For many many years, I put my health to the bottom of my priority list. First came the kids, second came work and third came the household, and then there wasn’t really a lot of room for anything else. Working out, ha that only happened in my dreams – when I actually got a full night sleep.
I was one of those ‘wing it’ mums and somehow, although I never planned or had much control over my life, things just seemed to go OK. I excelled in my career, the kids were healthy and happy and we lived in a household of organised chaos.
However, no matter how good thing would go, there always seemed to be something missing. I never really felt completely happy. Now when I look back, I realise that I was struggling to look after a really important person, myself.
The first step in taking care of yourself is to find yourself again. Find the things you love doing, for me it was exercise. Being active made me feel good again and after a workout, I felt a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
So, being a working mum and running a household, how was I going to find time for exercise as well? Well, first of all, I realised it wasn’t about finding time; it was about MAKING the time.
First of all, you need to get out of the mindset that you do not have enough time or energy to exercise. You need to start thinking differently, exercise doesn’t drain you of personal energy, it boosts it, and this is exactly what a working mum needs.
So the next step is to get to a point where you actually believe this. How do you get there? Let me walk you through.
Create a vision
The first step is to create a vision to motivate you. Think about why you want to exercise (besides losing weight); is it to stay healthy, participate in a race or just to keep up with the kids? Keep a journal through your journey and write down the answer to these questions along with a motivation mantra to remind yourself why you are doing this when you have down days.
Now think about what you want your end goal to be, what you want to look, feel and be like when you reach your goal. Imagine it, write about it, and draw it, whatever you can do to replicate your ideal goal. This will help you to get back on track if you ever fall off the wagon.
Ok, so it’s obviously not possible to pull out extra hours for the day magically from the sky, but believe it or not you can make opportunities to exercise, you just have to know where you need to look. Despite how impossible it may feel, there is always time to exercise.
Option 1: If you work the average 9 till 5 you may feel bad enough not being with your kids all day that you can’t think of anything worse than an extra hour away from then before or after work. Why not use the time you are already away from them anyway – your lunch hour. Get your bum out of the office and to the gym during your lunch hour. Even if you only fit in 30 mins of actual exercise, in a 5 day week, that’s 2 and a half hours of exercise you wouldn’t be getting if you sat at your desk browsing Facebook or reading trash.
Option 2: If the first option isn’t for you, doesn’t mean you have to give up. Just change it up, instead of going to the gym, why not work out at home after the kids are in bed? Settle them down, pull some trainers on and do a 30 min work out. Doesn’t matter what you do, it could be yoga, running or an exercise DVD, as long as you are actively consistently every day, you will reap the benefits.
Option 3: Not into the first two suggestions? Well then why not mix exercise and bonding time – exercise WITH the kids! In the summer get outside after work and school and play a game of rounders or frisbee. In the winter, stick some music on and have a dance around the house, the kiddies will love it. At the weekends, turn trips out into physical activity – book a nice cheap hotel like www.bw-nottinghamderbyhotel.co.uk – drop the bags and go out on an adventure sightseeing – the walking and fresh air is great for you all.
The only person that can make sure you fit in time for exercise is YOU. It’s hard and you will have days where you don’t want to, but don’t allow yourself to think of your health as a low priority. A happy and healthy mum is a great role model to create healthy and happy children.
Guest post by a busy working mum and fitness/well being advocate