What is it about us women and our ability to guilt trip ourselves out of taking care of our own bodies? We can make everything else a priority, but when it comes to our own physical health, we shove it to the deepest, darkest corner of our minds and try to forget it. We do a dang good job of it, too. We think we can do it all: take care of everyone and everything, making sure each and every need is met and then fall in bed at the end of the day without taking 5 minutes to care for ourselves.
And then we wonder why we feel like crap.
We wonder why the weight starts to pile on, and why we have no energy.
We start to get self conscious in our too tight clothes, and make a mental note to check out the local gym or fitness class. Tomorrow. We’ll definitely do that tomorrow.
But life takes over yet again. Appointments need to be made, deadlines need to be met, and kids sports need to be attended. That mental note gets shoved to the bottom of the priority list once again and we wonder why the brain fog and irritability don’t get any better.
We look at workout videos, wishing we had half their energy and envying their strong bodies.
We look at other people’s transformation photos, dreaming about the day that might be us.
We wonder what it would be like to have an hour alone to workout or take a walk. But that’s selfish, right? Aren’t we taught that motherhood and being a wife calls for sacrifice and service?
Let's flip the script for a minute.
Does anyone think twice about a man, dad, or husband going to the gym on a daily basis? Of course not! So why should we be any different? Why do we put the pressure on ourselves to put ourselves dead last, and on top of that, do we really think we are doing anybody any good by doing so?
I mean, how good of a mom or partner are you when you’re stressed, tired, overweight, and irritable? My guesses are not a very good one.
Let’s change that. Let’s change the route from guilt trip, to workout trip. Let’s switch out those guilty feelings for a cute little workout tank and a good pair of shoes.
Now let’s look at some common barriers, and come up with some solutions for them.
Lack of Time
I truly believe that what you make a priority in your life, you will find time for. It might require getting creative with your day and squeezing in 30 minutes of exercise in 10 minute intervals until you can find a rhythm and a time that works best for you. Or it might mean getting up a little earlier or scrolling less.
As the years roll by, I’ve learned that my workout time has ebbed and flowed, fitting whatever phase of life I was in at the moment. One thing has never changed though, and that is the fact that it’s a priority. Regardless of time of day, it was something that gets done, just like brushing my teeth.
Lack of Knowledge
I think feeling overwhelmed with where to start keeps a lot of people from starting altogether. There is so much information out there, that it can get confusing on what to do. My advice is, just start. You’ll not do everything right in the beginning, but that doesn’t matter. As time goes on, you’ll learn a thing or two, and you’ll get more comfortable with talking to others about it and gaining their advice and perspective.
Lack of Childcare
It’s hard being a mom and finding time for yourself, especially when you have young children that need your attention all the time. Finding a gym that has childcare is like finding a golden nugget. If you don’t have one in your area, see if you can swap childcare with another mom so that you both get the opportunity to workout.
If you truly have no childcare options, grab a pair of shoes and hit your living room floor for an indoor workout. Though not optimal, you can still reap the benefits of a sweat session from your own home.
Lack of Funds
In today’s economy, money is tight. It’s rough out there right now, but that means exercise is all that more important to help keep your mental health at its best. Do some shopping around for a place that fits your budget. See if they’ll work with you, and if all else fails, grab a friend and go to a park. You can get a good workout for free.
Taking care of everyone around you is a good thing, and even necessary at times. But you can’t fully take care of others unless you’ve taken care of yourself first.
When you are constantly emptying yourself and never filling yourself back up, you’re going to come to a point where you have nothing left to give.
You’ll feel exhausted, irritated, and resentful.
You’ll reach burnout.
And once you do, how do you plan to take care of those you love?
Taking care of yourself should be a non-negotiable priority. The more you invest in yourself and your health, the stronger you are to give back. You’ll be less grumpy and more pleasant.
That guilt trip you keep taking yourself on needs to come to a screeching halt. Those dreams of having your own transformation photo, or being able to run a mile are completely attainable. They won’t happen overnight, but the journey is so much fun!
Decide today to make yourself a priority and don’t look back. I’m not saying it’s going to fix all of your problems, but I can guarantee that it will fix some. You are worth it!