Have you ever wondered how you can improve your sleep and get better results in your motherhood and business? In this episode, Camille welcomes Tanessa Shears, a sleep science coach and the host of the Becoming Limitless podcast.
Tanessa shares her journey into the world of sleep and how she was able to improve her productivity as a mother and a business owner by improving her sleep quality. She shares her advice on the different alternatives you can do to become well-rested before sleeping, during sleeping, and what you can do in the morning.
If you’re interested in learning about how sleep can improve your health and wellness, tune into this episode to hear how you too can create rhythms within your life so that you can create success.
TANESSA SHEARS [00:00]
All of my clients, I monitor their sleep data through a ring called an Oura Ring. And I track their scores and I track their sleep data. The average entrepreneur is awake about 90 minutes a night.
CAMILLE WALKER [00:19]
So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing your voice? How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
Welcome back everyone to Call Me CEO. This is your host, Camille Walker. And as you know if you've been here before, I talk to moms who are building businesses that are changing lives and also sharing how they got started and how they manage it all as a busy mom.
And today is about taking care of you, wellness, how you create rhythms within your life so that you're creating success. And a big part of that is sleeping. And I know and you know, we've heard this why sleep is so important. But I don't know that we really take the time to dig into the why because there are so many components to it.
So, I'm thrilled that we have an expert here today, Tanessa Shears, who is a sleep science coach and also the host of Becoming Limitless podcast. She is a pro. She's going to show us what it's all about. Thank you so much for being on the show today.
Hey, thanks so much for having me on. I'm really excited to talk about this. I feel like sleep is one of those topics that's like everyone thinks it's good enough. It's fine. I've probably got the hang of this. And it's like one of those topics I feel that's not sexy on the surface. But one thing I love is you'll leave this conversation as excited about it as I am, that I can guarantee you.
And she's smiling big, if you can't see her like I can. I'm excited. So, tell us about you. Where do you live, number of kids? How did you get into the world of sleep?
Yeah. So, I live in Vancouver, Canada. I have a 14-month-old and a three-and-a-half-year-old. So, we're just in the new stages of being a mama here. And how I got into sleep was honestly because I had a baby. And I remember very clearly. I sat down. I was ready to write a newsletter. It was probably like six in the morning because that's what time I was up. And I have like a three-month-old baby on one of my breastfeeding pillows that was supported on my desk.
And I wanted to go and I was so foggy. And I couldn't come up with anything to say. You know when you do that and you type and then you delete and then you type and then you delete? You're like this sounds weird. And it wasn't like we had ChatGPT. We could just be like clear this up or something.
And I just remember being like this is awful. I'm so foggy. I can't get over how much sleep has an effect on how our brain performs. It's wild. And it was at that point where I was like, I'd already been working with entrepreneurs for a while on the fitness and the nutrition stuff. And I was like these entrepreneurs I work with, I bet you their five, six hours of sleep are affecting them. Maybe not this bad, but I bet you it's affecting them.
So, I went and got certified as a sleep science coach. And when I started implementing this stuff, everyone's like, "Oh my gosh, I'm so productive. It's so much easier to stay awake. I don't get that energy crash midday." And then, the really cool things started rolling in. I finished work and I still have the energy to hang out with my kids. And I'm not just default crashing onto the couch, phone in hand, also scrolling Netflix, because I can't escape anymore how tired I'm feeling.
And it was those moments of, I took my kids to the park when I normally would have just sat on the couch. I was able to fall asleep easily without ruminating about my business because I got done what I needed to during the day. It was those kinds of results where I was like this is so much bigger than just waking up well-rested. It has an impact on your business revenue, how you show up for your family, the kind of parent you are, and just how present you feel in your life. You're not just zoned out to your fatigue anymore. It is life changing.
I believe it. I think that when you're in college and you are pulling late nights to study for a big test and you're still able to get up and function and you're fine because you're independent and you can sleep and depend on yourself for how much sleep you get and you're younger.
And then. you become a mom. And you realize, wait a minute. The sleep I get isn't always dependent on me. And I really have to create a solution for this. I know I'm a much better mom when I get the sleep I need because when I don't, I have shorter patience. I don't feel as equipped to handle the surprises that come. And there's a lot to unpack there with productivity and all the things we do. So, I'm excited about this. Let's break it down. How do we start?
