5 Easy Switches to Make More Space for You
by: Heather Lovato
As a working mom it is easy to find reasons why your needs can come last. Truth be told - your needs need to come first. I know it's crazy right? But hear me out... I promise you'll thank me. If not DM me and we can talk about it, k?
So here's the thing when you're doing for others every day, burnout is glaring its nasty lil head. I've experienced this too many times as the CEO of clover PR, a conscious creative and PR agency, mom of two under 3, recovering perfectionist, former yes girl and running Sōlspace, a social space and podcast helping women navigate going from me to mama... it's safe to say I am familiar with having too much on my plate.
It is a lot to constantly be putting the needs of work and others first -- and this was something I suffered from doing prior to kids so it only was compounded when I had my children. As I worked on myself with wellness tools like meditation, astrology, reiki and journaling I started to realized in order to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed with all that was on my plate, I needed to do the following:
Carve out time for me daily instead of putting myself last
Feels weird right? It will until you make it a habit, just like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, it will feel weird but keep going! I created a process called "Sunday Set Up" where I write down 5 things to do for ME to get in my rhythm of putting my needs right alongside the needs of my family work and friends. Sunday Set Up is about setting up your week - not your to do's. Maybe it is taking a nap, maybe it is organizing your pantry because you binged Home Edit and it will make you happy. Maybe it is booking a massage or planning a girls trip. Whatever will bring you joy (read JOY not productivity) write it down and make sure that for 5 of the 7 days in the week you're doing one thing for you a day.
Delegate or postpone tasks instead of pushing through because I can "do it all"
This was a hard one for me. I always "got it." But really I don't. I get it done but at what cost? I want you to write this down: "Other's needs are not worthy of you burning out. YOUR NEEDS MATTER." Read it again and repeat it. We can't keep sacrificing our own wellness and mental health for others' needs. I shared a bit on my instagram highlights about this as well so take a peek.
Take a breath instead of holding on
When in doubt, remove yourself from the situation (this is probably why mamas hide in the bathroom so much) and take 4 deep breaths, inhale and exhale through your mouth. Can't do that. Turn on a show for your kids and listen to a meditation. Even if you can't meditate it will transform your nervous system just by listening. It is wild what just breathing can do for your body to help you reset and gather yourself. I loved this breathing technique that Sahar Martinez, a MFT, posted on her instagram to help you coregulate too.
Ask for help confidently instead of feeling shameful or guilt ridden about needing support or time away
Help is not a four letter word. It should not be anything except normal to ask for help. We all need it! By asking for help you are being brave, respectful of yourself and conscious of others needs as well. Computers need to recharge. We plug in our phones at night or silence them. Why do we respect our electronics more than our own mental health and bodies? We all need to recharge and take breaks.
Create a transition instead of going from one thing to the next
So many of us have lost our commutes to have quiet time and reset. I actually worked from home long before all of this, and it was hard when I lost my 2 hours of silence a day (but not hard to lose that commute). So I created a wind down time for me. 30 mins before my childcare is over I hop off work, meditate, take a bath or do something for me. It allows me to go from being a CEO to Heather then to Mom with more grace than if I just went from work to momming so hard.
Clean up your social media habits
Social was a slippery slope for me until I became clear on what the social space is about for me. If you're hopping on and the mindless scroll and feeling more bad, overwhelmed or discouraged than positive, I want you to consider this. "How can you reframe your mindset on social media or clean it up to be a space that makes you happy?" Maybe you need to delete some friends/experts or hide their posts. Could be you have to limit how long you're on or take extended breaks to reset. If it is for work check out this blog I shared on how you can be in or on social media for work but also disconnect.
She is 36-years old, married and has two young children, so when all that isn't keeping her busy you can find her napping, meditating or enjoying wine in silence on a patio with a view. She works well when her cup runs a little over but has recently embraced the idea of space without plans or responsibilities as a new form of self care even though stillness and silence is a little foreign to her.