In this episode of Mind Over Motherhood, I had the absolute pleasure of talking to Melissa Punambolam to learn how to design your dream life. Mel is the proud mother to a fun-loving, no-nonsense toddler and the owner of Life Designer Consulting.
As a Life Coach for Moms, Mel offers a range of products and services for motivated moms who are ready to take back control of their own lives. In her coaching business, Mel helps overwhelmed, stressed and stuck mamas to effectively identify and manage their energy type, make aligned decisions and set purposeful goals.
Mel is also a wellness educator with doTERRA essential oils, teaching health motivated moms on the plant-based power of essential oils to support physical and mental health by reducing toxic load, boosting the immune system and addressing anxious, stressful feelings. Melissa is a passionate advocate for women and wants to help you design your dream life.
She is definitely the epitome of a multi passionate mama and speaking with her was like having a deep and honest conversation with a long-time friend. Her story is relatable, her wisdom is profound and her warmth is palpable. I am so excited to share this interview with you!
Prefer to listen rather than read? Head over and listen to Episode 16 of the Mind Over Motherhood Podcast!
“I WAS TRYING TO BE ALL THE THINGS TO ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME.” – MEL’S STORY
Like so many of us, Mel’s life changed dramatically after the birth of her daughter.
Prior to motherhood, she was climbing the corporate ladder in a government job. Around her daughter’s first birthday, she had to make some difficult decisions about her current life situation, her marriage and whether the identity that she had carried previously still made her happy.
“I was trying to be this dreamy mom, a perfectionist mom…trying to be all things to all people all of the time. And it wasn’t sustainable. I was still forcing myself to believe that I wanted to still climb the government ladder.
I was holding on and attaching to that and refusing to let go. I didn’t want to let go of any identity in my life.
And so in a way, becoming separated and becoming a single mom, really forced me to ask myself: What am I doing and what do I need to do from here?
It was definitely a rock bottom. But as we know, rock bottoms are a beautiful thing.” Rock bottoms are not easy but provide us with a clear, blank slate from which to build and design our dream life on our own terms. “For me, it was definitely that gift.”
As we evolve into motherhood and then even evolve as mothers, we need to identify when an old identity may not be serving us any longer. We need to be OK with releasing it to allow our new identity to emerge.
It is OK to take the time and space to really reflect on what is most important to you and design your dream life on your own terms.
REFRAMING SELF-CARE FOR MOMS
Mel had some great tips about helping moms prioritize self-care in their busy lives:
SELF-CARE IS NOT AN “IF” SITUATION, IT’S A “HOW” SITUATION
Too often, moms feel that self-care can happen “if” it fits in their already busy lives, or if they cram it in to their jam-packed schedule. Mel shared a critical mindset shift around self-care that has been critical in her prioritizing her own self-care.
“I was trying to cram self care into an already chaotic life, cramming self care into chaos. This simply does not work.
So I had to start asking myself a different question.
I decided I couldn’t ask myself: How will I fit self care into my life?
Instead, I had to ask: What options of self care do I have with my current reality?
I might only have 10 seconds of self-care, but for those 10 seconds, I will pause. I will take deep breaths and I will express gratitude.”
When we stop making self-care an option, we make it a priority and figure out HOW to fit it in, rather than CAN I fit it in?
Your self-care as a mom must be flexible and adaptable to your life. Mel recommends thinking of self-care like a menu at a restaurant – each option will provide a different benefit and take a different length of time. Taking a moment to reflect on what you really need each day and then finding an activity that you can do in the time you have is how to really make it work.
“Sometimes in my reality of a single mom, I may not have much free time, but it’s still time that I can take care of myself and my mind.”
SELF-CARE IS TAKING CARE OF OUR CHILDREN TOO
As moms, we often feel selfish for taking time for ourselves. Mel reflected that when she became a single parent, she learned the truth:
Taking care of yourself is essential in order to take care of your children.
