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Like many people, I get a buzz from setting myself a task, seeing it through and enjoying the results. You could say I am a ‘Goal Achiever’ it’s a bit of a buzz and the more challenging the goal, the bigger the reward.

I have set some big goals for myself including running a marathon and writing a book and in both cases I had an end date before I started and buckets of determination. I had a strategy in mind, which I followed to the letter.

However not all goals are an easy ‘Slam Dunk’, in fact longer term, transformation goals are much harder to achieve because they are not a quick win. I wrote my book in 6 weeks and trained for the marathon in 4 months, these short term commitments are easier in my mind, than the less obvious but bigger challenges I have faced for the last 20 years, namely being truly healthy and managing my finances correctly.

In both these areas, I get by. I am not glaringly overweight or unhealthy, neither am I up to my neck in debt. However in both these areas I know I could be doing so much better.

Because I have not reached ‘rock bottom’ which is a great motivator for change, I am in that space of mediocre dissatisfaction.

In short, I am settling.

In order to change a situation that is not dire, you need more support and more strategies, than would normally be required. Recently I found a journal, which gave me just the extra support I needed to follow through and stay committed.

The Go Far Planner; Goal Setting Guide and Weekly Planner is the complete package for writing your goals, finding your motivation and consistently following through.

I began by looking at ‘My Life Balance’ as a Work/Life Balance coach this is an area I’m very focused on and I was pleased that I was able to give myself over 50% in all areas of my life. However as expected my Finances and Health were the 2 areas which needed work.

My next task was to map out ‘My Nowadays’, writing a list of all the things I was dealing with at the time. Of the 14 items on my list I then had to identify those that were progressing nicely and those that were ending soon. Of those that were left I identified 3 goals that I wanted to work on.

My 3 Goals were;

  • Having a Daily Yoga Practice
  • Decluttering My Life and
  • My Money Savvy Goal

The Goal Setting Guide used all the tools I use as a coach to guarantee success, such as looking at the benefits I would experience when I have reached my goal. Listing different options to help me achieve my goal along with pros and cons of each. Also being aware of what could derail my efforts.

Armed with 3 juicy and inspiring goals I then used the Weekly Planner to write out my intentions for the week and list the tasks I needed to complete in the week ahead. Each week I am able to reflect on my progress with the weekly Check In pages.

What I have loved about the journey so far with this journal is the pleasure I have taken in the process. The binder of my Go Far Planner set is a deep aqua soft leather; it is a thing of beauty and a worthy receptacle for my life dreams. Each morning I spend a few minutes reading my goals and looking at my plans for the day and this practice in itself has allowed me to maintain focus and commitment over the last few weeks.

I am sure you are curious to know how it is all going!

My yoga practice is going from strength to strength (pun intended!) although I have missed a few days, the journal has given me the opportunity to review why that happened and to get myself back on track.

I have decluttered 50% of my clothes and have sold toys, bikes and other unused household items that were just taking up space. It is quite addictive and I love logging my progress when I review each week.

In my money savvy goal, I have enrolled on a year long course about changing your money story (which I love), I have been checking my figures several times a week – instead of my old ‘head in the sand’ approach and of course I’ve been making money with all the things I’ve sold.

These are not the glamorous big event goals that I normally go for, however I am finally changing some very old habits with the help of my new Go Far Planner and in the long run these will have the biggest impact on my life.

If you would like to check out the planners please visit www.greatminds-uk.com, you can also get a 10% discount by using this code at the checkout greatmindsfriends01

