Last weekend, I enjoyed a kid-free weekend. I got a whole 36 hours without my kids doing my favorite thing :
…sitting on the beach,
… grooving to my music while the waves roar in the background,
… while watching the sun set over the ocean, and spotting the occasionally dolphin!
Beach therapy is just what the doctor prescribed because I’m a compulsive “doer”!
If you could see what the inside of my brain looks like, you would probably see a LIST! I am a neurotic list maker (I consider it a gift because I LOVE a good list!)
Ultimately, it’s because I am a “doer”. And please don’t misunderstand, I am not using this term in the sense of being ultra-productive. I have the compulsion to “do” regardless of how productive or not! Even by engaging in mental “doing” I feel like I am taking action. For example, anxiety and worrying gives me the sense of “doing” when really they are just distractors that fills my mind with busy thoughts.
Buddhists refer to this as Monkey Mind. Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all competing for attention. And fear is an especially loud monkey, pointing out everything that could go wrong and constantly sounding the alarm!
So stillness and silence is my daily practice of choice to calm my Monkey Mind! The monkeys are why it is necessary to put Mommy in time-out!
Do you schedule downtime?
As the Olympics are approaching, think about elite athletes who methodically schedule rest and recovery periods into their training schedule.
In order to function optimally, we sleep to rest our body and eat to recover our energy and so must we take time-outs for our mind and spirit.
As a Mom, I love using time-outs in my home! It is not seen as punishment (depending on who you ask!) I usually implement time-outs in my home to stop an unwanted behavior and calm our minds and focus our awareness on an alternate behavior, usually breathing. Taking effective time-outs will increase your productivity.
- Plan Your Time-Outs
A lot of the time, we are so busy planning our work day, that we forget about “how” to rest. Plan beforehand what you will do during your time-out so you feel restored and re-energized after your break and prepared for the next round of productive work. I usually engage in the opposite behavior, so if I’ve been sitting… I move. If my mind has been active… I do something quiet. During your time-outs, step away from the computer and move your body from its usual position and shift your attention to something else fun and lighthearted.
Eat lunch or a snack and get hydrated. Take a nap. Meditate, which is like exercise for your brain. Clean, since clutter is distracting. Read a book. Play a game of cards with co-workers. Take a short walk, allowing your brain to wander unstructured. Chat with a friend about the latest episode of your favorite TV show. Doodle. Do yoga. Garden. Daydream. Ask questions and listen for answers. Or do nothing! Whatever floats your boat and gets your mind off of work and doesn’t require much concentration, will serve you well.
Do anything except for work!
2. Adopt My 90 Minute Rule
Our human minds can focus on any given task for 90-120 minutes. Afterwards, a 20-30 minute break is required for us to get the renewal needed to perform our next task again. So, I split my day into 90 minute work sprints and work in small bursts with purpose and focus. So, instead of looking at my day as an 8 hour work day, I structure it into 90 minute blocks followed by 30 minute blocks. Then I assign a high priority task to each block. So if you’ve got 4 blocks, you will be able to have 4 tasks that you can get done every day much more easily.
3. Adopt My 90 Day Rule
90 day goals are so powerful. You gain incredible clarity as to what needs to be accomplished right now. You are more motivated to work on your goals since you only have 90 days. And every 90 days, you get the opportunity to hit the restart button.
Personally, I only schedule 3- 90 day plans throughout the year: January-March, May–July, September-November. I alternate these highly focused days of sales activities with 30 days of slower paced non-sales activities, or time-out activities. Within those 30 days, I am still engaged in the day to day running of my business, but instead of focusing on achieving my goals, I analyze and evaluate the last 90 days goals, then I strategize and plan for the next 90 days goals. And the most important part is I schedule a kid-free weekend where I can reboot my mind and press the reset button.
I believe the United States has become overworked, overstressed and overall an unhealthy society. In this fast-paced nation of workaholics, I have chosen to create my own rules for living MY life!!!
It is NOT selfish to take care of yourself, it’s sensible! It is NOT indulgent to make happiness a priority, it’s necessary!
Invest in yourself, so you will have more to give.
Moms typically give and give until there’s nothing left to give. Be the kind of caretaker you are to your kids and your pets and just focus it on you. Self-care is an act of survival!
We all need to be alone for a moment, in order to find out who you really are and what you really want out of life.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for… Put yourself in a time-out!
Want help focusing and managing your time, energy and business, so you have more time, energy and money to do what matters MOST? I’d love to help you… register for a FREE 30min Consultation NOW!
