As we approach Mother’s Day here in the US, our CEO Claire Revell talks very honestly about her advice on how working mums beat anxiety and the feeling of being stressed out. Over to you Claire…
Life as a Working Mum
Firstly, whether you’re a Mum or a Step-Mum, whether you work part-time or full-time, I have the utmost respect for you. It’s not always easy! I’ve learned over the past 12 months that we are often too hard on ourselves.
I’m 35 and our first wedding anniversary is just around the corner. I’m a Step-Mum to two teenage boys who I’m blessed to have a great relationship with. I’m the CEO of a growing business that is continuing to flourish. I truly love my job and I have a wonderful group of friends.
Life is great, but it’s not always as it seems… so how can working mums beat anxiety?
Understanding Stress and Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, which can be a positive thing. It can motivate us to accomplish tasks, meet deadlines and warn us when we may be in a dangerous situation. It’s fight or flight.
It is crucial to remember, that feeling anxious does not equate to a diagnosis of anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder involves intense and excessive anxiety, along with other debilitating symptoms.
My Experience with Anxiety
I haven’t ever been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, but I did go through a period of time suffering from anxiety, which affected my driving. I lost my confidence and didn’t want to drive on certain roads, I didn’t drive late at night or in bad weather.
I could never understand why or where it came from. I wasn’t feeling stressed, yes, I worked many hours, but I didn’t feel stressed. I’m a confident, outgoing person and I was happy with my life. There were no real problems that I was dealing with, I didn’t understand why I felt anxious.
So why was I feeling this way? Where was this coming from?
Are Millennial Mums the Most Anxious?
For many working mums, the feeling of anxiety can be an ever-present uninvited guest; whether it’s something you suffer from or it’s present in a group of friends or among family members.
There is a lot of debate that surrounds the question of: Is anxiety on the rise, or are we simply more inclined to speak about it these days? In many studies, it’s been noted that millennials are the most anxious generation.
Inspirational Working Mums in My Life
Growing up I had a number of inspirational women surrounding me, with a work ethic I had the utmost respect for.
My Mum was a nurse and worked long days and night shifts. My grandparents worked hard until very late in their years, when they started to care for their grandchildren. My Great Grandma had a similar life and lived to 104! She was an incredible lady.
“Getting On” with Anxiety as a Working Mum
To my knowledge, there wasn’t anyone in my family who suffered from anxiety. When I asked them about the subject of working mums with anxiety, they said that on occasion life was difficult but it wasn’t referred to as “stress” or “anxiety”; back then and they would “just get on with it”.
As many of us do, I work on average about 70 hours a week. I like to be in the house when the boys leave for the school bus and I try to be back in the house when they get home from school. Most of the time we have a family dinner before I return to work.
I try to keep on top of everything at home, I keep thinking I should get a cleaner / housekeeper but then I think “No it’s Ok, I’ll find the time!”.
My Anxiety as a Working Mum
I have an incredibly supportive husband, and I’m fortunate that he’s a great cook! So why is it that when I sit down in the evening, typically very late or I start late one morning, I feel guilty and start feeling anxious? Why is it when I pour a glass of prosecco in the evening I think “Oh, weekday drinking, not sure I should do this?!”.
I always know there is something else that needs doing, and I feel like I should be doing that instead of relaxing. Where do the feelings of guilt and anxiety come from?
How I Beat My Anxiety
After making the decision to seek professional advice, I started to understand that I was putting too much pressure on myself.
I started to realize that as a working mum I had accomplished a huge amount of the goals I had set for myself over the years. I was winning in life, no one close to me was judging me, and I shouldn’t judge myself.
My Advice on how Working Mums Beat Anxiety
So, whether you’re a Mum, a Step-Mum, a Granny, an Auntie, a Sister, or a Daughter… STOP beating yourself up. We should all encourage and support each other. Focus on the positive things in life and reflect on things you have achieved rather than what you haven’t.
So what if you haven’t vacuumed today and the kids’ beds aren’t made? So what if you go out with friends for a glass of wine tonight, instead of filing all those emails or going to the gym?
You’ve accomplished something else today so reward yourself for that and don’t feel bad. You deserve it. Be true to yourself, be kind to yourself. That’s how working mums beat anxiety!
To quote Michelle Obama from her book Becoming… which is the best book ever!
“Am I good enough? Yes I am.”
Happy Mother’s Day and have a wonderful weekend.
Claire is a leader in learning technology, starting her career in the tech space in 2003 (after being told not to pursue IT and Business Studies by her teachers at school). Claire became Director & CEO of Intellek in 2017 when the board bought into her bolder, bigger, braver vision. Claire also co-founded another tech company to support the new T-Level qualifications being rolled out by the UK Government. An advocate for Women in STEM and leadership roles, with a passion for digital transformation and its impact on the global economy. Claire’s personal vision, through her initiative Opening Doors Global, is to ensure that every child gets access to education and a safe environment.