided attention.
If possible, move some activities to when the children are asleep or before they wake up.
Anticipate interruptions when you are at home. When you are trying to do something with children in the equation, expect to be interrupted and instead of resenting it, see it as an opportunity to connect.
Practice chunking. This involves breaking your day up in to chunks and not reacting to constant interruptions. Group similar tasks together so that you can intentionally focus on them in one hit. The more chunks of time you can devote to specific tasks, the less switching and start-up moments you will have. Ensure you turn of all notifications and put your phone on silent.
Practice the Pomodoro Technique and get things done in short bursts. This encourages you to focus on a task for 25 minutes, setting a timer, then give yourself a 2-5 minute break before working again for the next 25 mins.
In future I shall be more mindful about whether it’s appropriate and beneficial to choose to multi-task or not, rather than just ‘falling’ in to it and then realising things aren’t going smoothly. If I’m intentional about how I use my time then I am more likely to see an increase in my productivity and ensure I am fully present with those around me.
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion as a result of excessive and prolonged stress.
“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long” Michael Gungor
What happens to you? Too much stress can cause your body to display a range of physical and psychological symptoms. It could be irritability, lack of energy, tummy upsets, headaches, sleep problems, lack of motivation or focus.
To manage stress, you may reach for unhelpful strategies such as alcohol, smoking or eating sugary foods. Focusing on more healthy ways to manage stress will prevent burnout and be more effective in the long term. Exercise, drinking water, getting outdoors, spending time with friends and practising mindfulness can be effective and possible alternatives.
Know your stress triggers. Everyone handles stress differently. Knowing what causes you stress is the first step to managing it. If you find mealtimes stressful or getting out the door in time in the mornings, take some time to look at how you could make things go more smoothly. Look at your own expectations of yourself and your children at these times. Are they appropriate or unrealistic?
When you put together your daily to do list, where do you feature on it? Be intentional about making time for YOU during the day. It could be just taking a break, ringing a friend or having a short walk. Knowing what you need to re-charge is essential to being able to give well to those around you.
Maintain healthy boundaries
To set healthy boundaries you need to know your limits both physically, emotionally and mentally. You need to know what you can tolerate and accept and what makes you uncomfortable or stressed. Boundaries are a sign of a healthy relationship and they demonstrate self-respect. Next time you hear yourself saying ‘I have to do this, or I need to do this’ replace those words with ‘I choose to do this.’
It is well documented that exercise combats stress. Prioritising time for regular exercise can impact your ability to handle the stresses of being a mum. It can be hard to find the time but it is essential.
You have a limited amount of energy to expend, and if you’re not careful you can end up pushing yourself beyond a healthy threshold. In order to keep generating more energy, you need to let your body rest. We are designed to repair from the daily wear and tear and this happens when we rest. Sometimes if you want to go a bit faster, you need to slow down!
It can feel like we need to be Wonder Woman all the time. That’s just not possible or practical! Taking time to focus on these 5 steps will enable you to re-fill your tank so that you can give out of the overflow to others.
If we’re lucky, on average, we get about 25,000 mornings in our lifetime – how are you going to use yours? After 286 interviews with the world’s most prosperous CEOs and entrepreneurs, studies by My Morning Routine show that most of these power players have established morning routines with the majority getting up at 6.30am after 7 hours sleep. 75% exercise before work and 64% practice some form of meditation or yoga. Many keep their electronic devices out of the bedroom to prevent disruption.
I’m not here to tell you how your morning routine should look but my intention is to give you some ideas to help you to create a morning routine which is right for you, at this point in your life. Be kind to yourself in the mornings. A morning routine is a personal gift to yourself – it’s a present for you to create and then unwrap each morning!
“Today is the most important day of your life”
Hal Elrod, Miracle Morning
Creating good habits and a morning routine is critical for a lifetime of success. It has the ability to set the tone for the whole day. It helps to combat mental fatigue, limiting your decision making at the start of the day. Too many choices can cause over-load or the tendency to make poor decisions. A good routine gives you control, means you are non-reactive, reduces anxiety and enables you to be more productive throughout the day.
Getting enough sleep is critical to having a successful morning routine. It’s helpful to know how many hours sleep you require. I know I need 7.5-8 hours sleep to function well, so if I want to get up before the children I need to go to bed on time. Prepare as much as you can the night before – set your intentions for the following day by noting down your top 3 priorities, get your clothes out and prepare any lunches etc. Think about your night time routine. Do you want to read, reflect on the day or make yourself a calming drink to help you to sleep?