The post Go Far With Your Goals appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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By gritting with teeth at the sight of the messy room of your children, the only thing, which you may earn is an appointment with the dentist. Isn’t it better to find other, more practical solutions in which your child’s room will be clean and tidy all the time? That is not only a far-fetched dream but a reality if you are creative enough. With children, it’s easy- just make it comfortable and lay all the cards on the table. In that way, the child will be able to find everything straight away, without ruining the order of the room.
Children are creative, so you should be too when it comes to his/ her room. First thing, which you need to take into account is to involve the child in the cleaning of the room. It is his/ her own place of the house or flat, so they are the bosses there. Moreover, by collaborating with the children, you will know their preferences and needs. Don’t exclude the children from the sanitation of their rooms and this will create habits in them.
First of all is to keep the possessions of the child to the minimum. Don’t try to buy the happiness of the child by mountains of toys- it’s not good for your budget, home and even for the child- you risk to spoil him/ her.
The secret of the clean and neat children’s room is to be simple and convenient. There are many ways, in which you can ensure this and this article will reflect on some of the smartest and creative methods.
The biggest mess is caused namely by the toys.
Children love their toys and this can be your trump card. Use it to make the child keep them in their place. Create a “play spot” in the room, where you can organise all the toys. Put them in plastic boxes and sort them into groups. In that way, your child will have a good look at what is in them and will not fumble fiercely like a hen in an attempt to dig out one particular item. For the stuffed toys, you may use an organiser, arranging them in accordance with the likability scale. Put the rarely used ones on top, so that your child will not need to go through them every time when in search of his favourite one.
Include the kids in the de-cluttering of the wardrobe.
You may have bought them a T-shirt, which they just don’t like and have no intention to wear. So, instead of being annoyed or angry at the unliked present, just get rid of it. The secret of a clean wardrobe is to remove all the clothes, which don’t fit them and you will be surprised to see how much space this will provide. Put the clothing, which is inappropriate for the season on a higher level and for the rest use hangers. The child will spot straight away his/ her daily outfit and grab it. Show your child how to use the hangers and you will have no more problems with the ball of entangled clothes. Moreover, you will save the problem with the morning “dressing up fiesta”.
Education and books.
Every parent keeps a sharp eye on the education of their children. That’s why we stuff them with piles of books, which usually stay on the shelf, accumulating dust. Provide an easy access to the books, put them just under the nose of your child and you will light the sparkle of curiosity. You can arrange the books and magazines like an open fan so that the child will be attracted by the rich colours on the cover.
The end of the scattered crayons, pencils and pens is coming with the mason jars.
Arrange all the writing instruments of your child into sections. Then your small artist will easily find the required colour for the coming masterpiece, without the need to scatter everything.
Partnering with your child in the organisation of the room will ensure that the scheme will make sense to him/ her. That’s why invite your child to join and start with the process together. That is the first step in teaching your child to be a responsible person. This simple activity will balance your blood pressure and keep your home neat.
Sophia Evans is an entrepreneur and an aspiring writer. She is a wife to the best man in the world and mother of 2 beautiful girls. She knows that it’s hard to achieve a clean and neat home, but with little help from the family – everything is possible.

The post Great ways to organise children’s rooms and how to get them to help appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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If you are a mum in business you will have probably come across self-doubt at some time or other. It creeps up on us and before we know it, we are questioning the sanity in our life and career choices.

Starting out on your own, is not a path for the faint-hearted, usually, we are driven by a deep passion that cannot be ignored. It starts as a niggle, then a nudge and before long we feel at odds if we are not pursuing our calling.

But pursuing a business or career is never all plain sailing, life has a way of throwing a spanner or two, in the works.

  • We may not get the client we wanted,
  • A technical glitch may wipe our database
  • A bout of flu might hit you the day before an important presentation

And at our lowest point we find ourselves asking ‘Why am I doing this?’ or ‘Maybe I’m not cut out for this after all’ and the self-doubt creeps in.

I’d like to share some of the common culprits of self-doubt and more importantly how to outsmart them;

I’m too old

For this one I use Louise Hay as my inspiration. In the world of self-development books, being published by Hay House is as good as it gets. And yet Louise Hay founded Hay House Publishing at the age of 60. You are never too old to start doing what you love and it’s never too late to become a roaring success. And remember age means wisdom and experience too.

I don’t know enough/ I need to do one more course

Often we can be fooled into thinking we are not experienced enough to be of service.

As an employee, your boss will tell you when you have earned a promotion however as an entrepreneur you have to tell yourself when you’ve progressed or are good enough.

This can be tough, particularly as women, because we’re not very good at bragging about our achievements.

In order to beat this feeling of not knowing enough use a school analogy. As someone in Year 5, all the year 3 kids will look up to you, you will have vastly more experience than them.

You do not have to be an undergraduate to make a difference to a year 3 you only need to be a couple of steps ahead.

Nobody wants what I’m selling

If you are offering a service or product that has been created out of your own need, then it’s a fair assumption that someone else will need/want it too.

However it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, not everyone will want what you’re selling, but if you find your target audience and give them what they want…they will love you for it.

She’s doing it better/ Nobody will listen to me

The idea of competition is a particularly persistent gremlin. You may see other people in the same line of business, doing videos or blogs and think ‘Who am I to compete with her?’ However when we come from a place of competition we are undone.

