When you're a stay-at-home working mom, you're constantly doing, but there are huge benefits to taking time to stop, be present and enjoy the moment.
In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how deliberately tuning into the present can increase your life satisfaction — and decrease your stress.
Work-at-home moms are masters at tending to several different tasks at once — but the end result is being less than present in most of them. In many ways, it simply comes with the territory of trying to have it all. Though I'm no longer in a traditional career, my clients are, and I must seize every opportunity to be "productive" during the traditional workday when I can, in order to handle edits, quick turnarounds and other needs. As a result, I check emails when my son is immersed in play, and write when he sleeps. While there are certainly sacrifices that I expected when deciding to work while raising my son, I've realized that ironically, my burning desire to "have it all" easily leads to my missing out on precious moments that are happening right under my nose, unless I make it a point to be present. Here a three ways to increase your own work-at-home mom "presence" and why it's so important to your health, and happiness.
Being constantly connected to technology has become more the norm than the exception but convenience comes with a cost. University of Worcester psychologist Richard Balding recently found that mobile device users who use their smartphones outside of work hours — even for messages from friends and family — show greater signs of stress. The more "habitual" they are in the use, the greater the stress level, in part simply due to constantly checking and relying on the device. Establish boundaries for your smartphone use and hold everyone in the famiy to the same standard. You'll get far more reward from engaging in the moment with friends and family who are in your presence, than being in constant contact with the world at large.
Finding the time to even attend a yoga class may be a stretch (pun intended), but you can actually benefit hugely from conducting your own at home mini-meditation retreat . A 2010 Wake Forest University study found that devoting just four days of your life to meditation training can "reduce fatigue, anxiety and increase mindfulness."
You may count to 10 to keep your cool, but there's another key number that can seriously improve your productivity. Researchers in the University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychology studied Marines and the impact of mindfulness training on cognitive functioning. The study showed that spending 12 minutes a day on mindfulness exercises (which can involve simply sitting silently and focusing on breath awareness), was effective in improving study participants' ability to remember, solve complex problems and control emotions.
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