As a mum of three, there’s a lot going on in my life. Clubs, school drop offs, mealtimes, bedtimes, monitoring screen time, cultivating loving relations between siblings (I can but try!). Then there’s the house, the chores, the washing, the errands, the bills. And then there’s my work, my marriage and all the other things that come with a life full of people and responsibilities.
Sometimes it can all get a bit too much, and in the past it overwhelmed me terribly. I felt like in becoming Mummy, I’d lost myself. I’d given up my acting career to be a stay at home mum, my circle of friends changed, time for myself was an alien concept, and when a rare opportunity arose to have some time out, I’d find myself not having a clue what to do.
Things came dramatically to a head for me when during my third pregnancy I suffered acutely with severe SPD (aka PGP). I couldn’t walk, couldn’t move and was told that I may very well be disabled for life. As you can imagine, with a newborn, a toddler and a child newly at school (and therefore having to be taken there everyday somehow whilst I was bed-bound), I spiralled down into myself. I knew I couldn’t stay in this pit of resentment for where I was at in my life. In becoming confined to a wheelchair it was the epitome of losing my identity. The plans I had for my family, the ambitions I had for myself no longer existed. I lived in a state of constantly talking about my limitations, my pain, how sad I felt, how unfair life was. Something had to change. I knew I had to find a way to accept my situation and get back to my naturally sunny disposition.
Out of desperation I went to see a hypnotherapist, having some notion that they would help me deal with my stress and anxiety. Expecting to be put in a trance, instead we talked for an hour, and he showed me the way I was thinking and speaking about myself. It was like a mirror was held up, and I realised that my mind was seeing no way out, because I was keeping it focused on being stuck. That one conversation (which I later discovered was NLP*) completely transformed my life.
I stopped complaining. I watched my language. If something negative slipped out, I would reframe it to find a positive or a ‘challenge’ rather than a struggle. I never expected what would happen next. I did this because I was desperate, and was willing to give it a go.
With little of my previous negativity left in my everyday chit chat, I gave my body permission to heal. In fact I talked about the possibility of healing and recovering constantly – I started to plan for when I was better, and refused to speak about ‘What if the doctor was right and I was in a wheelchair for life’. Within THREE WEEKS I was back on my feet, not fully recovered but on my way. I was blown away by that, and knew there was something powerful and real about this mindset malarkey.
Another thing happened too. I realised I spoke often about how there was no time for me anymore, and steadily I noticed that if I wasn’t dwelling on the bad stuff, actually there was a bit of room, I just used that time for moaning, groaning and flicking through Facebook. I started to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into my life just as an experiment and something to do with that unfamiliar ‘Me Time’ and bit by bit, my whole outlook shifted. It doesn’t make me a perfect woman, a kind of zen-like zombie. Instead it gives me an ability to notices when my thoughts are spiralling, and gives me opportunities to take back some control. One breath at a time.
Taking control of my mind and my thoughts, has created incredible opportunities for me. I know the power of my language and consciously decided to pursue my creative dreams regardless of my challenges. I went on to have a career as a Voice Actor, tapping back into that creativity that I had left behind, and with consistent action, found that whilst recording from home (and being there for school pick-ups) on animations, commercials and Audiobooks around the world, that I landed myself as a Hollywood nominee! Within five years of changing my mind about my life and my disability, I was strutting the red carpets in LA as a finalist in Hollywood WALKING in a pair of heels. Something that seemed impossible years before. I had a string sense that my journey was important and what I had learned needed to be shared!
The more changes and progress I have made, the more I learned about the mind and about Personal Growth. I’m passionate about helping others out of their own sense of feeling stuck, because I believe I’ve found the secret! That’s why I launched Inspiring Mummy Club, to bring together online women who want more, and don’t know where to start. I know that Mindfulness and Mindset are the best places to use as a springboard for leaping into a life where you no longer feel overwhelmed, stuck and unhappy.
I want to make all of these amazing tools accessible to as many mums as possible.
I am speaking at the Mindful Living Show, at the Business design centre in Islington London on Saturday 2nd June at 2.00pm. All-inclusive day passes start from £25 and are available at The Mindful Living Show.
Want to know how you can start?
Here’s my top tips:
- Watch your language. Become aware of how often you say something negative about yourself and your life. These things have power. Either don’t say them, or find a positive way to say what you mean.
- Start taking a Three Minute Breather every day! By training your mind to ‘step-away’ from your spiralling thoughts, you can make yourself have more clarity over a situation. The more you do it, the better you feel. I squeeze mine in just before the school run pick up, and when I’m in the bathroom. I’ve got a free track for you to give it a try, visit InspiringMummyClub
- Writing down all of your thoughts in a notebook can be extremely enlightening. Write with a stream-of-consciousness style, holding nothing back, until you’ve put three pages in your own scrawl down on paper. This is a great way to become aware of your thought habits, and the areas of your life in which you feel less than fulfilled. If it is down on the page, you don’t have to talk about it with everyone you come into contact with.
- Use hypnosis to embed all of the amazing new beliefs you are creating for yourself. Not only will it make you feel totally relaxed, but you’ll gain confidence and self-belief too. We’re so accustomed to saying and thinking badly about ourselves, hypnosis gives you a chance to feed your subconscious all sorts of possibilities for how you COULD think from now on.
- Find ways to connect with people who bring you up and lift you. We all know the energy-suckers in our lives. Be mindful of their effect on you, and avoid being sucked into someone else’s dramas. Seek instead the people who are forward looking. And yes, it is ok to admit being a mum is hard sometimes, yet finding the good stuff in your day and sharing that in conversations can make one hell of a difference.
(*Neuro- Lingusistic Programming – so powerful and yet simple that I have gone on to be a leading Master NLP Practitioner and Success Coach and work with mums around the world through Inspiring Mummy Club, the award-winning monthly membership I created which provides Mindfulness, Hypnosis, Life-Coaching & NLP tools, meditation and visualisation audio to totally transform how you feel). To get your free breathing meditation, and start making some changes now, go to Inspiring Mummy Club).
By Anna Parker-Naples, founder of Inspiring Mummy Club