It’s often tempting to hit the snooze button but those extra minutes of non-REM sleep are of no benefit. Arguing with yourself about getting up is also destructive. In her book, The 5-second Rule, Mel Robbins suggests counting down from 5 to 1 and then getting up, taking the decision away. I have found the best way for me is to have my alarm on the other side of the room so I have to get up to switch it off. And then I am up! (Although most of the time now I am awake before the alarm goes off.) You could try a sleep app which helps to monitor your sleep patterns and enable you to find your optimum wake up time. If you want to wake up earlier, bring your alarm forward by just 15 mins and build up gradually, making sure you are getting to bed at a reasonable time too. If you have a bad night with limited sleep, give yourself a break and get up early the following day.
Here are 6 elements of a good morning routine, extracted from Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning. Hal uses the acronym SAVERS.
S – Silence
Aim for a few precious minutes of silence, even if it’s in the shower. You could use a guided meditation if you prefer or white noise (try Tide). You could practice mindfulness, use the time to reflect, take some deep breaths or jot down things you are grateful for. Take time to listen to the noises around you.
A – Affirmations
These are mantras to repeat as a way of changing the pathways in your brain. Words spoken out loud or in your mind such as: I am hopeful; I persist with confidence; I trust myself in making great decisions. There’s an excellent 30 day affirmation challenge infographic from Brian Tracy.
V – Visualisation
This is creating mental pictures of specific behaviours and outcomes occurring (ie school meeting, difficult conversation). It’s prepping the brain for what is about to happen. The brain doesn’t know the difference between actually experiencing something and imagining it. Imagine your future self. How would they handle the situation you are facing today?
E – Exercise
I find exercising first thing in the morning really helps to get my day off to a good start. If this doesn’t suit you then try a few basic stretches to energise and wake you up for day ahead.
R – Reading
Learning from inspiring people is a great way to invest in your personal growth. Just reading a few paragraphs each day will motivate and challenge you to new ways of thinking. Books which have inspired me include: Playing Big by Tara Mohr; Awaken the giant within by Tony Robbins; The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters.
S – Scribing
This is journaling, putting pen to paper. It helps to clear your mind, gain clarity and accesses your left brain which is analytical and rational. Writing often enables past frustrations and future anxieties to lose their edge in the present moment. Journaling about positive experiences helps you to relive it, releasing important endorphins and dopamine. I currently journal under three headings – gratefulness, affirmations and intentions.
It can take time to find the right morning routine for you. Play around with different elements and see what works best. Creating a new habit also takes time, so persevere. The results will be worth it.
It is possible to achieve balance as a mum. I spoke to Sarah at the start of her coaching sessions. She was stressed by her chaotic life, parenting three children and running her own business. She could not find the time to exercise and was reaching for the crisps when she knew a healthy snack would be better. She was barely communicating with her husband as they spent their evenings on their laptops or in front of the TV.
Sarah is typical of many mums I meet. They are striving for balance but it feels out of reach. There are no easy answers. I am no expert but I’ve walked with many women on the journey to finding balance. There is no universal perfect balance that is right for everyone. The balance is always shifting. What is right for today may be different for tomorrow, especially as your children grow up and need you in different ways. When balance feels elusive, don’t beat yourself up. This is normal and part of life. We try to do our best, but some days will feel completely out of balance and that’s OK.
The mums I have worked with have put the following 5 steps in place to help them to achieve balance in their daily lives:
Step 1 – Know your re-charge and recognise the power of investing in yourself
In the first few years of motherhood we get used to putting ourselves last. That is somewhat inevitable, but it needn’t be forever. As your children grow, it’s important for them to see you taking care of yourself. “Realising that having time to focus on me isn’t selfish was a revelation”, says Andrea. You need to know what you need to re-charge your batteries, so that you can operate effectively in all areas of your life. Maybe it’s a long bath with a book, a swim, a run, a chat with a close friend – know your re-charge and schedule it in to your week as a priority.
Step 2 – Simplify simplify simplify
We often make things more complicated than they need to be. Top tip – if a task takes less than 2 minutes to complete, do it NOW. For example, rinse the dishes and get them in the dishwasher rather than leaving them in the sink, complete the school permission slip now and get it back in the rucksack. Once the task is done you don’t need to waste mental energy on remembering to do it later. Look at your regular tasks and see what you can simplify.
Step 3 – Stop comparing yourself to other mums
With the intrusion of Facebook it’s easy to think everyone else has life sorted, and you’re the only one who feels like she’s pushing a boulder up hill. That’s really NOT the case. Everyone is doing the best they can but only the good bits show up on Facebook. Instead of comparing yourself, talk to other mums and find out how they are really doing and look to see how you can support each other. Ask them about meal-times, getting out to school on time, doing homework, getting help with chores etc and you may get some good tips.
Step 4 – Ask for help – it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mum
There isn’t a mum on the planet who hasn’t needed help at some point. It can be difficult to ask for help but sometimes it can make all the difference. Parenting is exhausting and when you are running on empty, that’s when the sh1t hits the fan. It’s good for your children to see you asking for help and it opens up their world to see things done differently. You want your children to feel comfortable asking for help when they need it in the future. Let them know you’re not Supermum. Make a list of what you need. Rate the importance of each need. Write down a list of people who could help you (partner, parents, siblings, children, friends, neighbour). Match each person with a different need. Recognise that it’s healthy and smart to ask for help.
