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Finding The On-Off Switch
On Being Fully Present &
Rested To Reach Your Goals


Hi, and welcome to a new episode of The Mompreneur’s Guide to Work-Life Harmony. My name is Iva



And I'm Desiree, 



And in this episode we talk about the very real dilemma of being constantly on the on switch, even when we're with our kids, and sometimes not being able to fully check out from work. This happens because usually as mompreneurs, we love pursuing our passion and we truly are enjoying what we're doing, for the most part, and we like to work like we do like to focus on our business and our business projects. So, when we are with our little ones, our mind tends to be wandering back and forth between where we are with them, and work_ work-related things and work-related thoughts. So we can't seem to be fully present. Does this happened to you, Des?



Oh my god, yes, that happens to me all the time! And I really think this is one of my biggest goals into mastering this Harmony because I, I really I want to have it all. I mean, just like you right? We want to have it all. And we want to be there to raise our kids, we want to enjoy every single moment for them which is also why we have chosen this route of working on our own, right? Building a business from home, so we can be the ones that are with our kids the whole day. So I think it's such a challenge to really find that middle ground of like, alright, this is my work time and now I have to switch off because I also want to be there 100% with my kids and build these memories with them, but it's, it's hard. I think it's extremely difficult. How do you struggle with that?



I do as well. And I think there's a difference sometimes in the difficulty of being able to step away from what I'm doing and being with my kids when they come and they tell me “Oh, mommy don't work anymore” or “I don't want to see you in the computer or I don't want to see you, with your phone in your hand or looking at the screen all the time”. And I have noticed that it tends to be harder, and sometimes I have more. I snap more at them, if I being interrupted in those moments of flow: like those moments where I mean super deep concentration where I'm writing something and the words are really flowing, or I’m really into this idea, and the creativity juices are flowing in, and then all of a sudden, I have this interruption. So, I tend to go into the route that I've been interrupted and I cannot seem to let it go because that was a good one, so to speak,



I know, that is so hard.



Like that was a good thought that came into my head and then boom, all of a sudden, I have to be doing that switch off. So those times I feel are a bit harder, than when I'm doing something a little bit less flow-y, if you will, which is something more like sending an email and I know that once  I hit send, it's done






It's gone for example, or replying to this message and once I reply, it's done then I can completely turn my attention back to them. But this idea of being in flow, I think within your work day tends to come at a moment exactly when your child also wants your attention 



It’s true! I hate telling my little one to like “Oh, just wait a moment, I'll be right there” or actually putting away his hand as he tries to grab my phone right and I'm like oh my god I can't believe I just did that. He just wants to play and I'm just telling him to like literally go away for a minute. And it's so difficult and a lot of mom guilt creeps in, but it's also this kind of like obsession right that we speak about, we want to help others, we are creators_ we create things in order to help others so it's this middle ground of pleasing everyone around us right? Not letting anyone down. And for me it's been so hard just to find that line, I mean we often speak about pockets of time right? We try to as mompreneurs working from home, try to find these pockets of times, where we can fully engage in our work and fully dive in and the times where we're fully out and fully with our kids. However that transition period from on to off_ oh my God, it's extremely challenging.



Yes, absolutely. This a good way to disrupt a little bit that mindset that we are very obsessed, if you will, as you just said, finding those pockets of time because we don't really have that many of them, anyway. But this is an interesting food for thought that I want to throw out there, because I think it's equally important, and it's the notion of what would happen, if we did an experiment for a couple of weeks? And we decided to, instead of looking for those pockets of time, we switched that, and instead were we would be weaving moments of rest within our day? 


And the reason why this might be a good way to start learning how to switch on and off, is because, for the most part, when we are engaging into all this very stimulating activity that goes into raising little ones, looking after them, you know, making sure that things around the house are also working as they should, and putting a lot of focus and energy in our work. It requires a lot of attention and it drains a lot of our energy, so no wonder that all the time we're feeling exhausted at the end of the day because we've just been on the on switch the whole time. 


So, trying to think a little bit outside the box, what would it look like if we were to start weaving moments of rest in those moments that we have to allow our nervous system to also decompress? So our nervous system is very much engaged in that stress-related activity of being on in everything, because we're taking care of everything and we're wearing multiple hats all the time and as we say, we only have two hands right? And we're trying to do it all. And for the most part we like it, and we enjoy it, and we feel productive and we have that energy flowing outbound. But if we are only depleting it and we're not really filling our cups again, then it becomes harder and harder to get back to that baseline of being rested, of being present and of being grounded.



