Award-winning Business and life coach, mentor, author of ‘The Invisible Revolution’ and founder of women in business network Mpower – www.mpower.global – Nicola Huelin, is a proud mum of four, who over the past few months has had to pivot her own businesses thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Being a parent can be challenging at the best of times, especially when we also work or run our own business. The pandemic and going through lockdown is a storm that has hit the entire world. However, her recent Bounce Back survey (sponsored by Bounce Network – the UK’s fastest-growing insurance referral network) highlighted where the majority of mums have been struggling. Nicola shares her practical tips for overcoming the 5 key challenges faced by working mums during the lockdown.
Boundaries and Breaking it down – The Mpower survey revealed that 93% of working mums admitted that during lockdown they have had times when they felt overwhelmed.
Lockdown is teaching many of us that it’s time to hang up the superwoman cape. No matter how much we love our family, trying to be all things to all people – and do everything for everyone – simply isn’t sustainable. One of the great lessons from lockdown has been the importance of setting boundaries – getting clear on the things we choose to say no to or delegate to others. Once we’ve reassigned, delegated, outsourced we’ve probably still got a lot on our plate. We so often start the day feeling like we have an impossible mountain to climb. Now is the time to break things down. Rather than focusing on the whole mountain, figure out your next few steps for the week or the day and focus on those.
Reach Out and Connect with Others – 74% of working mums said that their mental health had suffered during lockdown
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. When something goes wrong with our bodies we need to find different ways to take care of it. One for the first things we can do is to reach out. One of the great things about the Covid-19 outbreak was seeing how people, families and communities came together to support each other. Even when we feel alone in our heads, it’s important to remember there are always people out there who are happy to help. If we don’t feel we have anyone to turn to, there are many supportive online communities as well as charities waiting at the end of the phone line.
Breath – 79% of working mums said they felt more anxious during lockdown
During a time like a global pandemic, there are very many obvious causes of anxiety as we worry about our family, friends, what the future holds and the logistics of staying safe and making it all work in the meanwhile. Turning our attention to deep and slow breathing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to take control of our thoughts, feelings and the impact they have on our bodies.
When focusing our full attention on our breath and slow our breathing right down, we slow our heart rate down and take control over our brain again – stopping it from going into the fight, flight, freeze or fawn (people-pleasing) mode and flooding our bodies with stress and anxiety-inducing chemicals.
Placing value on our energy – 81% of working mums during lockdown said they felt their energy levels had been lower than normal
We all understand the value of money. As a busy mum, there is another resource which is even more precious – our energy. When we have more energy we feel healthier, often happier and we are more resourceful and resilient when it comes to overcoming challenges and handling day to day life. One of the greatest energy drainers for busy mums is putting ourselves last. I like to replace the word selfish with ‘self-full’. After all, nobody can give from an empty cup and we’ve all heard the oxygen mask analogy. If we don’t put our mask on first or fill our cup – we have little to give and can’t be the best version of ourselves for others.
Embrace Technology & Find your Tribe – 91% of working mums missing friends during lockdown and being able to chat with fellow mums at the school gates, café, coffee morning, play gym…
Lockdown has left many mums feeling isolated, lonely and missing the company and support of family and friends. Whilst you can’t replace the feeling of an in-person hug we are fortunate to have the power of technology at our fingertips to connect with anyone around the world for free. Whether it’s a face-time with family, a zoom call with peers or sharing messages with online groups or connecting on social media – there are many ways for us to stay in touch with loved ones, catch up with old friends and make new ones. Some supportive communities, like the Bounce Network, even offer flexible opportunities for mums to build a new or additional source of income from home, while enjoying making new friends,
What’s for sure is that we are all in this together and it’s time to support each other so we can all bounce back stronger and start 2021 in the best position possible to thrive again.