Self-care Series: TV presenter, Helen Skelton
At &Breathe, we're extremely passionate about our parental self-care mission. It's so important to make time for yourself in your parenting journey - self-care isn't selfish! After all if you're not at your best, how can you be at your best for those around you?
This week we talk to presenter, Helen Skelton. Helen is mum of two who works in television and radio. After almost fifteen years on programmes including Blue Peter and Countryfile she has a tattered passport and a collection of once in a life time experiences. Her favourite pastime is chasing her boys, dog and husband around the park. You can find her on Instagram or on her website.
1) work/life Balance
&B: How do you manage to balance work and life? Is it even possible?!
HS: I haven't cracked it yet but I am trying. I binge work and I have learned to say 'No." I try and squeeze my work into a hectic 24 hours so it can mean being away over night, but my kids don't sleep, so I welcome the odd night in a hotel! I honestly go home from work refreshed and happy to play dinosaurs for seven hours. I do fun stuff with my kids and do efficient chunks at work, other than that I don't do much! I know that sounds bad but I was feeling so guilty trying to go to every girls outing, train at the gym, make home cooked meals with ingredients from 10 different shops. So I have started to say no to things that take me away from quality time with my kids. I don't worry about the stuff that would be 'nice to do.' Everyone feels guilty trying to find the perfect balance, but save your energy for games with the kids. It is cliche but so so true: "worrying won't make it better." So don't worry about being a good Mum, the fact it is on your radar means you probably are!
&B: Have you found your professional life has changed since having kids?
HS: I turn down things I would love to do. Some of my colleagues think I am mad, it's hard in my industry to say no to things, but my babies will only be babies for such a short period of time and I want to be around as much as I can. Of course I have to be away from them for work sometimes, I haven't stopped working, but I am trying not to do as much. When I am at work I skip the small talk and hanging around, and try to be as efficient as possible. I miss out on the socials generally but at least that way you stay out of any office politics!
&B: What do you hope to teach your children by the way you and your partner balance your different career needs?
HS: You get out of life what you put in and there is no one path. Lots of our friends think we are so hectic and our life is stressful, but it's fun. We are very lucky that we love our jobs and I would love my kids to find something they love and are able to turn into their work. Life is too short. (Granted that's easy for me to say). We are both pretty stupid in our career choices and don't think long term, but it means we have a lot of fun. I hope it doesn't come back to bite us in the bum, but if it does at least we can say we have had a lot of laughs along the way.
&B: How do you like to keep fit and active
HS: I spend a lot of time rolling around the floor with my kids. That keeps me pretty active. We walk a lot and we swim a lot. They have so much energy! I am not nearly as fit as I have been in the past but I figure there is plenty of time for that when they start school.
&B: What's your best foodhack for eating healthily?
HS: Tomatoes on toast, put spinach on anything and ALWAYS have avocados in the fridge. If I have something green on my plate I think I have been healthy.
&B: What's your favourite thing to do to relax?
HS: Walk. I could walk for days. I love just strolling and getting lost. Drop me anywhere and I will find a path, bridle path or street to stroll around.
#1 SelfCARE TIP
&B: What's your number one self-care tip for mums or dads?
HS: Music. We all have days when it's too much, sleep deprivation can leave you pickled. Whenever I am feeling a bit lonely, confused or frazzled by the tantrums and crying I put on happy music and play it loudly. Music has an amazing effect on your mood. Oh and STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. Whoever you are, whatever you do, turn all your social media off for a week and you will be amazed at how you feel. It is impossible to stay immune to the effects of social media. We all question and compare ourselves. SWITCH IT OFF.