Sometimes it can feel like you have a never ending ‘to-do’ list as a busy mum. You’ve got your kids to take care of, a household to look after, and somewhere in there you need to prioritise looking after yourself. Maybe you’re also a working mum. It’s likely that you’ll never tick off everything that you want to do, but it’s a good idea to put an action plan in place to ensure the most important things get done.
Hopefully you’ve decided that your health and fitness rates pretty highly in terms of your priorities. If you’re a busy mum these tips to help keep healthy as a busy mum and make time in your week to focus on fitness and health.
Making your health and fitness a top priority might include strategies such as these:
1. Exercising first thing in the morning, before anyone else gets up. This can help ensure the day doesn’t get away on you without you doing any exercise at all. This might not be an option for you if you’ve got little ones waking you all through the night at the moment. However, if you’re getting a decent sleep at night, early morning exercise can be a great way to feel more energetic for the day ahead.
2. Making the decision to leave the housework until later…or not do it at all. Yes, it needs to be done at some point, but consider whether your obsession over a clean and tidy house is really hindering your ability to find time for health and fitness. Perhaps the housework can be done in one chunk at the end of the day, rather than cleaning up continually all day long.
Plan it in
Planning plays a huge role in helping to establish and follow through with healthy habits. It’s especially important if you’re a busy mum who’s finding it difficult to fit everything in. Here are some tips for health and fitness planning:
1. Write a grocery list and stick to it. This helps ensure you’ve got healthy snacks readily available.
2. Plan a regular shopping day and time so you can help avoid the likelihood of running out of food and making poor choices.
3. Plan meals in advance so you know exactly what to add to your shopping list. Have a designated time during the week (e.g. Sunday night) where you sit down and plan the shopping list and meals for the following week.
4. Your exercise also needs to be planned. You might be lucky enough to have one or more designated exercise slots during the week where you head out to a fitness class. In this case, make sure you’ve got child care organised for these times. Perhaps you’re exercising at home and more flexibility is required. In this situation you might plan to exercise when your baby is sleeping. Or if you have older children with you, you might have a plan to exercise with them, or to set them up with a specific activity while you get your workout in. Figure out what will work best for your situation. The most important thing is that you’ve had some forethought as to how it’s going to work.
5. Make sure you have the equipment that you need to be active. This might be an appropriate buggy or front pack/back pack for exercising with your baby. Or perhaps it’s simply having a supportive sports bra, comfortable workout attire, and a drink bottle. Whatever you need, make sure it’s ready to go!
Have a plan B
Of course things do not always go to plan if you are a busy mum, so having a ‘plan b’ is a great idea! This needs to be personal to your situation and preferences, but here are some ideas:
· If you don’t manage to get your exercise session in for whatever reason, you could decide that on those days you always do five minutes of stretching or meditation before getting into bed.
· Alternatively you could decide that you will set your alarm to wake up before anyone else does, and get your fitness done first thing the next morning.
Time management tips for busy mums
There are some other great healthy habits you can adopt to manage your time well as a busy mum.
Here are some ideas:
1. Batch cooking. Dedicate an afternoon to cooking a large meal that can be separated into portions and frozen. Many meals such as soups, casseroles and stir fries can be frozen and eaten later. This is wonderful for busy days when you know you’re not going to have time for cooking.
2. Shop online. You can buy almost everything online, including your groceries. Once you become familiar with the ordering system it saves time on travelling to and from the shops as well as shopping time and potential shopping stress. This will enable you to have more time for your fitness program!
3. Combine friends, family and fitness. Think about ways that you can get your fitness in and prioritise your health whilst spending time with friends and family. You could choose to go for a walk with a friend, rather than meeting for a coffee…or go for that coffee after you’ve had a walk together! Connection with others is so important, so think of the ways that you can spend time with family and friends, and get your fitness fix at the same time.
What are your strategies to make time for health and fitness as a busy mum?
We’d love to know, so feel free to leave a comment in the box below!