Stop saying "I will work on myself when I have the time"

As mums with busy lives we are time poor and the thing that we often let fall off our to do list. So many of my clients and people that I know say things like "I don't have time to work on myself" or "when my business makes money I will have time to work on myself". We often find that we are running on caffeine and our focus is getting through the day rather than improving our performance. 

So many of my clients have told me that one of the ways coaching has really made a difference to them is by changing their mindset and increasing their confidence by working on themselves. 

In this blog I am going to explore the reasons why working on yourself can have such profound effects not only on your confidence and self esteem but also on your physical and mental health and your productivity. I am also going to suggest an ideal morning routine which you can modify to suit your needs.

We all know that drinking more water is something we should do, hydration is key to physical and mental performance. As our brains are 75% water we need to keep them hydrated in order for them to function effectively. We can focus on keeping hydrated throughout the day by having a water bottle with us or always having a glass of water to hand. 

The second thing that is really effective in aiding our memory and our learning is periods of intense exercise, intense exercise not only helps the body cleanse stress hormones (including cortisol) but allows our brains to produce BDNF which aids the growth of the brain cells in particular the cells around memory and learning. 

Journalling, meditation & affirmations are all aspects of mindset work I advise clients to look at. Often these are the things that people can be suspicious of however recent studies in neuroscience have helped build on evidence that supports all of these practices and shows why they are so effective. 

Meditation helps us focus better, reduces anxiety and increases dopamine - a happy chemical. It has also been shown to help you be more creative by quietening the self talk. I first got into meditation through hypnobirthing and I found that by giving myself 20 minutes a day I felt more energised and I could think more clearly. I am not going to suggest it is always easy to find 20 minutes to do this but the effects are significant. 

I have become a massive fan of journalling and I do it twice a day. Journalling about what you are grateful about and your intentions helps to ground you and appreciate your strengths increasing your confidence and your happiness. 

Affirmations can be used to reprogram the neural pathways in our brains, by saying the same things every day we are building these neural pathways and creating a self fulfilling prophecy. 

The best way to incorporate these practices into your day is to start when you wake up. An deal morning routine would consist of drinking a large glass of water, stretching and then doing 10-20 minutes of intense exercise (for example HIT or running). Then spending time meditating and setting intentions for the day followed by journalling and affirmations. All in all this doesn't need to take longer than 30 minutes. 

The key is to be consistent and to create a routine that is sustainable for you. If (like me) your morning routine used to be getting the kids up and dressed and off to nursery think about how you can eek out even 5 minutes. Hydration and stretching are my two "must-haves", sometimes  manage to do 10 minutes of HIT training but if my kids are up or I have had broken sleep I do it later in the day. I always make sure I get a couple of minutes of meditation first thing (even if it is just focusing on my breathing or my intentions for the day).

My journalling doesn't always happen first thing either as I have yet to get the hang of writing one handed whilst breastfeeding (they want to be hydrated first thing too exactly the same as us!)

It is all about finding out what is going to work around you and your family. If you prioritise the work on you, other things will follow. If you are going to be militant about it you should be doing these activities every day for at least 30 days (and some argue 61 days) for them to become routine and habitual. I always say to my clients aim for this but if you have kids and they aren't sleeping or they are ill modify what you are doing and number one be kind to yourself. 

Take some time to think about what works for you and start tomorrow, the benefits will be huge and you will be on your way to starting 2017 in the best way possible.