I’ve been a work-at-home mom for many years now (since my son was around six months old). In these years, I’ve gone through a lot of challenges: finding jobs; working with different businesses; marketing my freelance services; securing well-paying and honest clients. While I’ve pretty much managed to do well and survive these challenges, there has always been one aspect of working from home that has been a constant point of improvement for me: stress.
As a work-at-home mother, I am familiar with this! It’s especially apparent when deadlines loom over me (because I am a writer for several publications). During these periods in the past, I would typically work long hours on multiple projects, to the point of mental exhaustion, just to complete them. After all, I would get more business and more income in the end. Right?
Yes, that’s right, ladies!
You see, even though we juggle multiple tasks and multiple jobs, we never really get more done for our business when we are stressed. That’s because we also have to live with the repercussions of a stressful lifestyle, which according to Dr.Edward Hill, “Unmanaged stress can lead to an increased risk of both mental and physical problems, such as infection, illness, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, as well as depressive and anxiety disorders.”
Living with stress is a choice. The truth is: we don’t have to be stressed. However, most of the time, we tend to create it for ourselves.
- We take on too many clients or projects.
- We lose sleep, from working with all these clients and projects.
- Our health deteriorates, on account of our stress levels.
- Our family relationships suffer, as a consequence of stress.
4 Work-Related Tips to Lessen Stress in WAHMs
Here are some ways we can lessen the stress levels in our lives as WAHMs. These are work-related tips, of course, but you should also consider other methods, such as relaxation, even breathing techniques, to get your stress levels down.
1. Eliminate the Extra Workload
In my case, this meant paring down the number of jobs I was managing. This can be a problem area for many of us who are work-at-home moms: We think that just because we are home-based, we can manage multiple tasks. This is true; however, if important factors such as our health or family relationships are deteriorating, we may have too much on our plate.
If too much work is adding to your stress levels, consider staving off certain jobs. For me, this meant jobs that were relatively short-term, low income earning opportunities, such as content writing and article submissions. I instead focused on offering services that added more value to potential clients but also played to my strengths.
2. Put a Cap on Email and Social Media Use
Checking email and social media can be huge time sucks, especially since they require responses, follow-ups, and the like. These tasks can make us feel that we’re busy or productive, but sometimes they can actually take us away from our more important tasks, such as working on our business and delivering value to clients.
Appoint a time each day for email checking and replying; do it all in one block of time. Do the same for social media; just commit to a set time per day to post updates, reply to fan queries, and manage your accounts. This time should be factored into your overall work plan so that you don’t get wrapped up in email or social media when you don’t need to.
Related Content: How to Structure Your Day When You’re a Work-from-Home Mom
3. Work Smartly, Based on Value
Put a premium on your high-value services. This is something I learned to do after realizing that I actually did offer high-value services to my clients, such as copywriting, website development, branding, even mentoring for writing. I realized that I could deliver these services even as I worked along with a flexible time schedule. I didn’t have to clock in actual hours or work to deliver these services; instead, I was offering clients value, by delivering awesome service. This meant I could do more valuable work in less time, yet still make a substantially fixed amount for the services I rendered.
Working based on the value I offer has allowed me to work more efficiently to my strengths, which means I enjoy the work I do and experience less stress on the job. What are the things that you could do that offer your clients value? Can you charge more for these tasks, so that you could work fewer hours?
Related Content: Work Smart, Not Harder: Double Dip on Ideas and Resources
4. Incorporate “Me” Time Into Your Work Week
Up until recently, I’d defer exercise in favor of work. Not a good strategy! This only left me tired and worn out. When you’re a work at home woman or mom, part of your workweek must include your fitness and exercise plan. Incorporate time for exercise into your work week, and make sure you commit to it. After all: A fit woman = a better worker, right?
How do you manage your stress levels as a work-at-home woman or mom? What things might you need to change, in order to experience less stress in your work?
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Martine de Luna is the director of The WAHMderful Life, an inspirational business suite comprising a blog and live training events for work-at-homemakers. The WAHMderful Life blog and workshops are designed to inspire and equip mothers and married women to work from home, profitably and with intention. Martine began working from home as a freelance copywriter, and eventually ventured into blogging; her lifestyle blog, DaintyMom.com, has received accolades internationally, including an award for Best Home and Parenting Blog at the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards. Today, Martine runs a boutique consulting service, which offers mentoring for mom bloggers and work-at-home women. She also conducts writing workshops for women, writes marketing and communications copy for small-to-medium businesses, and offers web design services for SMEs. Connect with her at Martine de Luna Creative Services and the WAHMderful Life website.