As you might have noticed, wellness has taken an increased role on The Modern Savvy this year. After all, we can only be our best selves and take care of others when we first take care of ourselves and feel our best — mentally and physically.
With that in mind, I’m excited to introduce you to a new monthly guest contributor, Antoinette Beauchamp, the inspiring co-founder of AB Method and a life coach. Yay! I took one of her classes — a mindfulness workshop — and immediately felt connected to her kind energy, and helpful insights and guidance that somehow also let my vision lead the way… let’s just say I took a lot of notes.
Each month, Antoinette (read her bio here and she’s a favorite Instagram follow, too, will focus on a different theme… this month being time. Best of all, I’ll pose the theme and ask for your questions in our Facebook group, The Savvy Squad (be sure to join!), and she’ll answer them here.
THIS MONTH’S THEME: TIME!
I LOVE these three questions so much, and have a feeling a lot of us can relate. Let’s dig in…
Q: “The biggest thing I’m dealing with right now is that anyone can reach me at any time, especially with work. I tend to ignore any non-critical messages after a certain time at night, because I want to draw the line, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel sort of guilty about it…even though I know I shouldn’t.
I’ve already set a boundary for myself by rarely checking email on nights and weekends, because I know it’s just a rabbit hole for me and isn’t good for my anxiety. Then, I fluctuate between being totally self-assured in this practice and being totally anxious and feeling like I’m not doing enough. It doesn’t come up at all at work, so I know it’s not a big deal.
How do you set boundaries?” — Alyssa
A: Hi Alyssa! So glad you brought this up. Setting boundaries to establish a healthy work/life balance is extremely important…and an extremely normal and common challenge most of my clients face. The beautiful thing is, you’re halfway there. Just by acknowledging that you want to set boundaries is Step 1 (and you already try, congratulations!!:)). Remember, you are the one that has the control in your life, no one else. You make the rules!
Step 2 is getting rid of all the garbage standing in your way, and to start believing that you deserve to set these boundaries and that you are doing enough. Again, the thoughts/emotions you have are normal (i.e. You don’t feel like you’re doing enough if you don’t respond right away or at all). But ask yourself, “Why do I believe I’m not doing enough?” “Is it the truth, or is it fear talking?”. If you have fears or doubts that come in about your performance because you’re not responding after work hours or on the weekends, you’re either in a tough work environment, or you’re being too hard on yourself. The voice that says, “You’re not doing enough,” is not right. I promise you.
Step 3 is committing to making change. Decide that you are not going to check work-related emails after (let’s say) 6 pm, and zero on weekends… whatever makes the most sense and is realistic for your industry. Now do it. Once you commit to it, it creates a habit for yourself… and for others; they’ll know when they can get a hold of you via email and when you’re unavailable. If it’s urgent, they’ll call you. If you still find it challenging, ask a family member, friend, or life coach to help hold you accountable! Accountability is everything.
Q: How do I handle work/life balance and “mom guilt”? — Kimberly
A: Kimberly, thank you so much for being vulnerable enough to admit this! It’s a topic that many women can relate to. The thing about guilt (across the board) is that it’s a very heavy emotion, one that often weighs you down…am I right? It can spiral into other emotions like sadness, worry, and fear, and before you know it you’re sitting in a big pile of it. To add your children into the mix, it sounds like you must feel a very big weight on your shoulders.
Today, with social media taking over many aspects of our lives, with a lot of pretty pictures that paint the “perfect” mom. This is absolutely unrealistic and quite frankly (this is my spiritual side coming out), an illusion. The illusion of the “perfect” mom, is something that Alyson and I both discussed as something that weighs heavy on the hearts of many. I can tell you, with absolute love and compassion, that you are doing an amazing job…and you are perfect just the way you are. Even if there are days that you’re not feeling like it…
If we were in a session (and this is a mini written one ;)), I would ask you to identify the thoughts that are coming through your mind to make you feel this guilt. And how often are they coming up for you? Going even deeper, where else does guilt show up in your life? Journaling is an extremely valuable and effective tool to move through certain emotions. Write in a peaceful setting and honestly answer these questions. One of my other favorite exercises is to write down all the things that you love about yourself, and all the things you are doing RIGHT as a mother, instead of focusing on the things you’re doing “wrong”.
Your self-care, sense of balance, and well-being is extremely important…If you’re not feeling balanced, fulfilled, and taken care of, that can have a big effect on your energy and how you’re showing up both at work and at home. Try not to be so hard on yourself, show yourself some compassion, and create some boundaries too.
Q: How can I be more of an active and attentive listener when the meeting I’m in is dragging on and people are just talking to be heard rather than addressing the issue? – Jennifer
A: Ah, this is a great one, Jennifer. It’s true, oftentimes in the conference room that there are a lot of back and forth…and tangents! I like to call it, human nature. 😉 I would love to offer you a couple different perspectives/tips on these situations…
#1 – Check in with yourself to see where your own level of engagement is and if it’s low – start focusing on your breath. Believe it or not, focusing on your breath (ALWAYS) gets you back and centered to the present moment. You can focus on the breath going slowly in and out of your nostrils, it will calm you down and make you feel less rushed to get out of there! It’s also a way to feel peaceful, and imagine how nice would it be to feel peaceful in a meeting.
#2 – When in work meetings, it’s easy for some to get annoyed at where the conversations are going (specifically if co-workers are going on tangents or if you don’t agree with the topics at all!). Imagine if you tried looking at your co-workers through a different lens. Consider a lens of curiosity and compassion instead of focusing on the ‘why’ and ‘what’ they’re saying. Think of it this way – if they were one of your friends talking, would you have the same reaction? Have some fun with it, too! Try and look at each situation as more of a fun scenario that you’re watching versus seeing it as something that’s a ‘waste of time’ or a situation you dread. Take the position of the observer. A new lens/perspective is always helpful!
#3 – If you lead your own teams or have a say in how the meetings are run…you could offer more structure to how the meetings flow. For example, suggest a meeting agenda be sent out before each meeting and/or consider having a point person to keep everyone on track when topics start traveling!
Thank you Antoinette for your invaluable perspective! I know key takeaways for me include focusing more on breathing to relax, providing myself more compassion and to take the time to think why and what certain feelings are causing certain emotions (i.e. guilt, for example).
Antoinette Beauchamp dedicates her days toward molding the world into a more conscious, compassionate and harmonious place. Her approach to wellness is firmly grounded on the incredible power of love. As a Certified Professional Life Coach, IPEC., ELI- MP., and 200-hr RYT, Antoinette celebrates love as the ultimate vehicle for support and growth, embracing it as the ideal way to gently guide others toward living their most optimal, fulfilled lives. Intuitive and insightful, Antoinette’s coaching philosophy, honors each client’s personal values and desires, working from the ground up to help them take the reigns of their full potential.