20 Children’s Books on Race, Ethnicity & Acceptance

If your ever wondering when the right time might be to talk to your little ones about race, ethnicity and tolerance, the time is now.

If you, like so many of us, want to know how to help and affect change, we would encourage you to proactively address the topic with them from an early age, rather than waiting for them to come to you with questions about what they might have seen at school or picked up in the media.

“Silence will not protect you or them,” said Beverly Daniel Tatum, a psychologist and author of “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race.” “Avoiding the topic is not a solution.”

We’ve pulled together a list of children’s books, for a variety of ages, to help get you, and them, comfortable about having these often difficult but vital conversations.

We truly believe that education is the key to unlocking everything, and what better way to help them understand race, ethnicity and acceptance from as young as possible. So let’s start learning:

Mixed by Arree Chung (age 2+)

The Anti-Racist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi (age 2+)

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev (age 2+)

Skin Again by Bell Hooks

Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

One Family by George Shannon

Be Who You Are by Todd Parr

The Snowy Day By Ezra Jack Keats (ages 3-8)

If All the World Were by Joseph Coelho (ages 3-8)

The Color of Us by Karen Katz

Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester

All Are Welcome Paperback by Alexandra Penfold (ages 3-8)

A Poem for PeterBy Andrea Davis Pinkney (ages 3-8)

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (age 4+)

Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan (age 6+)

Thunder Boy Junior by Sherman Alexie (age 3-8)

We March by Shane W. Evans

A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts (age 3-8)

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (age 8-12)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (age 8-12)

This list was pulled from a variety of source, including: Mother.ly, NYTimes, and parent recommendations


Let’s face it, being a new parent is stressful enough and in those first few days, weeks, months, you’re number one goal is keeping your new baby alive.

When you’re out of the safety of the hospital walls, medical emergencies can happen and may seem extremely daunting, so knowing some basic first aid skills may help you feel more prepared if an incident should arise.

Here are five top tips, by first aid training specialists Tigerlily, for essential baby first aid.


Easier said than done of course, but try your best to remain calm and focused. Take a deep breath and then fully assess the situation in front of you.

2. FOLLOW D.R.  A.B.C. 

When assessing the situation, follow these steps:

DANGER – Ensure that you and your baby are safe from any danger.

RESPONSE – Is your baby responsive? Do they respond to your touch or voice? If not, shout for help, ask someone to call 999 or 112.

AIRWAY – If your baby is unresponsive, tilt their back head slightly, to allow oxygen into the lungs.

BREATHING – Look, listen and feel for normal breathing. If you discover your baby is not breathing normally, you will need to start CPR immediately (see tip 3 below). If your baby is breathing normally, good – this is a positive outcome and you can now move on to next stage.

CIRCULATION – Once you’ve established your baby is breathing normally, check for any signs of bleeding. If there is bleeding stem the flow to preserve circulation. If your baby’s circulation is good, ensure their airway remains open and hold the baby in your arms, facing you, with their head supported and tilted slightly downwards. This is the Recovery Position for babies. Continue to monitor their airway until help arrives.

3. SIMPLE CPR. CPR will be needed if your baby is not breathing normally. It can seem pretty scary thing to do to your child, but doing something is way better than doing nothing. If you can, you should also have the ambulance crew on the phone, talking you through each step as you go and they will also stay on the line until they arrive.

Start by giving 5 RESCUE BREATHES – to perform rescue breaths, ensure the baby’s airway is open and seal your mouth over the baby’s mouth and nose. Steadily blow the amount of breath you can hold in your cheeks into the baby’s mouth for about 1 second, just enough to see the chest rise. Repeat this 5 times.

Having breathed oxygen into the baby’s lungs, you now need to circulate that around the body and to the all-important brain. You do this by performing CHEST COMPRESSIONS (this is the part many parents are afraid of, but don’t be).  Using the index and middle fingers together, press them into the centre of baby’s chest / sternum to a depth of at least a third
Do this 30 times at a rate of around two per second. Don’t worry about the numbers here, just remember to push at a nice regular rhythm and deep enough to squeeze the heart.

Then start a cycle of 2 rescue breaths to 30 compressions.


