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!

When you have young children, going to your office job can sometimes make for a really nice change of scenery. Being among co-workers instead of children can feel like an entirely different world. For example;

  • There’s no requirement to tidy up after everyone else, clean up their spills or wipe their bottoms.
  • There’s no piercing ‘muuuuummm’ requests stabbing at your eardrums every four minutes.
  • You can go to the toilet and no-one will follow you into the cubicle and try to climb all over you.
  • There are adults there, with adult things to say, and nice sophisticated conversations that do not involve the words bum, fart or undies.

It can be really quite lovely.

When you have young children, going to your office job can sometimes make for a really nice change of scenery

But while you may circulate in this whole other world, and even relish in it, you are not entirely inconspicuous. There are clues to the parenting world in which you also exist. You may try to cover up as much as you can in the name of professionalism, but there are some tell-tale signs.

Here’s 10 that might sound familiar:

  1. You look in the bathroom mirror a few hours after you arrive only to find that your top is on inside out.
  2. You have baby wipes in your handbag.
  3. You gasp at your phone when caller ID shows it’s the daycare centre calling, imagining the worst-case scenario.
  4. You only wear jewellery which cannot be broken with a swift yank of a small hand.
  5. You randomly laugh out loud when recalling something cute your child said that morning.
  6. You work super-productively because staying back late is not an option.
  7. You have narrowed the possibilities of the stain on your black pants to be either snot, toothpaste or vomit – none of which would be yours.
  8. You spend your entire lunch-break running errands.
  9. You have a strange nostalgic smile on your face when your co-workers complain of hangovers from bars and clubs they went to last night.
  10. You probably consume more coffee than anyone else in the office.

However, there are some things your co-workers may not know, and might not want to either.

Like how when you sat down at your desk to begin the day at 9am, you had already been up since 5am. You bathed, dressed & fed multiple people, did two loads of washing, cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, walked the dog and managed the school drop-off without forgetting the show & tell. Give yourself a pat on the back for this, but perhaps don’t expect your colleagues to – they will find this information excruciatingly boring.

Another thing they might not want to hear about is how the pictures on your desk represent the little people who give your life a depth and meaning you have never experienced before. They are the reason you are doing all this. They are your little rays of sunshine and you wouldn’t have it any other way … and you simply can’t wait to get home for cuddles, giggles and to pretend to be the pirate queen of the dining table ship.

But you don’t need to tell your colleagues that, keep some stuff to yourself. They know enough already.

What do you share with your co-workers about your life as a parent? Share your comments below.

Sally Miles Sally is the Women’s Editor at Leaders in Heels. She is a wife and mother to two children and spends her working hours as a publisher at a global education company.

Featured photo credit: Lotus Carroll via photopin cc