April is Stress Awareness Month, and here at The Art Tiffin, we are talking about stress through this month to raise awareness of the signs, symptoms and strategies and tools to manage stress in our everyday lives with our series 'Spring my Step'.
The next interview in our series for April 'Spring in my Step' is with Candice Brathwaite, wife to ‘Papa B’ and mother to two kids. Esmé-Olivia who is four and RJ who is three weeks old!
Candice says that she got the job(s) she is doing now by complete accident. I love Candice's instagram and the fact that she is part of a multi-hyphen generation, much like myself. First and foremost she is a writer (currently working on her first book), secondly Ishe an online presenter and you can check her in action here, and last but by no means least she is the first co-founder of @makemotherhooddiverse. It is her work with Making Motherhood Diverse that I first came to know Candice, and as a mother of Indian origin, this really struck a chord with me. Candice feels that she fell into the world of online influencing by absolute accident after leaving her job in publishing because she just couldn’t strike that work-life balance. Esmé was only two at the time and Candice felt like she was missing out on some very important time with her.
Here's what Candice had to say about how stress has been a part of her life, and how she has learnt to manage it.
1. I know I am stressed when...
I forget to eat. I’m a massive foodie. And when I can see that I’m missing meals, I can tell that my balance is off and I’m not my usual self because my usual self always succumbs to hunger pangs!
2. The biggest source of stress in my life is...
Managing my time. Two kids in a freelance industry is not ideal but it’s the trade-off for doing work I love and making my own hours. Throw into the mix trying to be a mother who is present and not constantly dependent upon a nanny or home help and it can get very intense.
3. How has stress affected your mental and physical health?
Oh usually in very subtle but yet detrimental ways. Stress impacts my sleep terribly. Lack of sleep then leads to poor food choices, which then rolls out into having poor skin and weight gain. I am one of those people whose physical really has an impact on my mental. Vain, for lack of a better word! If I feel like I look bad, that then really impacts my confidence which then has a knock on effect on my mental health.
4. How much time do you actively set aside every week for self-care or me-time?
Well, I’ve never sat down and drawn up a timetable but I do like to exercise. Having had a c-section less than a month ago, I’m quite restricted in that area but I’ve been trying to walk for at least three hours a week. I meditated for a minimum of ten minutes per day using the Headspace meditation app, with no exception. I had a traumatic birth experience with my first child and found that meditating was brilliant for making me feel in control during my second birth.
5. What kind of things have you tried to manage stress in your life?
Lessening my workload. Which to be honest was counterproductive. I enjoy working. If I’m not busy, I’m very unhappy. I also tried to get back into running. I was an avid jogger in my younger years but now I hate it. I think I hated it then but it was a massive part of my social life, so I learned to endure the miles for the pay off of great mates at the end.
6. What has worked for you in terms of managing stress?
As mentioned above, meditation. Yoga has been brilliant too. But the biggest thing has been asking for help and outsourcing if necessary. I really used to shy away from spending money on extra help, chastising myself mentally because I seemed unable to do it all. Now with a second kid, I am beyond caring! If I need to part with cash to get some extra elbow grease going, I will do it!
7. What are the three top tips you would give to another busy mum and entrepreneur who is stress and overwhelmed, and would like to get a 'spring in their step'?
- Find a way to take time off. Be it for a night but try and push for more. I seek to do this at least once a month. And once a year, I go away for a week by myself. It's important to remember who you are outside of your children/partner/business.
- Don’t shy away from outsourcing. if you’re struggling to get the cash together (I’ve been there) ask the family if they can help or see if there are mummy friends you can trade favours with. Don’t try to do it all alone.
- Get off the phone! A huge part of our overwhelm comes from comparison or spending too much time on social media. Before the second kid, I kept my phone in the kitchen, downstairs. Make it an effort to get to it so you're less tempted to grab it if you wake at night. Now I use it to get through the night feeds but really limit my time on social media.
Thank you so much, Candice, for speaking to me and giving this insight into your own experiences with stress and the strategies that have worked for you. There is so much that I can identify with here, in terms of enjoying work but it causing stress and overwhelm at the same time. It is such great advice to try and discover what we are outside our roles as mothers. Motherhood can be an insane time of intense emotions and often it is so easy to forget ourselves in midst of all this. It is so useful also to ask for help, and try and put away the phone and step away from social media. I know having technology at our fingertips is such a temptation, but that stops us from being completely present and mindful at times too.
Find out more about how The Art Tiffin can help you carve out some time for self-care, ignite creativity and help you manage stress and anxiety.
“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.”
<---- Check our The Art Tiffin boxes for stress-free creative inspiration. Definitely a 'creative hug in a box' when you need it most.