How to learn to run through your life at an acceptable pace

I interact with a lot of mums and bloggers both ‘in real life’ and social media, and I see this all the time. Regardless of where you live, how many children you have, whether you work full time, part-time, from home, from an office, on your own business, or whatever the circumstances, everyone seems to be rushed off their feet all the time. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to keep up with the things we feel we have to do or that we wish we could do.

We feel frazzled, overwhelmed and stressed, often without even realising it. And we think we can do it all. In fact, we feel we should do it all. But rushing through life every single day isn’t good for anyone. Having a decent, acceptable pace – one that feels right – is just SO important for our well-being. And sadly something most people don’t feel they can achieve.

Is it possible to slow life down? How do we do it?

1.ย Get to know yourself better

We are used to keep going, no matter what. Everyone seems to do it and do it so well that if we let go a little it’s like admitting defeat.

Well, not quite. Sometimes too much is too much.

And you won’t know when you hit that point unless you actually stop for a minute and tune in with yourself. This is where mindfulness meditation can really help. And yes, I speak to a lot of people who say they don’t have time for that.

I was that person (sometimes I still AM that person!), but I can tell you that if you try it out and stick to it, mindfulness meditation does help.ย It helps you to notice how you feel, how tense and stressed your body really is, and to observe just how many thoughts go through your mind in a very short period of time. Then it hits you – if you think of so many things in the space of 5-10 minutes, what is it like for your mind over the 24 hours, every day of the week?

In time, you’ll get to know yourself better. You’ll learn to see patterns and recognise your stress triggers. And you’ll start to be more self-aware and more protective of yourself – you’ll start to avoid putting yourself in situations that get you stressed.

2. Lay off the pressure

On the last day of our recent holiday, we had promised the children to take them out. Of course I wanted to spend the last day out and at the beach. But I also had to pack for 5 people and feel ready for an end-to-end trip of 22 hours, with 3 young children in tow.

Could I have done it all? Could I have gone out knowing we’d be back late and rush around like a lunatic to get myself and all the stuff ready? I could have.

But I chose not to.

I made the decision to stay at home with our friends and have a nice day at home chatting with them and listening to good music while I packed. The children went out with The Husband and had a great day out, like we promised, and when the time came, we were ready to go. No one was stressed. There were no arguments.

And I felt so much better for it. In fact, the whole family benefited from it.

Only about a year ago, I wouldn’t have had the courage to make these choices – I was unable to stop, putting way too much pressure on myself. I wouldn’t have thought missing out on a few hours at the beach with my family would be the end of the world. I would have pushed myself. And then I would have felt it afterwards. And not in a good way!

3. Think of yourself as a priority

Another one I struggled with, and I know I’m not the only one. Of course your children are your priority.But it doesn’t mean we need to feel guilty if we admit we needย time on our own. Or time to rest. Or a little time to get away from the routines, just to get a breather.

I was the working mum who felt that because I was leaving my children when I was at work, I had to spend every awake minute with them otherwise. Since leaving my job, I’ve become the person who pays for childcare for 3 mornings a week in order to invest some time in myself. And I do this guilt-free because I know that if I stop functioning (and I did when I broke my leg), life gets a lot trickier for the rest of my family.

We often think that we’re just fine, and we’re coping, and we don’t need any ‘time off’. We tell ourselves that as long as our children are happy, that’s all that matters. And we can plough through. But the way you feel matters. And it impacts the way you are.

Reminding ourselves that we were and are our own person before becoming a parent isn’t a sign of weakness or of being an unfit parent. If you’re unhealthy, stressed out and exhausted most of the time, your children will feel it and know it. And they’ll only thank youย when you’re able to be more present, calmer and relaxed when you’re with them.

4. Give yourself permission to let go of the the things that don’t matter

Not all tasks are created equal. You’ve got to feed your children and keep the house in some sort of working order, but it doesn’t need to be ready for a visit from the Queen, does it?

Some tasks that we end up putting on our to-do lists aren’t all that important. Or don’t need to be done now. I don’t do chores when I’m home alone. Me-time has to be me-time. Whatever I decide to do has to be for my health or fitness, relaxation, self-improvement or enjoyment. And if I put the washing machine on a bit later in the day, so be it.

