The journey of a working mother SLOWING DOWN her life pace
I have been interested in slowing down for the last 3-4 years. Today I have arrived to a point where I feel satisfied with my pace most of the time. I’ll share with you the steps of my journey, the benefits and what helped me. The steps 1. Realising I want to slow down As some of you may know I am a rather “speedy person”. Until I had children and started my own business it served me well; I was achieving a lot and liked the buzz of it all. But this all changed once the solo business and family chores and commitments piled up. I started to feel I was running all the time. Slowly I started to feel I wanted something else. 2. Reading an inspiring book In 2018, I read “SLOW, live life simply” by Brooke Mc Alary. I took from it that slowing down is possible for everyone independently from our level of commitments and that one very important ingredient to succeeding is to be gentle and patient with ourselves. It also stood out for me that there is no “one slowing down method”, because the right pace is different for everyone. 3. Starting de-cluttering my life of what I didn’t really need or want to do. I started to be mindful of how I felt during my activities and to check if it was really vitalising for me. Then came the phase of deciding and letting go. Sometimes it was easy, sometimes it required courage, sometimes it even required for me to have a counselling session to see why I was hanging onto something. But slowly I let go of what wasn’t nurturing anymore. For example, I decided I was going to post less on social media (once a month or so instead of once a week) for my business. A lot of marketing people would say I am crazy but the bottom line is that it is what works for me: to share when I have something to say, not because I have to. Another example: As a mum, I decided to learn to plan less activities in the day and leave early so we don’t need to rush. AND not adding extra things at the last minute because we have a bit of extra time. 4. Prioritising what brings meaning to my life. This is when it started to become really rewarding and bring deep joy to my life. Having got rid of what wasn’t really vitalising for me, I could focus on what really matters for me. It required discerning first what does bring meaning to my life to then prioritise it. This is also the step when I started to organise support and help around myself. This is not always easy because as mums we are used to do A LOT… but a good balance makes everyone feel belonging and contributing to the family therefore happy. 5. Changing my mindset. Today, I try to bring consciousness to what I do. For example, I can say that most of the time when I am with my children I focus only on them; I am not thinking of my to do list at work etc. This wasn’t the case before. Changing my mindset also meant realising the demands I was putting on myself and deciding to let go of idealistic ideas. The benefits I felt some relaxation and release of energy from step 3 (de-cluttering), I felt some vitalisation from step 4 (focusing on what matters). Today, I feel more present in my time with my loved ones. I feel less frustrated when I can’t do as much at work as I would like to. Overall, I feel more in control of my life –even though I have actually let go of controlling a lot of things, funnily enough. I also enjoy taking more my time (although there are still times when I catch myself rushing, ah ah!). What helped me 1. Counselling/coaching I have a regular accompanist with whom I work on my personal growth and I had sessions on various aspects of slowing down (things like: Why I can’t let go of an activity that is not so nurturing anymore?, Am I unconsciously liking being overwhelmed or too busy?, Am I unconsciously resisting loosing control?, Why is it difficult for me to ask for help?, etc.) 2. Listening to my feelings and body messages Throughout this entire journey my inner world was my compass: my deep aspirations, my feelings, my body messages, because nobody can know for us what is or is not really vitalising for us. Listening to my body was important. As a matter of fact, giving myself more sleep when I felt tired was one of the first shifts on my journey. 3. Doing workshops The workshop “Less stress in my life is possible” helped me realise my mindset needed some change. I also worked on a group program around resistances, which was very helpful. Overall, doing workshops helped me prove to myself (my mind) that I was taking this subject seriously. I benefited tremendously from the content of the workshops and also from working with others, feeling I wasn’t alone facing difficulties on my journey. 4. Making decisions and acting upon them As with any journey of change, intentions are not enough. I had been thinking of slowing down my pace for a while but it only happened once I decided I wanted to implement change. In total it took about 3 years from the time I decided to change and the final satisfying result (of course there’s still room for improvement). It came slowly throughout the journey and more satisfied I felt, the more motivated I was to continue. One last word… If you feel inspired by my journey but also overwhelmed and tell yourself you won’t do as well, be re-assured. There are days when it is not perfect for me neither, many of them. But what counts is the trend and it starts one step at a time. Trust yourself, if you are reading this article, it means you are seriously interested in slowing down and on you own journey already. But don’t hesitate to get support. I wouldn’t have got where I am now without those counselling sessions and workshops. Big change takes time and overcoming our resistances, which is why being patient, gentle and loving with ourselves is paramount. I am offering “Less stress in my life is possible” on 25th July, and there are still a few spots left, why not join? It’s a great place to start! Would you like to share some of your journey to slowing down too? We’d love to hear from you!