You're listening to the life friendly business podcast. I'm your host, Erin Thomas Wong, business coach & mentor, author and founder of the cocoon VIP membership, empowering women around the world to build businesses on their terms. If you want to grow and scale a business that works in harmony with your family and your life, this podcast is for you.
Why are we so scared to admit it? When things are feeling too much? Why do we feel the need to keep pushing even when we feel exhausted, unwell and mentally overloaded? Are we worried about looking weak and capable, unhinged, we must stop doing this to ourselves. There are no prizes for holding it all together at the detriment of our mental and physical well being. We must learn to be okay with taking a break, when things get tough. Or even before things get tough. We must learn to communicate our needs with those around us.
I remember hearing a saying that if you're operating at a stress level of eight, eight or nine out of 10 on a daily basis, when something happens, which inevitably will because this is life and unpredictable things happen, your stress will immediately fly over the 10 out of 10 scale. And that is when we feel like we can't cope. That is when we reach a breakdown burnout. So what we need to be doing is bringing down our daily stress level as much as possible. So that you have that bigger buffer between where you normally operate in terms of stress, and where unexpected things can suddenly shoot you up. Like, you know, illness in the family death in the family, you know, unexpected bills, or 1000s of pounds or those kinds of things. These things do happen, we know they happen, they come out of the blue. And so what we need to be doing is making sure that we are managing our stress and our mental capacity.
Have you heard that the universe sends you nudges, when it's trying to say you need to slow down, you need to stop what you're doing. And if you don't listen, it will hit you on the head with a four by four. So that's when people suddenly get ill. And literally they are forced to stop. Because they haven't been listening to you know, sometimes obviously, there are exclusions to this. And you know, we haven't been listening to those small messages from our body and from the universe that say, Hey, you're operating at a really high nine out of 10 stress level here, this is not going to end well, you need to take control now. So don't wait until you get ill to rest, you need to be making sure that you're on top of that. And especially in the times of COVID You know, one of the things that we can do is really help our immune system by eating good stuff, but also by resting and by sleep. That's one of the best ways that we can boost our immune system.
So I'm actually recording this episode from my solo business retreat. So I take myself off to a lovely hotel in the New Forest called Burley Manor. There are so many things that I love about this hotel, one of the things is that his children are not allowed, which as a parent of two kids is very lovely to come to when I'm on my own. Also, it's quite a small hotel, and it's not intimidating. And I feel completely comfortable being here on my own. I feel comfortable going to eat in the restaurant on my own. The staff are also lovely and friendly. It's beautifully decorated inside the interior design is wonderful. And on the outside, it overlooks a deer park and you can watch the deer just hopping around. And it's right in in the New Forest. So it really is a very special place for me and I actually found this place a couple of years ago now, when I had my back injury I had a herniated disc. And for months I was in such you know, agonising pain. I had sciatica with it as well any of you who've had back problems, I'm sure will be going ouch. And obviously it drained me in in all ways. And it was the new year and you know, I'd agreed with my husband I really needed a night away and I'd actually booked to go to a spa hotel, thinking that's what I needed. I needed You know, to go into hot tub and stuff. And then my chiropractor said, You can't do that with your back injury. So I went on to Expedia and I was looking at other options nearby, and I found Burley Manor, and I came here for the first time. And honestly, it has been a godsend for me. And since then, I have been multiple times a year.
Now, to some of you that might feel incredibly extravagant, it might be triggering lots of different things. I mean, obviously, there's the money. And this is something that I budget for. And actually, it was one of my financial goals in my business that I would be able to pay out of my business to come on these retreats because I do actually work I you know, I'm calling it a retreat, it's not, you know, a mindful meditation retreat, it's more me coming, and diving into my work or resting, you know, a mixture of both. But this is I pay for this out of my business account, it might also trigger you thinking about leaving the kids if you've got children, you know, and, and whether you have got anyone that you're able to leave the kids with. And I know that that can be really difficult. Luckily, I have a very responsible husband, and my children are now eight and 13. So if your children a young girl, or they've got special needs, I understand that this could feel unrealistic for you. But I hope that in the future, this is something that you would be able to do.