I often use the analogy of coffee shops to combat this particular self-doubt. Where I live in Chichester, we have 2 Costas, a Starbucks, a Café Nero, a Bills and a Prêt a Manger. They all thrive in our small city because they each have a different appeal. Some people will prefer the coffee blend at Costa, some may prefer Pret’s snacks, and others may like the décor in Nero’s.

The reason they all stay busy is because they are all different and so are we. In business, all you have to do is BE YOURSELF, because no one else can do a better job of being you, than you can. The more you can shine your authentic light, the brighter you will shine. Find your USP, your way of doing things, and the people who love you will be able to find you. 

I’ll never make any money

Well, this is probably our biggest doubt. There is no certainty when you start up your own business, no career progression or salary point scale. But if you persist success will come. The trick is to keep faith in your own ability and your dream, even when there is no evidence of success. Every success story you read includes a huge amount of dogged determination, resilience and persistence.

In Napoleon Hill’s classic ‘Think and Grow Rich he tells the story of Darby Harby who went looking for gold and after many months gave up and sold all his equipment to a junk man for a few hundred dollars. He later found out that he had stopped 3 feet short and the junk man he had sold to, had become a millionaire. This story has a happy ending though, because Darby learned the valuable lesson of persistence and not giving up too soon. He went on to become a phenomenally successful insurance salesman.

Have a plan, take action every day and NEVER give up on your dream. The money will come.

To conclude, as a business owner myself, I have found that self-doubt is usually the result of stretching ourselves out of our comfort zone, rather like standing on the next highest diving board at the pool and it’s completely normal to ask ‘Can I do this?’

However in order to be able to jump, we must recognize it for what it is and have the faith to leap.

This article was written as a guest blog for the Talented Ladies Club

The post Dealing with Self Doubt appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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This is an article I recently wrote for the Mpower Community and I wanted to share this with you:

“If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.” 

This example of the ‘oxygen mask’ is often bandied around when encouraging women to think of themselves (I’ve used it myself once or twice!) But it recently occurred to me that it’s not the best analogy to use when talking about self-care. Being in a life and death situation and doing the right thing to give your child and yourself the best chance of survival is a far cry from the lack of self care that I see most mums adopting on a day to day basis.

Let’s face it on a day-to-day basis we are not making dramatic choices, we are making choices based on ease or expedition.

  • How can I get the kids to school on time? I’ll skip breakfast.
  • How can I get these emails done today? I’ll stay up till midnight on my laptop.

You get the gist.

These are not big decisions they are tiny concessions, which taken on their own, do not add up to much.

However as Jeff Olson explains in his book The Slight Edge, it’s the repetition of the minutia that makes the difference. Choosing pizza instead of salad on one occasion, will not affect your waistline, but choosing pizza every day will affect your waistline and your health.

So how can we learn to put ourselves first more often?

I have realised the answer to self-care is self–love, but self-love is a tricky one! Self-acceptance and self-worth are some of the most elusive qualities of the human race. We may enter the world blissfully unaware of our perfection, but it’s not long before our supposed shortcomings are pointed out to us.

  • It could be another child in the playground ‘You have a big nose’
  • It could be a teacher covering a page in your exercise book with red pen.
  • Being dumped by your first love.
  • Being turned down for promotion.
  • Seeing size 0 models in every magazine.

Whatever your life experience, it is unlikely that you have come this far with your self-worth completely in tact and this is why we struggle with self-care.

Luckily there is a simple solution that I have devised specifically for Mums called ‘If I were you’ (I know this sounds like the beginning of a reprimand, but bear with me)

We all have a child or children that we love, more than life itself. And whether or not they misbehave or push our buttons, we still want the best for them…always. We want them to eat healthily, get enough sleep, to be confident, to be wise, to be kind, to be loved, to experience life in all it’s wonder and so much more.

In order to embrace our own self-care each time you’re about to make an unloving decision for yourself e.g. Not having a healthy lunch or trying to fit too much into your day, imagine instead it is your child grabbing a Red Bull and a packet of Doritos or charging around looking stressed! As a parent we wouldn’t stand by and watch this destructive behaviour, we would sit them down with a nutritious meal, a glass of water and help them to take a breather and work out a plan.