That is so true. I mean, nowadays, right, our brain is bombarded with so much information all the time_ whether we talk to people, or especially over this technology aspect of emails, and our phones right they've made it worse than ever. So there's constantly information coming in, going out and again, that our creative mind goes and we have these ideas and these flows that come in. So it's like, yeah, addiction, in a way, right? So, yeah, our brains are so wired in. And it actually releases dopamine, as well which is that feel good chemical whenever we have like, these devices and receive a message, or we sent messages it's like, it's, it's just a natural occurrence now, because our brains are continuously plugged in. And it's chaotic, but we need to find, I think, a good way, like you said, and I love this challenge of practicing to switch off our brain, and simply being resting, giving that nervous system, a chance to, like, recalibrate, and clearing our mind. Giving it space maybe for new ideas, for more productivity to come in, and making us feel in a condition that we can handle things more. We can handle our business better, we can be better with our kids and yeah, I snap as well, we can snap less because we're more balanced. And, I mean, we need to start becoming more mindful of these times, totally



Oh yes, absolutely. And to your point, what you were saying is, I feel that, especially as moms of little ones, because we're taking care of our little children who are still not completely self-sufficient and self-reliant, we tend to be in a constant state of hyper-vigilance. That's what it's known as. So we are in a hyper-vigilant state, meaning that, because we're looking after them, and we know that they can hurt themselves because they're not aware of, of an action that might be dangerous, because we're constantly in that heightened state, we don't allow ourselves to rest. We don't allow our nervous system to take a break. And then the more we continue to be in that hyper vigilant state, the less, or our ability to be able to decompress and to rest becomes difficult down the line.


So it's not only a matter of finding time to rest. It's also, I think a matter of being aware that the more hyper vigilant, you are on the long run, the less likely you're going to be able to switch off when you actually want to. And that is a bit of a scary part, so it is important again to find a way, as you say, to give ourselves the gift of rest, because when we do that, we're able on a physiological level to really help our immune system, to allow or hormone regulation to kick in, for sleep patterns to go back to where they need to be. And overall, our body just needs that to repair itself. 


And as you said, those moments of creativity and inspiration become less and less, because we're not allowing our brain to also file and sort and filter out all the data that we've been constantly receiving non-stop, from the device that we have, from the computers that we're using. So, so all of this does not really allow for inspiration and creativity to kick in, and when we're not inspired and we're not creative, then it's very unlikely that we're going to feel productive, so it is all very much interconnected at the end of the day.



It definitely is, totally. So yeah, to just make this easier, I mean we've spent a lot of time talking about this as well and helping each other out, because it's clearly both something we both struggled with. And I'm sure you struggle with that as well. Ss we put together a few techniques that we've both tried out and are currently using, and I would really say they've helped me tremendously into being more present, full stop. It really has made a world of difference. So shall we share our techniques?



The first one is: putting your phone away, when you're with your kids. 

So, try for the most part when it's family time, when it's quality time, when it's time for connection, to really keep your phone out of your sight, and also use an instruction to your brain and say, “I am choosing to take this time off”. Because sometimes our brain needs that command, and if we're not intentional in that command, we are going to be with our families, but we're not going to be with our families. Our mind is going to be wandering somewhere else, and I have seen it in my own life sometimes when I don't make that imaginary line when I don't give myself that command. Sometimes, I'm there, but I'm not there and my husband can pick it up (and the kids I know can pick it up as well) and he's like: “What's happening? What are you thinking?” Because he doesn't see me being there at the end of the day. 


So put your phone away. As you mentioned Des, our phones with the constant messages and the alarms, and the pings, and the bells and everything_ they really are a huge source of dopamine that gets released in our brain, and it's addictive so that's why we can't seem to put it down. But at the other end, and this is something that not a lot of people talk about. Is that having your phone around, creates these cortisol levels in our brains also to spike up. Because the cortisol is released from the stress that we're getting, of having this sense of obligation from our phones, that we need to reply in that moment to that message, that we need to read that email, that somebody needs a response, an answer from us, that this needs to be sent right away because otherwise the world will implode. And you just need to limit those chemicals, as much as we can, again, to allow our nervous system to take a break, to allow our bodies to take a break. So putting your phone away, out of sight out of mind, and telling your brain: “Right now I'm taking 15, I'm taking 10” you know? “ I can continue this in ten, but these 10 minutes are for my kids.”