Yeah. So, the first place I love to start is, it's going to sound so basic, but are you getting enough sleep? So, when I was pregnant with my first daughter, I got a Fitbit because I was going to be the pregnant lady that did all the steps every day. Nobody warned me about the pelvic pain that was coming my way. So, I was sidelined at about five months with, oh, it was just terrible.
But I was like what else does this Fitbit do? And I was scrolling through the features. And I was like why is it saying I'm getting six and a half hours sleep per night? I get eight hours of sleep. I go to bed at 11. And I wake up at 7, that's eight hours, that's math.
But this whole world opened up to me that I did not realize that you are not sleeping the entire time you think you're sleeping. And there's actually four different points that we are awake. It takes you time to fall asleep. There's all the times you wake up in the middle of the night that you are not aware of because you're cycling in and out of sleep cycles. There's the time that you know you're awake. You got to go the bathroom. Your kids wake you up. The dog barks or the cats playing hockey with something in the hall. And then, there's that time that you're coming out asleep.
And the crazy thing is with the work that I do, all of my clients, I monitor their sleep data through a ring called an Oura Ring. And I track their scores and I track their sleep data. The average entrepreneur is awake about 90 minutes a night, 90.
So, now, we tell ourselves, most people don't even get the eight hours in bed, they get seven, seven and a half. If you're just the average entrepreneur and you take off an hour and a half, it's no wonder we're feeling tired. You're only getting six hours of sleep a night.
And that was my first thing is, I was like, holy moly, sleep opportunity, I need to be giving myself the opportunity to account for that awake time so that I can get over the hump of enough sleep. That was the first thing that I was like, oh, this needs to change.
That's so powerful. And I have researched the Oura Ring. My sister has one. And what I love about it is that you can wear it all the time and it doesn't buzz and beep. I think when I've worn an Apple Watch and tried to sleep in it, even if the notifications aren't going off, it still bugs me. So, I've been curious about that. Because I know she's loved hers. So, it tracks your heart rate as well. And is it temperature? And what are all the things that it measures?
Yeah. It tracks your temperature. It tracks your breathing rate. It tracks your resting heart rate. It actually tracks a really cool variable. One of my favorites is called your heart rate variability, which is a fancy word for it is able to gauge based on how far apart your heartbeats are and how stressed your body is.
So, if you are having poor sleep, if you're eating funky, if you're going through a work stress, if you're multiple nights with your kids because they're sick, this variable tells me how easy to take it with my workouts, when to push for work, when to take an extra day off if I need.
So, on top of that, of course, it's giving you how long you're asleep. But more importantly, it's telling you what kind of quality sleep we're getting because there's stuff that happens during the sleep that affects your brain's ability to show up the next day.
So, it literally paints an entire picture for how you are recovering. Whereas these watches, I call them activity trackers. The ring is a recovery tracker, sleep recovery and your body's state whether it's in fight or flight or rest and digest.
That makes sense. So, assuming for people who don't have the ring, is there another way for us to get an idea of the kind of sleep we're getting or is there a way to best guess? What do you do if you don't have the ring?
Yeah. So, if you don't have the ring, there are other watches that will give you a rough idea. But here's the thing. Are you able to fall asleep within 15 minutes? Are you waking up? And if you do wake up in the night, can you fall back asleep within five to 10 minutes? Are you waking up in fight or flight adrenaline reviewing your to-do list? Are you tired when you wake up? Do you have a mid-afternoon crash? If any of these, you're going, yeah, uh-huh, those are subjective indicators because I always like being able to wake up.
And it's not that you want to spring out of bed with Energizer Bunny energy, but you're just really thinking like, okay, am I able to get into my day without needing three cups of coffee, a two-hour meditation journaling routine? Does my brain work in the morning? Simple question. And if it's not, there's probably some simple optimization that you can put in there.
Okay. I like it. I think that that's a really practical set of questions that we can ask and see how we measure up. And I know from experience that depending on if I have a big launch coming up or if I'm trying to make a decision about something or the state of my family or my business, that will affect my sleep for sure where I'm like, oh, no, I need to listen to something as I'm falling asleep right now because my mind is so busy. I need to tune out and listen to something else. So, let's get into the tools of what do we do? What are the tools if we need help with that?
