Summer can provide a well-needed break for kids, offering a reprieve from the normal routine and time to simply play, create and (hopefully) use energy for good instead of trouble!
While your job as a work-at-home mom offers little opportunity to relish the free time, finding ways to clear your mind can provide moments of clarity that energize your career. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, work-at-home mom and writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how clearing your mind can unleash your productivity.
Juggling kids and work at home requires a rigid schedule. Perhaps you work while kids are napping or pull out the laptop once the rest of the house is asleep. Some days (or late nights) you feel energized by the fast-paced routine, but other times, it's easy to become stuck in a lull of exhaustion that leads to moments of ultimate unproductivity. Though you know your brain is a fog, you keep trying to press on in the name of your routine, only to realize later that you accomplished nothing. Sometimes, resisting the urge to power through is the smartest thing you can do.
David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work explains that "the ability to stop one from thinking something is central to creativity." He explains, for example, the challenge of solving the six-letter anagram "Bmusic." The only way to solve it (cubism) is to stop seeing the word "music." When work just isn't productive, walk away. Play with the kids, shut down and let your mind recharge. What comes after may be the best work you've ever done.
Feeling stressed and tired often leads to feeling negative about projects and tasks, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you're devoting so much energy to what's wrong, you'll bring the same attitude to your career and family, finding yourself feeling drained by the daily challenges that being a work-at-home mom brings. To change your mental patterns and develop new habits and responses, practice makes perfect. According to a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, research participants who were asked to focus on traits like curiosity, optimism, gratitude, humor and enthusiasm, reported greater levels of overall life satisfaction.
Breathing is one of the greatest tools you already have and can access anywhere. When you learn to harness the breath, you can heighten your mental clarity, relax and reenergize your mind. It doesn't have to take hours of your time, a yoga mat, or trip anywhere. Simply sit with a straight spine and close your eyes. Inhale through the nose for a count of three to five long seconds, and try to fill the belly with air. Exhale through the nose for a slow count of 10, Do this routine daily when you wake, before bed and anytime you need a little mental refresh to clear the cobwebs. Over time, your breath will get deeper, and you'll hone a powerful tool that may just start to replace that afternoon cup of coffee!
The modern woman is redefining what it means to have a successful career. Rather than feeling torn between climbing the corporate ladder and having a happy family life, many women are choosing to merge the two and transition careers from a traditional role to a more flexible one. Working Mom 3.0 is reinventing the definition of "working mom," as office hours are held at home and revolve around nap times.
This column begins by chronicling the experiences of Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former marketing professional turned self-employed stay-at-home mom, writer and yoga instructor, as she strives to redefine "having it all" on her own time and terms.
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