Mother’s still take on the burden of responsibility for ensuring their so-called choice of flexible working meets the needs of their organisation and their family. It is on us to make-it-work. We take on the responsibility for thinking about, planning, communicating and building what we want for our careers. Coupled with the fact that women often take on more of the mental load at home too, it can feel like working mothers are constantly asked to think more, find more, give more, to reach that impossible, perfect solution for career and family.

Coaching is a fantastic tool to aid us in doing our best thinking and to craft careers we love and deserve. I truly believe in the power of thinking differently and using coaching to move us forward. But in order to do our best thinking, I also know that we need to rest. Firstly, we have to feel good to think effectively. Feeling exhausted with overthinking, the what ifs, the strategies, the mapping out, the negotiations, can overwhelm us and stop us making progress. Secondly, we know that there is power in pause – in coaching sessions themselves powerful insights can emerge in the moments of silence, the moments when we are not sure that anything is happening. Leaving space and not automatically filling these gaps allows ideas and thoughts to come through. The same is true in our wider lives. Sometimes we need time to just BE and not be DOING (or thinking, or planning) all the time.

Here are 3 ways to build in more pause:

1. Pick a favourite song, lock yourself away somewhere undisturbed for a few minutes (a challenge I know) and do nothing except sit and listen. Don’t think about what you are feeling, don’t analyse. Just sit with whatever comes up and once finished, simply write down whatever it is you want to remember (it might be an action, it might be a feeling, or even just one word).

2. Lock your phone away. Yes, phones are brilliant for so many reasons, and there is no judgement here about when and how we use them, but phones are a huge distraction and they keep us busy.

3. Try the ‘on, off, on’ approach to problem solving. Choose a time to actively think about your challenge (on) for a timed period – e.g. 10 minutes. Then conduct a task that is totally separate and requires your thinking in quite a menial way (e.g. following a recipe); this should occupy your mind enough to stop you actively thinking about the challenge (off).  Then, once the task is done, take a shorter period of time, say 1 – 2 minutes, to write down quickly anything that is now on your mind about the issue. It can be surprising what ideas and thoughts come up when we do this.

Last but not least, take this as your sign to REST over the holiday period. My goodness I’m sure you earned it.

This article was written by Cat Tarbuck. Cat is a Business Psychologist and Executive Coach, and describes herself as a part time business owner, and full time mum.

Get in touch please via Cat’s profile page or book a free discovery call here.