If your baby is choking, you’ll need to act quickly and assertively. And follow these simple steps:

  • Shout for help immediately and ask the helper to call 999/112.
  • Sitting or kneeling, lay your baby face down over your arm which should be resting on your thigh and ensure your baby’s airway is open.
  • Using the palm of your hand, give up to 5 firm back blows between the shoulder blades. Between blows check in their mouth to see if you have cleared the obstruction. Stop if you have.
    If that is unsuccessful, will need to perform CHEST THRUSTS:
  • Remain seated or kneeling and turn baby over so they are face up and lying along your arm with the support of your thigh as before.
  • Keeping their airway open and their head supported slightly lower than their chest for gravity to assist, use two fingers on the chest and give up to 5 firm chest thrusts in the same way as CPR but sharper and slower. 

    Check between thrusts and stop if the obstruction is cleared. Seek urgent medical assistance to ensure baby is recovering fully. If the obstruction is still not cleared keep repeating as above.
    If the baby becomes unresponsive, start CPR as before. Always get the baby checked by a medical professional, even if your treatment is successful.


Febrile Seizures are quite common and occur when a baby’s temperature exceeds 38C – usually due to an infection. Seeing your baby have a seizure can be frightening but they are usually harmless and over quite quickly.


  • Stay calm and confident.
  • Take note of the time.
  • Protect your baby from injury using soft items or your hands.
  • Remove warm clothing and bed covers.
  • Cool the room.
  • After the seizure, check the baby’s airway for normal breathing and place in recovery.
  • If this is your baby’s first seizure, it lasts over 5 minutes or breathing problems persist, call 999/112.


  • Over cool the baby or use a fan or wet sponge.
  • Leave the baby at any time.
  • Medicate the baby without professional advice.
  • Mix Ibuprofen & Paracetamol without the go-ahead from a medical professional.

We appreciate this can sound terrifying and overwhelming, but remember, there is is plenty of support out there and NHS 111 is a fantastic source of information and guidance.  


The information above is taken from first aid training specialists Tigerlily, and complies with all currently accepted first-aid practice. 


Investing in Yourself, as well as your New Arrival.

Supporting Mamas is what we’re all about! So we caught up with Lara Russell-Jones, founder of Apparently Kids – an online directory of trusted antenatal and postnatal professionals – about the realities of postnatal care in London (UK), what inspired her to start the business and her advice for expecting Mamas.

What inspired you to start Apparently Kids?

Like many new parents I found the transition to being a mum hard. My son arrived early, so I finished a very busy city job and before I knew it, I was rushing into hospital and was out again just a few hours later with a new baby. My husband and I had read the books, attended antenatal classes, got the birth plan prepped, but in hindsight I don’t think we had really thought beyond the birth. When we arrived home, it really hit us that we didn’t know what to do and we suddenly had a very vulnerable baby dependent on us.
I was so fortunate to have been recommended a wonderful private midwife for postnatal care. She arrived the following morning and over a few weeks guided us through a number of complications. My son had a tongue-tie, reflux and I had significant tearing. Over the first few months I was put in touch with some amazing professionals without whom I would really have struggled. In particular, I hadn’t known about specialist women’s pelvic health physios. I saw a fantastic lady who over the course of three appointments and regular homework exercises helped me regain control of my pelvic floor, tighten my diastasis recti and build confidence in my own body again.
It was only when I met my antenatal class and other new mums that I realised how lucky I had been to have found these professionals. When a close friend ran out of a baby class 5 months in, due to incontinence issues, I suggested she go see a women’s pelvic physio. She also had never heard of them before and thought mild incontinence ‘was part of having a baby’.
It was then I realised how many women were in this position. We’re so incredibly lucky in the UK to have our NHS, however they can only do so much. In London especially, we’re also lucky to have so many fantastic ante and postnatal professionals to support us, however it seemed to be a lottery if you were recommended to one. I want to remove the lottery and give all new parents a single platform to find and access the diverse range of ante and postnatal professionals in their area.

You’ve spoken to lots of expectant and new Mamas –did you see a common concern regarding the levels of ante and postnatal care they’ve received?

The overwhelming feeling is that our NHS is a truly wonderful service, but it’s inconsistent. On average new mums have 12 antenatal appointments, but very few mums saw the same midwife twice. Postnatally, mums had just two midwife checks and health visitors, again rarely seeing the same person.  Some mum’s felt that common issues (such as difficulty breastfeeding or tongue-tie’s) were missed or not discussed/seen due to time constraints.
New parents also felt unprepared by some of the antenatal classes they had attended. Common feedback is that classes focus too much on the birth itself and gloss over the postnatal period as ‘the wonderful cuddles with your newborn’. Especially when sleep deprivation kicks in, many parents wished there was more emphasis on this period and access to formal support.

