I’m writing this blog because the biggest challenge I face as a working mum is having enough time to maintain my wellbeing and I know many of you are in exactly the same position. We may be totally committed to looking after ourselves, we may love working out and enjoy eating healthily, but time is rarely on our side. With demanding jobs, busy home lives and monthly budgets that can’t justify organic meal delivery schemes, personal trainers or studio passes we may never get round to using, it’s a constant juggle of priorities.
So how do I personally make time for wellness with no help, three kids, a dog, a business and a house to run?? On paper, I don’t. Look in my diary and there’s not a minute to spare in between work, school runs, kids activities etc but somehow over the years, I’ve figured out some resourceful ways to ensure I get enough self care into my week to keep me motivated, fit, strong, energised and healthy.
After too many years spent hanging out at the very bottom of the priority pile, I learnt that unless I moved myself up, no one else would. Struggling on, prioritising everything and everyone else over my own needs, only made me feel demotivated and resentful. I had to make that mental shift myself and it’s not easy, especially if you are natural carer, like of course you and I are.
Firstly, you have to accept and believe that you are worth spending time on, self-belief is key, and then next, you have to shift your positive, healthy intentions into actions. It’s no good just dreaming about them, talking about them, or doodling a pretty list of them and posting that on Instagram. You have to just make time and make changes. You will never magically find it.
Most of us intend to eat more plants, take our supplements, use our essential oils, commit to a home yoga practice, meditate more consistently, start journaling, grow house plants, try adaptogens etc etc…I know you do and I believe you but I also know that it’s just not simple or easy, or you would already be working your way through your list and not need to read this blog. So here’s some inspiration and ways I have turned my own intentions into actions. I hope you find them helpful.
As always, I love to hear how you get on. I’m rooting for you to move all the way up to the number one priority slot!
Much love Lucy xx
Progress not perfection
If you feel overwhelmed by your wellness goals, I urge you to stop thinking about perfection and simply aim for progress. It’s important to have dreams and goals, it’s great to aim for something, it’s admirable to give something up in order to be healthier but we are only human and there are only so many hours in the day. My tip is to decide on a couple of key areas to improve – say, healthier eating at work, quitting take-out coffees, better posture, greater endurance levels when running – and then make a flexible plan of action. I do this all the time. For example, when I quit coffee – I had a plan, what I would drink instead, which route I would walk so I would avoid the temptation of my favourite coffee shop. Have a plan and use it to steer you on the path to progression.
Re-evaluate your inspiration
Very few of us, can honestly say, we don’t compare our looks, our flexibility, our fitness to others, especially on social media, despite knowing full well that comparison is the thief of joy, not to mention time, which is something we definitely don’t have any of to spare. So if your intention is to spend less time scrolling – you have to take action. These are things that worked for me – setting a daily time limit reminder, unfollowing anybody who made me feel inferior about my lifestyle or my looks, following more people who were closer to my age, following people from all walks of life who inspire me for their achievements not just because they are into wellness and doing a digital detox, most Sundays.
Small changes, big difference
This is concept upon which I built my entire business, Calmia. When it comes to wellness I firmly believe that it’s the small changes that make the biggest difference in the long run to the wellness of our mind, body and spirit. You don’t have to jet off to a luxury yoga retreat in Bali (however, lovely that may be) to experience inner peace and outer radiance. I know from personal experience that improved wellness is available to all of us right here in the middle of our busy lives if we only understand how to transform our everyday activities into mindful rituals. By this I mean, taking something simple like having a cup of tea, taking a shower, practising yoga, massaging your face or going for a walk and infusing it with restorative, stress-relieving benefits. For example, taking a walk – something we all do everyday. Do you just walk from A to B or do you notice the seasonal change, do you feel the sun on your skin? Do you feel good when you smile at a passing stranger and they say hello back, don’t you feel amazing that you’re getting a workout while everyone else is getting stressed or stuck in traffic?
Acknowledge your results
Do you give yourself a pat on the back for the things you’ve ticked off the list or a hard time for those you haven’t? I’ve been making a big effort lately shift my mindset to one of positivity as I naturally dwell and fret over the things I haven’t completed. And you know what, it's working. Take a look at my instagram feed @lucywakefield_calmia and see what you think. Full of annoying yoga poses and smiling selfies? That’s because I am proud that this fortysomething busy mum makes time for herself, to do yoga, to cook healthily, to workout because it clears my head, helps me cope. But if you read the captions, you will see that I also understand just how damn hard it is to muster up the motivation to pull on a pair of yoga pants after a long day of kids/work etc so I post these pictures to motivate you and show you that if I can do it, so can you. Be proud of yourself, every little thing – be your own cheerleader, it works.
Build fitness into your daily routine
A couple of years ago I cancelled my gym membership as I just never had the time to get there, plus I love to run outside and do a lot of yoga so I just couldn’t justify the ever-increasing fees for something I hardly used. I did miss going, it was great having some time to myself and I loved trying out all the new equipment they always seemed to be installing, but you know what by building workouts into my daily routine, my fitness has actually improved. I can lift heavier, sprint faster, perform more advanced yoga poses because now most days I actually have time to workout – it’s part of my daily routine at home rather than another thing on my long to-do list.
My intention was to keep fit and strong and my action was to invest in some basic equipment, sign up to some great online class providers and schedule the time in my diary. Instead of three gym sessions a week plus a couple of yoga classes, my workout schedule goes something more or less like this yoga 3 mornings a week, dog walking/running everyday twice a day or while the kids play footie, body weight HIIT or kettlebells strength training at home once the kids are fed and homework complete. When you realise that fitness does not need have to be complicated, expensive or time-consuming, it all falls into place – 20-30 minutes can be enough if you work hard enough and train consistently.
Find common ground with family and friends
Most people, I believe, are into being healthy to some degree or another. So if you are struggling to make time for wellness as well time for your family and friends as well, how about finding some common ground. This has really worked for me – from sponsored walks, charity fun runs and Sunday dog walks with my family to mindful triathlons and meditation evenings with my girl friends. By surrounding ourselves with people and environments that are health-promoting we make wellness a much more accessible part of our lives.
Identify what’s holding you back from improving your wellbeing
Be honest with yourself, you don’t need to tell me or anyone else what is holding you back but you need to admit it to yourself. Are you too busy with the kids? Are you too tired from work? Do you let your partner pursue his or her pastimes but give up on yours? Are you overwhelmed by all the housework? Are you unsure what workout to do? Are you uncertain about what to eat? Are you confused by all the conflicting information surrounding wellness? There are so many reasons we let ourselves get side-lined.
Write down all your stumbling points and focus on the biggies – set some priorities and do some research. My advice is make a small list to help you workout where you need to prioritise. It could be as simple as something like this – sun salutations every other day when I get up, eat vegan every Monday, drink more water at work, have an aromatherapy bath every Friday night, digital detox every Sunday. Remember, this is not about being a new you, it’s about making time so you can be the more balanced you, you really deserve to be.