We are all so busy—work, family, household responsibilities. Don’t even get me started on dishes and laundry!! The back-to-school time of year can exacerbate all of it. It seems impossible to find time for fitness, yet you can’t do the things you want to do in your life if you don’t care for yourself and your body. You know you need to move, but how to fit it in?
After putting out my back on our family vacation when baby#2 was a year old, I started to really examine how to fit in fitness as a busy working mom. Here are my five practical steps to find time for fitness.
The first step is a mindset shift. From there, follow steps #2-5 for practical strategies for making time to move.
Step 1: Let go of excuses like “My kids/husband/work/laundry won’t let me exercise.” You have a lot of things on your plate—everyone does. But putting the blame for you not taking time for you on others will not solve the problem. Who loses when you do that? Only YOU!
When you take time for yourself to work out, you send a message to the world: I am important. And that is a profound message for others to hear about you: that you value and love yourself. By sending this message into the world you will command value and love from others.
Maybe you have never thought of fitness this way. It is so easy to get caught up in the daily to-do list and forget that the things we do are the outer manifestation of our mindset. You need to adopt a mindset that puts your health and well-being at the top of your list—instead of always letting it slip to the bottom, after everyone else’s.
Ask yourself: do you believe you are important? What would happen if you were hospitalized? How would those people who depend on you get through their day-to-day?
Now let me give you some tough love: you are not standing still. Your health is either improving or deteriorating. It is not locked at its present condition. If you don’t put your health at the center and actively work to improve it, your health is deteriorating and you are at risk of getting into a situation where you can no longer perform your day-to-day tasks. Your back goes out. You start to develop heart disease. Diabetes is looming. To be healthy you have to move, and to move you have to believe you are important! (And guess what, you are important!!)
Step 2: Figure out your routine. Back-to-school can disrupt or help us create a rhythm. Let’s look at it from the positive side: it’s time to create a routine that includes fitness. (For help, download our Back-to-school Routine Builder).
You don’t need a lot of time if you do at-home workouts or can walk or run in your own neighborhood. 30 minutes is enough. Ideally, you will find a time to work out that is the same every day, and treat it like an appointment. (For me it’s right after dropping off the kids at school.) That way your mind and body get used to the routine and exercise will come to feel natural and expected after about a week of consistency. (Send us a message for 30 minute at-home workout ideas!)
Step 3: Ask yourself: what can I cut from my life? Honestly, if you add something you have to take something away. There are only 24 hours in a day. Do you really need to watch TV? I mean can you cut back 30 minutes of TV watching per day? Yes, you can. (And that’s one of the things I did.)
Maybe you feel like you need to watch that extra TV or scroll through Facebook for those 30 minutes to relax. Here’s where the mindset shift becomes important again: if you replace those activities that you think of as “relaxing” (but that are actually just time-wasting) with working out, you will be more clear and centered in yourself, and you won’t need those zone-out activities.
Fitness makes you happier, healthier, mentally sharper—more awesome!!
Step 4: Realize there is no “perfect,” there is just “done.” Stop trying to find the perfect time to do things. It is hard to hit the perfect moment to work out when you are not too hungry, but not too full. When you have energy. When your kids are finally distracted or sleeping. Forget perfect. You might have to work out a little hungry, or a little full. You will most definitely have to close the door to your workout space and let the kiddos bang on it for 30 minutes (if your kids are like mine!). If you can’t wake up early to work out you will have to pull it together and do it after work. Or late at night. Just roll with it and get it done. Again, a routine will help you stick to your plan.
Step 5: Share your plan to move with others. If you are accountable to others you are more likely to go through with your plan to exercise. So find a workout buddy, post your intentions on social media and ask your friends to keep you accountable. Not only will this help you but it will help others to be inspired by you!
Don’t forget to tell your kids about fitness, too. They might not want to be ignored for 30 minutes while you work out, but they will see that moving your body is important. They will learn that self-care is important. And isn’t that what we want for them? To learn how to take care of their precious bodies and prioritize their health? You are a great role model for that!
Let’s talk about it! How do you make time for fitness? Comment below about your plan to prioritize fitness and get it done! (And in the meantime, grab your free PDF, your Back to School Routine Builder!)