As I sit at my kitchen table on a Sunday afternoon planning work for the coming week, my mind is swirling with the upcoming week’s activities – I’ve nearly finished making the class costumes for my daughters end of term performance, the house is a mess, there is washing to sort out, and of course I didn’t quite manage to get that morning run in like I had planned…Sound familiar?
‘Overworking’ has been very topical of late. Those of you who missed the recent Listener article on ‘New Zealanders Overworking’ may find it interesting that a recent Nielsen survey showed more than 60% of people work more than 40 hours per week with 8% of those working 50 hours or more. More than a third say work pressure is adversely affecting their health.
For working mothers, it is very often exercise or focussing on our health that ends at the bottom of the priority ladder given all the other things we have to deal with. This, coupled with the added pressure that comes with technology allowing us 24 hour accessibility, can sometimes cause us to struggle to deal with everything on our plates.
So why is this important? What this reminds me as I sit here on a Sunday afternoon working at sparking my brain into action, is that exercise is one of the keys to making it all work. Think of this as one simple way to to achieve many outcomes with one activity. Healthy body – healthy mind.
It’s very easy to look at doing things for everyone else before giving yourself permission to look after your own health and well-being. But doing so often means that your health suffers or that you don’t take those important breaks that allow you to re-energise and refocus. Top athletes can’t spend all of their time in a peak performance state. They need to build up and come down from a peak of activity and ‘stress’. So why do we, as working mothers, think we can be any different?
To be at your best you must allow yourself time to rebuild your energy and mental stores. Taking exercise is one way of doing this. For some people it may be a yoga class; for others it’s a run or a workout at the gym.
Some other ways that will provide you with the space and time to refocus and restore would be:
For me, this afternoon, instead of folding the clean washing (which had been in the dryer for two days), vacuuming for the third time today, shooting more hoops with my daughter or sitting at my computer for another hour gazing longingly with expectations that my work will complete itself, I went for a 30 minute walk. 30 minutes is all it took to rejuvenate my thinking, catch up with a friend, and exercise my body.
As a result I felt clearer; re-energised; less guilty about missing my walk; and I have a relevant and real topic to blog about! A Win/Win in my book!
So, give yourself permission to take those breaks that allow you to perform at your peak more often.