I used to run around like a lunatic trying to do everything now, as quickly and as efficiently as possible. And for what? Just to end up smashing my head on a bus window?

5. Don’t be afraid of asking for help

Asking for help is another way of admitting defeat and showing weakness, right? We’re surrounded by super-parents, especially super-mums everywhere. If they can have do it all and have it all, why shouldn’t we? Why can’t we? We must.

But you don’t know what goes on behind closed door. Success always comes at a price. Whether it’s health, family time being sacrificed or simply a permanently worn out parent, one thing that you need to ask yourself is whether it’s all worth it.

There’s no shame in asking for help. There’s no shame in sharing the load. Whether it’s your partner, paid help, a relative, your parents or a good friend, sometimes a helping hand can make all the difference.

Because in the long run, if you don’t recognise the signs and slow down in time – if you burn out, get ill or hurt yourself like I did, you WILL need to ask for help. You’ll have no choice at that point. And it’ll probably be harder for everyone involved and for you. And it’ll be for longer.

So how about we all just take a moment to check in and see if we can slow it all down a little?

Do you have any tips to share to help other parents slow down a little? Do you have any experiences of burning out or changing your ways before it’s too late? We’d love it if you could share with us.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

75 Comments

    • Sara
      30th April 2017 / 8:40 pm

      It’s hard, isn’t it? We all seem to struggle to do this. Hope you’re doing great with your ‘resolution’ – let us know how you get on!

    • Sara
      30th April 2017 / 8:39 pm

      Aww Kelly – that’s so sweet! You’ve just literally made my day! Life gets in the way all the time, for me too! We just need to help each other look after ourselves! ๐Ÿ™‚ Let us know how you get on!

    • Sara
      30th April 2017 / 8:32 pm

      Thank you Nicole! Yes, I agree – we definitely do. And we are often guilty of forgetting to, aren’t we?

    • Sara
      30th April 2017 / 8:38 pm

      And it’s so true – we put pressure on ourselves most of the time. It’s not like anyone expects us to have everything perfect all the time. We tend to expect it of ourselves! So being able to ‘not fret about the small stuff’ really is a good quality!

  1. 30th April 2017 / 3:35 pm

    Great post. I’m going back to work in August after my first baby and am going back full time. But, I have just joined the gym to I can go to yoga once a week to take some time out for myself as I agree that sometimes it is important to just take a step back and take time for yourself. #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      30th April 2017 / 8:34 pm

      Good luck with going back to work after your maternity leave – hope it’s a smooth transition for you and your baby! It sounds like you already have a brilliant plan! I should also join the gym to do yoga to be honest!!!

    • Sara
      30th April 2017 / 8:37 pm

      Thank you Paula – I’m glad you find them useful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 30th April 2017 / 6:40 pm

    It is really hard to just stop and slow down, isn’t it! Recently I have been making an effort to say no. If I am too overwhelmed I can’t function so anything I do do isn’t so great. So I just stop. I put the blog away. Usually I go to bed. I’m lucky my daughter is old enough to understand and I am honest with her and say I’m really sorry but right now I just can’t. I do take advantage of the days when she is at her dads though to catch up on some rest and take time for me #kcacols
    Tracey Bowden recently posted…Fiction: The Secrets of SaltlakeMy Profile

    • Sara
      30th April 2017 / 8:35 pm

      But it’s true though – something ends up suffering. And it’s either the things you do and can’t do well because you’re too tired, or it’s you! So I think we should all learn from that – say no a bit more and recognise when it’s time to put things away and go to bed! Great advice, thanks Tracey!

  3. 30th April 2017 / 8:55 pm

    This is such excellent advice, and even though it’s all crossed my mind before, it’s important to be reminded of it. I really need to let go of trying to “do it all” (she says while doing several things at once). #kcacols

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 6:10 pm

      He he – a lot of us are exactly like that! Hence why we need to be reminded so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 30th April 2017 / 9:39 pm

    It is really important to stop and to slow down sometimes. There have been times recently when things have got a bit too much and where I have felt totally frazzled. Sleep is a big thing for me, I never seem to get enough of it. I have tried this new app though Insight Timer it is called. I quite like it. Pen x #KCACOLS
    Pen recently posted…In defence of our broken homeMy Profile

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 5:59 pm

      Thank you for the tip Pen – I will check it out. Sleep is so so important – mindfulness meditation can also help with sleep a lot!

