As summer is coming to an end and schools are starting back up women, especially mothers, might find themselves feeling stuck in a rut. I think it is safe to assume, we have all been there at some point in our lives for a variety of reasons. The hardest part is finding the motivation to crawl out of it and TRY to do better.
First off find out what motivates and inspires you to want to be better. What gets your heart pumping and makes you feel excited or possibly nervous to try? Maybe you will discover something you never knew about or never thought of before. Then, STOP neglecting yourself and do something you KNOW will make you feel better. You deserve it!
Once you have discovered some options, pinpoint what is stealing your joy and strive to change it. Ask yourself, what is ONE thing I want to change and examine why? If it is a more common one like exercising and eating healthier, make sure to consult with your physician first before you begin. Do your research and explore several options. Maybe its sleeping better, having more alone time with your spouse, needing to have more friend time, finding a new hobby, and don’t forget about needing ALONE time (yes, we all need it, even you!).
Be realistic and stay positive. Commit to making the change you want. If it is health related and you are a recent postpartum mom, your body is different and may still be recovering. You are tired, sore and would rather be doing anything else than exercising. The thought of getting dressed and going out makes you want to pull the covers up over your head and stay in bed. DON’T. Find your new normal, accept it and embrace it. Be kind to yourself! Look for a new mantra or quote that will work for you. Print it out and stick it on your mirror, repeat it several times a day and believe it.
Here are a few that inspire and motivate me:
“Dear Past, thank you for all the lessons. Dear Future, I am ready now.” ~Unknown
“Let go of things you cannot change, Focus on things that can.” ~Unknown
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress” ~Frederick Douglas
“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.” ~Louise Smith
“We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are” ~ Max De Pree
“Change brings opportunity” ~Nido Qubein
“Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself” ~Unknown
“One reason people resist change is that they focus on what they have to give up, rather than what they have to gain.”~ Rick Godwin
“Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle” ~Unknown
Make a plan specific to what you want to change…
For exercise start out slow, aim for one or two times a week then gradually increase your days and times.
- Don’t expect to hit the gym 5 days a week with a 6 week old, you will be setting yourself up for disappointment and failure.
- Find a friend or accountability partner to encourage and push you.
- Start out with a short walk while wearing your baby or pushing them in a stroller. Depending on the weather, you might need to go early in the morning or after the sun sets, but make a plan and stick to it!
- Hydrate and feed before you leave, maybe go during a regular nap time. Babies love fresh air, so get out and breathe it in.
- Try a yoga or pilates class if you feel up to it, research to see if you can find a mommy and me exercise type of class.
- Exercise has so many wonderful benefits and elevates your mood.
“Exercise is the most potent and underutilized antidepressant….and it’s free”
Healthier eating…decide what that looks like and how realistic it will be for you.
- Don’t make it too hard. Baby steps are the key.
- If you are nursing, consult your doctor, Weight Watchers has a nursing weight loss program.
- Start with a food log, write down everything you eat and drink. Sometimes you don’t really know what you are ingesting until you write it down and examine it.
- Stay hydrated, drink half your body weight in water.
- Cut out the little things, maybe trade in dessert for a piece of fruit or just go without it. Clean out your cupboards and get rid of the temptations to eat the unhealthy stuff.
- Chew slowly, enjoy your food and stay hydrated. If you are like me, try eating 4-6 small meals a day instead of 1 or 2 large meals. Constantly keep something in your stomach so you are never starving!
- Join a healthy eating challenge so others will hold you accountable.
“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel” ~ Kevin Trudeau
Make time with your spouse or significant other (SO)…this always gets pushed to the side with kids. Reconnect.
- You must make it a priority to spend this time together. If your spouse/SO works all day, cut out 5-10 min to catch up on the day’s events once s/he gets home.
- Make date nights and arrange for babysitting on a regular basis and don’t spend all your time talking about the kids.
- Make the most of your time once the kids go to bed or even during nap time. Cuddle on the couch with the kids.
- Make your husband/SO a priority and set a foundation for healthy relationships, it is important for your kids to see you two enjoying each other.
