Updated: Oct 29
Workouts look a little different these days, don’t they mama? Whatever you do - don’t give up. When your kids see you up and moving, they look up to that and it models the same behavior for them now and in the future whether you realize it or not.
Yes, there will be days where you are too tired or only have 10 minutes; but 10 minutes is better than nothing and it actually has more benefits than you may think.
Here are 5 doable ways you can squeeze in a healthy lifestyle and not stress out about it. Afterall, your health is important too, and you deserve that time to take care of you in between dinners, running back and forth to sporting events, packing lunches and getting the kids out the door every day.
Fuel Your Body - Yes, it may seem impossible to even find time to feed yourself. Dinner is ready and food is on the table. All the kids are fed and out the door and you catch yourself picking at their leftovers on their plates or you pick your way through cooking dinner. We have all been there more times than we can count. And, when your schedule is slammed, eating healthy might seem near impossible. This can result in no cooked dinners and there you are again in McDonald’s drive-thru.
The truth is, a poor diet can wreak havoc on your physical health, plus if you think about it, you are setting a bad example for your kids. So what is a busy mom to do?
Step 1: shop strategically by buying healthy, easy-to-prepare ingredients. Utilize tools like Kroger pickup and delivery, too. If there are healthy foods in reach, that is what you will naturally turn too because junk food now isn’t an option. Some tasty, healthy staples include nuts, fruits, vegetables, and yogurt. Step 2: find one day of the week to meal-prep and if the time doesn’t allow, go ahead and buy those pre-cut veggies or pre-made salads and even those pre-made meals at the grocery are great for quick bites. Step 3: Google “quick, healthy meals for the family” and get some new ideas. Take turns planning family dinners with your significant other and cook in bulk so you don’t have to cook every day of the week. Because who wants to do that?
Enjoy Your Exercise - No matter what workout you choose, as long as you get your blood pumping and you are mostly active throughout the day, your mind and body will thank you for it. If you can’t find time to get your strength training in or go to your favorite workout class, squeeze in a family walk, bike around town, or play a game of basketball with your kids, or get together for a short jog with your girls. Any movement that gets your heart rate up counts, releasing happy endorphins in your brain, equalling a happier mama. Even just a quick 15 minutes counts.
Set Aside Time for Self Care - We know - this phrase is used a lot and you may be giggling right now thinking, “Who has time for that?”
Finding a balance between raising children, working and taking care of yourself is challenging for any mom. You may feel like this is 100 percent impossible or maybe it can be just a monthly luxury if you’re lucky, but in all seriousness, it’s crucial to your physical and mental health. The days are long but life is flying by so now is a good time to throw away the guilt and give yourself a physical and mental break.
Self-care can comes in a variety of forms and it doesn't always mean penciling in a spa day: pursue a new interest or hobbies, read a new book, make a dinner date with friends, go for a hike, have another adult take over and catch up on some zzz’s or go shopping. No matter what “self-care” looks like to you, taking the time out of a busy schedule to focus on you helps boost your mood and restore your energy.
Try and get quality sleep: Yes, yes, what is sleep, right? Getting the right amount of sleep is truly important for your health, so do what you can to take that with a grain of salt and sleep. Good sleep improves your brain performance, mood and health, and when you don’t get enough, your risk of heart disease and stroke to obesity and dementia increases. Take your zzz’s seriously, and aim for 7 - 8 hours once that baby starts sleeping through the night. Have a friend come over to let you sleep, take turns with your spouse and do what it takes to take care of yourself.
Switch up your habits: If something isn’t working, try something else that does. Finding your system can do wonders to making your day run more smoothly and amazingly enough you might free up some time for your health. For example, if you have gotten into a bad habit of sleeping in with the kids (aka not waking up to breath and have coffee before anyone wakes up); or binge-eating all weekend, think about what may be causing those habits and changing one small habit at a time by trying to go to bed a little earlier for example; or add a fruit to your breakfast to avoid the bad, sugary stuff. Just one small step at a time - too much at once can lead to failure and frustration.
Here are some more quick tips and tricks to squeeze in some time for you, mama:
Get up earlier: Easier said than done, but even 10 minutes in the morning to workout (or make yourself a healthy breakfast), before the kids wake up can really set the tone for the day. Try it and let us know the amazing difference.
Use your lunch break: Work is a … distraction to your health sometimes. If your job requires you to be away from home, use your lunch break to get in a quick workout.
Exercise while you watch TV: Have a favorite Netflix show you like to watch with the hubs? Do some bodyweight exercises or stretches here and there while you watch. Who cares what your spouse says, maybe he will join in on the fun.
Take the stairs: If you have the opportunity to take the stairs, do it. It’s a great way to sneak in extra steps and get your heart rate up.
Make it family time: Get everyone involved in your workout routine. Maybe that means an at-home workout, signing up for a family walk/run, or even playing active games together.
Join a gym: This will keep you accountable plus you can get with a trainer to help you get a solid routine going.
Try a HIIT workout: Quick and effective! HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts are a great way to get a lot of exercise in a short amount of time - even as little as 5 minutes per day. Begin with 5 moves and go at your hardest effort for 45 seconds with 15 seconds of rest in between per exercise. Start small, then slowly add on time, more intense movements and intensity as you get better and more time allows.