Self care is sometimes elusive for moms. Mom guilt is strong. We juggle our families’ needs along with our own and so often we put our families’ wants above our own needs. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours to fit it all in. When I find this happening, I remind myself I am a person and I also matter. Self care isn’t selfish. We can’t pour from an empty cup. When we practice self care, we set ourselves up to better manage stress, strengthen our immune system, build positivity.
We need to live healthier lives not just for ourselves but so we can have the physical and emotional energy necessary to best care or and be with our family long into the future. By clarifying needs vs. wants, we can find some time in our day for self care. Schedule your exercise on the calendar in ink just as you would any other important appointment. Wellness is a journey, we need to set goals to keep ourselves accountable and live the healthiest life possible.
I’ve been there with the mom guilt and lack of motivation! I discovered a love for fitness after I had my first of four boys. I had gained over sixty pounds during my pregnancy, because, well, I had the misconception that there would be no lasting effects from eating for two (or more accurately, four!) and that the weight would magically fall off once my son was born. I was so very wrong. I turned toward exercise and nutrition. I fit in exercise while my son napped. I discovered exercise had not just physical benefits but emotional ones as well; I began to incorporate more varied and frequent exercise into my routine. I learned to let go of the mom guilt and take time to keep myself healthy.
WHY SHOULD I EXERCISE?
The benefits of exercise are seemingly endless. Exercise is my therapy, it’s my time to unwind, decompress and zone out. Exercise reduces stress, helps combat the symptoms of anxiety and depression, lowers our risk of osteoporosis, arthritis and dementia, improves cognitive function and cardiac health, prevents or lessens the impact of chronic illness such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and eight types of cancer. It increases our quality of sleep, improves our energy levels, and makes us stronger, which results in less aches and pains. Improving our physical fitness will help us age gracefully, decreasing our rate of injury and helping us continue to comfortably perform activities of daily living.
HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO I NEED?
The current guidelines for physical activity (https://bit.ly/2Dg4zSe) include a recommendation that adults get at least 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week as well as strength training twice a week (subscribe to my newsletter for a great 20 min. resistance workout you can do pretty much anywhere). The recommendation for children ages 6-17 is 60 minutes each day, and for the pre-K crowd, it is recommended that they engage in active play throughout the day. Get out there and play some of your favorite childhood games with your kids:
- red light/green light
- kick the can
- ride bikes
(For those of you in NC, Hanging Rock State Park is a great day trip). These experiences will create time to bond as a family while showing your kids that fitness is fun!
There are plenty of ways to get yourself going if you need a little motivation. Start small, set goals for yourself that are realistic, no need to go from zero exercise to 300 minutes all in the first week, in fact, that will likely set you up for soreness and leave you feeling overwhelmed. You are the expert of your own life, decide what you are comfortable doing and build from there.
- Feel free to join my free Facebook group Project Fitness – The Journey for support from like minded women.
- Use a workout journal to write your plan the night before, seeing it waiting can help you stay accountable.
- Make plans with a friend to go to the gym, you won’t want to be a no-show when someone else is waiting for you.
- Create a kick ass playlist with favorite songs that you only listen to during your workouts, or try some stations from your streaming service, I love Amazon Prime Music and Rock My Run (free version) is also a fun app that has playlists geared to exercise.
- When you truly feel you can’t summon the energy to workout, make yourself a promise. You will go for ten minutes. If after ten minutes you still want to stop, you can – no negative self talk, no beating yourself up – however, chances are, once you get going, you’ll have the physical and emotional energy you need to continue.