Updated Article 26th July 2022
All too often, as women and mothers, we tend to put others’ priorities before our own. Ask yourself, “How many “hats” do I wear?” Mama, wife, entrepreneur, employee, Girl Guide leader, soccer coach, the list goes on. With so many hats, your mind starts to wander to things that don’t always involve you or sometimes to the negative aspects of your life.
Is there a hat that says “time for me?" When was the last time you stopped to take time for yourself, to put a little time into something you wanted to do for yourself? As mothers, we do everything we can to keep our family healthy. But how are those habits working for you? As a busy mum, your focus is not always balanced. Between preparing snacks for the little ones, to nap times, to play dates, to everyday chores and errands that need to be done - in between it all.
You are trying to keep it all together and think you are doing a pretty good job, until that moment those little voices in your head come to light. Those conversations you had with the other mums at soccer practice or at the playdate. How often have you heard “my kids nap at the same time every day for 2 hours each time” or “my kids eat everything I give them” or (my favourite) “my house is a mess" when you know it really isn’t!
Your mind then starts to wander and wonder what you can do differently, what you are doing wrong. You are doing nothing wrong! Your first instinct is to compare yourself (and your life) to others. If that’s the case - please stop! Get out of your head - what you think your life is supposed to look like. Get out of your head what you think is wrong with your life. From now on, focus on what you do have, what you are grateful for, and what you love about your life and your family.
No one else’s opinion matters about what you do with your life. Stop letting your mind wander, wondering what others will think about you if you live a certain way, dress a certain way, or eat/exercise a certain way. Eliminate all judgements and take a deep breath.
Here are 6 things you can start doing now to get out of your own head and to stop letting your mind wander.
It’s hard sometimes, but it’s important to stay positive even when you feel everything is upside down. 'Stay positive' that things will work out, that everything will come together in time. At the end of the day, what harm will come if, for example, the laundry isn’t put away immediately or the dishes have been in the sink all day. Just think of the fun you had with the kids that day, the smiles on their faces, and the sounds of their laughter. Those are the little things that can help you get through your day. One way to reassure you on these positive thoughts is to take some time in the evenings to write in a journal. Write down 5 things you are grateful for and 5 things that went well in your day.
The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others, whether it’s your physical activity routine, your eating habits, or your every day 'mum life'. You and your life are perfect just the way they are. What works for you does not always work for someone else. Everyone acts and reacts differently to everything in life. It may be frustrating sometimes when you hear how well someone else is doing on their healthy habits… but that’s what works from them. Only you can make the best possible choices for your health and your life when you are ready to make those changes and you are in the right mindset to make those changes a reality, then everything will fall into place.
Give yourself permission. Permission to love your body. Permission to treat yourself to a coffee and a nice book. Permission to take time for yourself without feeling guilty. I, like many mums out there, struggle with taking time for me. For being 'in the moment'. For not putting myself on my own list of priorities. Be mindful of what is actually going on in the present time. Focus on placing attention on the positive aspects of your life and the power of being grateful for what you have right now. Being mindful is especially important when you are spending time with your kids (they grow up fast!) One thing you can do is plan a weekly family activity. It can be as simple as a play outside in your backyard or a walk in the park or having a picnic.
When you start to believe in yourself, you exude confidence. Think about the common excuses you make on a daily basis as to why you don’t want to do something. For example, taking your kids to the pool and not feeling comfortable to wear a bathing suit (comparing yourself to others). Start placing emphasis on changing those negative thought processes into positive statements. Start believing you can do anything you set your mind to and the confidence will start rolling in. Positive statements can quickly change your mindset and your confidence.
Don't Strive For Perfection
No one is perfect. No matter what anyone says or thinks. Not everyone has it all together, despite what they want you to believe. Live your life and make healthy choices for you that are most suitable for your lifestyle. When you are making any type of change to your lifestyle, set goals that are realistic for you. Break those goals down into smaller more manageable pieces, and focus on one small step at a time. You can’t do it all at once, but you can do a little at a time and focus on completing that one step before moving on to the next.
Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
Do you get stressed out if something doesn’t go as planned during your day? Many mums would say yes! But that’s one habit you have to get out of. Sometimes the smallest of things can be stressful, from the kids not napping for a long time or at all, to not getting everything done that you wanted to accomplish, to buying drive-through meals for the kids because it’s been a busy day of errands. Life happens and you can’t let the small, sometimes stressful things, bear weight on your mind. Not every day is going to go as planned and that’s ok. One day of poor eating choices or no physical activity will do little harm on your health, as long as these days are few and far between and they don’t become a habit. Nor will one day of your kids having a treat or your home being a little messy have harm on your overall well-being. Enjoy every moment of your day and (as my 3 year old sings daily) “Let it go!"Not all positive health changes need to start at the beginning of the week. If something didn’t start as planned today, there is always tomorrow.
In life, the best you can do is to be yourself. Be inspired to learn and grow and be confident in the choices and decisions you make. It’s not about how much you have (materialistic or monetary) or what car you drive or what classes or school your children are attending. If you have the money to hire a maid to clean your home or a babysitter to watch your kids a couple times a week, that’s great. But if you don’t, that’s great too. If you want to make a change to your health and your family’s health, then take one step at a time. Make one change at a time. And make your lifestyle your own. If a healthy lifestyle change is what you desire, get into your own routine that suits your lifestyle, be grateful with what you have and what you can do, and focus on taking one baby step at a time in order to reach your ultimate goals.
Kathleen Rubio is a female entrepreneur and founder of Igniting Your Health, a business designed to help parents achieve a healthy lifestyle through tracking sheets, workbooks, and soon to be released e-Books. She is on a mission to help other parents, particularly mums, reach their potential in health and happiness.
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