What would you recommend expectant Mamas to consider?

It’s natural that new mums are completely focused on preparing things for the baby, but I really recommend mums consider investing in themselves to prepare for the new arrival. In particular:

  1. Book an infant-specific First Aid course for yourself and your baby’s main caregivers to do before the birth. You will feel so much more prepared and confident. We have some fantastic ones on our website, they’re not expensive and it could make all the difference.
  2. Book a specialist women’s health physio appt for 6-8 weeks after your birth. No matter what type of birth you’ve had, they will be able to properly assess your pelvic floor and posture, supporting you with rehabilitation exercises. It’s so important to look after your own body so you can properly support your new baby.
  3. Think about what support or help you may have access to. Have you got friends or family nearby who might be able to help for the odd afternoon? It’s amazing how little things like someone cooking, cleaning & running a wash can make all the difference. If you don’t, consider a postnatal doula who can act as an ‘extra pair of hands’ to help you. For a little extra help, you could consider private midwives or maternity nurses.
  4. Think about how you intend to feed your baby. If you’re keen to breastfeed, seeing an IBCLC lactation consultant within the first couple of days of birth can be really helpful. Our mum’s say that IBCLCs were able to immediately spot tongue-ties and support them with correct latching and feeding positions which set them-up for their breastfeeding journey.
  5. Finally – consider a few things closer to home. Stock your freezer with your favourite meals, your fridge with healthy snacks (especially for those 3am feeds when you’re a bit peckish too) and queue up those guilty-pleasure Netflix series!

What’s been the best and toughest thing about starting a business as a new mum?

I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of starting this business which gave me something to focus on and think about which wasn’t necessarily when my son last fed or did a poo…! Meeting all the wonderful professionals in the area and hearing their stories has to be the best thing. The toughest element has been working in nap times. I felt like I was reducing my free time even further, but it’s been more than worth it.

How are you finding juggling work in lockdown life?

This is definitely the tricky part. My husband has a full time job and a month ago I also went back to work 4 days a week. We’re now looking after our little one in a shift-pattern to make sure we both get enough time. A colleague recommended just blocking out your diary with childcare commitments two weeks ahead so that colleagues know when they can book you for meetings or not. This advice has really worked for us and we’re pretty strict on it.
It’s challenging to create ‘me-time’ with kids in lockdown, so we’re trying to be creative. I’ve started taking a kettlebell to the park so I can do some circuits whilst my son plays in the shade. He absolutely loves watching me do burpees and giggles away – not sure if that is a complement to my technique or not!

Finally, what’s the one thing you’d say to any new parent?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, in whatever form you need. I think becoming a parent is possibly the biggest transition you’ll ever make in your life and you can’t be expected to know everything and be perfect at everything straight away. You can be the best parent in the world, but it always helps when someone is there to pop food on the table, clean the house or hold the baby so you can take a shower!


Buckwheat Pancakes

Like a lot of folks, we’ve upped our baking game in lockdown. So much so that we’ve been waking up to these buckwheat pancakes a lot! They are eggless, gluten free and delicious.

Details below. Have a go and let us know what you think! 🥞

350ml water
3 tbsp coconut oil
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla essence or extract
Olive oil or rapeseed oil for frying
Toppings of your choice. For a sweet start try: berries, bananas, cinnamon, coconut yoghurt, nut butter. Or for something more savoury go with: cream-cheese, smoked salmon & rocket

1.Whizz up all ingredients in a blender
2.Heat up a spoon of olive or rapeseed oil in a non stick pan and heat
3.Pour enough batter in to make a pancake and swirl around to make a circle
4.Cook for a few minutes until bubbles appear, then flip and cook the other side

Thanks to nutritionist, Alice Godfrey, for the simple and easy to bake recipe.

Coming off the pill after 10 years

I’ve never had a particularly good relationship with my period, or my vagina for that matter. And until recently, I would have never even dared write those words down, let alone share them on an open blog. I expect some of my nearest and dearest are thinking ‘I can’t believe she wrote that about her vagina.’ Well, I did. And if that’s made you squirm, then maybe this post isn’t for you.

