As new parents, we often forget how to care for ourselves. Birthdays pass unnoticed, hair is ignored and even teeth go unbrushed. It’s almost comical at times how little we tend to ourselves during the early days (baby drool and sticky hand prints were my accessories for years!). As time goes on, though, many parents start to “reclaim” themselves in some way or another.
I encourage that we all take a good look at the ways we are (and are not!) currently caring for ourselves. The people I know that are really thriving in their lives make their health a daily priority. If you have been putting yourself on the back burner, here are some ideas to help you get your groove back!
A Few Minutes is Better than None
We all have activities we long to do but can’t seem to find the time. Perhaps it’s yoga, reading a favorite book, taking a walk, crafting, or playing music. We tend to wait until we have the right setting to really get down with our favorite hobbies….
Translation: We rarely do them anymore.
My husband Matt, for instance, complains regularly about missing his long Northwest bike rides. I almost have to push him out the door to go for an hour ride around our local hills (while he groans that he’d rather not go at all because the ride will not be epic enough!). However, when he just sucks it up and takes that shorter ride he always comes back smiling because it was “SO worth it!”. When I stop my own whining and get on my yoga mat, I find that a 10 minute session really can nourish me and provide more than I ever would have guessed.
Here is one idea for you: If one of your goals is to become more physically fit, you can literally spend less than 30 minutes a week on the “100 push-ups program.” Within weeks, you will be amazed at how quickly you can rip out a long set of pushups. This is an exercise that you can do anywhere, tones your whole body, and is great for all levels (yes, you can cheat and put your knees on the ground). The 100 pushup program is truly a good time (and yes, there’s an app for that).
Sometimes we just have to integrate our favorite things and do them in a less-than-ideal way. For Matt, he attaches a trailer to his bike and schleps the kids all over the place. For me, I do “yoga” in the living room while the dogs and kids treat me like a licking stick/jungle gym. Other ideas of integration: Listen to your favorite music while you clean the house, dance around while you do that aforementioned cleaning, bring a craft (knitting?) to doctors appointments or places where you will be waiting around, simultaneously clothes shop and catch up with your friends at a clothing swap (invite the ladies over to trade gently worn clothes and hang out! It’s an amazingly fun and economical way to refresh your wardrobe!) (oh I could go on….).
Here’s the Nourish Me challenge: For the next week, try to do something daily that you usually save for longer stretches of time. Shoot for 5-10 minutes of that activity and see how it can squeeze itself back into your life!
Don’t Wait Until Life Gets Easier, Less Crazy or Less Busy – Reality Is, It Might Not!
Come on, you know this by now; life is packed and (at least from my seat) does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Perhaps it’s time to stop telling yourself the story that the near future holds this magical amount of more time or energy to take better care of yourself. Remember, this is not a dress rehearsal, your life is not waiting to start after the kids are a bit older or you change jobs. You are in it right now. This. is. it. Tomorrow is a great time to create the life you want.
Here’s the Nourish Me challenge: After reading this post, write down a few things that you can realistically bring into your life, starting tomorrow. (Baby steps are great!)
Pencil It In
Schedule breaks, exercise, cooking sessions and dates. These things will not spontaneously happen anymore. As a parent, it needs to be in the books. Many at-home parents share that they should have more opportunities to take care of themselves, but it still doesn’t happen. So the solution is, you schedule that morning run or phone call with a friend as if it were part of your job (because caring for yourself IS part of your job!).
Here’s the Nourish Me challenge: Plan a date with your love or friend for next week!
Start the Day off Right
One of our biggest needs, that is severely ignored, is our need for hydration. So many patients I work with discover that when they took my advice to drink more water, they really felt the difference. Water is required for every single metabolic process in the body and dehydration will disguise itself as fatigue, hunger and moodiness. (Yes, you may actually be thirsty and not as tired as you thought!). Caffeine depletes you of water and if you aren’t hitting 8-10 cups daily, you aren’t getting enough. I recommend starting each day with a big glass of water; it’s really not very hard! And while you do it, consider taking a few seconds to set an intention to have a really good day!
Here’s the Obvious Nourish Me Challenge: Drink a full cup of water every morning this week!