Yeah. So, let's break it into three parts. Let's break it into what happens before you go to sleep, during sleep and things you can do in the morning. So, I always like to think of it like this. Your brain is always receiving information.
So, ideally, in that time before bed, we want to be cueing our brain to slow down those brainwaves to wind down. Because, like you said, if you're going into a launch, if you've got family stuff going on, if your brain is going through your to do-list, thinking about ideas, also checking email, one more swipe on Instagram while watching TV, trying to have some downtime at the same time, it totally makes sense why our sleep doesn't feel restorative, right? Our brain is not geared down for that.
So, I like to use potent cues like light. Light is one of the most potent sources of information. So, think about this. Take back all this indoor electricity we have and we just lived by the light of the sun. What happens at the end of the day? The sun gets low in the sky, gets nice and dim, maybe some oranges and some reds, right? That tells our brain, hey, it's probably time to start winding down, which is slow everything down, have a good night's sleep, right?
But what we do is we take all this time to stare into our screens. And that light literally tells your brain, stay alert. It's one in the afternoon. Don't wind down. Don't quiet the conversation. Don't produce melatonin. Stay alert. And then, we wonder why we struggle with feeling well-rested in the morning, right?
So, I like to do something called, I like to think of it, how can you make a sunset in your house? So, how can you dim the lights? So, those bright overhead spotlights we have on in our living rooms and our kitchens, how can we turn those off and make the lights dimmer? Maybe it's a dimmer switch. Maybe we switch to some lower table lamps, right?
And the other thing I really like to do in my bedroom is we have two bedside table lamps one on each side. One is a regular light bulb and one is a red light bulb. And the red coloring is very much like the sunset. It tells our brain, hey, it's wind-down time, let's go. And so, we flip that on in the hour before bed. And we try to create pinks and oranges and reds and deep yellow lights as part of cueing our brain.
And this stuff not only works for us, it works for your kids. If you find your kids are jumping off the wall, maybe we look at what type of information we're feeding our brain. And light is one of those really good sources.
I believe that 100%. I actually have a light sensitivity that I inherited from my mother. And it got worse after COVID. My eyes are so sensitive than they were before. And I noticed that as the day goes on, I have to turn the lights down. Dim the lights. And I got some of my best sleep when we were staying in Mexico over spring break because I was living by the light outside. I wasn't setting an alarm. I wasn't looking at my screens as much. And that cadence of waking up with the sun and going to sleep with the moon was so much more natural. And it was so good for my health.
That same thing, I was like I need to pay attention to light. So, I love that you brought that up. I hadn't heard of getting a light like that, a red light. I have lit candles at night to create an ambiance that would mimic that somehow. But that's a really good idea with the colored light. I hadn't thought of that.
Yeah. And there's a couple other solutions that we can look at too. I always think of good, better, best. Best is always going to be removing the screens. Is that possible, especially if you're running a business and those hours after your kids go to bed? Maybe not always.
So, one of the things that I actually invested in is, we've all heard of blue light blocking glasses, right? But when you look at them most of the time, they're clear. Here's the funny thing. If you can see the color blue through these glasses, they're not blue blocking, there maybe 10%.
So, I've actually invested in glasses that have red lenses in them. And these, I will wear in the evening. especially if I do want to check my phone or something like that, then I have these on. And they also have that same effect. And so, that is what I call the better strategy.
But the good strategy, one other than that, it's a simple thing. All of our phones can filter out blue light. You can put them in grayscale mode. You can remove blue light. There's blue light filters or night shift modes built into this. Put it on your computers. Put it on your TVs and stuff like that. It's one of those set it and forget it things that there's so many options we could do if you just look at what's one small improvement I could do to help me sleep a little bit better? Those are some places I can start.
Smart. So, I have bought glasses to help with nighttime, but the lenses are yellow. And my mom has lenses that are red. And I'm like, oh, shoot, I should have gotten the red lenses. And she'll even bring them into the movie theater or anywhere that there's bright artificial light. And that could be an extreme option for some people. But especially at night as the lights start to affect us more, I think that's really smart. Where do you like to buy the red lens glasses?Do you go to Amazon or do you do something more official, so that it's a higher-quality lens?
So, we go good, better, best again. I have tried Amazon ones. And they're good. They'll do the job for the most part. And they're probably in the $25 range. There's a company that I've purchased a pair from called TrueDark. And I have tested these by holding these up in front of blue lights. And that's how I say good, better, best. It's how much blue light they let through.
