As the energy of summer wanes and we gear up for a busy autumn term and period of work to Christmas, what can we do as working mothers to support and resource ourselves through this time?
Motherhood expert Zoe Blaskey recently said
“I no longer talk about ‘self-care’ but about energy management. When we know what drains us and gives us energy it’s like a map to our needs.”
So here are some different ways to think about and manage your energy as a working mum:
1. Protect your energy
If you’re someone who’s instinctively a helper or fixer, check in with how much of your energy you might be giving away that isn’t serving you or others. Set your focus for where you’re going to invest your time and energy at work and in your home life this autumn, and then keep those boundaries. Notice when situations boost your energy or zap it. The latter might indicate where you can step away from drama or do things differently.
2. Fuel your energy creatively
Get to know what helps you fuel your energy. You are probably managing the basics of sleep, food, exercise and rest. If you’re finding any of them hard to fit into your schedule, how can you be creative? Think about combining yours and the kids’ needs together – perhaps it’s a bike ride, early family dinners or a nap. Everyone is individual, but take inspiration from what others are doing and experiment to see what works for you.
3. Respond to change
Recognise that things are constantly changing. You’re getting older (sorry to remind you!), your kids are growing up, your parents/ supportive family members are ageing too, your values or what’s important to you might be changing, your work culture may have evolved post pandemic, and the world is changing. When we don’t move with and respond to change, we can get stuck in ways that are a drain on our energy. Where might you need to update your thinking or actions around changes at home and/ or work to free up some energy?
4. Cultivate new energy
When you’ve been on the hamster wheel for a long time, always on the go, rarely stopping, it’s easy to get exhausted and weary. It’s a common strategy in many large organisations, and easy to slip into with parenting. How can you slow down, pause and tap into new energy, individually, as a family and in your team at work this autumn? There is a sliding scale on this – pauses can both be bigger ones like holidays, sabbaticals and away days, and micro ones like taking a breath, listening more than speaking, coming together for a hug.
5. Connect to seasonal energy
I’m going to generalise that as parents we are mainly aware of the seasons due to the school cycle, seasonal activities like pumpkin picking and visiting Santa, and the clothes our children require. It’s similar in organisations in terms of financial and operational cycles. But beyond that, how much do you notice the impact of the seasons across the year on your needs, your team’s needs and the kids’ needs? It’s better to work with the energy people have than against it. What do you/ your kids/ team/ colleagues need this autumn, and how can you intentionally design these needs into your plans to help manage the energy?
6. Get outdoors to shift energy
I will hazard a guess that as a parent you’ve experienced the difference it makes to take a child outside to help calm their energy, or allow them to release it. It’s the same for adults. Walking, running, cycling and moving your body in nature has so many benefits, including helping with new ways of thinking. If you’ve got something you need to think through, take it on a walk, run or cycle and see what happens. Where possible have your 1-1 or team meetings outside, either in person or on the phone. Even stepping outside your home or office and taking a deep breath can really help shift your energy.
What are your top tips for managing your energy as a working parent?
This article was written by Georgina Gray one of our partner coaches who supports women who walk with working mums, literally (on coaching walks in nature) and metaphorically, offering creativity, compassion and challenge to help you lead a more authentic, intentional and values-aligned business/ life. You can get in touch via her profile page.
October 1, 2023