That is so true. And another hack that I'm actually using with that as someone gave me that tip is, switch off your notifications, it's so simple! Switch them off. I mean before, even if I would just tap the Phone slightly to just check what time it is, and then I would see all of these notifications. I'm like, “Oh my God_ I better check maybe it's something important”, but who can be more important than my kids right now, honestly who, right? It doesn't have to be that way. So I switched it off so I until I actually go into my app, physically, on purpose, do I see what's been going on and otherwise I don't get these messages, And that has been a game changer for me.



And that's a really good one. Yes,



And then another one that actually do that just came to me, I've been doing it for maybe two months now that I have stopped. I keep my phone on airplane mode, before I go to sleep, I put it on airplane mode. And then I do not switch it on, until my son is in kindergarten, until I've had the morning with him. I've done my whole morning routine with our Mompreneur Rockstar Morning Checklist, of course! but I’ve done the whole routine. I've brought him to school, we usually sing songs or talk when we're on the bike ride, and then he's dropped off and that is the first time I actually switch up my phone and I have also felt that has made a world of difference because my mind has not until that point not started racing like, “Oh my God, I need to reply”. Or maybe a message that wasn't so pleasant came and you're like already figuring out how to solve it and you're not present with your kids anymore. 



That's a great one, it allows to set the tone for the day without having already to be bombarded with notifications and messages and already your mind starts to race quite quickly.



Yeah, so the phone is really, big culprit in all of this isn’t it? Yeah, so the second technique I think that's worked really well, is dedicating a specific time, and that is a little bit similar, but like what you said, to take this conscious time away and put that phone away. But okay being present, is really important with your kids, but it's just as important, with your partner, right? So, at night, I always tried to think as well: I get annoyed when he comes home and my husband comes home, and he's immediately like on his iPad or on his phone and doing all these things I'm like “Hello I'm here, how was your day?” you know, and “bBe present with me,” but at the same time I am not much different. This is how it feels. 


You know when someone is not present with you. So, it's interesting. So we spoke about it and now we actually say all right from the moment you come home, and then we have dinner together, we always have dinner together to two of us, right after the little one is asleep. And then maybe we play, we have started like board games actually, which is really fun either. It's really fun. It's like another thing that's completely changed a little bit are, you know between us like relationship wise, but like, like a board game because we're just focused on that and on each other, or we watch our favorite TV series or something, but then after that, we both go about do our own things for a while, and we have consciously decided like, certain times, he goes and does his thing,  reads his news because he's got to decompress from work as well, right? And that’s my time that I either get to do something in the household or I get to catch up on work-related things. And that has also been so great because I get the chance, like, while we're together and being present with each other, I don't have that guilt, like, “Oh my God I still need to get these things done”, because I know that at this time, I will be able to do that, and that takes the pressure away from me and my mind wandering. So having these dedicated times I think is also quite helpful.



Absolutely, and you touched on two amazing things right there that I just want to highlight. First of all, creating that bonding time with your spouse is so important because we are for the most part, if you're in a relationship you need to continue to nurture it is not only for special occasions or anniversaries. It's really an everyday sort of thing, but it doesn't need to be big amounts of time that you have to really spend in order to feel that connection. And also, you said about playing board games, or with my husband, for example, we like to take walks. So, walking, is the way where we connect, because then we start talking, and then we start discussing things and they are very pleasant conversations where you connect with them on a personal level, like, it’s not only what happened at work, or what did you do today, or something related to the kids, or something related to the house. But more in terms of how are they viewing the world? What happened that fascinated them today or that made an impression of them? And to have that connection allows you to continue to know your partner, right, it's not only a mechanical thing but it's truly bonding time so I love, I love what you said about dedicating those times for that. 


And also, another great way to turn off the on-button, if you will, that has worked so great for me is meditation. So it doesn't have to be anything that is an hour long, lotus position and you're levitating, nothing like that. It's just taking a couple of minutes to really breathe, and to really bring yourself down to a grounding base and if you are anything like me, sometimes when I'm not in the middle of work, I get ideas, and I get insights and I get these hints of creativity, they're bursting through. And I think that you have mentioned it before, when you're in the shower, you get your ideas. And this is all linked with the fact that you are allowing yourself that space to just decompress and unwind and get that oxygen in. Because our body is no longer in the flight or fight mode. So when we're breathing or meditating, we are really allowing our brain to access other areas, like the prefrontal cortex. So, it allows us to see the big picture and make connections, and that's why we get these amazing insights and ideas, all of a sudden, because we're no longer on that stressful mode, we're more on the, you know, we're just breathing, we're allowing our bodies to decompress a little bit and then boom, those creative juices start to get activated,



