A new day, a new challenge. You plan, schedule, and prepare the best you can, but life often gets in the way. Your perfectly scheduled day has been crowded with unplanned circumstances, which you face with too little sleep and too much caffeine. You’re a parent- arguably one of the greatest roles in your life- but you are also tired. In every attempt to care for others, you have placed yourself at the bottom of a very long priority list.
“This is my reality. As a mom of two toddlers, I often find myself juggling work, well-baby visits, preschool performances, and playgroups.”
Picture this: I have packed lunches and dressed my kids for a day at school. I’m loading them into the car and hurrying to car line before the work day begins. I’ve been awake for 3 hours already, so I have an energy drink in one hand and a breakfast pastry in the other. I’m exhausted. I’m not myself. In a sea of processed sugar in caffeine, it finally clicks: I deserve better.
It’s easy to get caught up in a world of competing priorities. That isn’t the issue, though. The issue at hand is the fact that in all of my priorities, I undervalued my own health and well-being. I was so busy cutting fruit into toddler-friend size bites, that I forgot to grab a healthy breakfast for myself. I was so busy creating the most sleep-friend nursery, that I forgot that I needed more than 5 hours of sleep myself. I was so busy racing to the park, that I forgot that I needed 30 minutes of exercise to keep my mind and body active. I forgot about my health, and for a brief moment, I forgot about myself.
2017 was my year of “me”. I committed to a new lifestyle. I didn’t have to sacrifice any time, energy, or resources that I was pouring into my children. In fact, I would argue that prioritizing my health and well-being actually gave me more time and more energy to spend with the people I love. Previously, I was tapping into a limited resource. After committing to a healthier lifestyle, I had more to give to myself and others. You can, too!
If you find that your health and wellness has taken a back seat to competing priorities, try these tips and tricks:
Time is your friend
Yes, there are only 24 hours in a day and we have no control over that. However, we can control how we use that time. Be intentional about planning your day, understanding that things will come up. Schedule time for exercise and preparing a healthy meal, just as you would a dance recital or soccer game.
Sleep (because you deserve it)
Getting a full 7-8 hours of rest is truly restorative. Cut the caffeine, turn off the television, and put away the phone. You’ll thank yourself later.
Learn to love exercise
You’re already exhausted, why would you want to exercise? Believe it or not, exercise can actually give you more energy. This isn’t always in a gym. Sometimes it’s 30 minutes before the workday begins. Other times it is on your lunch break. Every time you exercise, you are investing in yourself. Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore. Find what you like and commit to a healthy routine.
Meal prep is worth your time
Anytime time you can save yourself a last-minute drive-thru meal is time well spent. When you prepare your breakfast and lunch meals ahead of time, you are preparing the nutrients your body needs for the day ahead. You control the ingredients and you control the portions. In a day filled with unexpected circumstances, you can control that morning or midday meal.
Find your tribe
Find someone who will make you a priority. This can be a significant other, a friend, even a coworker. This person is someone who knows your goals and will be in your corner as you achieve or revise them. You are everything to so many people, so you should have someone looking out for you, too.
Managing your health and wellness may seem like a large undertaking, especially when you are out of practice. However, any step in the right direction is progress. While this won’t happen overnight, establishing a healthy lifestyle is worth your time each and every day. In truth, we are far more valuable to ourselves and to the people depending on us when we are feeling our best. I hope that you will take the challenge and make 2018 your year of “you.”