Step 5 – Spend time being fully present in your relationships
We live in a world which is heavily influenced by technology. This has so many benefits, and yet there are downsides too. If we are not careful, technology affects the quality of our relationships and ability to connect well with those around us. We are easily distracted by emails, text messages and pop ups, rarely un-attached from our phones. We know we are in balance when we can be fully present in the moment when we are with another human being. Be intentional about having breaks from technology. Set boundaries on your availability to others. Take time to really ‘be’ with the person you are with. Listening carefully and asking questions instead of talking can transform the conversation. Do you need to schedule some time to connect with your partner or children without the invasion of technology?
One coaching client, Claire, says as a result of her coaching sessions: “It’s so easy to get caught up in day to day life and the coaching sessions allowed my head space to step back and really evaluate what was important to me and where I wanted to get to. I’ve moved to a place where I feel my life is finally in balance and that it’s sustainable for the long term.”
Balance is possible. Don’t give up on reaching for it.
September has a New Year feeling to it. Are you ready for a fresh start? Here are some tips for parents with primary age children in the run up to the start of term.
1. Remember U2!
If you’re reading this you might do…..but remember You Too! In the run up to the New (school) Year, you need to focus on your child, but this is also an opportunity for you to stop and think about how you are showing up in your life. It’s a chance to look forwards and bring about change. Perhaps you don’t a vision for your life or your vision is buried under a pile of washing! Working with a coach enables you to take time to gain clarity, perspective and to become the best version of yourself. Click here for more information.
2. Chatter about school!
Although you may aware of exactly how many days there are to the start of term, your child may be blissfully unaware. Start to chat about school helps them to prepare mentally and avoids it being a surprise. You may like to look at the school website together and talk about their friends and teachers. Encourage them to talk about their feelings relating to school, or try asking them to draw a picture to help to articulate it.
3. Get the garb!
The uniform and school kit may well be on your radar screen but try to involve your child too. Check items still fit, especially if you think they’ve had a growth spurt. (My children’s school trainers always seem to be a size too small!) Let them help you to purchase items and name everything too. Click here for a great checklist from Netmums to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything
4. After school snacktastic!
Being prepared for hungry tummies, by providing a small healthy snack, reduces the risk of your child asking for less healthy options. A healthy snack, immediately after school, also prevents them asking for food just before the evening meal is ready. Here are some of the items I provide at snack time – cheese and crackers, grapes, chopped apple, chopped melon, nuts (if not allergic), ham, chopped cucumber, chopped pepper, filled wraps cut up small, celery sticks with cream cheese.
5. Own the morning routine!
School mornings can be a stressful time. It can be a bad way to start the day for everyone if you are getting worked up about it. Use the holiday time to re-visit the morning routine with your child, empowering them to take responsibility for each activity. Ask them what needs to be done, how long things take and make sure they are aware what time you need to set off for school. What can be completed the night before? Having a visible list really helps my son to stay focused on the tasks ahead.
I was at a recent networking event and two of the mums there I had coached in the past. As I introduced myself to everyone in the room I used an example of a vision which one of my mum clients created. Both mums said ‘That sounded just like my vision!’ It wasn’t theirs, but this got me thinking about the similarity between the visions which my mum clients tend to set when they work with me.
A vision might be the most powerful way to keep you focused on what you want in life whilst keeping you motivated in achieving it. Having a vision opens up your mind to many possibilities and a brighter and bigger future.
When you can envision a future that is better, happier, more productive, you are more likely to make the changes that are necessary for you to reach that type of life.
Here are some examples of the visions my mum clients have created:
“I am calm, have good 1:1 time with the children. I have my evenings back and time for me.”
“I have time and space to make a home and live a proper family life because I am relaxed.”
“I am on top of things because I have a plan. I am present and connected at home.”
There are some striking similarities. What I noticed what that each vision tended to include some type of self-care. It is far better to give out of the overflow rather than running on empty, but we often neglect ourselves. Also, there is an intentionality about each vision. Without something to focus us, it’s so easy to get side-tracked and distracted. The visions also show how important family life is to these mum and that they are prioritising this.
“I have found the power to be confident with who I am.”
“I have clarity, value myself and am brave.”
“I am happy because I am connected, balanced and fulfilled.”
Through coaching sessions, each of these mums have taken manageable steps towards reaching their vision.
Vision encourages you to prioritise your values. A clear vision has the power to bring what’s most important to the surface of your lifestyle and schedule. A clear vision makes it easy to weed out of your life those things that stand in the way of achieving what matters most to you.
A coach can help you to create an inspiring vision for your life which helps to keep you on track and motivated. Have you got a vision? How are you taking steps towards that vision today?