ABOUT Candace Jenkins-Espinet
As a busy Mom of twins and owner of JustaMompreneur.com, a multimedia platform designed to motivate, inspire and inform mothers, I juggle a million things each day and am on a quest to redefine the meaning of “Work/Life Balance”.
By utilizing my education in Psychology, my background as an elementary educator, over 10 years of business experience, and my parenting lessons, I bring other Mompreneneurs invaluable resources, tools and information I’ve acquired on how to work smarter, not harder – so we have more time to spend on what matters most…our family! This blog is focused on providing Mompreneurs with encouragement, support and resources as they travel the journey of motherhood and entrepreneurship. Join me as I discuss how to grow our businesses, how to turn ideas into actionable results, how to maintain our relationships, how to help others, and how to organize our lives and make it all work. You are not alone!
After being challenged by my mentor to spend an ENTIRE hour and half doing something just for myself that I enjoyed…I was stumped!
Something I enjoyed? Something just for me?
As of lately, my idea of fun included laying in bed alone and taking a nap! Restoring for my energy… definitely. Fun? I wasn’t convinced.
This simple homework assignment changed the trajectory of my life. I decided to drastically increase my fun quotient!
But sadly, I did not know what truly gave me pleasure anymore! While I was truly grateful for the perks of being able to work for myself around the schedule of my family, I somehow lost focus of the bigger picture and spent day after day enthralled in the “drudgery” of being an entrepreneur and the “drudgery” of being a stay-at-home mom.
I believe that the most important work I will ever do are in the walls of my home. So when I decided to become a Mompreneur, my objective had always been to become a profitable entrepreneur WITHOUT having to sacrifice any family time.
I was convinced that I had done everything “right.”
I established clear “work hours” and “Mommy hours” but faced with all the demands of my growing business, I was perpetually distracted. I would often return to my family, experiencing them not as a source of joy, but as one more demand already in my over scheduled life. I was beyond overwhelmed, and subsequently short-tempered with my family.
I believed that being a Mompreneur meant I was putting the needs of my family first. But after three years, I began to realize that I had fallen back into the rat-race trying to build my business. My days recycled themselves and a pattern began to form. A pattern I wanted to change!
I reevaluated my priorities and scrutinized my days and I discovered what was missing was the fun, pleasure and excitement in my day to day life!
I decided to open myself up to experiencing an abundance of fun! And so my journey began!
- I Gave Myself Permission…
The waiting was over! I didn’t want to wait to have fun, until my one day off. I didn’t want to wait to have fun, until summer vacation. I didn’t want to wait to have fun, until I could retire.
My mother was a hard-working woman! She taught me the value of an excellent work ethic, but she also taught me how to settle. She worked faithfully in the same job for over 30 years. Over the years we talked about her vision for retirement. She wanted to spend her days laying on hammocks on the beaches of the world.
Sadly, she passed two weeks before she retired.
Losing my mom last year gave me a new perspective. The ultimate measure of life (in this realm), is not how much time we have but how we choose to invest our energy with the time we have. And at the end of our lives what we will value the most is what we did with our families and the memories we created.
We always think we have time.” – Buddha
I gave myself permission to stop waiting to experience joy and fun!
2. I Scheduled a Daily Moment for Pleasure…
How frequently are you experiencing a deep sense of joy and satisfaction? How many hours each week do you experience activities just for pleasure?
Engaging in activities, where pleasure is its own reward (not love, money, or recognition), results in us perform at our best when we feel positive and pleasant emotions such as enjoyment, challenge, adventure and opportunity.
In my pursuit of pleasure, I decided to make activities that cultivate positive emotions priority and I implemented a daily moment of pleasure into my schedule!
Whether I indulged in a hot bath, orchestrated a dance off with my kids, watched the sunset, or guiltlessly devour a piece of cake, I chose to give myself one moment of unadulterated pleasure every day!
3. I Added Joy to THE Process…
Building a business means discipline and consistency, so if I have to repeat the same process day in and day out, I want it to be a process I enjoy doing.
Travel enriches and expands my heart and soul.” – Just A. Mompreneur
Making sales presentations, tracking marketing efforts, and preparing P&L statements didn’t scream fun! But NECESSARY! So, I decided to put my experience as an entrepreneur, years of business management and my addiction to planet porn (browsing the internet through photos of beautiful travel destinations) to good use by pursuing a business in travel. I figured, if I have to make sales presentations anyways, why not inspire and encourage others to have more fun, create more memories, and be a participator NOT just a spectator in their life.
I am excited about my new adventure as a travel agent!