- Check in with each other throughout the day.
- Leave little sticky notes on the mirror, in their lunch box, purse, briefcase, wallet or on the steering wheel of their car letting them know how much you love and appreciate them.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important”~Steven Covey
Go out with friends. Or invite them over. Join a playgroup or mommy group.
- Let this time be a chance to refresh and recharge you. Friends stimulate you, they know you, they make you smile and laugh and they love you for being YOU.
- Playgroups are a good way to meet other moms who can sympathize with and support you plus it gives your little one some socialization.
- Ask a friend to go with you to the gym…a little motivation goes a long way.
- Make it a rule to NOT talk about your kids, get the adult conversation you desire. Once you feel refueled, then take out pictures and share but don’t make it the focus. If you only have a short time together, use it wisely, laugh a lot.
- Go see a movie, go for an appetizer, desserts or drinks. Rent a favorite old movie and sing along to it.
“New research published in the International Journal of Obesity has discovered that “just 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter. It reduces muscle tension, increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, exercises the heart and produces happy chemicals in the brain called endorphins.”
“Surround yourself with people you trust to make you better, not drag you down and keep at it.” ~Unknown
Try something new, sometimes routines gets tedious, change it up.
- Make a bucket list and cross things off when you accomplish them.
- Do you enjoy listening to music? What about taking up a musical instrument and learning to play. Often times you can find teachers that will come to your house and give you lessons.
- Take an online class in something that interests you. Pick up a camera and take random pictures of things, maybe you are a photographer and never knew you had that talent.
- Take a class at Michaels, Joanne’s or Hobby lobby and learn how to decorate cakes or make knit hats.
- Offer to walk dogs during the day in your neighborhood. Volunteer at the Human Society.
- Do you have a green thumb? Start a garden and learn to make fresh salsa with your homegrown ingredients.
- The options are limitless but you’ll never know if you don’t try!
Sleep…yes it may feel like you will never get another good night’s sleep in your life. You will, just not soon!
- You will get little chunks of time here and there but gone are the 8 hours that you used to get.
- It’s ok, newborns sleep an average of 16-20 a day, then it slowly decreases to 12-14 as they approach a year. The second nap may begin to disappear as they get closer to 2 but their nighttime sleep remains the same amount of time usually. Of course, all children differ, these are just guidelines.
- Ask friends and family members to come over and have some “special alone time” with your baby or toddler, this will allow you to take a nap and recharge while your little one is in trusted hands.
- Turn off screens prior to bed time, read a book, take a warm bath, use white noise.
- Sleep is a huge challenge to overcome and it can definitely stifle your motivation. Find creative ways to overcome this challenge.
“Let her sleep, for when she awakes, she will move mountains”-Unknown
Get up with a plan to get dressed, brush your teeth, put on your game face and get out of the door, you will feel more motivated.
- If you just brush your teeth and stay in your jammies, you will have that blah type of day. Don’t get me wrong, those days are awesome and needed but not every day!
- Take a few minutes to spruce up (may be a lot for some and a little for others) put on real clothes (not yoga pants or sweat pants) and do your hair, it will make you feel better and more confident about yourself. Just that little effort can seep into other areas of your life and make you want to own the day!
- Have a plan for the day, even if it is only one thing. It will be something to look forward to!
YOU time….this is GUILT free time with no hurt feelings and no excuses!
- You are important! You are a mom, which means for the most part you and your brain are on 24 hours a day.
- You need a well-deserved moment of solitude. Alone time is necessary to recharge, see things differently, breathe easier and fill up your tank to keep going.
- When you get the alone time you crave, the quality of your interaction with your others will be even better.
- Aim for solitude for 10-15 min to recharge, you will be happy you took the time.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day; you may never find the time for change, you have to make the time! Focus on what makes you happy and strive to get there. Re-commit daily and when you fail, get up, dust yourself off and keep your eye on the finish line. Never give up! Stay positive! Give yourself a good pep talk! Believe that you can do it! Change is hard, just remember it is NOT a sprint but a marathon! YOU can do this, YOU deserve it. Start today!