I love that! I think that is such a great way to be present. And that leads me to my next one is: I love to integrate my essential oils and that as well so I love to just stop and breathe as well So what I do is, I usually take one or two drops of an oil that I kind of gravitate to at that moment and it does change from day to day. I put one or two drops in my palms, I rub them together, I cup my mouth and nose, and I breathe. Just for one minutes. That's it. 10 to 12, deep breaths, is all it takes for me, and that's all. And that is also a way for the oils to go straight to the limbic system through your olfactory system, and change the state of mind you're in, to change your mood, to change so much that's the emotional center of our brain that it touches. And for me that makes a huge difference as well. 


And that is my favorite thing to do during that transition time that we spoke about at the beginning when we're totally working on something, then we're like okay but now little one is hope, little one wants to play. Now is my time to play and to get into that mode of switching off, I'll do that one minute, honestly, one minute, usually I can still manage. You know in between him tugging on my leg or honestly, sometimes I do go to the bathroom and I do it quickly there, but for me to have that close my eyes and breathe, and my favorite ones are: Again, it changes from day to day, but the common ones I use are either Stress Away or Valor, Peace and Calming II,  Frankincense, or sometimes even Orange like a citrus oil, a really uplifting and happy mood oil that really works as well. Sometimes I even do it with him, I do it with my little one and he loves to play with my oils so we do it together. And that's also nice to give us a little bit of a bonding time there.



That's great and kids love to experiment with scents and smells and food and textures, so working with oils, and using them when they are around for them to try and it's also a great way to spike their curiosity and to really stimulate their senses,



Or of course we just throw it in the diffuser together as well like he gets to drop his the oils in and that's great for counting drops and everything so yeah,



You can always make it educational



Yes, multitasking right?



So fifth, I would say tip on how to switch off. And this one is mostly for the night-time when we are ready to really hit the sack, is to use the 3-2-1 Rule by Mel Robbins. Mel Robbins is a renowned motivational and keynote speaker, and she's the creator of The Five Second Rule, and her 3-2-1 Rule for switching off at night is pretty cool. 


So three hours before bedtime: NO food; two hours before bedtime, NO work, and one hour before bedtime, NO screens. And this is really good because at the end of the day, if you are constantly on your phone and you're really trying to switch off at night, your, your mind is still going to be racing from those last videos that you saw, those last messages that you reply to. And the whole purpose here is to really allow yourself to have more intentional thoughts at night, or probably just to grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down all the things that are coming to your mind, like we said in previous episodes, it's a great way to dump all your thoughts in there, so that your brain can really focus on resting and switching off. So, that is a great 3-2-1 rule to apply at night to make sure that you really get some rest, because the next day, as we all know, early and bright, our kids are going to be wanting from us, our attention, our energy, and we have to show up in a way where we're also feeling empowered, uplifted and with energy. So, if we don't get a full night's rest, and we know, with little kids, it can be a challenge but if we don't allow ourselves to at least get into restful mode, then it's going to be even more challenging the next day.



What a game changer. I guess to summarize these five techniques that have helped us tremendously and we are working on it on a daily basis, as no one day is like the other ones so it's often like trial and error and trying different techniques at different times. But these five things have really been huge. Yeah, huge game changers for us. So the first one, was putting your phone away, consciously and giving your brain that command_ I am switching off now. So having that phone away from you is super important. Number two is dedicating set times with your partner. Actually, doing a little bit of scheduling. Then, the third one was meditation. That is really an amazing way to just ground you and just recalibrate everything around you. Number four is to integrate the essential oils into your breathing. And the fifth one is the amazing 3-2-1 method: three hours before sleep, no food; two hours before sleep, no work, and one hour before sleep, no screens. That one I still have to try that is a great one. I think that's gonna be really powerful. 



And also, one last little challenge, try also to switch from thinking, what are the pockets of time that I need to be more productive, and try to see it from this other angle: How can I weave more REST time throughout my days so that I can be more productive by having more creativity flowing into.



The challenge is on! I'm with you on that one. Let's do, that let's dedicate certain pockets of times that we have to actually switching off.



So until next one, keep your momergy up!




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Books Mentioned

The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins




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Imagine how more inspired and ready to take on the world you would feel if the dreaded morning rush was easy as pie (at least the 3-ingredient ones that don’t require baking!)


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