Playing ‘If I were you’ allows you to step outside yourself and see your habits and lifestyle objectively and by asking yourself ‘Would I love my child this way?’ you can embrace more nurturing routines.

I know there will be people reading this who are thinking “I simply don’t have the time for self-care’

Again, I would encourage you to imagine your son or daughter in their 20’s coming to you looking shattered and run down. You would not just stand by and let them self-destruct; you would find a solution to help them out. You would take the time because their well-being is worth any amount time and energy required.

This is the action and care you need to demand of yourself because you are worth as much love as your child is.

A final point to drive my message home; your children will learn from your behaviour far more than your words. How you treat yourself will become their blueprint to life. So show them how much you value your own life by

  • caring for yourself,
  • looking after yourself,
  • enjoying yourself and
  • celebrating how wonderful you are

They will follow your lead and you will inadvertently give them one of the greatest gifts in life…a feeling of self-worth.

The post Self Care Solution – ‘If I were you’ appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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Getting the kids back into the ‘school mindset’ at the beginning of September can be quite challenging after the long Summer holidays.

It can also be quite tricky for us as parents, to get back into the routine of school, including drop off, homework and uniforms.

Here is an article, which I was invited to contribute to, all about ‘Back to School’ hacks to make your life easier when school starts this month.

http://blog.getwiseapple.com/8-back-to-school-hacks-you-need-to-know/

Emily xx

The post Back to school hacks appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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Whilst watching ‘Dances with Wolves’ over Christmas I was transfixed by the scenes of the Sioux Indian conflabs in their teepees.

In the film, they were having a meeting to discuss how to proceed with the solitary American soldier who had recently arrived at a nearby Fort.  What interested me was the way that they all listened, each person had their turn and each person was heard.

This was such a stark contrast to many of the conversations I hear from day to day. People talking over each other, butting in and finishing off each other’s sentences. Sometimes you can even see the impatience as a person who is ‘listening’ has already decided what they are going to say next and is dying to speak. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “There is a difference between truly listening and waiting for your turn to talk.”

Does it really matter? Am I making too much of listening? I think not.

Firstly we might think that the person who is always speaking is showing their wisdom or expertise but to quote the Dalai Lama, arguably one of the wisest men on earth “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”

An idea shared by Bernard Baruch an American financier and statesman, who said “Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”

Not only might you benefit intellectually from the act of really listening, but you also enhance the experience for the person who is speaking. Being truly heard and having the undivided attention of another person is truly magical. One of the main characteristics of a ‘charismatic personality’ is that they have the ability to make you feel like you are the only person in the room. You feel special because you feel heard.

Finally, if we just look at our physiology it seems only right that we should listen more.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” – Epictetus

The post The Forgotten Art of Listening appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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Article written for the Mpower community

One of the most challenging parts of running your own business can be getting more clients or customers. It can also be one of the most frustrating and here’s why…

You have the most incredible product or service, and you know it has the potential to impact peoples lives in such a positive way.

You know deep down, that if people would just try your ‘thing’ they would be smitten with it, because it’s THAT good.

How do you know this? Because it has been born out of passion, a tiny idea planted in your mind and heart that you have nurtured. This venture has grown more vivid and more real with each day and now you can glimpse the possibilities waiting for you in the future.

  • Maybe you can see yourself on the big stage, in front of an audience of thousands.
  • Maybe you can see yourself on breakfast TV sharing your ideas and showcasing your wares.
  • Maybe you will be asked to partner on a project and work with some of your longtime heroes/heroines.

All these dreams can come true, as they have for many other entrepreneurs before you.

The truth is that everything, and I mean everything, that you can imagine happening, could happen. But (and of course, there always is a but), you have to be SEEN.

Visibility is a key piece in business success, because without it, you could very well be the world’s best-kept secret. The bottom line is that if people don’t know you exist they cannot begin to know, like and trust you, which is the prerequisite to becoming a customer.

So what stops us from getting visible? Here are a few blocks that may be holding you back and what you can do to overcome them…

  1. You know what you do, but you can’t yet articulate it succinctly

People are time poor, you need to be able to share your business in under a minute. The best formula for getting this across is, ‘I help (who you serve) who are (their problem) to (solution)

For example in my business as a coach ‘I help working mums, who are feeling tired, stressed, overwhelmed and guilty, to get more time and achieve work life balance, so they can enjoy spending quality time with their kids and still have time for themselves.’

Once you’ve worked it out practise, practise, practise.