Taking it even further, Mel also includes her daughter in her self-care time if it makes sense. By doing so, she is teaching her invaluable life lessons about the importance of regular checking in with yourself and taking the time you need to connect, rest and heal.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU’RE BURNED OUT TO MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
Mel shared the importance of making time for your own self-care and wellness to avoid burning out.
She shares that this realization and understanding of the importance of self-care did not come easily for her.
“It literally took me burning out, working for a horrible boss in government, being hospitalized from all of that and sitting in a hospital bed asking myself: What am I going to do differently a week from now?
…I really had to buckle down and say, okay, now. Now, what am I going to do and how can I reframe self-care so that I can live out this life and achieve my highest potential?”
DESIGN YOUR DREAM LIFE WITH YOUR HUMAN DESIGN
Mel shared with me some basic details about Human Design.
“Human design is really what we are born with.”
We all come into this life, we all have souls and we all come into this life with a blueprint and the design for our life. At a high level, [our human design is] what we’re here to accomplish in this life. We still have some choices in there that we take it and make it our own.
[It also is then] how we are going to tap into that purpose and how we’re going to tap into and achieve a higher energetic flow…How things will flow, how we manifest, how we attract and also how we use our energy efficiently and this life.
Mel reflected on the the fact that her design is focused on process improvement and finding efficiencies, which explained her previous work in government. By implementing some of the basics of her blueprint, she saw profound changes in how she was operating in her life. She was able to reflect and be honest with herself about whether certain things fit into her strategy for life, her human design.
If you want to get your own complementary Human Design Chart and start to design your dream life based on your energetic blueprint, you can check out mybodygraph.com.
For resources or to learn more/work with a coach who specializes in Human Design, check out Kari Russel, Mindset + Business Coach at Goals and Grapes or Amy Allchurch, Align by Design.
“BASED ON WHAT I KNOW ABOUT MY DESIGN AND MY CODE, I’LL RAMP UP MY SELF-CARE ON CERTAIN DAYS BECAUSE I’M TUNED IN TO MY DESIGN.” – Mel Punambolam, Mind Over Motherhood Episode
HOW TO MAKE MEDITATION WORK FOR YOU (FOR REAL)
Mel shared how her relationship with meditation has changed and evolved over her life and life stage.
“I was so lucky to have been introduced to meditation 20 years ago.
Meditation [seems] so intimidating and so overwhelming because we’re basically telling busy moms: “Oh by the way, sit, sit still for 30 minutes and don’t do anything.”
We automatically think that we’re not supposed to think about anything or do anything for 30 minutes. That’s literally an impossibility for many moms.
When I compare how I was meditating 20 years ago as a young adult to how I meditate now, it looks very different.”
As a young woman out of university with a job and no children, meditation was easier and Mel states she quickly became a “master meditator.” She would spend long sessions in meditation without much difficulty.
“Fast forward to motherhood and I was like, What am I gonna do? You’re sitting down, eyes closed and instantly thinking: Did I make enough meals for the week for my daughter?”
Motherhood is a different reality and we need to create our own ways of incorporating meditative practices in our lives in a way that work.
Mel recommends starting simple with any mindfulness or meditation pracitce.
First, simply commit to taking just 3 quiet breaths a few times a day, perhaps after bedtime or when you have a quiet moment. She asserts that while this is not technically meditation, she calls it a mental pause moment. These moments help you think more clearly and be less overwhelmed with your daily tasks.
By just pausing to take 3 breaths throughout your day, you can perform your tasks more effectively, feel less overwhelmed and begin to find space between chaotic thoughts.
Start with 3 breaths.
Then increase the breathing to a minute.
Then try 5 minutes.
Before you know it, you’ll be meditating.
There are many resources you can use to start practising meditation. It may take some time to find something that works for you, but once you do, the benefits are amazing.
Connect with Mel on Instagram at @yourlifedesigner.
Thanks for listening!