Many of us embark on the journey of being business owners with the vision that striking a better work-life balance will be easier as your own boss. However, as a business owner with a young family at home, I’m all too familiar with the overwhelming feeling of never quite tackling that never-ending to-do list.
It can sometimes feel out of the question to take a break and we can wind up forgoing our personal time to switch off due to seemingly never-ending tasks.
We all know that if we keep going on autopilot for too long, we may be faced with the unpleasant long-term effects of stress, which could result in an even more serious physical or mental collapse.
Burning the candle at both ends will in the long run interfere with your ability to operate at your full ability, both as a business leader and family member. Even though it is impossible to live a stress free existence, as business owners and parents it is imperative that we recognise when these stresses become all consuming and take the necessary measures towards letting off steam and relieving some pressure.
As business owners, this isn’t always easy or doesn’t feel practical. But it can be as simple as making sure you don’t over-schedule your social, family and business calendars. Having something on 100% of the time is sure to result in burnout. Make sure to set aside some time to chill out with your family and leave work behind – it can be difficult to decline plans but it is fundamental to gaining ‘more time’.
Sit down and consider what you can out-source, delegate or say ‘no’ to. If you find there are occasions that are not a priority or elements of work that can be delegated to others, then use the opportunity to let go and say ‘no’. Could your partner pick up some of the family mental load? Could the kids be looked after by a family member or friend every now and again? Embrace delegation in your home life and make sure to pause between commitments and plans.
Running your own business takes dedication and stamina. At times it can feel like you are out there on your own. This is where your networks come in. The connections you make through networks act as a friendly shoulder to lean on, or can provide feedback for your important business query and most of all they help you to remember you are not alone, there is a tribe out there just like you.
Daily I witness first hand the ways that the Mums & Co support network helps other business owners and it’s really uplifting to see. It’s all too common for, entrepreneurs to feel isolated in the challenges and even in the triumphs of business. But it’s not all doom and gloom! If you surround yourself with supporters, champions and mentors, you can be reminded regularly of the bigger picture, which leads me to…
If it’s all starting to feel a little too much, take a minute to reflect on the reasons why you started your company in the first place. Many business owners can be inclined towards perfectionism, which means they can be tough on themselves.
Our Mums & Co Survey found that four in five business owners believe they’re a happier person as a result of launching their own business and 87% believe they’re setting a good example for their children. Remember to regularly take time to reflect on the headway you’ve made recently and why you started out in business. Also, be kind to yourself and recognise the courage and bravery it takes to keep the cogs turning on those unavoidable down days.
When juggling running a business and raising a family, it’s pretty easy to get stuck in an unhealthy pattern of too little sleep, too much work, with relaxation and getting active becoming a thing of the past. It’s important to keep in mind that how you treat your body when you are at your busiest plays a crucial role towards your overall mental health and productivity.
In an attempt to make improved decisions, stay vital and be at my most innovative I’ve actively prioritised my sleep schedule, making a point to disconnect from screens and spend quality engaged time with my partner and kids each day.
I’ve tried different relaxation techniques like meditation apps, reading, listening to music and spontaneously dancing with my kids. I’ve also found great value in fitting in some level of physical activity each day – something as simple as a 20-minute walk in the sun can go a long way!
As we all know too well, being a business owner and mother is certainly no walk in the park, however, being kinder to myself and accepting the support of those around me has helped me in the more challenging times.
I started a company with the intention of supporting other business owners and women – I am still blown away by the power of our network.
The lessons I’ve learned about mental wellbeing while running a mum’s network have been invaluable to my personal life and career.