You know when you’re on an airplane and the flight attendants are doing their routine safety demonstration? They tell you that, if there’s an emergency, you should place the oxygen mask over your face first and then help those around you. I think this philosophy needs to be carried over into every aspect of your life.
Taking time to take care of yourself isn’t selfish — in fact, caring for yourself is what gives you the strength and energy to take better care of those around you. You are in charge of your life and health — make time to exercise! Stop the guilt and petty excuses. No amount of guilt or worry can change someone else’s misfortune or problems, so make time for you.
I live by the mantra, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Whether or not you’re a parent, the message is the same: If you are happy, those around you will feel your energy and take it on themselves. Feeling good is contagious. Be the example.
When I found myself with three amazing sons under the age of four, I had to find a new way. So I joined a gym that included babysitting/playgroup options and every morning, I got up, packed up the boys and went to the gym. They had friends, I got my workout and I even had time to shower there and blow-dry my hair.
More recently, when my kids were in school, I found my workload getting heavier … so now what? I set up a small home gym that at the very least had several exercise DVDs to rotate and a Gaiam TV subscription and, voila!, a new routine.
Now I have become very accustomed to my evening workout. After a long day of training clients and teaching yoga, I come home and cook, clear and do my 7 PM workout before I shower and go to bed. It works for me since I have never been successful at morning workouts.
So no excuses! No “trying” — trying is an excuse for future failure. Set your fitness goal and find a way to make it happen.
Here are my top make-it-happen tips to make working out a priority when you have young children:
- Walk or run on the treadmill during your child’s nap time.
- Take a Mommy & Me play class.
- Play with your child on the playground.
- Find programs you could both benefit from.
- Take turns with a friend: One day you work out and she watches the kids; the next day you switch.
You may have to drag yourself many times, but you will never regret having done it when it’s over.