For those of you not familiar with Mom Guilt, it usually happens any time a mom is enjoying doing something just for herself. Like spending Saturday morning getting a much needed haircut and color rather than volunteering for the PTA bake sale. #truestory
Like many Americans, I fell in love with my first Smartphone in 2011 and even more in love with my iPad in 2013. And like many romantic attachments, mobile technology and I have had our ups and downs. Ultimately I had to admit that I had codependency issues, especially with my iPad, and I needed to take a break.
Today, my relationship with mobile technology is healthy, but the possibility of a relapse is always there – especially if there is a binge worthy show on Netflix or Prime (ahem…Marvelous Ms. Maisel).
My news, entertainment and information consumption comes mainly from my iPad. Unlike the majority of millennial, I do not really like using my Smartphone for searching for information or reading extensive articles – because I am an old Gen Xer and can’t read those tiny screens without getting a migraine.
For a longtime I had everything I could possibly need on my iPad including apps for news, social media, graphic design, games, books on tape (aka Audible), my bank, job searches, real estate searches, email, ezines, recipe databases, weight loss, work outs, music, and navigation.
The ease in which Apple makes apps available and mostly free is the main reason I (and many others) used the iPad so extensively. As Smartphone’s grew in screen size and ability, I started using mine more, mainly for mundane tasks like checking my email, bank accounts, and music (it’s hard to work-out while holding an iPad). But I still used my iPad for all my entertainment needs and a bulk of news.
At its height, my iPad consumption had me plugged in much of the day, even on work days and my whole weekend was spent in a haze of Netflix binges and Sims Freeplay. I would carry my iPad with me wherever I was in my house so I could watch shows while doing dishes or cleaning or folding laundry (I know, my life is super exciting).
And I would bring it to bed and continue to watch shows while perusing Pinterest, even though I knew this was bad for sleep habits.
Eventually I was exhausted, had continuous headaches and just felt lousy and I decided it was time to take a break from the iPad. I tucked it away in a dresser for a few months.
I quickly resumed more balanced habits. I listened to music on my phone while doing housework – which I guess is still technically plugged in, but doesn’t feel like it to me. I watched Netflix only in the evenings on my TV in my living room.
The biggest change was my social media and news consumption. I limited both of these activities to just a few minutes a day via my work computer or home laptop. I still use my iPad a few times a week, but not in the mindless way I did before. And I removed a bulk of apps on it that were just time-wasters. The result is that I feel less stressed, sleep better, have more energy and bonus! read more (hardcopy) books.
How about you? Do you spend too much time plugged in?
It estimated that a working mother spends 98 hours a week working in and outside the home. That’s more than two full time jobs. It’s no wonder that American women are experiencing an all time low in personal happiness. Are you working two full time jobs or more, trying to balance a career and family? Is going to the bathroom by yourself the closet thing you’ve had to a vacation, lately?
One of my favorite questions to ask my health and wellness coaching clients is "If you woke up tomorrow and everything was perfect, what would your life look like?"
I ask clients to imagine what their life would be like if they were the perfect weight, had the perfect job, the perfect spouse, house, kids, etc..... What would they be doing in that perfect environment?
I started asking this question after I realized that 99% of the women I work with in coaching (and in other parts of my life) are all short on time.
They don't have enough time to cook healthy meals or exercise. They don't have enough time to go back to school, or to start that dream business, or spend more time doing they things that they really love.
Instead, most of the women I worked with spent their days in a rush of work and family obligations, too exhausted at the end of the day to take care of their own needs.
If You Woke Up Tomorrow and Your Life Was Perfect, What Would It Look Like?
Imagine if you woke up tomorrow and the day went perfectly - what would that look like for you? More importantly, how would you feel during that perfect day? Probably not frazzled and burned out at the end of the day. Am I right?
Stop trying to win the lottery, already
Often we have this vague, fuzzy picture of our dream life that involves lounging on a beach in a bikini, without a care in the world. That is not living. That's vacation. If your dream life revolves around winning the lottery so you don't have to ever work again, it's time to get a new dream. You don't want the lottery (okay, maybe you do a little) but I'm guessing what you really want is more freedom and happiness, and less stress,. Yes?
How Do You Feel in Your Perfect Day?
Perhaps in your perfect day, you'd wake up early, get that work out in before the kids got up; you'd have a healthy breakfast and your office lunch was all ready to go. At the office you'd only work on your favorite tasks. And your boss gives you a new project that is both fun and challenging. You spend your lunch hour laughing with your work BFF and the afternoon flies because you are engaged in work you enjoy. After work you pick up a few groceries for a healthy dinner while your spouse picks up the kids from practice. The evening is spent in family time and you go to sleep tired, but happy and satisfied after a day well spent.
Small actions add up
Now obviously, this is just a scenario. Every one's life is different, as is everyone's idea of happiness and satisfactions. But the point is to start looking for small upgrades to your current life.
There are many things in the above scenario that you might already be doing or would be easy to implement; exercise and healthy food choices are always good places to start. But if those are too challenging, maybe starting with 20 minutes of strait up me-time. Do something for 20 minutes just for yourself. Read a magazine, paint your nails, go for a quick walk, call an old friend.
What Can You Do Right Now to Create a Life You Love?
Beyond making small daily changes, creating a life that you love means stepping back and looking at the bigger picture of your life and what you want out of it.
What in life gives you the best sense of happiness and satisfaction? Because that is what you should do more of, if you want to create a life that you love.
What, or who, sucks your soul dry? Do you do things out of habit, rather than because you want to? Do you feel trapped doing unpleasant tasks because you don't want to upset anyone or you don't want to ask for help? These are all areas that you have the power to change. Cross my heart.
Do More of What You Love
The key is to identify what activities make you the happiest and figure out how to do more of them. And if there are areas that you want to improve, start thinking of ways to change. Maybe you just strait up hate your day job; so a goal could be to look for a new job or learn some new skills so you can get a promotion at your current job. Whatever it is, just keep moving forward. Taking action can make you feel better, even if your circumstances don't change right away.
Action will get you where you want to go. Inaction (i.e. complaining) will keep you right where you are, waiting on winning the lottery while life passes you by.
But in order to take action, you need to know what your want out of life, starting with how you want to feel each day when you get out of bed.
Are you ready to create a life you love? Download my free Perfect Day Workbook to help you get clear on what you want, why you want it and how you're going to get it.