The TrueDark ones, they're pretty good. But they are more expensive, but they're by a company called Ra, R-A, Optics. And there's no blue light getting through those. And those are gangbusters. I put those on. And I'm yawning within 20 minutes. I have fallen asleep laying against the headboard talking to my husband. And I'm just like, uh-huh. I'm falling asleep because they just create such a warm drowsiness, which is sometimes nice when your brain is really activated from the day or like the examples you said. I'm in a launch. I've got family stuff going on. Sometimes, it's just nice to have an external thing helping you calm your brain down.
Absolutely. All right. We'll check those out and add the links below. So, we've done the pre-sleep. Is there anything else, bedtime routine, or anything that you include with that as well?
Yeah. Let's blend during and before together. So, one of the simple things that you can do that will make a giant shift is be mindful of the temperature of the room that you sleep in.
One of the best things that destroys quality of sleep is sleeping in a room too warm. So, the ideal sleeping temperature lies somewhere between 65 and 68 Fahrenheit or about 18 Celsius at night. Now, for a lot of when I tell some of my clients, they're like, "What? That's so cold." And they might not feel it in the summer, but it does make a substantial impact.
So, really setting up that environment to be nice and cool is something that will improve actually the quality of your sleep. And we talked about that heart rate variability score, the one that measures stress on your body, that improves in a colder room. So, all of these are really good things.
And the other thing I would say if we're talking bedroom is like how dark is your room? So, I do something called the hand test. Right when I go to bed and right when I wake up in the morning, if you put your hand about six inches in front of your face, if you can see it, it's too bright. So, if that means you need to put some stickers on some lights or if you need to get a better pair of curtains, this is something that has such a dramatic effect on specifically REM sleep.
Now, we talked about the different types of quality of sleep. REM sleep is dreaming. And while there are other stages that are also important, I call REM entrepreneurial gold. This is the stuff that makes us entrepreneurs. Because if you think about what that does to our brain, it helps us with problem solving.
What is the point of a business? To solve problems. The more creative you are with solving problems and the better you are at it, the more successful your business, right? It also helps you think out of the box. Another thing that is very helpful as an entrepreneur, right? It helps you read facial expressions and body gestures.
So, I'm working with a client. I'm explaining something. I can see them leaning back. I'm like, uh-oh, this isn't connecting. Let's try explaining this a different way. My subconscious brain is watching for engagement cues. Does this make sense? Should I re-explain this?
So, whether you have a team, whether you have a client, whether you're a parent, you want to be knowing, is what I'm saying getting through? Am I picking up on that? And then, lastly, of course, something you identified right at the beginning of the podcast is, am I able to manage my emotions? If you're lacking on REM sleep, this is where you wake up on those mornings feeling irritated, snippy. You're not very nice. You're not a pleasure to be around.
That is something that emotional stability is so helpful as an entrepreneur. Because if you get a troll on Instagram or someone that has something not nice to say, I don't want to be spinning out. And what is wrong with me? What did I say? Why are they offended? Trying to problem solve, I don't want to go into that emotional place. I want to be able to respond with integrity, be able to manage that stress, and carry on with the day. I can't afford to lose days due to spinning out because of a comment I saw. So, that REM sleep to me, it's like we protect that at all costs. So, if you can see your hand in the morning when you wake up and you care about any of those things, go get some blackout boards.
Yeah, or a really nice eye mask. I have one I can link below that is amazing. I have little tiny windows. I have two small windows and then a bigger window in my room, which would be harder to get curtains for those smaller ones. So, for me an eye mask has been really helpful because I can take it with me.
I don't know if you're familiar with this, but I have been watching it like a hawk. So, I'm curious if you know. But there's something called a sleep halo pillow. Are you familiar with this?
No, what is this?
You need to know because it'll help your people. I just found out about it recently. I'm going to double check this name real quick to make sure that I'm saying it right. But it sells out really fast. And I've been waiting and watching, but oh, I said it wrong. It's a sleep crown.
A sleep crown. Okay.
