So we hear a lot about “me time” and “self care” but…when the hell am I supposed to actually set aside time for this?? I work, I come home and take care of the kids, they fall asleep at 8, then I have until my bedtime which is around 10 to spend time with the husband, watch tv, write, wash the dishes, and prepare for the next day. There really aren’t enough hours in the day, especially if sleep continues to be a necessity!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Whenever I would try to exercise at night I found myself getting done close to 9 then having to shower and then I was suddenly very wide awake until 11 or so. Which, when you don’t sleep well, does not add up to a lot of rest. I did however, find myself awake every morning by 4:30 a.m. I think this was due to getting up at night with my 3.5 year old, who to do this day does not sleep through the night. I decided back in October that if I was going to lie in bed with my eyes wide open that maybe I should try and exercise then…

If you were to tell me that I would be a person that woke up and worked out at 4:30 a.m. most week days I would’ve laughed at you. Heartily. But really, its been working! I realized I had to find time in the day to exercise because the hours were so limited. Is this the easy answer? No. But, when else was I going to do it? I’m half awake, I get through the 30-45 minutes of exercise, sometimes I lie on the couch and catch a few more minutes of sleep before I have to get the kids up for the day.

At least my cat is good company early in the morning

I decided that this was okay for me. I was already exhausted every day, I was already awake. As a healthcare professional I was hating myself for not working out as much as I should and disappointed in myself for making excuses. But now I am proud of myself for getting up on the days that I do (because lets face it sometimes my warm bed wins over the treadmill). What also works better for me was working out at home, which my husband already did. It made is easier for me not to have to leave the house to go to the gym in the cold or rain or any other excuse I could conjure up.

The best part about getting my workout done in the morning was I had extra time in the evenings. My husband exercises at 8 so that gives me 45-60 minutes of alone time to read, write, clean, whatever needs done. Then we spend an hour after that watching TV together. I find this balance important. Spending quality time with him alone is important to me. Getting alone time is important to me. Being active is important to me. So this is my method of achieving all of the above.

No worries though, I’m not fit because I still love to eat. I haven’t figured out a way to stop eating and exercise at the same time, so I’ll have to deal with being chubby and strong…

I am also very fortunate to have a partner who sees parenting as a partnership and not just my job. So, like for instance, this Saturday, I called up a friend and asked her to get a pedicure with me because mommy needed a time out! It was a lovely hour, and I felt much better afterward. I get roughly 2 pedicures a year, but there’s nothing more wonderful to me than getting my feet nice and clean and pretty while getting a massage from a chair and laughing with my friend in a pretty salon.

Ways to make time

  1. Prioritize: Maybe setting aside time isn’t feasible every day but sometimes you have to make yourself the priority. Even putting aside an hour or two in a weekend can help reset the mind.
  2. Something’s gotta give: I know, this is the tough part. But sometimes you need to come before anything else. For me? An hour of sleep in the morning, sometimes the dishes don’t get done until the next night, sometimes I miss out on TV time to write instead.
  3. Using hours wisely: My work schedule used to be lighter, so I would get done by 3, so I decided to keep my kids in daycare an extra hour and workout before I picked them up. Is there a dead half an hour or hour in your day that you could be doing something you love?
  4. Remember WHY: On the days when it is so hard for me to get out of bed I remind myself of possible health issues I can face, or the fact that I really love cookies and I want to eat them with less guilt. It helps me boost my rear end up out of the comfort and into the cold basement. Loud rock tunes also help the blood get pumping. Also how good self care can feel after you have taken out the time for it.

The important thing to remember is that this time is for ME. Because our jobs, kids, activities require so much from us on a daily basis. Because not many will approach us and tell us to take care of ourselves. Because if we are not well, we cannot take good care of anyone else.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash