“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” – Carol Welch
First of all, perhaps, I should have added “if you stick with them!” to the title. I want to preface this post by saying that I am really struggling with what I write about below. Often times, when I write about something that I’ve learned or implemented in my life it does not mean that the buck stops there. I never want to give my readers that impression. I’m continuing to learn and grow. I’m a work in progress, just like anyone else. I’m evolving and sometimes with these changes I find myself slipping back into old habits. Change is hard. Maintaining that change, when slipping back in to old patterns (and ways of thinking) would just be easier, is even harder. That said, I chose to write about this today, because with my Grandma getting sick, caring for her, and all of the other stuff that has happened in the last month, I myself, needed a reminder. XO, B
I’ve talked with countless women lately who say that they feel “disconnected”, “lonely” and “overwhelmed.” They feel as though there is nothing left over at the end of the day for themselves. As a mom/wife/employee/entrepreneur myself, I know how hard it is to try to find balance. Finding, creating, and keeping balance is no easy task. For me, it seems that just as soon as I find that elusive “feeling” known as balance and think that perhaps there really is an “easy street” (and by golly, I’ve just found my way, landing smack dab in the middle of it) WHAM, I’m hit with something new. Something unexpected.
I think that part what these women (myself, included) are feeling is a lack of “self-care” It’s just so easy to give to everyone else and to allow our needs to fall by the wayside. Sometimes we allow it to happen without giving it much thought. Sometimes though things can be going along really well and just when you start to think “I’ve got this”, it all comes unwound. During the busy periods of life, it becomes all too easy to knock ourselves right off of our list. But practicing self care (and making this a non-negotiable) can change your life.
Working, caring for a family, and balancing the two takes a level of commitment and focus that is hard to understand until you have actually experienced it for yourself. In fact, it’s often a challenge that takes on new meaning the moment you set foot down that path—stretching you to grow, learn, and do things that you never would have imagined that you would or even could do. And once you get into a groove, where you are laser focused on achieving your vision, it’s easy to let areas such as health and fitness fall a bit by the wayside.
You may feel like there’s no way you could possible fit one more thing into your day. Perhaps you may even feel a bit guilty for taking any of your precious attention away from your family or your work, because you are afraid that any time spent on “frivolous things” like planning and making healthy meals or exercise would be a distraction from achieving your big goals and/or spending time with your family.
You may feel that, in all honesty, the value just isn’t there. Your health is okay, and yeah maybe you aren’t feeling your best physically, but all in all, you feel good enough to keep pressing forward.
Does any of this sound familiar?
I’m here to tell you that creating a lifestyle of health and fitness is far more important to the quality of your life and your ultimate success in business than you might think. I actually think they go hand in hand.
I mean, really, what’s the point of having success and achieving your goals, if you’ve paid the price of your long-term health in order to achieve it?
And I’m not just talking about physical health here either, your mental health is also extremely important in both family and work life. Creativity, clarity, focus, stamina—these are all very necessary, in child rearing and in business.
I’m want to show you exactly how you can not only bring physical health into your life, but mental health too, just by making 3 fairly simple adjustments in your regular routine. Below are 3 tips I use in learning how to shift from being the “overwhelmed and overworked chick” to ” the calm, energetic, ass kicker.”
1. NEVER underestimate the power of “me-time.”
Me-time is essential to finding calm and creativity. Many women don’t realize the power (or the necessity) of me-time, or time away from your work, business or family, time where you do something that you love to do… unrelated to all of those things. This can be a hobby, exercise, or both. It can be an appointment to do something special to treat yourself, like a massage, girls night, or family day.
Taking time to fill your cup up is absolutely crucial to being healthy and to achieving success because you need that time to recharge.
Have you ever noticed that you get your best ideas in the shower, on a long run, or when you are doing something where you are not taking in information? Sometimes it’s tough to tap into the creative part of yourself while you are in action mode.
A really great question to stop and ask yourself often is, “Why am I doing this?”
Yes, it’s because you have a vision and want to be successful, to make your mark on the world, or maybe even to change the world, but underneath all of that, there’s an underlying truth to your desire for success.
You’re doing this because you think that the achievement of this goal or a certain level of success will make you happy (feel free to insert other similar words here like validated, worthy, important, fulfilled, etc).
