COVID-19 may have you adding more to your list of duties. Instead of beating yourself up about your health, use these tips to get your health back on track!
So here’s the thing: it’s super easy to lose track of your physical and mental health. Life gets in the way and all of a sudden, years have gone by without you prioritizing your own wellbeing. You’ve probably seen people use the phrase, ‘No excuses!’ when it comes to skipping the gym or eating unhealthily. However, in reality, there are plenty of excuses. The stresses of a career, being a mom, owning a home, and being a great friend, family member and wife mean that yes, there are plenty of excuses why you can’t always be at the top of your game health-wise! Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, with your kids learning at home, you might have had to add the role of teacher to the long list of responsibilities that are falling at your feet.
If this sounds like a familiar scenario, there is no judgment here. Instead of beating yourself up about losing track of your food, fitness, general wellness or mental health – use this moment of realization as an opportunity for change. Here are ten ways to help you get your health back on track!
1. Start Small
We’ve all been there. You decide to take a stand and change your ways – new year, new me! – and by day three of eating salad and waking up early to workout, you’re exhausted and close to giving up. Once you add kids into the equation of the craziness of life, you can’t simply rejuvenate your routine overnight. If you try, you’re doomed to fail, and will find yourself feeling even more downbeat than before.
So start small. Add five minutes of meditation to your day. Research therapy and get some advice. Swap in a fresh vegetable to one of your meals. Take it easy on yourself; self-kindness and love is the best start to any journey.
2. The ‘Just Do It’ Mentality: Overcoming Fear
If there’s a specific ‘thing’ you’ve been meaning to look at, implement, or finish for a while – now is the time. Whether there’s an ache or pain you’ve been putting off having examined; a painful tooth you know probably needs a dental crown procedure; a worrying thought that won’t leave your head… Whatever the ‘thing’, there’s no time like the present. If you know what needs to be done to start fixing the problem, it’s time to get going. Life is short, and even if something feels frightening to deal with, the sooner it’s over, the sooner you can move on.
3. Investing In Yourself
When was the last time you did something just for yourself? As a working mom, it might feel like every single thing you do is for other people. Whether it’s for your kids, your partner or your work, you may feel like you’re giving, giving, giving all the time. While all moms know we’d do anything for our kids, it’s not selfish to do something for yourself.
If you need a break, take it. There is nothing wrong with taking yourself away on a short solo trip, even if just for one day, to breathe. Even though you may want to take the kids everywhere, and feel you’ll miss them if you go alone, this alone time will be more beneficial than you realize. You are still an individual person, and your identity is important. So make an investment today – whether it’s a trip, a hike, a project, or a spiritual journey – and do something only for yourself.
4. Combining Health and Efficiency
All moms know that we want the best for our own physical health, as well as for that of our kids. It isn’t just about getting your ‘body back’, which is a pressure most moms feel nowadays, but is also about keeping yourself functioning, sleeping well, and as fit as possible. When your life is as busy as that of the momtrepeneur, health has to be a priority.
Unfortunately, as we all know, sometimes we can’t always be our best selves. Healthy eating is not that easy – if you’ve only got ten minutes to whip something up, that ‘something’ might end up being a quick, easy, cheap meal. However, there’s a way to efficiently cook healthy foods. Nowadays, there are awesome recipe books that help combine health and speed.
5. Sharing The Load
As working moms, we often feel like we have something to prove, right? That we can do it all, that we’re strong, that we’re capable and powerful. While all those things are true, it is not an admission of weakness to ask for help.
Let’s start with your partner (if you have one). Are they taking their fair share of responsibility for childcare and household work? Recent studies have found that even in this day and age, with both parents in full-time work, the women still do more housework and chores than their male partners. Even in contemporary partnerships where we feel like our partner does their share, these situations can slip under the radar.
Getting your health back on track necessitates more time spent focusing on yourself. One way of enabling this is to examine whether your partner is able to lighten your load as a working mom. This doesn’t have to turn into a fight or a strict ‘rota’ of chores – but a calm, mature examination of your routines might reveal some disparities between your workloads.
6. It Takes A Village
Everyone’s heard the phrase ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ but how many of us utilize our communities in our real lives? Often, as working moms, we can have a lot of built up guilt as a result of spending more time away from our kids than stay-at-home-moms. This guilt is often a result of our society’s mom-shaming tendencies which often don’t apply to dads who spend more time at work than at home!
In order to focus better on yourself, it’s time to reach out to your village. Your child will likely benefit from spending time with, and getting to know, adults in your life who they can look up to and call family. You don’t need to have a live-in nanny – although this works for some people! – to have your child well taken care of. Reaching out to family and friends who you trust, to help take care of and raise your children, isn’t just a practicality. It is also a lovely way of allowing your child to connect on a deeper level with your family and close community, and vice versa.
7. Involving Your Kids
Although it’s essential to take time for yourself, taking your health seriously is most beneficial as a family activity. Helping yourself eat more healthy, nutritious food and adding more movement to your routine will be amazing for everyone in your household, not just for yourself. Plus, getting the kids involved helps make health and fitness into a lifestyle, not just a hobby you have to fit around your life.
Some ways to involve the kids in healthy habits are:
- Teaching them to cook. It’s super beneficial to you and your kids not just to feed them well, but to teach them how to feed themselves. Getting your happy helpers into the kitchen and helping them learn how food is prepared will give them a newfound appreciation for your work, and will also arm them with the skills they’ll need when they emerge into adulthood.
- Family sports. Even if you aren’t a ‘sporty’ family, you can still try out new activities together! These don’t have to be time consuming, but can actually be free, such as hiking. If you want to do a fun day out, try taking a day to learn a new sport, like taking a kayaking class, cycling a scenic route, or pony trekking.
- A healthy mindset. Health is not just physical. If your child suffers from anxiety or any other mental health issues, encouraging them to have healthy practices in life will help their mindset. Health is not always about losing weight or looking a certain way but instead is about how you feel inside. Teaching this mantra to your children will allow them to want to be healthy for their feelings, not for their looks.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced all of us to slow down and simplify our lives. Suddenly unable to do the thousands of activities and jobs they set out for themselves, many people found this change unexpectedly helpful to their health and wellbeing. We fill our lives up to the brim with constant full-speed-ahead activity and sometimes this isn’t healthy. Try slowing down your routine. Does your child need to practice four different sports clubs per week, or would one or two suffice? Do your vacations have to be adventurous, far-away destinations every single time, or would a close-to-home ‘staycation’ be calmer and easier?
Being healthy as a working mom is hard. Self-love and acceptance that nothing will ever be perfect is the way to feeling and being healthier and happier!