As a Mompreneur, I still work hard…but now, I play even harder!
Candace Jenkins-Espinet in Pursuit of Pleasure!
Why after 20 years of contemplation…I QUIT!
Sugar is my Kryptonite! It renders me helpless against all that is healthy & pure!
The sad part is…I know better!
I coach many people on healthy living- the dangers of toxins in our food sources, the dangers of processed foods, the dangers of consuming antibiotic and hormone induced proteins, the dangers of too much caffeine, and yes, the dangers of sugar! But I just can’t help myself when I pass a decadent three-tiered chocolate fudge and caramel cake!
In my early twenties, I was a nanny for an incredible Mom who shaped a lot of how I parent today. She was beautifully poised (all the time!); she was disciplined and woke up every morning at 5:30am before her family woke up to run along the Silver Comet Trail (even while pregnant!); and when she worked from home twice a week, she would close her office door & focus…undistracted, until it was time to reconnect with her family. Her children were always properly dressed like 18th century sailors, each hour in her home seemed perfectly structured and she didn’t allow television- in the traditional sense (although Grandma’s scuba diving adventures were allowable because technically it was a DVD!) One day, during the quietness of naptime, I stumbled upon a book called Sugar Busters and read page after page of the dangers of sugar. Almost 20 years later, I am now ready and willing to put that knowledge to work and break my addiction to sugar.
When my twins were born, I had the BEST of intentions. From colostrum to homemade puréed baby food…I wanted to ensure that my children were receiving the best nutrition possible. Slowly they were introduced to sugar…an Easter basket here, a birthday party there and the next thing I know…I have two mini-me’s running around requesting sugar everyday all day! Now that they are in pre-kindergarten, and somewhat out of my sphere of influence, they are constantly being seduced by the inescapable powers of sugar. Everyday seems like another classmate’s birthday party, a holiday requiring the consumption of sugar, or our regular visit to Nana’s! I feel like I have lost control!
But I’m done! I’m quitting sugar! And here are my reasons for quitting:
- Because sugar is not a food group!
Sugar has no nutrients, no minerals or vitamins, no protein, no healthy fats, and no enzymes. Just empty and quickly digested calories that actually pull minerals from the body during digestion. It is counterproductive! And consuming these empty calories put us at risk of obesity and health problems, including but not limited to, diabetes, heart disease, liver damage, strokes, and spikes in bad cholesterol levels.
- Because sugar has become our drug of choice!
Sugar is addictive. Eating sugar makes us crave them more later. Much like street drugs, sugar triggers the release of chemicals that set off the brain’s pleasure center. This then creates a hormone cascade that starts a positive feedback loop in the body to encourage more consumption. This addictive sugar response in the brain, creates the need for more sugar to achieve that feel-good “fix.”
- Because sugar turns us into energy-starved zombies!
Sugar may give us a brief jolt of energy, but it will soon be replaced by unrelenting fatigue…and “ain’t nobody got time for that!” Science shows that it takes just 30 minutes or less to go from a sugar rush to a sugar crash. This sugar spike-and-crash pattern sets you up to want more sugar and it becomes a vicious cycle.
- Because post-sugar meltdowns suck!
Just remembering the series of post-birthday-cake tantrums… these patterns of irrational and overly emotional episodes, that is enough for me to want to my children up for adoption! We might reach for sugar to feel better, but end up with the opposite effect in the end!
- Because THIS I can control!
As a reformed control-freak, I recite the Serenity Prayer often to remind me that I cannot control everything. I refuse to succumb to the control sugar has over me and my family. It usually takes about a week for the taste buds to habituate to lower levels of sugar. By resetting our palates and retraining our taste buds, I can remove the cravings and desire for something sweet.
I could continue my list to include my numerous concerns of my aging skin, weakening immune system, and of course teaching my children about healthy nutritious eating…all valid concerns, but I am sure you get the point! Everyone knows that sugar in not a healthy option!
And while many of you probably think I am being extreme… the “all things in moderation” mantra isn’t effective for me (I am a consummate rebel and rule-breaker!) and since I rarely do things half-assed (I am an all-or-nothing type girl)…my mind is made up! As for me and my house…no sugar allowed!
I realize that in today’s world, it can be tough to completely avoid sugar since it is so readily available. I am not foolish enough to think that as my kids grow and become more independent, that they are not going to make sugary choices! Of course they will…they are kids! My goal isn’t to completely deprive my children of sugar…I just want to get our cravings under control and learn to enjoy sugar deliberately so we can develop a healthy relationship with the sweet treat.
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