3 Things That Can Immediately Improve your Life
When I entered motherhood, while building my own business, life became a succession of days made of busyness, heightened stress, deprivation, and overwhelm. I had this stupid idea that I had to do it all, and there was no time to take care of my health, as I had to work, work, work and when I wasn’t working, I had to be a proactive and present mum. The reality is that I would spend much time with my daughter while checking my Website and social media, as my mind was so frazzled, I couldn’t focus on one task at a time.
I was constantly daydreaming about taking a day off (and leaving the I-phone at home), and going on holiday.
I had an idea of how I wanted my life to be, and I was failing miserably at it. I was instead going towards the opposite direction, as I was on the go from the moment I woke up, and I ended up crashing at night, especially on weekends. I was agitated, the smallest task seemed too much to handle, and “I don’t have the time, I’m anxious” were my favourite topics of conversation.
Staggering statistic for you: anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year (adaa 2018).
I had to embrace changes and live differently, as I was terrified at the idea of my daughter growing up like me (which says it all).
Changing my mindset was a no brainer
Something I had to come to terms with, was the need for a mindset change. I couldn’t elevate my business, my parenting skills, and my life If I kept swimming in the same puddle of mud. I had been bathing in the feeling of “lack” for an extended period of time. In the beginning, I wasn’t even aware of it; then I went through the denial stage, and I would always concentrate my conversations on the lack of something; some days it was all about the lack of money, then the lack of sleep, and the lack of support. The problem is, by focusing on lack, I was also becoming a bitter version of my former self, and I was brewing resentments towards the people around me, and towards the universe in general.
I was working so hard, why that friend of mine had more success than I?
I was giving my everything to my daughter, why wouldn’t she sleep at night?
I was surrounded by mums supported by their family and relatives, why couldn’t I have the same?
I became completely blind, and I stopped seeing how healthy and funny my daughter was, how much I had achieved in business in the shortest amount of time, and that although my family wasn’t around, my husband was always there to help me out.
Only when I focused on what I had, instead of feeding that jealous part of my brain, I unlocked my creativity and felt freer. It is normal to swing back and forth and sometimes focus on “lack,” but now that I’m aware of my thoughts, I do whatever I can to swing back in the opposite direction, as soon as possible.
I ate for success
On days when I was working and seeing clients, I would pack my schedule to the brim; write content in the morning, see clients mid-mornings and nights, fill in papers after the consultations, filing, social media posts, more content and then off to go and pick up my daughter. Time for lunch? Zero. Unless starvation would hit my grumbling belly and I had to head outside to stuff my face in 5 minutes top. Although I’m a nutritionist, I was putting other people’s health and nourishment as a priority. I thought I was doing ok as I had enough energy to keep going, but the reality is that my brain was often very foggy, I would start forgetting words, I would lose motivation, and I would start procrastinating or surfing the net. Just because.
Starving my brain was the most detrimental thing I was actively doing to kill my productivity. Only when I made space for breakfast, lunch, and snacks my energy level skyrocketed; I wasn’t anymore relying on mental energy, as I was fuelling my body for success. That meant also hydrating my body like a champion, instead of drinking one coffee after another.
What else happened?
My sleep improved, my anxiety decreased and exercising became fun instead of a chore. Go figure!
Mental sanity first
If you are anything like I was, you may think that anxiety and stress are part of the adulthood package. I tend to disagree. I do get anxious, especially when things go out of my control (baby not sleeping for ten nights in a row? Website crashes before the release of a new online program?), but I have learnt enough tools to keep anxiety at a minimum. Whenever I do get all worked up, instead of working more, I facture in more downtime.
Something I have been working on in the last 3 months is to take time “in” on a daily basis; in the beginning, Is struggled with the idea of “deserving” or “being allowed” to care about my body and mental health, and I would end up sick, over and over again. I had to break the pattern.
Now I almost have the opposite problem, as the more time “in” I have for myself, the more I want to enjoy life at its fullest. I also realised that when I do take time in, a creativity waterfall floods my brain, and I don’t mind fitting in that extra working hour at night, as I feel replenished and refreshed. Time in for me is usually a coffee with a friend, dinner with my husband, a walk in nature, sharing a croissant with my daughter. I don’t know what’s time IN for you, and I invite you to go out there and find it out.