  5. 30th April 2017 / 11:06 pm

    Really great tips for feeling more well rounded and at peace.

    #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 5:59 pm

      Thank you Kristin – I’m glad you liked them!

  6. 30th April 2017 / 11:25 pm

    All good advice. Some days just everyday life is exhausting and looking after ourselves really should be more of a priority. It isn’t always easy though. #KCACOLS
    Rachel George, Ordinary Hopes recently posted…Some things are just wrong.My Profile

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 6:09 pm

      No, it’s not. Especially when everyone around us needs us so much. But we should try. Remember to try, at least. And carve out what we can. To make sure we stay healthy for the people who need us.

  7. 30th April 2017 / 11:34 pm

    So my tip would be to try to remember that this is life right now. This exact moment is actually your life. That helps me some days. Great post #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 6:08 pm

      It’s so true! Living in the present. It’s all about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. 1st May 2017 / 12:15 am

    I totally have to practice some of this!
    Just in the last month I have actually started to cycle again, which I’m finding is a great way to get some exercise, some me time away from the family and some mindfulness! I’ve noticed a difference in my mental health, just in that short time, that I’m determined to keep it up! #KCACOLS
    Inclusive Home recently posted…SWAN UK is so much more than just a chat forum!My Profile

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 6:00 pm

      That sounds fantastic! I’m glad you found ‘your thing’! Keep it up and tell your friends! We all need reminding!

  9. 1st May 2017 / 9:18 am

    I definitely need to take the pressure off. Most of my pressure comes from me and it’s so unnecessary! #kcacols

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 6:01 pm

      Isn’t that so true? And I hear that time and time again! We are the ones who put ourselves under so much pressure. Where does it all come from?!?

  10. 1st May 2017 / 1:17 pm

    This is a fantastic, inspirational post. Thank you so much for sharing, it’s definitely something I needed to read right now xxx #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 6:02 pm

      Oh thank you Sarah – you made me day! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad it was good timing for you! Hope you find some good tips in there!

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 6:07 pm

      We all are! That’s why we need so many reminders – me included! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. 1st May 2017 / 2:35 pm

    Good tips here. I have a bad habit of making very unrealistic lists of things that I plan on doing during the day. Sometimes I need to learn to just throw them away! #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 6:03 pm

      Thank you Jeremy! I loved your approach – ‘learn to throw them away’. It’s so true!!!

  12. 1st May 2017 / 4:41 pm

    Great tips. It’s very true. I wonder what our elders would make of the life we all live now. On the other hand, I wouldn’t change it. We have so much more capability to travel and experience more, why not try and do it all.

    My top tip, set yourself realistic goals. Write them down and tick them off. Even if you have a hundred things to do, just write down a few for each day/week. That way you get a sense of achievement and wellbeing.

    #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 6:05 pm

      That’s very true – there’s nothing I love more than ticking off items from a to-do list! I’ve started keeping one on the fridge. More often than not things don’t have a deadline, so I can do them as and when. I get to be reminded often but not in a bad way, and it means I can either do them when I have time or don’t think about it until the next time I focus on the list again. Works for me, I guess!

  13. 1st May 2017 / 8:46 pm

    This is so true. It doesn’t matter how much time you have…there is never enough. I reduced my work from full time to 18 hours a week but I soon filled up that extra time with more clubs for the kids, more time on my blog, more housework. I now don’t know how I ever worked full time! I always try to make some time for myself each week though…even if it’s an hour during the day to watch my favourite tv show. I’ve learnt that most things can wait and that I can be a priority too! #KCACOLS
    Nicola recently posted…Monday Motivation #21 โ€“ The Other Side of FearMy Profile

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 10:21 pm

      I sometimes think the same Nicola! How did I have any time to be in the office and work?!? You fill time really really easily! Well done for making a point of taking some time to rest! Thank you for sharing your tips!

