As a business owner, you’re never really off the clock, and as a mom, your shift is 24/7. In no state of reality can anyone, man or women, maintain a continuous schedule of being “on” and not hit a roadblock. Whether it’s coming down with a cold, suddenly finding yourself emotional over everything, or slipping into a more serious state of depression, we oftentimes get stopped in our tracks and didn’t see it coming. Having the motivation to get up day after day and strive to be your absolute best self (wife, mother, boss, best friend, etc.) is unrealistic when you haven’t had any time whatsoever to even take care of yourself! It’s like trying to train for the Olympics, but without sleeping, eating, or recovering from injuries. You may be able to fake your way through, but eventually you’re just sprinting into the ground.
So how do we stay motivated when we feel like the life is being sucked out of us by all of our responsibilities and expectations? How do we re-energize, re-inspire, and re-imagine the life we know we’ve dreamt of before? On days when everything seems to be going wrong – your baby wouldn’t sleep last night, you have to rush the cat to the vet, tonight’s the deadline for that big project, and the furnace at the business you run just stopped working – how do you dig down deep and find the silver lining?
Well, I wish I could tell you that I’ve discovered the ultimate secret or that all you need is this particular essential oil to rub behind your ears, and poof! But alas…The good news is that I’ve been practicing, so I can share with you what has been working and helping me most on those really tough days…because moms don’t give up, and Boss Lady Moms really, really don’t give up!
1. PERMISSION – The first thing you have to do is give yourself permission to throw your plan out the window. You’re going to have those days in which you just can’t even check one goal off the list. This isn’t something you should be doing on a regular basis, but if you can allow yourself the grace to do it on those days that need it the most, you’ll immediately release all sense of guilt you would’ve otherwise felt for not getting things done. There is no rule that says you can’t cross off “Tuesday” at the top of your to-do list and write “Wednesday” instead.
2. CHANGE IT UP – If you feel like you’re going crazy because everything is going wrong on your “work-from-home day,” then get out of the house! Skip cleaning up the dog barf, leave the messy high chair, and hubby can deal with the spotty Wi-Fi when he gets home. Just get up, and get out!! Sometimes the best thing I can do for my day is pack up my daughter in the car and go to the store – any store! Having a change of scenery and a change of pace can really shift your mood. Not having to be in the environment we feel so responsible for can give us a mental break because we don’t have visual reminders surrounding us, of all the things we still haven’t gotten done.
3. BREATHE - I’m not very good at being patient, so focused meditation is extremely challenging for me, and it’s hard for me to muster up the motivation to carve out time to do it (even though I know it helps a lot). But since I’ve focused on changing my breathing, rather than having to go into a full on state of meditation, I’ve been able to calm down faster and really reset. When we’re stressed or upset our breathing becomes shallow, our pulse rises, and suddenly we’re not thinking straight. Remembering to lengthen your breaths, to breathe in and out of your belly (rather than your chest), or to take audible breaths that you can actually hear is a great tool to bring the heart rate down and calm the mind. As funny as it looks, I’ve found Alternate Nostril Breathing to be really helpful as well because I can’t think of much else while I’m doing it. Here’s a quick tutorial I like.
4. MUSIC– Listening to music is literally like a drug. It can change the way we feel within seconds. I have my own scientific proof that this is true because whenever my daughter is screaming in the car, all I have to do is play “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” and she is calm before the first verse is even finished! When we’re feeling blue, it’s tempting to put on our favorite moody sad songs, which further propel us down the rabbit hole. So I challenge you to switch on a jam that’s going to pump you up, make you laugh or smile, or remind you of that time you went out with your girlfriends long before you had kids or were a wife. Music can stimulate your motivation to take a step in a positive direction.
So before you call it quits (even if for a moment) or start the negative internal dialogue about how you’re not good enough, try something that’s going to help change your state of mind. Oftentimes the one thing holding us back is our unwillingness to try; and most of the time, once we do, we are so glad that we did. I always compare hard days to going to the gym – you don’t want to go and have a hundred excuses of why you can’t, but when you finally finish your workout, you feel like a million bucks!
What are some ways you find motivation on your most exhausting days? How do you keep up with everything without losing it? Share with a comment below!