One of my top Saboteurs is Hyper-Achiever and, like many mums, I find it difficult…
It’s well known that punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence. This week, a friend introduced me to the analogy that introducing punctuation into your life can also change its meaning.
One of my clients, Claire, who has three boys and runs her own business from home, uses her tea breaks as strategic pit stops in her day. Claire says “Making tea is now a healthy mental fitness ritual. I don’t stack the dishwasher or respond to messages or clean the kitchen. I consciously stop. Completely. Now, when I hear the sound of the kettle, I automatically feel calmer.”
In her article, Punctuate your Life with Purpose, Brenda Eckstein advocates “By creating punctuations in the flow of our lives we can pause, observe, reflect and then take appropriate action.”
So if your life was more punctuated, what would it look like?
As part of my collaboration with Positive Intelligence Inc. and my work as a Positive Mental Fitness coach, I have learnt the importance and significance of permitting my brain to have breaks during the day. These are energy giving and powerful punctuations. They take the form of short mental fitness exercises called PQ (Positive Quotient) reps.
A PQ rep benefits your brain muscles, just like lifting a dumbbell benefits your physical muscles. A PQ rep is completed when you focus on one of your five senses for a period of 10 seconds or more. These are like commas during your day to rejuvenate and revitalise. They help you to pause and then transition well to your next important activity.
You can do some PQ reps when cleaning your teeth – focusing on all the different sensations. You can do some PQ reps when washing your hands – focusing on the feel of the water and the sounds. On an MRI scan regular PQ reps have been shown to increase grey matter in your brain. Grey matter contains most of the brain’s neuronal cell bodies. The grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as memory, emotions, decision making and self-control.
The full stop.
Our lives are already punctuated in a variety of artificial ways such as anniversaries, birthdays, new term and of course the New Year. Sometimes these are marked by a full stop. Finishing school, finishing a job, getting divorced, losing a loved one. But what opportunities await after a full stop? What comes next at the start of the new sentence? Your first car, your new job, your new baby. Sometimes we need to be brave and finish something, intentionally creating a full stop.
The exclamation mark.
This could be when you have a ‘light-bulb moment’ or a revelation. Maybe you’ve been pondering something, have felt stuck or unsure. Sometimes clarity comes in the most unusual ways, but it’s never through rushing, doing more or working harder. It’s commonly through intentionally stopping and doing less. Being able to change your perspective by stopping and thinking….or sometimes even sleeping on it!
How do you punctuate your life when you are needing to move through a transition? Switching tasks well can increase your efficiency. Finishing something well is an important part, as well as taking time to reflect. Looking at what you’ve learnt along the way and considering how you want to show up for the next part of your life is a valuable exercise.
This is when you take a proper break. A day to yourself (wouldn’t that be nice). Or a holiday. Having a change of scenery also brings opportunity for reflection and the prospect of a new perspective. How can you make this happen in the midst of your chaotic, over-committed life? It only happens with intentionality.
And what is an un-punctuated life? It is likely to be extremely stressful and could lead to burnout or long-term illness. It negatively impacts yourself and those around you.
Do you find yourself lacking patience, snapping at your kids, missing meals or over-eating, not finding any time for yourself? If so, consider exploring the 6 week Positive Mental Fitness Bootcamp. 6 weeks to get your life punctuated so that you can be calm and focused in the midst of the chaos and challenges we all face. Click here for more information and here to book a mum to mum chat.
Ways to work with me
Coaching packages to help you transform your life start from £50 per month. My most popular package consists of 6 x 1:1 Zoom sessions (or face to face in Oxfordshire when possible) and unlimited email support between sessions.
1:1 sessions – 6 x 1 hour sessions via Zoom (or face to face in Oxfordshire when possible)
The Mum Boardroom – monthly 2 hour group coaching sessions via Zoom (or face to face in Oxfordshire when possible)
Positive Mental Fitness Program – 6 weekly videos and 30 min Pod group meetings via Zoom