Life Balance Tips From a Co-Author of
Chicken Soup; Life Lessons for Busy Moms,
An Interview with Dorothy Breininger
How can busy mothers take care of their own
well-being and health?
This is a good time to implement the “Airplane
Oxygen Mask Theory.” Just as flight attendants tell
the adults to put on their oxygen mask first before
helping their children – same thing applies to busy
moms and their wellbeing. Give yourself the proper
oxygen (transition time) before you stop working
and switch to “home mode.” Instead, do breathing
exercises or write in a journal. Also, avoiding the
late night news or related topics pertaining to your
own profession will allow you some distance between work and home.
What specifically does exercise and or meditation etc bring to your work-life
How does that practice help you personally to maintain balance.
As scientific studies point out, exercise gets the endorphins going in our bodies
and helps us achieve greater physical and mental health. This carries into all
aspects of our lives. Furthermore, meditation allows for “space” between you
and the hurried thoughts and energy around us. Meditation clears our heads
and oxygenates our bodies – which are proven methods for relaxation and
How can full-time professionals or working single mothers with children make
time to practice yoga, meditate or take time for whatever helps them de-stress etc?
(Without staying up too late and loosing valuable sleep!)
Meditation can be practiced anywhere. Even if a busy mom gets only a ten minute
break at work. Two minutes of meditation in a quiet area at work lower our blood
pressure and shift our negative thinking. Also, taking deep and full breaths
throughout the day can make a huge difference in our physical selves – decreasing
knots in the neck, stomach aches or headaches due to tension. To actually fit in a yoga
class (which all busy moms so deserve), we need to tap into our resources and
enhance our support system in order for the kids to be supervised while the much
needed break takes place for the busy mom. Ask others for help – treat this like a
very important appointment that can’t be missed!
What advice do you have for full-time professionals with children who have to
work two jobs to make ends meet?
Invest in the most wonderful caregiver or school program possible – which gives
busy moms greater peace of mind that their kids are being well taken care of. Second,
focus the time you do have with your kids on the quality versus the quantity of time.
Stay attentive, listen with deep eye contact and giving loving hugs can send a more
meaningful message than a day at Disney while constantly on your cell phone.
What quick relaxation tips do you have for people with barely 15 min a day to fit in
an exercise or medication routine?
Take deep and full breaths frequently, keep thinking positively and consider taking a
brisk 10 minute walk or some other form of movement, (i.e. gentle stretching for 10
minutes). If you’re already a physically active kind of person, shift to some cerebral
work – writing about how relaxed you are (even if you’re not) will create new
thoughts and your body will respond accordingly. If you’re mind says you’re
relaxed, your body will respond in kind.
What is work-life balance? - How do you know when you've got it? - How do you
know when you don't?
If you can say in any given month: I have equal parts happiness and fulfillment at
work and in my personal life, you have achieved work / life balance. Take a look at
the various areas of your life: health, recreation, finance, relationships, work, home,
spirituality – do you feel pretty good in most of those areas and perhaps one area
needs attention? Then you’ve got work / life balance. On the other hand, if you are
constantly running late, paying bills late, incurring fees, have not time off or vacation,
no longer ironing your clothes, missing doctors’ appointments, forgetting other
special events – you may want to see what’s out of whack. Where there’s difficulty in
one area of life, chances are it will show up in most areas of life for you.
What's the difference between work-family balance and work-life balance? Where
do you begin?
Work/life balance focuses on you the individual. Work/family balance focuses on
the whole unit. Your spouse may take the train to work everyday now which is great
for his or her life balance -–but what if when driving to work each day was the only
time of day he / she got to see the kids which is important for life/family balance.
You can begin by reviewing an area that seems to be the most out-of-control.
Discover the area if your life that is suffering the most and let that be your guide to
life / work balance.
What are the consequences of living in imbalance?
Living in the constant state of readiness – adrenal overload or conversely,
depression. Isolation,, acting out – overeating, overspending to compensate for the
imbalanced work life. Looming regrets, relationship deterioration, and loss of daily
As a single working mother, I feel the ache of every mother out there who wishes to
spend time with her children but has to complete daily tasks or work a second job
instead of reading stories etc. While some things, like laundry, can wait, what
practical advice do you have for streamlining? When busy moms experience this, as
mentioned previously, it's helpful to try and focus on the quality of time versus the
quantity that's spent with their children. Even many stay-at-home moms admit that
they often feel that even though they are home all day with their kids, they don't feel
present and totally engaged with their kids due to them running around trying to
keep up with the daily demands to keep the household functioning. Brief periods of
being “totally engaged” with our kids filled with laughter, fun, and hugs can be the
Purchase Chicken Soup: Life Lessons for Busy Moms here:
Dorothy Breininger is founder and
CEO of the Center for Organization
and Goal Planning. She is a
professional speaker and now appears
on the Dr. Phil Show as a life coach and
organizing expert. She is a specialist on
the topics of time management, pack rat
safety hazards, hoarding, home and
office organization, medical dangers of
disorganization for seniors and more.
She has authored many books including
her most recent book The Senior
Organizer: Personal, Medical, Legal,
Financial Organizing for a better
quality of life that was released in 2006.
She is a co-author of Time Efficiency
Makeover and The Senior Organizer.