So who is it for, exactly? It’s for anyone who’s been taking the pill for a long time. It’s for anyone who’s recently come off it. It’s for anyone with a period. It’s for anyone without one.

I’m hoping that by writing my experience down, it will help break some of the taboos around period chat, and let anyone who might be going through what I’m going through know, that it’s ok – it’s not just you.  I’m definitely no doctor, nor do I pretend to offer medical advice, but when it came to seeking help about what I’ve been going through (and currently still am going through), I found it really hard to get information from my GP, online, or from friends. So even if only one woman stumbles upon this story and feels a sense of relief knowing that she’s not alone, then my job here is done.

To start, we need to take a few steps back.

I got my period when I was 13. I remember it so well. I was with my family at a friend’s house and it came out of nowhere. I called for my mum from the bathroom and she said we needed to get home. As we said our goodbyes she mouthed to the hosts: ‘she’s just got her period’ as if it was some big secret or something that needed to be dealt with in private. And I guess that’s how I’ve always felt about it.

At that stage of my life I was at an all-girls boarding school, where I stayed until I was 18 years old. Some pretty fucking crucial years spent there. And aside from using my period as an excuse to get out of swim class, I can’t actually remember ever having an open discussion about my menstrual cycle with anyone. It was something that happened to every single one of us on a regular (or sometimes irregular) basis – and it was never spoken about. What’s worse is, when we did talk about it, we’d called it ‘the curse’, as if it was some awful, misfortunate thing that was happening to us. Thinking about that now, I realise how crazy and sad it was that we called it that.

I used to get some of the worst period pains. With some cycles I’d be able to pop a couple of pain killers and get by, but with others I’d have to skip school and lie down for days. On the odd occasion I’d actually vomit from pain.

My relationship with my period wasn’t helped by the fact that I had an even worse relationship with tampons. I don’t know if it was a generational thing or a cultural thing (I’m Persian), but I was always told not to wear them. But seeing all my friends graduate from pads to tampons was really hard, so one night, I took a tampon and inserted it fairly easily. When it came to taking it out though, I couldn’t, and had to be taken to the on-call doctor who told me whilst removing it, that I had got it caught in my hymen. Fucking excellent. I never touched a tampon again after that until years later.

Skip forward a few years: I’m 22, got a steady boyfriend and decide to go on the pill. I end up on a Progestin-only pill – or the cute sounding mini-pill – that I took religiously every day. As is common with this type of pill, there was no break between packs, and because of the way in which this particular pill works – it thins the lining of the uterus and thickens the cervical fluid so sperm can’t get through – my periods went from heavy and horrific to nonexistent.

So for years I had no pads, no pain, no bleeds, no worries….right?!

We’re now in the present day: I’m 33 years old and at the end of last year, that steady boyfriend of mine (who is now my husband) and I, decide that we’re as ready as we’ll ever be to start a family; so the first step is to come off the pill, after ten years.

I was genuinely afraid (still am) that coming off it would alter my personality – one that I’m incredibly proud of, but one that’s also prone to stress-induced snaps and bouts of anxiety. I realised that my husband had never known me to not be on the pill, and was worried that he might not like the non-pill version of me!

I came off the pill in October 2019 and the day I stopped taking it, I ran into Boots to stock up on pads, pills and (believe it or not, having still never worn one) tampons. The NHS website, which I trust whole-heartedly, told me that when you come off the pill it can take up to 2 weeks to get your period, so I was well prepared. But two weeks later, my period hadn’t arrived, and I assumed I must be pregnant. (If only it were that quick and easy)! I wasn’t, so started to panic. I made an appointment with my GP, but they couldn’t see me for another two weeks. More panic took hold as those levels of anxiety got a little higher: “what have I done to my period?”, I kept thinking.

It wasn’t until after I spoke to a friend who had also recently come off the pill and hadn’t had her period either, that I calmed down. Her GP had told her it can take up to six months to get your period back. Six months?! Why wasn’t I told that? Why wasn’t that written anywhere that’s easy to find? I was annoyed, but also relieved.

It’s probably around now that you might be thinking: ‘of course you were going to have problems with your cycle after taking the pill for such a long time.’ And you’re probably right. But each time I’d gone to my GP for repeat prescription – which was every 3 months – I’d always ask if taking the mini-pill back to back without any breaks (or bleeds) would harm my chances of fertility; and the answer was always no.

