Creating the perfect work/life balance?

Starting up my own business, it has been a rollercoaster of a year. Leaving my teaching role of 18 years to pursue the passion that I have for children’s mental health and wellbeing, positive parenting and mindfulness… I teach children (and parents) of all ages, to manage their emotions. We learn about things like resilience, self -esteem, navigating tricky friendships, dealing with anxiety, anger and other big feelings… I love what I do, but never imagined how busy I would be!

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A few months ago, it dawned on me, that this ‘living the dream’ was actually making me feel as stressed and run down as I did when I was a teacher. I found myself unable to escape my work from my mind, always churning and no break from my emails or social media. It doesn’t help that I am on my own and with no business experience, and a big aversion to social media and all things technical. It’s been a steep learning curve.

The thing is, all of the above is actually brilliant! I know…. It doesn’t sound that way, but with this massive journey of mindfulness and self-discovery that I am on, I realised that feeling so drained and overwhelmed, was my body trying to talk to me. Our bodies often talk to us but they usually have to shout before we listen. Since starting my Life Leap, I have read many inspiring books about ‘waking up’ to life – seeing challenges as growth and learning, the power of our thoughts and how to really tune into and look after our bodies.

After my overwhelming patch I realised I had to pause and think about the changes I needed to make, to create the work/life balance that I needed. I looked at my diary and knew that I needed to prioritise exercise, meditation and journaling (affirmations and visualisation had to take place during my morning too). I looked at my work commitments and knew that I needed some help, so am now working with a business buddy, who helps me gain clarity and gives me logical actions in order to move forward. Having the support from her makes me feel lighter and more able to ‘park stuff’. I have worked on some of my own demons and now allow myself to say ‘no’ more, and believe that it is ok to say, 'I am booked up for a few weeks and can see you then', rather than squeeze appointments in.

I have a supervisor now, to ‘get things out’ as I realised that some of the children I was working with, were triggering my own inner children. I also see an amazing kinesiologist….

So, if you are planning to start up on your own, and make your passion into your job. My advice would be to be mindful of your own stress levels, listen to your body, prioritise things that you enjoy and that nurture you, and get support where you can. See challenges as an opportunity for learning and allow yourself some down time. If you can nail all of that, and create the work/life balance that you set out to do (and it is possible, as long as you step back from time to time), you really will be living the dream.

Carol Powell

Teacher and business owner, Chatterminds

Mum of 2, teacher for 16 years (Primary and secondary - special needs), mindfulness teacher, founder of 'Chatterminds' - a provision to help children to manage their emotions. Passionate about children's mental health and wellbeing. Lover of camping, travelling, cooking, chatting to like minded people and browsing around charity shops!