Sorry this post is late this week. It’s the first week of the summer holidays here and my usual schedule has gone out of the window. I’ve been to a second-hand uniform sale, to the Natural History Museum, to build a dragon called ‘Toothless’ at ‘Build a Bear,’ to the local park on a couple of occasions and to the weekly swimming lesson.
All of my perfectionism comes up and the guilt dragons strike lighting bolts in my direction. They say ‘shouldn’t you be working on your business’ and then spit out that ‘after all you do have a limited company’ as though that seals the deal.
I realised that I started staying up later to try to have more time for me and then that has a knock on effect for the next day which helps nobody.
So in the spirit of ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ by Cressida Cowell here are some ideas for how to train the summer guilt dragon.
How to Train Your Summer Guilt Dragon
- Standards -Realise that it is not humanly possible to do all the work you usually do and then add all the childcare time on top of that. As hard as it is for a perfectionist you need to lower your standards about what you can accomplish over the summer months. (gulp!)
- Routine -Write a routine to make your perfectionist self feel a bit happier. I looked on I Heart Organising for inspiration and on ‘Somewhat Simple‘ there is the idea of having a simple themed activity each day. I did write a routine which made the perfectionist side of me happier even when in the end we deviated from the plan considerably.
- Embrace summer calm– A Highly Sensitive Mother’s Guide to Coping through Summer Chaos – This lovely podcast from ‘The Abundant Mama’ was helpful in drawing my attention to the fact that summer is meant to be a gorgeous slow time of loving connection and fun days to remember. She helps you steer your family’s summer boat to calm waters and sandy beaches rather than rocky coves. She also shares 50 Ideas for a Slow Summer but take care with this as you don’t want the perfectionist part of you think that you have to do everything on the list.
- Sleep– Go to bed early. If you need inspiration on why this is a good idea I recommend reading ‘The Sleep Revolution’ by Arianna Huffington. It’s also a great book for bedtime reading as all that talk about sleep makes you think of going to sleep. Marie Forleo one of my favourite business teachers and mentors interviewed Arianna about the book this week.
- Your true work– When you criticise your self for not doing your job because you are not working on your business remind yourself that you are doing your greatest work, which is raising your child /children.
- Self-care– Do something for you. I am enjoying being part of Modern Mrs Darcy’s Summer Reading Club. She also has a great list of books for summer reading which you can sign up for her on her site and has a great podcast. One of my coach teachers and mentors, Susan Hyatt also gave a wonderful webinar about Self-Care as a Business Plan.
- Thought work– Realise that your summer guilt dragon is staying over the summer and you won’t be able to banish him completely. If you want help with how you react to this, think about it and feel about it, then Brooke Castillo’s Podcast ‘The Life Coach School Podcast‘ is a wonderful support. I’ve been listening to it in the early morning and have been finding it hugely helpful. You don’t have to be a coach to listen to it.
- Nutrition – to tame a dragon you need to have your strength up. You also need to forge a balance between healthy recipes and not spending ages in the kitchen when your child / children are off school. A simple weekly meal plan can also help here. The book by Clean Eating Alice is inspiring me at the moment.
- Focus – Your business does not benefit from working longer and longer hours. Realise that you can achieve a huge amount by working in shorter bursts. I often use the website Tomato Timer and work for twenty-five minute bursts with five-minute breaks.
- Practise presence – Focus on the thing that you are doing and do that thing well. Find a way to become more present. For you that might be yoga, meditation or reading about mindfulness and practising some mindfulness exercises. The guilt dragon becomes more powerful when you think of all the things that you are not doing, rather than focusing on the value of what you are achieving.
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