My typical weekday morning goes something like this.
Wake up, brush teeth, wake up kids for school, take shower, pull still sleeping kids out of bed, make breakfast, pack lunches, wake up husband, remind kids to brush teeth, feed dog, help the Girl find glasses, help the Boy find backpack (which we later discover is at Grandma’s house), put laundry in washing machine, help husband find car keys, drive kids to school, come home, wash dishes, put laundry in dryer…and I still need to find time take care of myself, meet with clients, pick up kids from school, take the Girl to soccer, take the Boy to Cub Scouts, go grocery shopping and make dinner.
If your days are anything like mine, finding time to exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. In fact, finding time to take care of myself can seem more like another dreaded chore instead of something beneficial and good for my health and sanity.
It was easy to let myself become an after thought because putting the needs of my family before my own was what a good mother was supposed to do right?
The longer I put myself last on the priority list, the unhappier and unhealthier I became. My migraine headaches and insomnia came back with a vengeance. I started gaining weight because cheesecake, pasta and wine were my go to solutions for a stressed out day instead of dealing with my shit. My joints and back started aching and I was always tired. My body was sending me warning signs I could no longer ignore. I needed to make time to take care of myself. No more excuses.
The excuses had to stop, my body depended on it.
I decided to start small and once my body became accustomed to my new routine I could gradually increase the time and level of intensity.
My first change was waking up earlier.
If I wanted to fit in “workout time” I needed to wake up before my family did so I could do it uninterrupted. I decided to wake up at 4:00 am. One hour (somedays 30 mins if I needed an extra 30 mins of sleep) earlier than I normally did. It was very hard to commit to in the beginning. After a couple of weeks, it became easier to wake up earlier. My new wake up time also set the tone for the rest of my day. I had more energy and I was no longer struggling to fall asleep at night (probably because I was waking up so freaking early). So far so good.
My second change was delegating tasks to my husband.
I tend to be a little bit of a control freak. I like to do everything myself. Even if it means I am going to be exhausted, stressed out and bitchy. This was not serving me (or my family) well so I decided to let some responsibility fall to my husband. This also meant, I needed to stop micromanaging him and let him do his thing without my interference from the sidelines. I will be honest, this was extremely hard for me to do. I have gotten better but I know I am still learning to let the little shit go. He will probably never be able to clean the kitchen as perfect as I think I can. Or sweep the floor without leaving pockets of dirt but at least I don’t have to do it.
*Now I realize everyone may not have a partner to delegate tasks to. If that is the case, have your kids pitch in if they are capable! Or if you have another form of help, take it (even if it is your mother in law)! Yes, you can do everything by yourself but if you someone offering help and you need it; let the ego go and just take it. And remember to say, thank you.
My third change was finding ways to work smarter not harder.
For instance, I realized doing laundry was taking up entirely too much time. My solution was to wash at the laundry mat. There are several laundry mats in my neighborhood so it made sense for me to spend approximately 2 hours to wash and fold 10 loads of clothes instead of doing it periodically throughout the day. Aside from saving time, I also saved money because my PG&E bill went down (slightly). I also started prepping our meals for the week to cut down on random grocery store trips and trying to figure out what to cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This also saved us money on random restaurant expenses when I didn’t feel like cooking or was too tired to make it to Trader Joe’s for groceries.
My final change was realizing I did not have to accomplish everything on my to-do list.
Yup, sometimes you just can not get everything done and guess what? It is ok! If I did not get around to washing the dishes or some other mundane household chore it was perfectly ok. Especially, if I had a better option like spending time with my family or spending time with my damn self. I honestly do not know why I did not think of this one sooner.
Summer is coming and I am so ready for a vacation! I am thinking about taking a family vacation back to Puerto Rico this summer. I miss the warm ocean water, warm people and amazing food. I just need a week to do nothing but sunbathe, do yoga on the beach and spend time with my family. I am thinking about spending all our time in Rincon this year, as close to the beach as possible.
Where is your favorite place to vacation with your family? What do you do to make more time to take care of yourself?