Recently I found myself suffering with a frozen right shoulder. It was extremely uncomfortable, especially while sleeping.

But life still had to go on, I had to look after a three year old, work on my business, chores etc. I wasn’t sleeping well at night and generally crabby and irritable. Unable to work at my computer (believe me I tried!) and with a phone that died, more demands on my time than usual, this past week has been pretty horrendous.

Now I definitely learnt something from this experience (don’t you love a story with a moral?). So here are my five tips for other stressed mums in business who feel like the world is collapsing around them but still need to be there for their kids and business.

1. Make that medical appointment

From past experience (I had a frozen neck at the same time last year) I should have made that critical appointment at the earliest with my physiotherapist and not subjected myself to so much anxiety by waiting until I was in acute agony. So if you’re in pain and it’s interfering with your daily life, for God’s sake go and see a medical professional! Remember that analogy of putting on your oxygen mask first before attending to others?

2. Take a day or two off

If you’re in pain or worn out, the best thing you can do is take a time out and relax. Stop working and take a day or two off to recharge your batteries. Apart from email, do not respond to anything else. My advice is to stay away from your phone altogether.

3. Get off social media

Ever get the feeling that the world is moving too fast on Facebook and Twitter? I had that feeling when I was sick and checking the social networks. I finally switched off completely for a week and guess what happened? The world came back to normal. So if social media is causing you to stress, turn it off and see how much better you feel.

P.S. Anyone wanting to get in touch with you can use old fashioned text and phone calls. Much simpler!

4. Meditate and exercise

When did you last take time to do yoga or simply sit in silence?. If like me you don’t remember then you’re long overdue for an exercise session. If you don’t have time to attend a class, say hello to YouTube. During the frozen neck fiasco, I started watching YouTube yoga videos and I swear it helped me heal faster and sleep much more deeply. Roll out your mat once the kids are in bed instead of attending to emails or scrolling through your Twitter feed.

5. Clear your to-do list

We mums have never ending to-do lists! Ask any mum when she last completed hers and you may get an eye roll with the answer “Never”! If erasing the to-do list is too much for you, go through yours right now and see what you can delete from it. Less tasks means less stress and more time for fun!

Hope these tips help you next time you feel stressed. Don’t wait for a frozen muscle to remind you to take it easy and look after your health.

Right, I’m off to do some yoga…Namaste!

It’s the week before Christmas, and all through the office, people were wailing “I’M TOO STRESSED TO TALK….I’VE GOT TO SHOP IN MY LUNCHBREAK….I’VE STILL GOT THINGS TO DOOOOO”.

That’s how the poem goes, doesn’t it?

Like some (most) of us, you are probably beginning to panic about preparing gifts, lunches, family events, incomplete work tasks, the office secret Santa and annual leave. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with the gifts, lunches or family reunions (although I do maintain that any dessert covered in brandy custard constitutes a Christmas pudding). I can however share my top five office de-stressors that may help you to manage any pre-holiday melt-down that you’re thinking of having this week.

1. Prioritise

Explore what tasks need to be completed immediately, what can be completed in the short term, and what tasks can be classified as long term. Be fair in your assessment – don’t set yourself up for failure by prioritising ALL outstanding work tasks as immediate needs if they really aren’t. On the flip side, don’t leave ALL tasks to be completed on your return after holidays.

2. To-Do List

Now, while some of you may now be thinking “but I get more stressed out if I don’t complete things on my to-do list” hear me out. I’m a big fan of the to-do list, not necessarily for marking things off, but as a strategy to keep us on track. If you change your ideals on what a to-do list is, then you can create a tool that will help you set and achieve small goals. For your pre-holiday to-do list, you should be listing those tasks only that you prioritised as either immediately needed or needed in the short-term. Any long-term work tasks should not be included in this to-do list as it will quickly appear overwhelming and the usefulness of the tool will diminish.

By doing what you can ahead of time, you will be minimising stress in those last days or hours before you leave for holidays, as well as ensuring that any important details aren’t accidentally left out.

3. Timetable

Similar to the to-do list, a timetable can become a tool of direction and guidance. Remember back to your schooling days when you used a timetable to help you ensure that you were spending enough time studying each subject? A timetable in the lead up to a holiday from the office can be useful in the same way. While I don’t recommend such strict timetabling as to account for every minute of every day, I do stress that it is important to structure what limited time you have so you can get the most out of it.

4. Create any handover documents ahead of time

If you are working in a job where you will need to handover any work tasks, clients or customer files while you are away, DO NOT LEAVE IT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. This task is often prioritised incorrectly, and completed as a last event before you go on leave. By doing what you can ahead of time, you will be minimising stress in those last days or hours before you leave for holidays, as well as ensuring that any important details aren’t accidently left out. Obviously, not everything will be able to be added to a handover document a long way in advance; however, it is generally possible to add any last minute details to an existing document as they arise. By doing it in a controlled manner, you will likely find that the quality of details is better, and you will not experience the dreaded feeling of oppression that comes with having to do last minute handover documents.

And finally –

5. Have another rum ball!

Well – it IS the silly season …..

Featured photo credit: Mr.TinDC via photopin cc

Lauren Maxwell Lauren Kremer

Lauren is a Rehabilitation Counsellor and Career Development Consultant, with close to 15 years of experience across the two fields. She is the founder of Headstrong Women, a specialist women’s career development service, and thrives on innovation and creativity to empower women to reach their potential. Find out more at or on Facebook.