At this point it might be worth my mentioning the realities of your cycle when taking the combined pill vs. the mini pill. And apologies if you already know this, (I only found it out recently), but it might be useful to know that if you’re on the combined pill (the one where you take a break at the end of one packet before starting the next), the bleed in between those packets isn’t actually your period. It’s called a ‘withdrawal bleed’, and it can take just as many months to get a regular cycle after taking the combined pill as it does the mini-pill.

It took me a total of 2 months and 2 sessions with a reflexologist to get my first bleed in ten years, and my gosh, I’d never been happier about it.

The silver lining in having to wait for what felt like so long for it to arrive, was that for the first time in my life, I was grateful to see blood. I saw it as a blessing (not a curse); a sign that things were working and that I hadn’t completely fucked up my insides by stuffing myself full of hormones for so many years. And along with that gratefulness came a whole bunch of other feelings I hadn’t felt in a while, like femininity and sexuality. Those emotions were definitely harnessed by reading Maisie Hill’s Period Power which I cannot recommend enough. It completely changed my outlook on the female body, my vagina (or vulva, I should say) and periods.

So my period came, and with it, my first cycle. I’m a type-A planner, so I started tracking my days to better understand exactly what I could expect from my hormones during the different sections of my cycle. I went from being almost disgusted with the thought of having a period in my teens, to openly telling people what stage of my cycle I was in, and almost boasting about being able to use tampons (yeah, fuck you hymen!) My menstrual cramps were practically nonexistent compared to how they were when I was growing up – I think this has to do with leading a healthier lifestyle now compared to when I was a teenager – and I see them as sign that things are working just as they should be. So at 33, I not only find my period empowering, but also genuinely exciting.

That said, things are still far from back to ‘normal’. It’s now April 2020 and I’ve only had two periods since my first one back in December 2019. My husband and I are now actively trying to conceive, and I don’t know what the lack of periods mean (if anything) or if I should be worried about them. I can’t find any information online, and unfortunately now with Coronavirus racing through the world, there are far more pressing matters that the NHS is dealing with (and rightly so); but it means I’m back to square one of not really knowing where to turn to get the information I need about my body. Cue anxiety.

My friends try to comfort me by telling me that it’ll take time for my cycle to regulate as my hormones are still adjusting, but I’m worried that missing periods might mean something more serious (like a lack of ovulation). Unfortunately there’s not much I can do about it at the moment, so I’m trying not to overthink it (that definitely doesn’t help with baby-making), and instead, make the most of the quarantined-time at home with my husband, by having more regular sex (which definitely does help).

So who knows whether or not what I put into my body for all those years has impacted my chances of getting pregnant now. I hope not, and I honestly don’t believe it has. I just wish the information about all this was out there in a much more obvious way, and that my GP had been much more upfront about the realities of long-time pill taking. If I had known, then maybe I would have come off the pill years ago. Maybe I wouldn’t have. I don’t know. But I do know that it would have saved me from a lot of worry and stress over these last few months.

That’s why I felt it necessary to share my journey with this so far. So that anyone who has experienced this or who is going through it right now knows that they are not alone. We need to share our stories and experiences, however icky or uncomfortable others may feel hearing it – in fact, that’s exactly why we need to keep talking about it. If you have anything you want to share or talk about, then to please get in touch: arianna@pachamama-london.com

And in the meantime, I’ll keep tracking and we’ll keep trying. Wish us luck. x

How to make Working From Home work for you

  1. Create your workspace. Establish where your workspace is at home, and then treat it like so. Clear the space of any unnecessary distractions. If you can, get a chair with a back so it’s comfortable and better for your posture and maybe move a table lamp if you need better light.
  2. Set your agenda. Working from home isn’t the time for running your online errands. Write yourself a to-do list of your working day’s tasks and start ticking them off.
  3. Keep having conversations. Whether it’s via Slack, Skype or another form of communication your company uses, make sure you interact and chat regularly with your colleagues. Keep having meetings and calls to ensure you still feel engaged and keep business chugging along as usual.
  4. Take breaks. Set yourself work hours and break times, and only take breaks within the allocated slots you’ve given yourself. It’s really easy to become distracted when you’re at home, but it’s also important to make sure you stretch those legs, get some air and fill up your water glass or make another cup of tea.
  5. Clock off as normal. Working from home doesn’t mean you have to over-compensate your availability. If you’ve worked well and done all you need to do for the day, don’t let work eat into your personal time. Close your inbox as you would leave the office, and begin your post-work routine.

Baby-Friendly Cinemas in London

Feel like you’re missing out on the Oscar-winning movies at the mo? Fear not, we’ve pulled together a list of baby-friendly cinemas in the capital that offer screenings for parents, carers and their babies under one year old:

1. Electric Scream!

WHEN? Monday mornings (except on bank holidays) at the Electric Portobello, and Tuesday mornings at the Electric White City

2. Carers & Babies

WHEN? Monday mornings at 11am in Kensal Rise

3. Parent and Baby Screenings at the Barbican

WHEN? Every Monday and Saturday morning at 11.15am in Barbican

4. Rio’s Parent and Baby Club at Rio Cinema

WHEN? every Thursday morning at approximately 11:30am in Dalston

5. Big Scream at Picture House

WHEN? Various times at selected cinemas

6. ODEON Newbies

WHEN? Various times at selected cinemas

7. Baby Club at Everyman

WHEN? Various times at selected cinemas

Do you know of any others? Let me know in the comments below.

Yoga Pose: Cat Stretch

The ‘Cat’ stretch is a simple and highly effective yoga stretch which helps warm up and strengthen the spine.

It can be practiced first thing in the morning if you wake up feeling stiff or at any time during the day. It’s also fun to do with your baby lying between your hands looking up at you.

The pose helps release tightness in the muscles across the upper back and improve mobility through the spine. It also gently strengthens the abdominal muscles and massages and stimulates the internal organs.

How To…
1. Start on your hands and knees. Make sure your knees are below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line.
2. Look down towards your baby or at the floor beneath you.
3. As you inhale, lift your sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling and lift your head to look straight ahead.
4. As you exhale, round the spine like a cat stretching, pressing into the hands and the tops of the feet, drawing the lower abdomen up towards the spine.
Repeat 10 times.

Recommended by yoga instructor and pregnancy yoga teacher trainer Tara Lee.

Tara will be taking a “Tension Release” class at our event on Saturday 8th Feb. Limited spaces available. Class price £30 includes a full day of talks from baby and toddler experts as well as hot drinks, lunch and a goodie bag! Book here.

Beating Burn-Out: 5 tips to keep you sane

Our founder, Arianna Radji Lee, shares her five tips to keep you sane when juggling more than one job.

You might have heard the term ‘burn-out’ used over recent years as a term to describe feelings of being physically and emotionally run down. You may have also seen, felt or even found yourself rolling your eyes at yet more millennial jargon.

But, as of 2020, the phrase ‘burn-out’ has officially been recognised as a global medical condition since it was added to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Classification of Diseases. Their definition of the term is ‘a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.’

I started this year with three jobs under my belt:

1) As a freelance event consultant where I am currently working for my client 3 days a week;

2) I also teach spinning at boutique spin studio, PSYCLE, four times a week, and

3) Most recently launched Pachamama to support women’s transition to motherhood by offering pre and postnatal health and wellbeing events

Now this might sound strange coming from someone who works in events, but I don’t deal well with stress. Like, at all. Ever since my father died 5 years ago, my levels of anxiety have risen to the surface and are only ever an aggravated email away. Over the years I’ve had to find coping mechanisms to help keep my anxiety at bay; and now, more so than ever with three jobs on the go, I’ve really had to focus on the best ways to navigate my stress-levels without compromising on the work itself or my own well-being.

Full disclosure and as irony would have it, as I write this, I have a stress-induced stye on my left eye, so I’m certainly no expert in self-care! I’m also well aware that the jobs I’m referring to are all business-related and there are many other forms of jobs, such as parenthood. Whatever you’re juggling though, here are some of the things I have found useful when managing multiple things on the go. Some of my advice will resonate with you, some certainly won’t. Take what you can or what you need and start small. No one is going to have time to implement everything at once. I’d suggest picking one that you can add to your weekly schedule and try it. Once that becomes habit and routine, add another, then another. And whatever you do, don’t berate yourself for not having the perfect self-care regime. It doesn’t exist. The fact you’re even considering making yourself a priority is a massive step in the right direction.

Let me know how you get on and please do share any self-care rules and regimes you have that work for you.

