The importance of routine in living a healthy mama life
I get asked often by clients and friends, how I "do it"... notice I specifically say "do it"-- not "do it all"-- because I certainly don't!. By that I mean how I maintain a healthy diet for myself and my family, how I squeeze in time daily for exercise, self care, keeping up with taking supplements, all the while working part time with clients and the Healthy Mama Life online community, managing to care for an almost-four-year-old as well as my roles as a wife, MOPS ministry leader and friend. Please do not be fooled- I definitely do not do it all, there are certain things (like maintaining a perfectly clean house or reading as much as I'd like) that just naturally fall by the wayside because my life is full- but it's a beautiful sort of full. I love everything I do, and though life can feel busy at times, I wouldn't change it for the world, and it's only by God's grace that I do manage everything I that I do, perfectly imperfectly.
But today I'm talking specifically about the healthy living aspect. After so many years of living like this, healthy living is not a burden on my life. It doesn't take a ton of extra time or effort to eat healthfully, it's not hard to squeeze in exercise, remember to take my supplements (ok, most of the time) and self care is a non-negotiable priority. And it can be like this for you, too. My not-so-secret secret? Creating routines that support my healthy life.
Now I understand as mamas, we are all in different seasons and life situations. In the season I am in now, my little one is in daycare/preschool 2-3 days a week, depending on the season (in the summer it's less, the school year it's more), and owning my own business means I can take the time I need when I need it. My husband is gone often but I only have one child (at least for the next 9 weeks, give or take) and we have family close when I need extra help. We are incredibly blessed and I do not take that for granted. But all that is to say, this has not always been my season-- and with a new baby arriving in just a couple months, my season is soon to change. But one thing I know for sure is that my healthy routines will remain. They might change somewhat, as they have in the past, but the habits I have created over years of my healthy living journey will not.
That is the beauty of living a healthy lifestyle-- once you find that healthy balance and create habits out of eating well, moving often, sleeping well and taking care of yourself- you can create a routine that is only slightly changing, and maintain that healthy lifestyle, no matter what season you are in.
So how do you develop healthy living routines that turn your healthy balance into a lifestyle? Here are a few of my best tips: 1. Create the space. You've probably heard the phrase, "You don't find time, you make time." Well, I do believe this to be true to some extent- you must create the space for healthy living, as busy mamas, finding it is often simply impossible. So it's time to take a good hard look at your schedule. If you don't currently 'have' the time, where are you wasting time that you could otherwise use to create healthy routines? Are you waking up to your kids screaming for breakfast or can you wake up 15, 30 or even 60 minutes earlier to squeeze in some time to yourself, maybe a quick workout, a walk or just some prayer or meditation time? Do you spend your after dinner time browsing Facebook on the couch when you could be preparing healthy meals for the next day (or getting to bed earlier?!). Do you spend your weekends lazying at home watching TV, when instead you could be going on a family hike or meal prepping to make healthy eating convenient for you throughout the week? Analyzing our choices is the first step in 'finding' the time for healthy living.
2. Stack habits. Is there a healthy habit you already have down, such as waking up early to go for a walk or run? How about adding a tall glass of water before or after, if you struggle with hydration. Do you meal prep like a pro but consistently forget to take your fish oil and probiotics? Why not prep your supplements in a container like you do your meals? Stacking 2-3 habits together can turn one healthy habit into a healthy daily routine.
3. Split your routines. We're all busy mamas, I get that. And prepping meals, squeezing in a workout, taking time to meditate, add-other-healthy-habit-here all at once can be daunting- and if you try to squeeze it all in at once, you're almost guaranteed to give up- and quick! Stacking habits is one thing, but trying to make it all happen at once isn't ideal. So splitting up your routines, doing some things in the morning if that works for you, and some things in the afternoon or evening, will make those healthy habits seem more do-able, and create that consistency of maintaining your healthy lifestyle throughout the day (how often do we start the day with the best intentions, only to end the night on the couch with our best buddies Ben and Jerry?!).
However you go about turning those healthy habits into a healthy routine, the key is taking it one step at a time. You have your whole life to make healthy choices! Every step is a step in the right direction.
Stay tuned next week, when I share my personal morning and evening routines for a healthier, happier mama life- and don't forget to join us this month in the Healthy Mama Life Facebook Community for our free Back to Balance group challenge.