  1. You don’t believe you’re good enough/ young enough/ experienced enough/ stylish enough/ funny enough…

Unlike a regular job where your boss will give you a promotion or a raise, as an entrepreneur you have to give yourself the accolades and permission to shine. You have to avoid comparison (see point 5 below). You have experience and wisdom of life that no one else has AND you have gifts to share. You are enough, go and share!

  1. You’re not very good at video/ blogging/ networking

We all have to learn new skills, none of us came out of the womb walking, talking or understanding the intricacies of SEO! Every skill can be learned and every learned skill can be improved, it just takes…yep you guessed it, practise.

 

  1. You’re scared of messing up/ rejection/ failure

When our baby takes it’s first step and promptly flops on to their bottom, we don’t criticize their inability to walk, we praise them for trying and for taking that one step. As a business owner you will have to be your own cheerleader. When you try something new and aren’t perfect or even if you completely mess up, give yourself a pat on the back and say ‘Well done for trying, have another go’ Learn to embrace failure, because it means you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and are stretching yourself. Fortune favours the bold.

 

  1. Others are already doing it and they are so much better/younger/more experienced/wiser/funnier than you.

I often use the ‘coffee shop’ metaphor when talking about competition, because a small town can have 5 or more coffee shops and they are all thriving. Why? Because people want different things from their coffee experience, it could be taste, ambience, location or customer service.

Similarly you have your own way of doing things that is unlike anyone else and that is your USP.

Therefore there is no competition, because no one else can compete at being you. Exude your ‘you-ness’ and your tribe will find you.

A final point. In our quest for visibility, we have to slay our dragons!

And by that I mean facing your fears, outing your insecurities, squashing your desire for perfection and curbing your critical inner chat.

You are enough, you are perfection, you are a gift to the world and someone is waiting for you to show up right now. Someone is waiting to see you or hear you and when they do they will think ‘I love what she does’

While you remain invisible you are depriving others of your gift.

While you remain invisible you are squashing your genius and wonder into a tiny grey box. Burst out in glorious technicolour and let us see what you’ve got.

Being a mum in business is an intrepid path, certainly not for the faint hearted, but with an Mpower group behind you it is not only easier, but it’s a lot of fun too.

Emily xx

The post Visibility – how to avoid being the world’s best-kept secret appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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Have you ever had one of those days?

You know the ones you would rather forget.

  • Those days when you’ve got so much to do there’s a feeling of panic and tightness in your chest.
  • Those days when it seems everything is conspiring against you and you’re looking for a hidden camera because you feel so set up.
  • Those days when you’re so behind the curve, it feels like you’re wading through treacle.
  • Or even those days when you promise yourself you’re not going to shout at the kids but by 7:35 you’ve broken your promise!
I have had plenty of those days, in fact there were times I had more of those days than the amazing days.

Ah, the amazing days…

  • When I am so super organized that everything flows beautifully.
  • When I have time. Time to do the chores, time to ‘be’ with the kids, time to catch up with friends, time to do things I love too.
  • When I am so calm and relaxed, I can handle the tantrums, the squabbles and the mess, all with grace.
  • When I smile a lot and laugh often.

The trouble with stress and overwhelm is that it builds up and up and the way we tend to deal with the overload is to try harder; we stay up later, we get up earlier, we move around faster and try and get things done more quickly. And for a short period of time, we’re on top of it again, but then the next load arrives and we’re back to overwhelm again.

The good news is, there is a way off the ‘Stress and Overwhelm Roller Coaster’.

To give mums the help they need, doing the most important job in the world – being mums, I have created a poster and audio with the Top 10 ways to reduce stress and overwhelm. I will share with you at the end how to get your free copy but first I’d like to reveal one of the key points behind these top tips.

You see it’s not a question of doing more, it all starts with thinking differently. You need to make a simple shift in your beliefs that will cascade down and change your actions.

And although it is simple, it’s a belief that most women have a great deal of trouble shifting. Are you ready?

You are worth it.

And that means;

  • You are worth the care, love and attention.
  • You are worth putting yourself first.
  • You are worth taking time out to do the things you love.

We are programmed to put everyone else first because that’s what ‘good’ mums do, but if we keep putting everyone else’s needs ahead of our own we become depleted, worn out and exhausted. We can’t cope with all the jobs and roles we have to fulfill because we’re running on empty.

You are worth it.

So when I suggest that you put yourself first, do not think that you will make you a bad mum. In fact, you will be giving yourself the chance to be the best mum ever.

Because let’s face it being a mum is the job that we want to do best. We all want to have fun with our kids, to cuddle them, listen to them, watch them.

We want to be able to nurture them, guide them and help them to learn.

When I was pregnant I imagined that I would be like Mary Poppins or Maria from The Sound of Music, as a mum. I envisioned days out cycling, climbing trees, singing and laughing. Fun was going to be a big part of motherhood for me, which is why I was so shocked and horrified to find I had turned into a shouty mum. Luckily I found a way to get off the stress and overwhelm roller coaster and my shouty moments are few and far between. And I know if I can do it so can you.

So what can you do? Start by believing that you are worth it. Understand that by taking care of yourself, the whole family will benefit.

Firstly start to lighten your load and the easiest way to do this is by following my 3 Ds.

Firstly Decide what is important in your life. Really take time to work out what you must have in your life and identify your top 3-5 priorities. For example if you choose Family, Work and Health these would be the things you make time for on a regular basis.

Everything else can go into the Ditch or Delegate pot. Is there anything that you can let go of to make time for the stuff you love? Who can you delegate some of the chores to? Now you probably won’t be able to get rid of it all but think outside the box and try and share as much of the load as you can.

A few ideas may be to get your kids to help out around the house, have your shopping delivered, start a car-share for school pick up, get a cleaner.

Get as creative as you can because You are worth it.

If you would like to receive my Get Off The Stress And Overwhelm Roller Coaster; Poster and Audio – full of top tips and pretty enough to put on the wall, please email me at HappyWorkingMum@gmail.com with the words ‘YES please’ and I will send it to you straight away.

Emily xx

The post Get Off The Stress and Overwhelm Rollercoaster! appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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As a woman who has transitioned from a career as an Air Traffic Controller to running my own business, I have experienced my fair share of stress along the way.

Luckily for me the majority of the stress in both cases has been eustress.

Eustress is the type of ‘positive’ stress that keeps us vital and excited about life; a roller-coaster ride, a fast paced movie or in my case making sure aircraft landed and departed from Southampton airport, as efficiently as possible, are all examples of eustress.

However it wasn’t always positive stress, there were many times when I would be stuck in traffic due to an accident on the M27 and my hour long commute would turn into 2 or 3 hour ordeal. Knowing I would be late for work or worse still, late to pick up my son from nursery would cause me to feel stressed, even though it was beyond my control.

I also experienced stress when I realized that I wanted to leave Air Traffic to become a coach for women, particularly working mums. I felt trapped and resentful that I had to continue to do a job that I was competent at, when my heart longed to be doing something else. Guy Hendricks author of The Big Leap explains the feeling perfectly, when he said, he was ‘rusting from the inside out’

Unfortunately far too many women in the workplace are experiencing this negative stress known as chronic stress.

Chronic stress is a prolonged and constant feeling of stress that can negatively affect your health if it goes untreated. It can be caused by a high-pressure job or even high levels of boredom, or by any prolonged stressful situation such as ongoing financial difficulties or relationship issues. Even something as mundane as a tedious or noisy commute everyday could contribute to chronic stress.

So how would you know if you had chronic stress? Some of the symptoms might include problems with digestion, sleeping or depression however, this is the nub of the problem as, with many situations, we adapt and accept.

If something is causing us stress, like the hideously cramped commute on the underground each morning or the ridiculously long hours we find ourselves working, we might feel outraged in the beginning. But sooner or later we learn to live with it.

Accepting the situation feels disempowering, so in order to cope with these feelings, we look for ways to numb the (mental/emotional) pain. These can include eating sugary food and carbs, drinking alcohol to feel better, zoning out in front of the TV or in my case playing Spider solitaire on my iphone.

I was trying to ignore the fact that I was no longer enjoying my job but by keeping my mind occupied I avoided asking or answering any difficult questions.

What can we do to alleviate bad stress? Below are my top 5 stress busters.

1.If your stress is manifesting in feelings of anxiousness, overwhelm or frustration the quickest remedy is to practice breathing exercises. These can be as simple as counting to 10 as you take a breath, to create a pattern interrupt. Or taking 5 minutes to focus on your breathing, allowing your lungs to expand and your belly to extend as you breathe slowly and rhythmically.

