Everyone knows a lot can happen in a year. And sometimes it takes longer than a year for things to happen, but why do we think a year should be the limit? Why don’t we still delight in our accomplishment even though it took an extra 30 days to get there?
The past 395 days have taught me plenty, but my biggest discovery has been that “me time” really is what you make it. I completely embrace this concept; if I can figure out a way to go grocery shopping on my own, I will jump at that opportunity (in fact I usually try to work it so I most definitely CAN go alone). Or, if I can lock myself in my bedroom to write – after the baby is in bed – I will relish in the quiet seclusion.
But what about during the day? When my brain has taken it’s maxed limit of baby screaming – how can I find a few minutes for myself amongst the chaos of busy boys and chores that keep stacking up? I had to learn that recharging my batteries doesn’t always look like reclining with my feet up.
In rewiring my mindset as to what is “me time” I’ve decided to think of the different things that I NEED to do during the week and find how to use the time I make for those chores into ways to recharge my batteries. And two concepts I have embraced, too: Progress over Perfection and Enjoy the Journey.
Progress in any area at any capacity is a win; instead of trying to make everything perfect and developing the right routine, but then exhausting myself when things aren’t “just so” I’ve chosen to delight in what I am doing right and just try to do a little bit better next time.
Enjoy the Journey – I’ve learned to laugh at myself; whether it’s a difficult new exercise or the irony of cleaning a space just have rowdy boys destroy it again. Also, to give myself grace. Didn’t get the toilets cleaned this week? Pretty sure the world will still turn! Sandwiches for dinner…again?! At least they got food! *wink, wink*
So how have I worked self-care into my crazy days? It isn’t taking a nap while the boys sleep or it isn’t always going to bed early, but working out has come to be my ultimate “me time.”
A bit of backstory…(I know this is getting long, but please stick with me!)
I was always fit and “in shape” growing up and even through college. After EJ was born I worked at losing the baby weight, but when Miles came along (sooner than “planned”) and I became so overwhelmed with my 2 year old and newborn that I just let myself go. I figured chasing after two little boys should be exercise enough, right?! When I had a doctor appointment when Miles was about 18 months, I couldn’t believe how much I really had let myself go! I worked at getting back on track and found motivation in training for a 5K race. About the time I think I’ve figured out how to take care of two little boys and keep on track by eating healthy and exercising, I find out I’m pregnant again…
But I vowed to do it differently this time. So last February I messaged a friend of mine. I had watched her share ideas of staying fit and being healthy on Facebook and knowing she had three young kids, I figured she would be a good example to follow and learn from.
She gave me exercises to do before baby was born and ways to prepare a little better for labor. (Side Note: You’d think the third time around would have been a bit smoother, but once again we had to issue an “eviction notice” and he wasn’t overly compliant.)
Jump ahead 3 months and the real work began. Jen (Owner of Front Range Fitness & Health) gave me weekly post-baby workouts and when came time to add running to the regimen, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to run a mile without walking! It had been 4 years since the last time I had fully committed to training and running a 5K race; to say I had lower than average expectations is no understatement.
When that first race came and went and I did much better than I anticipated, I knew it was time to get a consistent workout plan figured into my weekly routines. And this is where my “me time” really needed to turn a corner; stay healthy and keep up with the workouts or pat myself on the back and return to afternoon naps? Let’s just say I got stuck somewhere in the middle. Not completely sold out for consistent workout regimens but I didn’t let myself go, completely, again.
The New Year rolls around and I decide to take a huge leap and sign up for a 10K. A bit more ambitious than normal, but with a couple of girlfriends committed to run with me I stuck with the decision. And when Front Range Health & Fitness reached out to me again to join a year-long nutrition journey I jumped at the chance to get help to retrain my brain when it comes to not only my fitness but also my health habits.
We’re three months into the Precision Nutrition program and not only have I developed new habits, but I’ve learned why it’s important to make these habits. I’ve learned to CHOOSE better foods and which foods are the BETTER choice, but also not be super guilty for having a yummy juicy burger every once in a while! Learning new habits and also learning WHY I need these habits, has given more focus and understanding when it comes to my health than I have had my entire life. Oh, I’ve always known the gist of it, but having someone explain it all to me has helped immensely.
Continuing the journey…
I’m not big on weighing myself, but when I started noticing my clothes fitting differently and other people noticing a difference, I figured maybe three months of hard work had paid off! So, I pulled out the scale and the tape measure…it was definitely a pleasant surprise to find out I’ve lost 9 pounds and 2 inches! I haven’t been this weight since BEFORE I was pregnant with Miles.
And while seeing those awesome results is a HUGE boost, my most favorite part is how much I’m learning about HOW to make the right choice and that it’s not the end of the world when I screw up; I just try to “do a little bit better” the next day!
There are still days that I can’t seem to scrounge up the energy for a workout and days that I eat too much chips and guac (ssshhhh…don’t tell Jen!!) but those days are becoming fewer and farther between because I always feel crappy later that day or the next day and I don’t like feeling like that, so I get back on track and make a better choice the next time!
What can you delight in about the last 395 days? Does it really matter that it took an extra 30, 20 or 10 days to reach that accomplishment or can you have a little celebration that it HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED?! Every goal, situation, or dream will always be a work in progress and as long as you do a little bit better – even 1% better – each day to help reach that result there will be something to delight in and maybe you’ll even learn a bit more during the journey when you focus on all the good happening right now.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34