There aren’t enough hours in the day! I find myself saying this almost every day. How many times have you though the same thing? It seems like no matter how well I try to schedule and plan well in advance, I just can’t get everything done. Adding kids to the mix tends to make things more hectic.
As a stay at home mom to 4 kids, all of whom happen to be in some sort of school program, you would think I have time to sit around and twiddle my thumbs wondering what I should do with all my free time. Yeah, that doesn’t happen. At our house we wake up by 6:30 and most days things don’t settle down until after bedtime at 8:30. Between kids at different schools, at different times, aerobics classes to teach, errands to run, never ending piles of laundry that come from 6 people in the same house, and all of our other regular household chores to keep the house livable, we keep pretty busy. There are so many days I want to just throw in the towel and say I’m too busy to take care of me.
I look at my hardworking husband, he is currently finishing up a medical residency, and wonder if he even remembers what Me-time is. The last 10 years of his have been spent studying, going to class, and working. Back before kids and a career, he had time for fun. He could spend an hour or more at the gym every day, eat healthy meals that he had time to measure and create, and play with his brothers and friends. Now he leaves the house before 5:30 and spends most of the day in the OR where he maybe gets a few minutes to run to the bathroom or grab a granola bar between cases and then comes home around dinner time where he crashes as soon as he has eaten (and sometimes while eating). His days make me feel bad about complaining about having no time.
That seems to be the curse of Parenthood and Adulthood, putting everyone else ahead of yourself. Don’t get me wrong, being selfless is a talent that helps so many people around you, but it’s exhausting. You didn’t get a full night sleep because one of the kids was sick or had a bad dream. You stayed long at work to help out a colleague. You spent all day driving carpool and coaching soccer. As an adult, your life is full of responsibility and challenges that will arise. These events will throw off your schedule and make your goals harder to achieve, but you can still do it! I’ve been practicing this Adult thing long enough that I have come up with some tried and true methods to help keep myself on track with my health goals through all of life’s curveballs.
Do you have a typical schedule? Do you write it down? Personally, I love schedules! I have calendars all over my house and car so that I can keep track of every one’s extracurricular activities, school schedules, work schedules, play dates, actual dates, etc. When I sit down and write down a daily schedule I am able to see where I can squeeze in a workout, even if its only 20 minutes. I can also make sure that I have time to make a healthy meal and sit down to eat it.
When you are planning to give a presentation at work, you do more than just show up the day of the meeting and wing it. The same thought needs to go into planning your healthy lifestyle. Meal prep can help you cut down on putting together each meal. You can pre-cook certain foods, cut up veggies, create correct portion sizes. It makes reaching into the fridge to find a snack so much easier.
Likewise, you can prepare yourself for a workout. You can set out your workout clothes, make sure your playlist is loaded and easy to find, set out a pre-workout snack, get anything you are going to need for your workout out and put it where it is easily accessible. I always find that its harder for me to walk by my running shoes and not put them on and go for a run when they are out and waiting for me, rather than sitting where they belong in my closet.
SET AN ALARM
I am not a morning person. I already have a hard enough time waking up at 6:30 to get kids ready for school. I know that I am not going to make it out of bed earlier to work out before the kids get up. I wish I was because that would make things easier, but it doesn’t work out well for anyone at my house. (Early mornings make me grumpy and too tired to get anything done.) However, I can set an alarm for a time that I know there won’t be anything to interfere with my workout, at our house that’s 10:00, and when my alarm goes off, if I haven’t already, I jump on the treadmill and start my workout.
Goals are awesome motivators, as long as they are realistic. You can’t tell yourself “In 3 weeks I’m going to have a six pack” when your recent habits have been vegging out on corn chips while watching ESPN late into the night or catching up on the bachelor with the entire tub of ice cream (Guilty!). Healthy habits take time to form and, unfortunately, results are not instant. You have to work, and then work harder. Set smaller goals, like “I’m going to eat healthy and work out for 30 minutes each day and lose 3% of my weight in 4 weeks.” This is realistic. It will also help you to stick to your healthy habits. Once you achieve your original goals, set new REALISTIC goals. Never stop pushing yourself.
Making an excuse doesn’t have to mean that you are telling yourself you don’t have time. It could be you telling yourself that you just can’t do it. You can’t run fast enough so what’s the point. You can’t make it a certain distance without taking a break. You can’t lift enough weight so why try. You don’t look fit enough to go to the gym. Just stop all of that negative talk right now. Go look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are worth it, ALL of it. You can do anything and after some work, it may even become easy. When I started running, I could barely make it around the block. After a year and a half, I ran my first marathon. So many times I wanted to tell myself that I was slow, it was hard, I didn’t have the time for another long run. I kept going and crossing that finish line felt amazing. When I started attending fitness classes, I had to take breaks during class to catch my breath and use the itty bitty 3 pound weights. Now I’m teaching classes and using the “big girl” weights. Don’t give up. Be positive. You will get there!
DON’T FORGET YOU
Sometimes in life’s craziness, its easy to put yourself last and forget to take care of yourself. Eating healthy and exercising are a part of taking care of you. How will your body be able to keep up with the people you love and thing things you enjoy if you are unhealthy? You will end up being an observer of life rather than a participant. Another part of being healthy is taking care of your mental health. We need breaks, we need to relax, and we need to laugh. Take some time to breathe, read a book, have a night out with friends, just unwind and relax.
Are you ready to stop making excuses and start working on yourself? Try some of these tip and see if they help you make some time for yourself and achieve your health goals. You are important, you are worth it, and you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of everyone else.
What are your tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle?