Are you a working Mum, struggling to balance the time you spend with your kids and your work? Maybe you love going out to work and being able to have some adult conversation, but have you ever felt guilty for leaving your children, for whatever reason? But then when you’re at home with the kids, I’m sure there are also times when you wish you weren’t there, for various other reasons!
No doubt there are times when you feel like you never have any time for yourself and your needs are always at the bottom of the pile. As someone who myself spent many years working part-time and gradually building up my hours as my children grew up, I understand the challenges that working Mums face. Most importantly I now recognise how our health can be affected if we don’t find some way to cope with all the pressures that being a working Mum can cause. I certainly wish I’d known that then!
Most people accept that symptoms like tension headaches, irritable bowel and frequent colds are stress-induced, but did you know that very real severe pain is also often triggered, and then ‘fueled’, by stress? This includes back pain, sciatica, migraines, RSI, tennis elbow etc. In fact stress is the primary cause of most persistent or recurring aches and pains. Unfortunately this isn’t widely recognised and where the underlying causes are missed, chronic problems can result, sometimes seriously limiting people’s lives.
The symptoms are actually part of an automatic and unconscious protective response and in a way it’s your body telling you to slow down and look after yourself. So just as your body responds to a sudden fright, your brain could target your back when you are bending over if things are getting too much for you. Or you might wake up with neck pain and although you might have blamed it on the pillow (that you have probably slept with for months!), it’s more likely to be that you went to bed on an argument or ruminating over something.
The good thing is that once you start noticing what’s going on, you can begin to take steps to resolve the symptoms, or preferably prevent them in the first place. So here are a few self-care tips to help you look after yourself – because if you don’t, then how are you going to work and who’s going to look after your children?
1) Get yourself a notebook or journal. When you feel wound up, resentful, anxious or angry etc, express this onto paper. It’s normal to feel like this, but it’s the bottling up of our feelings that end up causing problems. Preferably vent onto paper and then aim to put things into perspective, or even just decide to let things go for now. N.B. Then destroy the paper or write on top of your writing so no-one else can read it.
2) Aim to find even just 15 minutes a day on your own sitting or lying quietly and enjoying the peace and quiet. N.B. Do not use this time to go over things, ruminate, analyse etc because this creates self-induced stress
3) Find time to go outside so you can benefit from the fresh air and a green environment. This will help both you and the kids, or you if you can do this during a working lunch break (which of course you will take!). N.B. Walking around with an upright posture and smiling have been shown to have a positive effect on mood.
4) Meet up with friends. The health benefits of socialising, especially if you can have a good laugh, are well known. N.B. By all means use this time to offload where necessary, but make sure you also focus on what’s going well.
5) Write down at least 5 things you feel grateful for before going to bed every night. Aim to think of different things each night and really FEEL how grateful you are. N.B. Studies have shown that this helps not only boost your mood, but can help you become more positive as you begin to notice more positive things in your life, rather than focussing on what’s not going well.
Bio: Georgie Oldfield MCSP, a mother of two, is a leading physiotherapist and chronic pain specialist promoting a pioneering approach to resolving chronic pain through her online SIRPA Recovery Programme and her clinics in London and Yorkshire. Georgie is the founder of SIRPA, an organisation dedicated to promoting the concept that pain can be due to learned nerve pain pathways, rather than a physical abnormality, hence full recovery is possible because these pathways can be reversed. As well as treating patients and training health professionals, Georgie gives talks and writes widely about the concept.
To find out more about Georgie Oldfield and her unique approach to stress and chronic pain you can:
- Register to attend on of her free webinars:
- Visit her websites:
- Or contact her directly:
01484 452 500