And then there's also mum guilt, like don't I feel guilty for wanting to be away on my own? And the honest answer to that is No, not anymore. I did at the beginning, the first couple of times that I went away, you know, the kids pulled on my heartstrings. Why do you have to go away? Why are you leaving us. But the more I realised how much benefit it gave to me in terms of my own mental health in terms of how I was when I returned to the family, you know, so much calmer, so much happier, so much more willing to play and, and do things like that, because I'd had time to get my head together and get some work stuff out the way, you know, I decided I'm not going to feel guilty about that. And, you know, one thing to say is, when you do this for the first time, or even the second time, there's so much pressure to enjoy it, you must enjoy it. And you also must be productive. And sometimes that is where we sabotage ourselves. Because we have so much pressure that we're kind of paralysed. And you know, also in the past, I've kind of made myself feel a little bit ill because I've kind of thought I'm not sure I deserve this. And so then I get a headache or my back hurts or something like that.
So these are all kind of processes that I've been through. But I've been very much aware that it has been really self sabotage. And I just want to add in a side note here, if you have already been away on your own, or if you do go away on your own after listening to this episode. And when you return to the family home, it's like baptism by fire, I want you to know that that is normal. And you are not a terrible parent, if you find yourself tearing your hair out within hours of being home and wishing that you were back on your own. It is totally understandable. Because when we get off the treadmill, and we start doing things at our own pace, again, without having to worry about everyone else around us, when we have to step back onto that treadmill, it can feel quite fast, you know that feeling of trying to jump onto a moving object. So just a little side note, if you have experienced this, or if you do experience this, that you go away, and you have the most wonderful time on your own. And when you come back, it feels really, really hard. And then you get all this guilt because you're feeling irritable with the family, it will pass. And it's also completely normal. So please do not not beat yourself up. If that happens.
Now that I have decided, and I've discussed it with my husband, and I've planned it into my business budget, I will be doing this at least a few times a year. Normally I do one night at the moment right now I've done two and I have to say it is the way forward. But I'm not always going to be able to afford the time and money for two nights. But now I've decided that I will be peppering these retreats throughout the year. It's become a kind of norm and it's like all the kids get like the kids are saying or mums going to Burley Manor again. And I'm like yes. And I'm going to have a lovely time. And I don't feel guilty and actually dad takes the opportunity to treat the kids to take away or take them out to a football game or something and it becomes a win win all around the so that's my experience of doing these retreats. You know, I find that it really allows me to step away from the daily treadmill of school runs, cooking for the family, putting the washing on unloading the dishwasher, all those things, and it allows me to really get into my natural flow. I do, I am an early bird, I wake up at like 530 in the morning, but it's absolutely fine because I can have a nap mid morning, and I work around my energy flows, I do some work. And then I watch TV or have a nap or I go for a walk, I have something to eat. And it's just absolutely blissful. And you know, as a parent, we don't get to do that very much. And so to allow yourself to gift yourself that time is absolutely invaluable. But you know, the reason that I do this most of all, is because I do often feel a bit overloaded with life stuff. And I'm sure that you feel the same. And this is my time, this is my time to decompress.
So I'd love you to consider whether a night away is something that you can put into your plan for the following year, whether it's something that you can get help to have the kids whether you can start saving now to afford that form your business. And you know, like, let's This is, let's be clear here, this is kind of like a mini conference for me, I come away, I get so much work done, you know, and I put that through my business account. I'm not saying that it's tax tax deductible, but I pay for it out of my business money rather than our family pot. So if you are pushing yourself really, really hard, and ignoring those nudges from the universe that are saying you need to slow down, here are some signs that you need to stop.
Number one, you can't think straight, you have foggy head syndrome, where you just literally can't see the wood for the trees, and you're probably feeling a little bit paralysed with where to turn next.
Number two, you make silly mistakes, you forget about appointments, you put out a social media post with loads of typos and don't realise, you send the wrong email to the wrong person, you know, these little mistakes. These are the nudges that you need to allow your brain time to decompress.
And number three, maybe you're feeling really moody and irritable with people. And you know, that's because you need to rest that's because your brain is saying I am overloaded right now I'm overloaded. And I need time to decompress. It also could be because you don't have your boundaries in place, and you're allowing other people's urgent stuff to take over what's important to you.