Yes. It's a pillow you wear on your face. And it's slightly weighted. It was made by a yoga instructor for restorative sleep. And it actually is cut out so that your nose and your mouth are out of the pillow, but the pillow wraps around your face. And you can use it as a back or a side sleeper. And my friends that have it, swear by it that it's like a miracle. You can travel with it. It's just a wonderful pillow. It's pricey. It's like $150.
I can see it here. It's literally like a mat. It's like a pillow that would be in place of a sleep mask. I can see this here. I love all of this. I've been testing out a sleep mask recently that has a pressure point here, which is supposed to help with stress and anxiety. So, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I push on it.
I've been experimenting. Who knows if it's placebo or not? But it feels like it's working. So, I love stuff like this. I've heard of weighted sleep masks too. There's so many cool little things that you can do that don't require a ton of habit change to have good sleep. This is one of those. It's a really cool thing. I've been googling it while you were explaining it.
Cool. Yeah, check it out. It's a really cool pillow. And I would love to get one for all of my children. They're old enough now. There's not suffocation issues. But just like a weighted blanket, it gives you that feeling of being embraced in a nice way, a little bit of weight to it, almost like a weighted blanket would be. But anyway, I've been watching that. So, another option.
Got it. I have noted this. I'm going to research it now. I love it.
Yeah. Cool. Okay. So, we did the pre-sleep. Now, we've checked for our hand. Is it too light? Now, what? Now, we're sleeping?
Yes. So, what we talked about is during the night, we want to make sure it's nice and cool. We want to make sure it's nice and dark. We want to make sure it's quiet. So, it's interesting. Have you ever used sound machines for your kids like white noise?
CAMILLE [ 22:15]
Yeah. Me too. One of my things is I have to have my white noise. Because if you're in an environment where you've got loud pets or you have a husband that snores like I do, if I wake up in the middle of night, and he's snoring, I find it very troubling to get back to sleep because I can't pull.
So, I find that one of the things that the sound machine does, and I play it low, I've got kids, I still want to hear them. But I play it low enough so that any noises that occur in my house don't come out of the silence, right? And I find that that is extra helpful. So, I do that. Or if I'm traveling, I'll bring earplugs and stuff like that. So, really looking at it from the sound perspective, the light perspective, and also looking at it from the temperature perspective.
So, now if we shift into the morning, one of the best things that we can do, and it's not always doable, however, if we can wake up without an alarm clock, that is going to be one of your best starts to the days because if you think about this, humans are the only species that artificially terminate sleep. It's very odd. You don't see deers being like, oh, it's six, let's go. They get enough sleep. And then, they wake up, right?
But sometimes we have to do that, whether it's getting kids to school or we want to get an early start on the day. So, in order to make this a reality, what that's going to mean is a consistent regular bedtime because we have a built-in clock called your circadian rhythm. And this clock tells us when certain hormones should go up, breathing rates, heart rates, all of this kind of stuff. And it's beautifully optimized to our genetics.
So, by constantly shifting this bedtime around and your wakeup time around, you're working against your biological clock and you're giving yourself that feeling. It's called social jetlag. It's when you use your social schedule. If you stay up late with friends or you watch TV or maybe you get up early to go to a meeting. That constant fluctuation is giving us the literal experience of jet lag because we are shifting the times our brain is used to sleeping and we're experiencing that fogginess.
It can take up to one day for every hour, you shift your bedtime for your brain to recover. So, if you think about it, let's say you spent the weekend and you were up on Friday night and Saturday night until one, and then you go back to 10, it's going to take you three full days until you get your full cognitive function back. Now, we're at Wednesday or Thursday. And we're just ready to repeat that again.
And this is why we feel like we're stuck in that cycle. So, by regulating your bedtime as best we can, obviously, life happens sometimes. Then we're able to start waking up at a consistent time because our body has gotten enough sleep. And it knows our hormones are optimized to wake us up at the same time.
And because of that, you're less likely to interrupt REM sleep or deep sleep when your alarm goes off, right? Because your alarm doesn't care what phase of sleep you're in. And if you wake up during REM or deep, you're going to feel foggy, it's going to take anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours to get your brain back onboard.
So, remember that question we asked is, how long does it take your brain to work? If you're using an alarm clock, this might be contributing to that. Yeah. So, that would be, I think, one of the big ones is looking at are we able to be consistent enough with our rhythm that we can just wake up at a consistent time as often as possible, even on the weekends?
