Are you a mama who is sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?
Are you also a mama who is sick and tired of everyone trying to make it sound like if you just tried harder being healthy and reaching your own fitness goals would be easier?
I’m here to help you pump the breaks.
First of all – everything you’re doing is A LOT. Getting healthy while raising littles is a lot more complicated than just making a schedule and sticking to it. As a mom to two, soon to be three boys, I know there is MY PLAN and then there is the reality of how things go.
The answer here isn’t to do more, be more, and expect more of yourself. You’re already maxed out, overwhelmed, and maybe even feeling hopeless. I want to share with you 5 simple, important tips that can help you get healthy while also caring for your kiddos. A healthy, happy mama isn’t just what your children deserve – it’s what YOU deserve.
TIP #1 BE EMPATHETIC TO YOUR SEASON OF MOTHERHOOD
The second you discover you’re pregnant you are a mom up through the end of time. However, the day you find out you’re expecting to the moment we leave this place has a lot of different looks to it. Realize that trimester one of pregnancy, to having a baby, to raising a toddler, onto a high schooler, etc are all very, very different seasons. Identify which one you’re in. Do you have young children, do you have multiple children, do you have all age ranges? Even from a 10-month-old to a 3-year-old is going to look extremely different in your season of life. Identify your season so you can give yourself some empathy and create realistic expectations. You don’t have to live at the gym 6 days a week, 2 hours a day for it to count. Maybe all you have is 20 minutes 3 days a week between the chaos and schedules. That’s perfectly perfect. Every step you take whether it’s a giant leap or a centimeter tiptoe counts and matters. Align your goals, expectations, and plan with your season of life.
TIP #2 SET REALISTIC BOUNDARIES
The reason your children make it to that doctor’s appointment or sports practice is because it’s a commitment and priority that YOU make happen. You have your career because you show up to work and do what you are required to do. The bills get paid on time because you make sure that they are getting paid. With the dozens of balls that you’re juggling in a day if you don’t set a boundary for yourself, it’s too easy for you to get lost in everything else. A boundary needs to be specific however that does not mean inflexible. If you said you’re taking time to meal prep on Sundays but some Sundays get bogged down by other non-negotiable priorities simply be flexible around the boundary without eliminating it. Boundaries are again going to look different about the season you’re in. Think of the bare minimum 1-2 boundaries you could set today. Can you have Wednesday and Friday nights to have an hour to yourself? Can you commit to using the gym daycare certain days during the week? The most important part of a boundary is putting it in the same mindset category as those other priorities we constantly pour energy into. More time is not going to come to us in a day so we need to create it for ourselves.
TIP #3 ASK FOR HELP
Everyone’s support system looks very different. Some people are blessed with big families that live relatively close to each other and benefit from having help raising children. Other people are raising their children alone and without a support system at all. Some people fall in between those two different scenarios. It is again important to look at where YOU can find a support system to help you. Maybe you have a friend you can trade time watching kids versus spending time alone. Tell your significant other when you’re overwhelmed and about your goals. Fight that voice telling you that you should be able to do it all, be it all, and any help you need is a “burden”. Get rid of the guilt and shame over feeling like you should be able to handle everything without help. It can be as simple as allowing your children to go into the daycare at the gym and using the allowed time to workout and shower in peace. Having the ability to ask for help and finding the way to make it happen is not always easy but it is necessary for you to be able to take care of yourself.
TIP #4 DO HEALTHY THINGS YOU ENJOY
You’re most likely spending your days trying to tick things off the list that seems to gain more things as soon as you accomplish one. Don’t make getting healthy another thing that seems draining and brings negative vibes. There are so many different ways to turn your health journey into a therapeutic treat instead of something else to feel like is bogging you down. Do you like peaceful walks alone? Go to the park and walk a trail while listening to your favorite comedy podcast. Do you enjoy trying new recipes? Find the more optimal version of your favorite sweet treat and try that recipe out. Do you enjoy friendly competition? Start a group accountability chat with a couple of friends and have a fun reward for a monthly winner. This is where it can be beneficial to get creative and see how enjoyable it can be to do things that are fun and also that make you feel great.
TIP #5 Ditch The “Overwhelmed Means Accomplished” Culture
We currently live in a culture where women have an extreme amount of expectations to meet. You should cook homemade meals after you work on arts and crafts with the kids after a day of working your glamorous career then still having enough personality and energy left to be a funny, desirable woman for your significant other at the end of the day and get into bed so you can wake up to get in your workout and day of planning that includes meditation and personal development. Whew. Exhausting, overwhelming, and completely too much. Get enough sleep. Take a vacation. Get off social media and read a book. Health is so much more than how you eat and working out. It is doing things that keep your heart, mind, and soul healthy. Do things that aren’t you doing things in order to make someone or some idea of yourself happy but purely to make yourself happy. Whether or not that is “good enough” for the people around you is not what is important. YOU ARE WHAT IS IMPORTANT. Ask yourself what expectation you can take off your plate and realize you don’t need to keep grinding to have it all and be it all. Whatever and whoever you are is already worthy.
These tips may have seemed pretty unconventional and weren’t tips on what to eat and what workout to do. But they are tips that are much more real. They speak to real life, to maybe things you have been struggling with. They are tips to help you start your own journey from burnout to the beginning. Just know that no matter where you are beginning you are worth whatever time, effort, or energy required to live a healthy life.