I believe women often think that they need to put off present happiness for long-term gain. But I say, you can have both. You can choose to be happy right now and the simplest way that you can do that is to give yourself the time to recharge your batteries. The most important thing is that whatever you choose with your me-time, it should be time spend doing something just for you. Many people look at taking time for themselves as being selfish when really it’s not. You simply have nothing to give to others if your tank is empty.
2. Plan, batch, and make eating healthy meals no big deal.
First of all, I have to be honest. I am fond of neither cooking NOR grocery shopping so this one is really hard for me. Much harder than the other two rules. I know what you’re thinking ” She has FIVE kids and she hates cooking and grocery shopping, how exactly does that work?!?” Most days, I wonder this myself. And there is nothing I hate worse than having to combine my “me-time” with my grocery shopping. That is a recipe for disaster. Pun intended.
But what I have learned is this: Healthy eating really doesn’t have to be difficult. I can throw together a bright colorful salad in 5 minutes or less… which is a lot less time than it takes to go get take-out or heat up a frozen dinner.
The trick I’ve learned is to multitask food prep into your routine. For example, on Sundays and Wednesdays, when you are making dinner, make 3-4 times as much protein so that you will have enough cooked for the next few days—protein meaning chicken breasts, lean turkey or lean beef.
While your protein is cooking, chop veggies for salads not only for dinner that night, but for the next few days as well.
Then, when it’s time for lunch during the week, all you have to do is pull your prepped ingredients out of the refrigerator, throw them in a bowl and eat. This can work extremely well for on the go meals AND for packing kids lunches.
I usually prefer to use organic frozen veggies. Because, (surprise!) my kids are picky eaters, and therefore the veggies they will actually eat is limited. Plus, I just find it easier than washing and chopping.
If you tend to travel and/or eat at restaurants often, you’ll typically be able to find some sort of grilled fish or chicken and salad or steamed veggies on most menus. I know it’s hard to choose these things, especially if you are in a really good restaurant. This is why I try and stay pretty strict with what I eat during the week, so that I can “splurge” a little on weekends, when we are most likely to eat out.
Eating healthy is really no big deal… if you can convince yourself that it’s no big deal. It’s a baby step process, changing one small thing at a time, until suddenly those small changes add up to a lifestyle of long-term, sustainable healthy eating habits . For example, I cut out milk and sweetener and now drink my coffee black with (liquid) stevia. When I started my “lifestyle change” I cut out little things here and there. As it turns out, it really does add up.
Still, there’s no magic switch-flipping secret that’s going to make you a healthy eater overnight, and this is something I really struggle with, so do be patient with yourself and know that every healthier-than-before choice is moving you in the right direction.
3. Schedule your workout as if it were a meeting with your boss. Or an appointment with a VIP.
And then KEEP the appointment! Because that’s what you are, you know…very important.
In order to make fitness a priority, you have to treat it like one and, like any other really important appointment, you have to be willing to make space for it in your schedule.
Most people that say they don’t have time for exercise, actually could find time… they just dislike the idea of working out and/or don’t see the immediate value, so they choose not to make it a priority.
Exercise doesn’t have to be grueling, it can actually be something that you look forward to doing. My motto is that fitness should be something that you “get” to do, rather than something that you “have” to do. When you shift the way you choose to look at exercise, it can become a really special part of your day. It’s that much needed time to stretch, blow off steam, and regroup.
Typically, I workout 5 days a week at 5am. I’ve been told a time or two (ok, a lot of times) that getting up at 4 in morning to workout is CRAZY! I’ll be the first to admit, that yes I am just a little bit crazy, but that’s a whole other post. You see, for me 5 am is the ONLY time that I know is JUST for me. At that time of the morning, there is rarely anything else that is going to come between me and my workout. I know my children will grow up and things will change (hopefully) allowing me more options for working out and more sleep. But for now, working out at 5am helps me start my day off right AND allows me to do something for ME.
That said, making fitness a priority (meaning a non-negotiable) really benefits everyone around you. You see, taking 30 minutes to an hour out of your day to workout and get the endorphins going allows you to return to your to-do list with renewed clarity, energy, and focus. I’m pretty sure most of us could certainly use more of those things…..
Now….which of these 3 tips resonates most for you? How might you incorporate these tips into your routine so that you can be the best version of yourself? Please share below.