Yeah. That is a really good point. And I think that that's something that we do to ourselves without meaning to where we're at night, we're like, but now, it's my time. Now, I get to read that book or watch that show or whatever that is. And I think that really does take discipline to realize that, yeah, you can do that. And we all know this, you pay the fee. And sometimes it's worth it. And sometimes it's not.
But I like the idea of keeping it as consistent as possible so that you can. I remember my grandfather, and this is one of the oldest memories I have actually, of him telling me that we all have an alarm clock within our bodies.
And he said, you can decide to the minute what time you want to wake up, if you tell your body, that's the time you want to wake up. And I remember thinking, this is the most incredible magic I've ever heard of. And I really did, I practiced it as a kid. And I thought, okay, I want to wake up, I don't know what time it was, 8:37, or whatever the thing. And I believe in the power of the mind and the power of us being able to be at one with our body, if we are in tune enough that way. And I did. I got to a point where I was waking up to the minute of the time that I wanted to wake up. And I think there's a lot of power in that.
But, of course, as you say, we have to start with giving a foundation of going to bed on time. So, I think that's really cool to pay attention to that and think for the best, most optimal situation, what would that look like? What time would I need to go to bed? And in your experience with helping people through this, what time do you typically suggest people are preparing for bed and are actually sleeping?
Yeah. So, that'll depend on something called your chronotype. So, we all have this specific gene. And the length of it determines whether you have an early morning or a late morning preference for wake-up. So, that is very genetic. The consistency is more important.
And the Oura Ring actually does suggest based on your heart rate, your breathing rate, your body temperature, and your activity levels during the day when your best sleep opportunity window is. And so, for example, mine is 8:30 until five in the morning. And so, I follow that seven days a week. And I feel great.
My client's 12:05 to 8:05. He feels great. So, it's not about that there's a right or a wrong. It's about experimenting and finding out what. I think most people know if they're inherently early, like when they go to sleep at nine, I'd like to go to sleep at 11. I think we inherently know that. But I wanted to speak to something that you had mentioned when we were talking just about that me-time in the evening being a barrier for going to bed on time.
Yeah. Let's dig into it.
Yeah. So, there's two things that I really like to think on here. Number one is if we look at that me-time that we have, and most of us put the kids to sleep, and then it's like two or three hours. Let's say the kids go to bed at eight. And you have until 11, right? And most of the time with the clients that I've worked with, if they're not jumping back into their businesses, they will watch Netflix episodes. And they'll just watch TV and hang out. And there is nothing wrong with Netflix.
However, I've asked my clients and these are the people that are always like, "I just don't want to go to bed any earlier because I need that me-time and I just don't ever have enough of it." And I love to ask them, I'm like, "Okay, what is it that you want to get out of your me time? What is the feeling that you're after?" And I've had clients say things like, "I want to feel calm, recharged, at peace, slow down," all of these things that we associate with me-time.
I say, "All right. What are you doing during your me-time?" And I've had a client just last week and she's like, "I've watched three episodes of Netflix." I was like, "Cool. But is that giving you recharge? Is that giving you calm? When you get up from Netflix, do you feel the way you want to feel?" And for her, the answer was no. And for many of my clients, it is.
Now, this is not to say Netflix should never be watched. What I like to do is invite what if you feel like you need so much of that me time because you never actually get what you want out of it? And instead of saying, what do I do if I don't watch Netflix? Maybe I watch Netflix, but I also insert some time towards something that makes me feel the way I want to feel.
So, one of the things I was working on with her was, okay, she had three hours. She watched two hours of Netflix, but then she got off the couch and went and read. She loves reading. It's something that made her feel at home. It connected her to her childhood. It just felt like she could just enjoy and relax.
And so, just by swapping out those little bits, she was starting to feel like she was doing things that filled her up and weren't just an escape. So, it's not about eliminating it. It's about if we're not getting what you want out of it, how can you start reintroducing some of the things that actually give you what you're after? Then you don't feel like you need all this extra time. You're getting what you need.
Yeah. No, I believe in that 100%. I think that we sometimes even forget what those restful or restorative things could be because we're out of practice of it. And clicking, swiping through the phone, scrolling or turning on Netflix is so easy and brainless that I think sometimes we stop to think, oh, but is this actually what I want or is this actually what I crave in remembering who I am and what I enjoy and connecting with myself? So, I think that that's really a good point of asking those questions to yourself, what is it that would help me to discover the pieces of myself that I want to fill up and I want to remember?