2.Getting outside in the fresh air is a great way to gain a new perspective on your situation. If you can take yourself out of your immediate environment e.g. your office, into a larger space it will allow you to think more broadly.

3.Exercise is a fabulous way to release ‘feel good’ endorphins into your body, which are an excellent alternative to the energy rush from sugar and carbs. Exercising outside is a double win.

4.Practise an Attitude of Gratitude. Being grateful can turn many a negative, into a positive. e.g. being thankful that there is transport to get you to work, however cramped, can shift your perspective and make you appreciate things you previously disliked.

5.Ask good questions. It is so easy to ask bad questions like ‘Why does this always happen to me?’ The trouble is, that our brain is super efficient and finding answers and if you ask lousy questions you’ll get lousy answers.

Take control of your internal chatter and ask questions that demand a solution ‘How could I make this commute more enjoyable?’ ‘Is there another way for me to get to work?’ You will be amazed at how creative you can be, when you ask great questions.

These are all good ways to deal with stress, however it is important that we don’t forget that the stress we feel is a telling reflection of how our body and mind is experiencing life. For me, the long commute, the traffic, being in a job I no longer loved and not doing the job I craved, eventually led me to take action and change my circumstances.

Unsurprisingly, I find that I am now eating less chocolate and no longer have the desire to play Solitaire!

The post Dealing with Bad Stress? appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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Delighted to have guest blogger Elizabeth Harmon share her thoughts on the benefits of being a working mum.

Working mothers around the world rejoice!

According to researchconducted by Kathleen McGinn, Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, you’re more likely to raise successful daughters and empathetic sons. 

For many of us, being a working mother can often feel like a juggling act, with constant pressure to never drop a ball. Working mum’s guilt is a real phenemenon.

But stop being so hard on yourselves and start feeling liberated. The Harvard research gives evidence to the fact that  kids can truly benefit from having a mum who goes out to work. Here are just some of the findings and benefits of being a working mum, that your kids will thank you for.

1. You’re setting an example

Whether we mean to or not, everything we say and do shows our children how to behave.

If you are a working mother (or have been one), you’re not only putting food on the table. You’re also contributing to society and showing your children the way the world works.

The Harvard study said: “These findings suggest that in addition to transmitting gender attitudes across generations, mothers’ employment teaches daughters a set of skills that enable greater participation in the workforce and in leadership positions.”

Professor Kathleen McGinn found that people whose mother had a job when they were growing up go on to complete more education, get higher paid jobs and are usually in senior or supervisory roles.

2. Social interaction

Experts from the University of Akron and Penn State University found that social interaction in the workplace is found to help reduce levels of stress, worry and sadness encountered by many first-time parents.

While we all love our children dearly, we do sometimes need conversations that are a little more ‘high brow’ than you can get from a young child.

Going to work fulfills that need for adult interaction, so you can have a few hours where you’re a person, not just a Mummy.

3. Independent children

Children of working mums learn the valuable lesson that not everything will be done for them in life.

“Working mothers know they’re not going to be there for everything, so they deliberately tried to have their children be more independent,” says Pamela Lenehan, author of My Mother, My Mentor: What Grown Children of Working Mothers Want You to Know.

When you don’t have the time to do every little thing for them, children will often fill the gap by learning to do simple tasks for themselves. This is how they tend to gain a lot more self-sufficiency.

4. More quality time

When you are at home with your kids 24/7, it’s easy to put off that outing or activity until tomorrow. After all, you have lots of time to do things. It’s easy to take that for granted.

The findings from research conducted by the American Psychological Association showed that it is human nature for something more scarce to be more valued. When you’re a working mum and you know you only have a set day or time in which to spend time with your children, it becomes precious and you won’t want to waste it.

A final word

Becoming a mum can be fraught with guilt and difficult decisions. Often, the biggest one of all is whether to return to work, or be a stay at home mum.

At the end of the day, it is your own choice – there is no right or wrong decision. You must choose the right lifestyle for yourself, that brings you the most fulfillment.

Want more tips on a better work/life balance? Learn techniques and tips to enjoy the benefits of a healthy personal and professional life here.

Elizabeth Harmon is a Social Media Consultant with a number of years of experience in the field. She has worked with a growing list of clients around the world, helping to build successful social media strategies, create effective content and much more. She is a writer and journalist for the Open Colleges Careers Blog.

The post 4 Brilliant Benefits Of Being A Working Mum appeared first on Happy Working Mum.

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