Making it Work – Making Time for Yourself
School is back in session which for a lot of moms means that the constant feeling of being on the run taking the kids to and from their summer activities has (hopefully) abated somewhat. Even if life has not slowed down per se, that block of time from the morning to late afternoon that the kids are in school is at least a bit more structured than periodic summer activities. This means that it’s a great time to reflect on making sure that you are taking time for yourself and for your health. Remember, your health not only affects you, it affects your family, too!
If you have fallen into a summer rut and are looking to get started again, take the time to do a little planning. Are you looking to lose weight, or are you just trying to be more active? Be honest with yourself and what you think you can accomplish. Tracy Cusick, a certified exercise specialist at FitMe Wellness, recommends setting a goal for how many times a week you want to work out. “This allows me to look back on what I did for the week and whether or not I was able to work out as many times as I wanted. If I didn’t reach my goal, why not? Is there something I need to change?” starting with small goals like this rather than ambitious ones increase the chances for early success that can inspire you to keep going.
It is also a smart strategy to schedule your workout and have a plan for what your workout will entail. “We are always more accountable when we write things down,” says Cusick. She recommends using a day planner or online calendar if you aren’t already and treating your workout schedule like an important appointment. “If you can’t make it to your doctor appointment, you are going to make sure to reschedule. You should treat your workout appointments with the same degree of importance since both types of appointments directly affect your health.”
In addition to scheduling, planning and recording your workouts are integral to a successful fitness regimen. Write out your workout and hold yourself to it while you are at the health club. If you find you are unable to finish the workout, you might need to recalibrate what you are able to accomplish or examine how efficiently you are using your time. Tracking your progress will give you valuable feedback and allow you to plan future workouts. Be sure to acknowledge your own progress and take pride in your accomplishments. If you are new to working out or are in a rut, speak with a personal trainer about putting together a workout routine tailored to your needs and abilities.
The health club isn’t the only place where you can stay active, however. Be sure to recognize opportunities to move more when they arise. If you have the opportunity to take your kids to the playground, there’s no rule that says you have to sit on the park bench and watch! It might be something as simple as pushing your kids on the swings or climbing on the jungle gym. If your kids’ sports practices are generally used as time to catch up with the other parents, suggest that you take a walk together rather than just standing still on the sideline. Stringing together small bits of activity during the day accumulates over time and can be especially helpful on those days where it doesn’t seem like there will be time to get your own workout in.
Exercise is only one variable in your health. The other big one is your diet. Again, planning for your success is key. Rachel Carlson, a certified personal trainer at FitMe Wellness, uses the weekends to prepare food for the coming week. “Getting our family’s meals ready on the weekends is crucial with my busy work schedule. If we don’t have healthy food available and my husband and I have busy days at work, it makes it that much easier to give in to convenience and make less-than-healthy food choices like eating out.”
The demands of motherhood can drain even the most energetic woman. Always putting your family first might seem like the right and honorable thing to do, but maintaining your health should take precedence; you can’t give your family your best if you’re not at your best. So make sure to take some time for yourself and set a good example for your kids by acknowledging the importance of your health and taking steps to better it.