Yeah. I think we can all identify the difference between when we're choosing the escape versus defaulting to it because there are definitely some days where I'm like I just want to sit down and I want to watch Housewives and I want to watch all their drama. I know those days.
But I'm very aware of when I'm defaulting it because that's all I have the energy for. You know what I mean? Where it's just like I'm watching Netflix because I don't have the energy to read. Whereas I know reading would help restore me.
So, just really watching for those fine distinctions there really help you just bring awareness. And then, you get to choose if that's something you want to do differently or not. There's no wrong way to do it. Just how do you want to feel and are you achieving that?
Yeah. I love that. So good. So reflective. And as you're listening to this right now, I want you to think about what is it that's coming up for you? Because there could be something that you're thinking, oh, I miss reading or I miss going for a walk or I miss having a chat with a dear friend or journaling. There's so many different things. Crocheting, maybe you're talented and creative. And those could be things that you want to work on. So, I think that that's a good reminder for us to really tap into that space of how are we using that time and is it really restoring us?
Yeah, absolutely. I feel like especially as moms and as entrepreneurs, the two combined, especially, we look around at all the other entrepreneurs we know and the moms we know. And everyone is just tired. And so, we just accept that that must just be normal for me, too.
And one of the questions I always love to ask is like, do you want it to be normal for you? What would you do if you woke up and had the brainpower and the energy to start your day at the time you actually wanted instead of the time you needed to wake up because you stayed up late last night doing something that didn't actually fulfill you? What would your business look like if you were clearer and if you could get through everything without feeling distracted all the time? How much more time could you create in your day because your brain stayed on track? What if you had six hours and it took you now five to get the same amount of stuff done? What would you do with that hour?
Because you could spend it with your kids. You could do something more fun in your business. You could go and get another client and make more money. You could use that hour to do the exercise plan that you haven't gotten started on, but you really wanted to. Just think it's like sleep is not something that is stealing productivity from you because you have to shut down earlier. It's creating productivity in the following day.
What if sleep was how you created your time? And not only that, the time that you do have, you feel better doing it. What would your life feel like if you weren't tired at four o'clock every day? Imagine what you'd be like as a mom or a parent.
I like that. I love the idea of creating the productivity for the next day where it's like if you are waking up earlier and feeling rested and restored, that time could be used so much more efficiently, which taking this with a grain of salt for all of you who are in a situation where you're caretaking for someone else and you have a baby or there's a toddler in your bed or whatever the situation is, I think we go through different phases of life where we're more available to choose that for ourselves or not.
But wow, I really like that. So, that takes me to a question for you. Balancing business and motherhood because that's something we talked about on this show. What are some extra tools or resources or things that you do to help you create a better balance?
Yeah. This actually ties beautifully and speaks to what you just said about the parents that may not be in the phase of life to choose the most restorative sleep. This actually answers the question you just had about balancing as well.
One of the decisions I decided to make, and keep in mind, I've got a 14-month-old, I'm not too far out of it. And I have a three-and-a-half-year-old, but one of the things that I decided is that, sure, my sleep is going to be fragmented, and I can't control when I'm woken up at night. I cannot control when kids get sick, when the baby's crying.
But what I can control is the quality of the sleep I do get. So, if it's going to be two hours awake, three hours awake, five hours, or whatever it might be, I'm going to make those the best cumulative seven and a half hours that I can get by taking care of myself the best I can.
And so, that was, I think, a shift that going into business with motherhood because I had coaching on this. I was 26 weeks pregnant with my first. And I was like my business is going to fall apart. There's no way. I don't function on sleep. How am I going to have a successful business? How am I going to see clients with that unpredictable nap schedule? This is not figured out at all.
And she said something to me, she goes, "Tanessa, why would you delegate the success of your business to your baby?" She goes, "If you choose to not show up and do the posting or not do your podcast or stuff, that's okay. But that is a choice. But to put your business's weight and success on your baby will only make you resent your baby. So, how can you love that baby and also love yourself and knowing that this is a season where I can't choose it all?"
