Put your own oxygen mask on first ...

More Than A Mum Series

We've all heard the airline safety briefing - put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. Like I say about many things, "It's not rocket science, but it's good to have someone remind us". The reason we do it is to ensure we stay on top form and are capable of supporting others who need our help.

It seems a little ironic that for so many the last 18 months have been full of mask wearing both practically and metaphorically.

Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, wrote an interesting article for the New York Times last month talking about the 'pandemic flux syndrome' - it's well worth a read but in summary it suggests that people are "awash with conflicting feelings as they grapple with the swings and mixed signals of threats, shifting public health policies and uncertain social behaviour".

As I write this in the last throes of summer (autumn officially starts on Wed 22nd) I've certainly witnesses this and noticed a significant difference this September. My daily encounters suggest people are not as 'organised' as usual, not as 'excited' about back to routine, are more 'anxious' about things in general, are more 'unsure' about future plans and for many there is a desire to 'change something'.

How do you feel?

Personally I feel I've had the mask on a lot - within my working environment I still wear the physical disposable one daily (much to my dismay as I worry about the plastic aftermath when I see so many washed up on the beach, not mine!) as I work with people in real life and want all clients to feel secure and ofcourse protect myself.

Then there's the supportive mask

- Leading my teenagers through the trials and tribulations of being in lockdown, exam horrors and safely transitioning back to an IRL (in real life) social life.

- Encouraging our parents socially and physically to maintain contact with people by technology, to keep those muscles moving and the brain ticking over.

- Working with clients to provide a release (there's always a safe, non-judgemental space at Transform - even if it's outdoor in a pandemic!) develop resilience and facilitate positivity.

I'm sure that all sounds familiar to many who have been supporting their families, juggling to stay on top of their careers / businesses and have had no break.

Many have taken minimal time out and even when they have it has not necessarily been the switch off they really need.

I had a great time on our summer 'break' but it was tinged with stress over arranging student accommodation, full of shopping trips as the teens needed something (as they are well past the age of being happy walking up a Munro or being on a beach that is not full of handsome tanned dudes!) to do and frankly it was mega expensive eating out as a family of 5 regularly..... and as for time to read a book that wasn't work related .... then ofcourse I was made redundant (part time) when one of the teens left for her new independent life and my 'mum role' that has taken priority for 18 years was changed dramatically with significant emotional, though tbh somewhat shortlived, turmoil. A gig with Duran Duran put paid to that as I realised how much freedom we now have and how much fun it can be to act like you are 15 again :-)!

In coaching sessions I often talk about the need for people to prioritise their self care as a strategy to secure their ability to cope with the demands on them. I am an absolute stickler for this.

As someone who can often 'burn the candle at both ends' as my mum often said to me (still does actually) and who loves what they do (so I'm perfectly happy working what many would consider long, anti-social hours ....) I also take time to plan breaks, recognise when I am running on empty, prioritise my own fitness .....

So now I am putting my own oxygen mask on - I am taking a week off - with no domestics, healthy eating made for me, plenty of exercise, sleep and time to think. Oh and yes the odd glass of bubbly for my soul! Expect me back full of energy, new projects and raring to go!

And if that sounds good, maybe you should think about joining me on one of Transform's events - our Woodland Wellness Weekend (3 days) at Glenapp Castle, our Highland Hideaway in Glencoe or our

Re-Vitalise Retreat overseas. Each of these 3 very different but equally amazing events are designed to help you feel amazing, get rid of that pandemic flux feeling and have an autumn / winter season that is energising rather than energy sapping!

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