You know, so these are signs that you really need to allow yourself time to rest. And it doesn't always have to be a night away. That is the that's the goal. To me. That's the luxury. But even doing meditation and mindfulness, even looking on YouTube, for a 20 minute video where you can lie on your bed, put your headphones in, and just listen to a guided meditation or a guided visualisation and allow your brain time to decompress. I think that we can be so guilty of running from one thing to the next. Especially when you're running your business at home, it gets to half past two, you quickly rush out the door and go and pick the kids up from school. And then you've got the kids talking to you all the way home, which is wonderful to hear all about their day, but your brain is still processing work stuff, then you get home and it straight onto preparing dinner. And then it's doing bedtime, which I always find the hardest time of day, I will put my hand up and say you know that doing that bedtime reading is always something I struggle with. Because by 7:30 8 o'clock, I am done for the day.
So we need to be pacing ourselves, and we need to be managing our energy. So if any of this is resonating with you, if you're thinking you know what my brain is telling me all the time it's overloaded, you really need to take control, you need to take control of your diary, you need to schedule in time for breathing during the week, whether you schedule that as CEO time where you don't have any calls, or you schedule in that yoga class that you've been meaning to do. Or you simply decide that for half a day, once or twice a week, you're going to block out that time. And it doesn't mean that you're not going to work if you want to work brilliant, but stop other people's appointments and things like that from filling up your diary so that you're literally stuck on this treadmill of working, working, working, picking up the kids working, picking up the kids, you know doing dinner, all that kind of stuff. So take control and build in buffers into your diary so that when these unexpected things happen, it's okay because you've got flexibility. So I did a couple posts on social about the other week when I had the the impact online workshop event and the day before I had allowed the whole day to practice my talk and get ready for the event.
And then my son was off sick. And I literally felt like a toddler, I wanted to stomp my feet and say, it's not fair. This isn't how today was supposed to go. But I had to pull it together and be like, let's okay. And because I had built in flexibility, and and earlier, you know, the week before the week before that I'd been planning the talk, it was pretty much there. But if I hadn't have had that flexibility, and if I hadn't have built in that buffer of that day where I was just literally looking over the slides, then I mean, for example, if I hadn't written the talk yet, I would have been a big trouble if I left it till the last minute.
So look ahead at your week, and I would say to block out regular time in your diary weeks in advance, because as you get to that week coming up, it's too late. So I don't want you to be looking at your diary and having heart palpitations and thinking, how on earth are you going to fit this all in? You must take control. And you might well be thinking but Erin, how would I get everything done? If I build in these buffers? And the question is, do you need to get everything done? Is everything on your to do list absolutely necessary? Is it absolutely urgent? Is it your urgent? Or is it someone else's urgent to be honest, you know, I the whole idea that like literally 95% of your to do list are not things that are actually going to move the needle on your business 5% 5% of the things that you actually do on a daily basis are the things that will get you those sales, or that will nurture that relationship with your client or your customer, like you really need to focus down and prioritise.
So I really hope this has been useful, I hope that I have inspired you to be okay with taking a break regularly. And I hope that I have empowered you to realise that you do deserve time on your own. And you know, hopefully you are able to orchestrate that time on your own. And that does mean admitting that it's something that you want and something that you need and not feeling guilty of that. So control the pace that you work at. build this business on your own terms. Make sure that it is life friendly, whatever that means to you. And that's the way that you're going to be able to avoid overwhelm, and burnout. If you've enjoyed this episode, please do reach out on social and please share it with any friends who need to hear this.
You've been listening to the life friendly business podcast which is all about carving your own path and doing it at your own pace. But I know that's not easy to do. So to help you decide what a life friendly business looks like for you and help you to stick to the boundaries and commitments needed to create that I've created the life friendly business prescription. download this free workbook and spend 30 to 60 minutes reflecting on what life friendly means to you and the changes you may need to make in order to achieve the work life balance you desire. Once you've made these decisions, you can add them to your own printable life friendly business prescription that you can put on your wall to remind yourself that you have the power to design your very own life friendly business. Download yours now at lifefriendlybusiness.com/prescription
Transcribed by https://otter.ai