I've put my podcast on pause twice. It's fine. It's still successful. It actually had more downvotes when I wasn't producing episodes. You know what I mean? But I think it's really looking at that how can I take responsibility for my choices and not have my kids be the reason that I can't do that, right?
I'm a really big fan of thinking. I would never want my kids to grow up thinking they were the reason I was unhappy or anything like that. And that might be a little bit of a controversial take. But one of the things is I have taken ownership. And even if I don't feel that great about the decisions I have to make, I had to put the podcast on pause. I dropped my posting down to once a week. I chose that for them, not because of them.
Yeah, that's beautiful. I've always been a big proponent of the concept of and that you can still build and run a successful business and be an amazing engaged mother. However, you get to choose what the cadence and what the time period is of that stage of motherhood because I'm 15 years in.
And I've been doing this for a long time. And it's ebbed and flowed every single year, whether I'm nursing or pregnant or have a small child or even a teenager that needs me at one period of time more than the other, it doesn't mean that it had to be all or nothing. I just was able. And thank goodness that I have my own business. And I'm able to do that.
But I did choose to take time to take a step back. And that's such a beautiful opportunity to have and to also recognize that our children aren't choosing for us. Like you said, we have the ownership of making those choices. And what does it look like? And what does that mean for the time and the ability that I have to give to them?
And I think that that is really beautiful. I don't think that that's a bad thing. I think it's wonderful that we go through times of motherhood that are more easy, breezy and other times that are hard because that's life. And so I love this idea that you shared of taking ownership for that. Because once you do that, it enables you to really be in the driver's seat and to create a relationship more than a caretaking role where you resent it.
I actually just did a podcast episode with someone that just went live last week where we talked about the role of a mother versus a role of a caregiver and how we need to separate the two and think of them differently in the way that there are going to be times that you feel really overwhelmed and say, I need a break from caretaking. I need a minute for myself. I need help.
But that doesn't mean that that is a separation from the quality of who you are as a mother and the way that you feel about your kids. Of course, you love them. And so, I think that there's real beauty in that and in recognizing what we have to give, pouring into our cup, looking at our limitations and how we're taking care of ourselves. So, we can show up and be an amazing mother and still have time to create choice and progress for ourselves.
I love that distinction you just made between the caregiver and the mother. And I think with that comes the grace to allow that separation, right? Actually what I have learned and implemented that has helped a ton is I've started putting something called sliding blocks into my schedule where there are blocks that are intentionally left empty. I put them in there like they're a task, but they're empty.
Because invariably, something happens at all times. I'm going to have to start late one day, take off early, go run a doctor's appointment in the middle of what would have been my work blocks. But it gives me so much freedom in never thinking I'm behind because I've left enough space to move those tasks that got bumped in.
And if the week goes beautifully, great, I can pull out a next week, or I can take the afternoon off. But I think that idea of just building in the grace, that will likely be needed more times than not. So, I'm not sitting there going, oh, I'm behind. I needed to get this done. I now have to work at 10pm, right?
And it plays beautifully in what we talked about is this lets you turn your brain off so that you can go to sleep. You are always caught up. And that's a thought. That doesn't necessarily have to be a fact. The thought, I'm caught up and I've done exactly as much as I needed to get done today.
Yeah. I love that thought. And I've heard a concept follow up with that thought of I got everything I needed to get done today. And the actual fact that it didn't happen today means that it was meant for tomorrow. It didn't get done today. It's not meant for today.
And there's nothing that can't wait until Monday.
Yeah. I love that. This has been absolutely amazing. I've loved talking about this with you and everything that you're doing to help people. Please tell our audience where they can find you online.
Yeah. So, I hang out on Instagram, I'm @tanessashears. I post on there all the time. So, definitely come over and say hi there. But I like to think of it as I've gathered my 12 I call them the biohack. So, they're the things that we can do that will affect our energy and our focus and our productivity. And I've put them together into a guidebook. And it's called 12 ways to biohack your energy. And it's to help really get that kickstart in the morning, get that clarity of thinking. And that's on my website at www.tanessashears.com. There's a freebies tab at the top. And that's a really good resource to get started on if you're just like which ones are the most potent? How can I get started? And that's the place to go.
How can I start? Yes, those little steps. I love it. Tanessa, this has been amazing. Thank you so much for being on the show today.
Yeah, thank you for having me.
Hey, CEOs. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment in a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss.
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