1) Set your non-negotiable. Whether it’s at home or at the office, be crystal clear on your working and lifestyle norms so that both you and others can make sure you stick to them. For example, if you’re a working mum, your non-negotiable might be that you need to leave work early on a certain number of days to pick your kid up from nursery. If you’ve vocalised and established that rule with your employer, you won’t end up feeling guilty or concerned about leaving when you need to, and your colleagues can adapt and adjust to support you achieve that.

2) Start with the things you love. Everyone’s got a to-do list. Mine is ginormous and is all over the place – I write notes on my phone, I have an app to help manage tasks, I email myself things to do and I set calendar reminders. For someone who’s so organised, the way I structure that organisation isn’t great, and when I look at the number of things I’ve got to get through it can be ridiculously over-whelming. When faced with a long list, most people tackle the hard jobs first and save the enjoyable ones till last. Well, I reverse that.  Behavioural change specialist and friend, Shahroo Izadi, taught me that it’s much easier to make a start on the harder tasks when I’m feeling good about myself. So now I start my day with the things I enjoy the most or that are the easiest because they make me feel capable and confident enough to take on the tasks that I find more challenging.

3) Dial-down the digital. A lot of my work means having a social presence. As a spinning instructor I use Instagram to help build and celebrate my community of riders; and as a small business owner I use it to increase brand awareness. I’m also in about 20+ active WhatsApp groups that are a constant source of notification, even when muted! There’s no doubt that technology is incredible, but if we’re not careful, it can be incredibly harmful. The feeling of always having to be ‘on’ and available is exhausting, so here are some of the parameters I’ve set to protect myself:

  • The days I’m working for my client, I set my personal phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’. You can set a handful of people who, if they call you instead of text, can get through, but otherwise that phone doesn’t make a sound.
  • I’ve switched WhatsApp, Instagram and Mail notifications off. I know I will be opening these apps at certain points throughout the day regardless of getting notifications. So why have the added nuisance of getting reminders?
  • I allocate time for Instagram. If I didn’t, I’d be on it way more than I need to be. How many times have you found yourself unnecessarily scrolling through when bored or just to kill time?
  • No walking and texting. So many times I’ve almost bumped into someone on the street or worse, wondered how I wasn’t run over because I didn’t check the road properly before crossing. Instead now, I listen to a podcast on my walk to the station or speak to my mum. It’s amazing.

4) Proximity is power. Last year I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a seminar by world-renowned life-coach Tony Robbins, which was a bizarre, wonderful and life-changing experience for me. One of the most significant lessons I took away from it is the idea that the people you surround yourself with and spend time with are ultimately who you become. He explains it here (yes, he does talk that quickly in real life!), and whilst he’s talking about it from a business perspective, I applied it to my personal life. I surround myself with family and friends who are loving, supportive, smart and successful in the hopes that I, myself, become all of those things. Having friends who not only support my business goals, but who don’t make me feel guilty when I need to put work first, is incredibly rare and refreshing. So find people that lift, bolster and encourage you when the going gets tough and be sure to recognise it when they need it in return.

5) Sleep is a healer. I think that if everyone had the ability to sleep as much as they needed, we’d be so much healthier. But of course, with work, kids and other commitments, hardly anyone has that luxury. I’m also not a good sleeper. I find it hard to switch my brain off at night so it sometimes takes me hours to fall asleep, and when I finally do, it’s always disrupted. I find tiredness adds to my levels of stress and anxiety, so in order to help manage it, I plan my working week (where possible) and weekends to ensure there are at least one or two nights that I know I’m able to get eight to nine hours of sleep. I read Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep which claims that you can’t ‘bank’ sleep, which is probably true. But just knowing that there is even one night in the entire week that means I can ‘catch-up on’ the sleep I’ve missed out on, has massive psychological impact and in turn makes me feel less anxious about working late or waking up early on  the other days.

Recommended Reading – New Parent Books

Like with baby products, deciding which parenting book to pick up and read can be an overwhelming task.
We polled our online community and asked them what book they would recommend for new parents. Here’s are the top five most mentioned:
  1. Your Self Confident baby by Magda Gerber
  2. Baby Food Matters by by Clare Llewellyn and Hayley Syrad
  3. The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson
  4. Your Baby Week By Week by Caroline Fertleman and Simone Cave
  5. Like a Mother by Angela Garbes
Join our community online for future polls or to just say hi.