Healthy habits have always been part of my life but lately they had been overlooked and, quite frankly, ignored for the last year or so.
Leading up to being forty really got me into thinking that I need to welcome healthy habits if I want to have a healthier life. Towards the end of 2018 I started feeling tired and just not very energized. Maybe finally starting to feel my age. I want to be the person that grows old with my husband. I want to see my kids grow, get married, and hopefully start their own family and have kids that I get to meet and care for. I knew I needed to change my lifestyle.
Last September, I realized I wasn’t doing anything for self-care. I invest all of my time in my kids, my husband and friends, but I was putting myself last. Now, I don’t want to sound like a martyr. I LOVE taking care of people, but I was failing at taking care of the most important person: myself.
Do you remember when you are on the plane and the flight attendant explicitly instructs passengers “in the event of an emergency please put on your oxygen mask before assisting small children or others”? well, I was doing the total opposite. I was helping everyone else but me and it started to take a toll on me. I was tired all the time. I was drained.
I enrolled my kids in every class I thought they needed to be in, but would not sign up at the gym because I didn’t have the time or money to invest in myself. I would get gift certificates for a manicure or pedicure only to have it expired or have to run to get it done a day or two before it expired. Call it mom guilt or lack of self-love but I was putting myself dead last. My breaking point was when I realized I had gained back the pounds I lost after giving birth to my second baby.
I realized I needed to incorporate healthy habits that would bring me joy. Not by doing something for someone else, but by doing something for me!
I decided to cancel our gym family membership that we only used during the summer and I joined a HIIT (High-Intensity interval training) gym. I started working out once a week. Once I became comfortable with the workout and wouldn’t be sore for days on end, I started going twice a week. I love this workout. Healthy habit… check!
I am now on a set schedule and will not cancel my workout unless something extraordinary happens. Figuring out the best time to go the gym and commit 100% took some trial and error and some help from my husband but it was worth it. I tried working out in the evening a few times and it is just not for me. I had so much energy after working out that I would be awake until midnight, so morning workouts are the key for me. I get my workout done before the sun comes out and everyone at home is still sleeping. Hubby helps me feed the kiddos while I shower and then I get the kids ready for school.
Starting this goal and sticking to it has made me want to change other habits this year:
Eat breakfast: I have a bad habit of skipping breakfast. Unless cappuccino is considered a meal, breakfast usually is overlooked on busy mornings, when I am feeding my littles, preparing school lunches and getting kids out the door on time for school. My goal is to prepare a smoothie or quick breakfast and eat before kids wake up. This will ensure that I actually finish my meal before chaos begins.
Meal prepping: As a full time working mom, I need to meal prep so I avoid eating cafeteria food at work at all costs! I am a master at meal prepping and I am so good at preparing my kids healthy school lunches, yet I never “have time” to prepare my lunch. So this year I am adding “make my lunch” to my morning routine. Every time I am running late and don’t have a chance to make my lunch, I end up making bad decisions at lunch time. Hello fried food! I would never forget to make lunch for the kids, yet I forget to make my lunch 3 out of 5 times (putting on my oxygen mask this time!).
Going to bed an hour early: I know this one is a tough one. Once our kids are in bed, I just want to sit on the couch, cuddled with hubby and watch NETFLIX until we are caught up on every show. Of course, the next day I am exhausted and I second guess my fabulous idea of going to bed late. Now that I need to wake up at 4am on the days I work out, I force myself go to bed early to have energy the next morning. This little but important change, has made me feel less tired and achy when I wake up. I actually feel rested! Healthy habit… check!
Reading: I truly enjoy reading and at some point after my second child was born, I started a book club. Believe it or not I had time to read thanks to all the pumping sessions I had for a whole year of breastfeeding. We had a lovely time reviewing the book of the month, catching up on life, and deciding what to read next. I miss my Book Club meetings! I don’t know that I will start a book club again, but I have started reading again and it’s “me time” I cherish whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour a day.
Staying Hydrated: Remember the oxygen mask analogy? When I was pregnant and while I was nursing, I would diligently drink 32 ounces of water, yet I stopped being consistent after I stopped nursing. I am good at staying hydrated while I work out, but need to do a better job at drinking water constantly while I am at my desk.
Setting a new challenge: I love challenges and once I set a goal, I try my best to achieve it since I have a competitive nature. In the vein of staying healthy, I have set a challenge to run at least one 5k this year and train for a half marathon at the beginning of 2020.
Cultivating a Hobby: I have a few hobbies that I don’t always have time to do. I am a crafter and if time and money allowed, you would see me every day practicing photography, or at local DIY studios like Pinspiration, As You wish, or Board & Brush making a new and exciting craft. This year I am adding some ME time in my calendar to work on photography and crafts.
Yoga: My daughter loves to practice yoga with me, so this will be a great way to have some mommy and daughter time. She will also keep me accountable; since she won’t let me skip yoga once we start a routine.
I am excited to add these healthy habits in my life. I know for sure that working out has brought great joy. I feel accomplished after a workout and I feel proud of myself for getting up at the crack of dawn to do something for myself. I have more energy, I am a happier person on the days I got to the gym, and I hope that by slowly adding more healthy habits into my daily routine, I become a better wife, mom, daughter and friend. I also wish this lifestyle change encourages my kids to be more active. I want to lead my kids by example and create healthy habits with them.
Cheers to being 40 and fit!
I would love to know what you do for self-care. Maybe I can add some of your healthy habits into my life!