I think I’ve mentioned 😉 that life has been a little crazy lately. When that happens, I usually react by sacrificing exercise, drinking too much coffee, not getting enough sleep, and turning to drive-thrus at mealtimes. The result is never pretty. It’s an unhealthy and frankly, dangerous cycle; and, this time around, I’m committed to stopping it before it begins! Here are five ways I’m making time to care for myself even in the whirlwind of work/family/etc. this fall:
I’m getting up (a little) earlier.
I’m not crazy, I know how precious my sleep is and how VITAL it is to surviving long days; but, I also realize that the surest way to have a bad day is to wake up already behind. I’ve been setting my alarm for about 20 minutes earlier than usual lately and allowing myself a few minutes in the morning to drink my coffee, read, pray, etc. Even with a little less sleep, this makes my whole day SO much better.
I’m making the most of my lunch break.
As a teacher, I don’t get much time for lunch, but I know I need that mid-day break from my classroom/computer/stack of essays. I used to hop in my car and grab something “fast” for lunch, but I always came back feeling full and tired – never refreshed. Lately, I’ve been bringing a SMARTMADE ™ by SmartOnes (R) meal – my favorite is the Mexican Style Chicken Bowl, but I love the Roasted Vegetables with Angel Hair, Roasted Vegetable Enchilada Bake, and Mediterranean Style Chicken Bowl too – and enjoying it at a picnic table in the school courtyard instead. The food really is tasty – like something I could have made myself, and it’s just the right amount of filling to fuel the rest of my day. Plus, the fresh air is great for clearing my mind and recharging.
I’m taking walks in the afternoon.
I’ve never been great about exercising or going to the gym in the afternoons because 1.) I hated the idea of putting my kids back in childcare, and 2.) I’d rather take a nap. Recently, though, we found a used double jogging stroller on Craigslist, and I’m loving taking long walks after school. I’m being totally serious when I say that this 30 – 60 minute walk is just as invigorating as a power-nap, and I like that it can be good time with Sam and Nora too. Sam loves to play “I Spy” as we walk. Sometimes we stop and visit friends or go to a playground; and, sometimes – after a particularly hard day – I pop in headphones and tell the kids to “rest.” Regardless, I always come home feeling better than before.
I’m actually relaxing after the kids are in bed.
Again, my tendency is to do all the things at night after the kids are in bed in the name of “making the next day easier.” But, though sometimes it does help, it also means I flop in to bed at 10:00 completely spent and without taking a single minute to myself or with my husband. I’ve found that making a few simple swaps – like letting Jeff tackle baths while I clean up the kitchen and tidy the house (usually while listening to an audiobook or podcast) and choosing frozen (but delicious) meals like SMARTMADE™ over having to “pack” a lunch – helps me to get all my “chores” done fast with time to spare for sipping a cup of tea, watching the latest episode of This Is Us, or writing on my blog.
I’m scheduling “me time” on the weekends.
Jeff and I both are good about putting time for ourselves on the weekend calendar when it’s needed. Whether it is a date night together or individual time for golfing (him) or browsing Target (me), we recognize how valuable some “away” time can be for our family. (We’re also incredibly fortunate to have a great support system of babysitters, grandparents, etc. in town that makes this possible.) I don’t get to do it every weekend, but I make it a point to remember myself and practice self-care as needed, and I’m proud of the example that is setting for our kids.
What do you do to take care of yourself?
NEW SMARTMADE™ offers smart and delicious meals inspired by your smart cooking methods – like grilling protein and roasting vegetables for more flavor, and making smart swaps like white bean puree for cream – just like you do at home. With real, simple ingredients, smart cooking methods, and delicious flavor, they are the working mom’s answer to eating on the go and taking care of herself. (Even their packaging is clean, simple, and beautiful. Something I’m proud to carry into the workroom at lunch time!) Find out more and see other yummy meal options at SMARTMADE.com, follow along on Facebook and Instagram (@smartmademeals), and check out the freezer section of your local grocery store now!