Summer draws to a close and school is right around the corner for many children and parents. In one sense, it’s a relief.
But we all know it’s not that easy. With the school year comes the added stress of homework, extracurricular activities, waking up early, and carpooling. I’m cringing as I type.
As a mom, it’s hard enough to keep up with exercise without all the added stress thrown in. Here are eight ways to maintain your fitness and your sanity throughout the craziness of back-to-school season.
1. Manage Your Stress
Doing an activity every day, just for the sake of enjoyment, is one of the best ways to minimize stress. Before the school year starts, sit down and make a list of ten activities you enjoy. Don’t put too much thought into it; just let the thoughts come. Here’s an example list:
- Reading a novel
- Working in the garden
- Doing yoga
- Writing poetry
- Playing piano
- Taking a hot bath with essential oils and magnesium salts
Every day, do at least one of these things for a minimum of thirty minutes. If you find yourself thinking, “I don’t have time for that,” take a step back and think about what this means. If you don’t have thirty minutes a day to do something you enjoy, you need to re-think your life.
2. Eat Food You Like
A healthy diet won’t be sustainable if you don’t enjoy the food you eat. During this busy time of year, it can become even easier to slip into bad eating patterns. If your healthy food is also food you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to eat it.There are plenty of delicious and nutritious foods out there, so don’t settle for bland and boring just because it’s good for you.
3. Play With Your Kids
It shouldn’t be hard to play with your kids, but sometimes it can be difficult to go from get-things-done mode to play mode. Challenge yourself to make that transition once a day. Losing yourself in play and forgetting about all the things that need to be done will go a long way in easing anxieties and worries you might have.
Physical play presents some opportunities to get in a few exercises with your kids as well. For example, create obstacle courses that involve movements like crawling, carrying, balancing, and hanging. When your kids get home from school, run the course with them a few times to get in play time and a short workout as a bonus.
4. Move Some Weight
Resistance training is your friend so get lifting. That can mean anything – bodyweight exercise, kettlebells, or Olympic lifts. Not only is moving weight around regularly good for your health – bone and joint health in particular – but it also relieves stress. It doesn’t have to be complicated and require a lot of equipment, either. Bodyweight exercises like pull ups, muscle ups, dips, and pistols are challenging and fun to progress as well.
5. Walk Every Day
Walking is an easy activity to do every day. Walking helps balance the pelvis and relieve stress. It’s also something you can do anywhere, with or without your children. Aim to walk briskly for at least thirty minutes every day.
6. Sleep Whenever Possible
If you’re a parent, particularly one with young children at home, sleep needs to be a priority. If possible, take naps during the day with your younger children. Go to bed at least eight hours before you need to wake up. That way, even if your kids keep you up for two hours at night, you’ll still get in a minimum of six hours of sleep.
7. Set Goals and Reward Yourself
During hectic times, having small-scale goals that fit into a big-picture scheme is a helpful way to make sure you accomplish the things that are most important to you. This applies to all aspects of life.
And don’t forget to reward yourself when you achieve your goals. When your children work hard to make progress, you reward them, right? The same should apply to you.
Remember, don’t let Facebook status updates and viral photos of perfect bodies fool you. Taking care of kids and keeping up with exercise is not always easy or glamorous. There will be days when the last thing you want to do is pick up something heavy because you’ve been dragging around kids all day.
The key is to remember fitness isn’t just about fitness. There are other aspects at play that are just as important – if not more important – than grinding it out in the gym. So when the going gets tough and you find yourself grimacing at the thought of exercise, think outside the box and evaluate other lifestyle factors first.
Source: Nicole Crawford, breakingmuscle.com