  14. 1st May 2017 / 9:12 pm

    Love, love, love this post. I am a big fan of mindfulness, and it really does work. I’ve finished reading Ruby Wax’s book Frazzled – it’s excellent. I agree we need to treat ourselves as a priority, stop rushing and give ourselves a break. Just do a little less! Thanks for a fantastic post. #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 10:19 pm

      Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh I should read the book – I keep seeing it in the shops and have been meaning to get it! Thank you for the recommendation and your kind kind words! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. 1st May 2017 / 9:40 pm

    Some great tips, so hard to actually put into practice though! I’m trying to keep a more organised schedule. I’m also working on not spreading myself so thin and cutting down on some of my responsibilities. It’s hard but I’m slowly starting to learn that I cannot be super mum, no matter how hard I try!

    • Sara
      1st May 2017 / 10:22 pm

      It’s hard to remember, and I really don’t know why we put ourselves under such an enormous amount of pressure all the time! We all do it! But taking time for ourselves really does pay off in the long run! It’s a necessity really.

  16. 2nd May 2017 / 1:08 pm

    If only my husband understood that the house doesn’t have to be ready for the queen all the time haha #kcacols
    Amy recently posted…Kaleidoscopic Kids RoomsMy Profile

    • Sara
      2nd May 2017 / 1:39 pm

      Shall I tell him? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. 2nd May 2017 / 3:25 pm

    Brilliant tips. I am always trying to do it all and need to try and put myself first more often. Sometimes us busy mums definitely need a reminder of this! #KCACOLS
    Andrea @ Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Cafe Royalty CadizMy Profile

    • Sara
      3rd May 2017 / 10:12 am

      We do, don’t we? It’s just natural to look after everyone probably! We’ve seen our mums do it, and we want to do it too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. 2nd May 2017 / 4:44 pm

    Some wonderful points here and this is also amazing reading if you are right in the middle of one of those tough times. You know the ones I mean when its been a bad night, not much sleep and we’ve been putting off looking after ourselves because there is so much to do. This is a really important post:)
    Mainy
    #KCACOLS
    mainy recently posted…Blogger Recognition Award …Let’s Party!My Profile

    • Sara
      2nd May 2017 / 6:17 pm

      Oh yes Mainy – a day exactly like the one I’m having today! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you for your kind words Mainy – means a lot to me!

  19. 2nd May 2017 / 10:07 pm

    Such great tips Sara, especially number two. I think we do just want to do it all but you have to be realistic and know your boundaries #KCACOLS
    Laura recently posted…Me & Mine Project – AprilMy Profile

    • Sara
      3rd May 2017 / 10:10 am

      Totally true! Thank you for your kind words Laura! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. 2nd May 2017 / 10:22 pm

    Good advice. I’m pretty laid-back at home, but I can get stressed at work. It takes me a little longer to step back there and sort my head out. #kcacols
    Bread recently posted…My Sunday Photo – 30th AprilMy Profile

    • Sara
      3rd May 2017 / 10:10 am

      Oh I get all that! Good point Bread! That’s another one to tackle!

  21. 2nd May 2017 / 10:48 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I’ve decided that when I need a slow day, I NEED a slow day. We always seem to be rushing from one thing to the next and we really need to take a step back from it all. Great post! #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      3rd May 2017 / 10:09 am

      Thank you Kate! That’s the best thing – recognising that that’s what you need. And take it. If I don’t, I regret it later!

  22. 3rd May 2017 / 4:50 am

    This may sound crazy but for me, multitasking creatively helps. I try to pair up certain tasks so that I can do them at the same time leaving more time for other stuff, like me time. #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      3rd May 2017 / 10:12 am

      No, it makes perfect sense! Things that can be done together and quicker to free up time are great! Give us some examples so we can all find more me-time! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. 3rd May 2017 / 1:31 pm

    I find that I am physically relaxed but my mind never seems to stop, there always seems like there is something needs doing so I try not to take on too much and don’t make promises to anyone! #kcacols

    • Sara
      5th May 2017 / 5:21 pm

      That’s a great point Tracey – not making promises to anyone. I like that – great tip! Thanks for sharing!

  24. 3rd May 2017 / 4:35 pm

    I have learnt many of these the very hard way! Only now do I consider myself a priority and letting things go has always been hard. The applying pressure to myself is something I am working very hard on now. Finding a balance between enough pressure to succeed and be productive and too much pressure to feel over whelmed and miserable.
    #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      5th May 2017 / 5:54 pm

      I think I’m exactly where you are Kirsty. I kind of always try and push myself. But I’ve learnt that there is a ‘cut off’ point. Before I didn’t know when it was time to stop, and being overwhelmed and frazzled was my ‘normal’. Now I see there’s another way. And I’m getting a lot better at stopping the pushing when I get close to that point… I really liked how you put your point – it’s true. It really is a balance!

  25. 3rd May 2017 / 6:29 pm

    What great advice you have here. We should all don our self care masks before helping others (family members included) but it’s not always easy. #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      5th May 2017 / 5:20 pm

      Thank you so much Helena! You’re so right – I really love this analogy! I think someone mentioned it before, and it’s perfect!

  26. 4th May 2017 / 8:02 am

    This is definitely so true, I used to worry so much about making sure I hit my targets. I was missing the big picture and that’s my children growing up! #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      5th May 2017 / 5:20 pm

      Such a great point Amie! We’re so engrossed into everything we have to do that we miss the day-to-day little things. And we literally wake up one day and can’t quite understand how they are now X years old!

    • Sara
      5th May 2017 / 5:19 pm

      Hey Helen, thank you so much for your kind words! I was in the same situation – I put him in nursery 3 mornings a week, and I don’t have a job to pay for that. On paper I feel awful. But in reality, I’m so much better for it. I tried to give everything I had to them (my family and my boys), but then I very nearly broke down. And that’s not the point, is it? I’d say go for it!!!

  27. 4th May 2017 / 12:52 pm

    This is just what I needed to read today as I’m feeling that burn out overwhelmed feeling. The kitchen is covered in dirty dishes, the laundry basket is overflowing and the house is a mess but you’re right, these things can actually wait – nothing awful is going to happen if I don’t do them. I just need some me time today. #KCACOLSs

    • Sara
      5th May 2017 / 5:52 pm

      And please take it. It’s great that you’re recognise that you’re feeling that way. Obviously it’s not great that you’re actually feeling that way! But knowing it is a great thing, because I know that most of the time I didn’t know. It was just my ‘normal’, and that’s bad! So take your me-time. They Queen won’t come today ๐Ÿ˜‰ and you can get to it on the weekend! Good luck with it all!

  28. 5th May 2017 / 10:23 am

    I love this! And completely agree with it all especially the bits about laying off the pressure and being kind to yourself.. I started Mindfulness a while back and felt it was doing some good but life got busy and it went on the back burner. Just this very morning I have started it up again and am determined to keep it going as a way of helping myself. Thanks for sharing this is excellent advice! #KCACOLS x
    Cheryl @ Tea or Wine recently posted…Bribery. What’s Your Weapon of Choice?My Profile

    • Sara
      5th May 2017 / 5:49 pm

      Thank you so much for your super kind words Cheryl. And for sharing! I’m no expert in mindfulness either, and my journey with it sounds very similar to yours. But I do notice it does help, so I always try and get back to it. So glad you liked my tips! ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. 6th May 2017 / 12:12 pm

    It’s the same for dads, of course, but your points are well made. I am terrible at beating myself up if I *only* get 9 out of 10 things on my list done and I am terrible at being over-optimistic how much I can get done in a finite length of time (“oh, just one more thing.” I’m in my mid-40s now and increasingly conscious that I need to set more realistic expectations of myself and not forget that part of having a happy family is having a happy me. #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      6th May 2017 / 4:40 pm

      We all tend to forget it Tim! I think it comes to a point in our lives where we realise we need to start looking after ourselves a bit more. For me this was last year. And we seem to all ‘suffer’ from wanting to be really efficient and doing as much as we can. Wonder where all these feelings / all this pressure come from!

  30. 6th May 2017 / 2:12 pm

    Great advice. I have found that since I told myself that not every part of my life has to be perfect, that actually good enough is ok. I haven’t felt the pressure so much. I used to thing that every little thing had to be perfect, which just resulted in me feeling like I was failing and not getting everything done. x #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      6th May 2017 / 4:42 pm

      And feeling like you’re not achieving as much as you want to is awful, isn’t it? As you say, I think that just putting a little less pressure on just helps massively! Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

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