When your kids start to grow up, go to school and get jobs you might find yourself reflecting over the years gone by. Everything you’ve done as a mother; the time and energy you’ve dedicated to your family and friends and the hours you spend lying awake worrying about your kids. It’s all lead to this moment. But wait a minute, what about you? How much of your time has been dedicated to your self improvement? It’s easy to put your family first and brush your self-care practices aside, but it’s time to switch things up. Let's get your health and fitness back where you want it to be.
Many New Year's resolutions were made in 2021, with most of them surrounding health and fitness goals. As the year speeds along, it's time to reignite this motivation and start prioritising you. As a mum that’s been off the health and fitness train for a while, here are some tips to get yourself back on track.
Find a Friend
Motivation comes and goes and if it’s your first time exercising in a while, the first step is going to be the hardest. Starting is always the most difficult part, but when you have someone beside you, the first step becomes a whole lot easier. You’ll also be surprised by how many people are in the same boat as you are! Many women who have kids in high school and beyond are re-starting their health and fitness journey's, so you definitely aren’t alone.
Talk to your friends and join some communities and groups on Facebook. You’ll be sure to find someone who is keen to get outside and burn some calories with you. Whilst acting as a source of motivation, this can also be some fun socialising time. It’s important to have social interactions outside of your family circle. You’ll feel relieved after you’ve spent some time chatting away and working up a sweat. If you’re up for it, find your local sporting teams (netball, soccer etc) and grab some friends and play socially.
Remove Your Expectations
If you plan on hitting the gym or taking up an exercise class, don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be as athletic as you were at 17. You’ve literally spent the last 10 or so years building a family and raising your children, you’re allowed to cut yourself some slack. Start off by taking a beginner cycling class or yoga class just for fun. Your body might not look or feel like it once did, but that’s okay! Your body has done some incredible things and you should care for it just like you would care for someone you love.
Of course, everybody wants to be a MILF these days, but feeling good is the most important part. Your energy radiates much further than your muscles do. When you start your fitness journey again, try shifting your mindset in this direction. Don’t be fooled if you’re not seeing the results you want straight away, what you should be focusing on is your trajectory. If you did everything you did today for the next 365 days, what would your life be like? There’s no doubt you’ve developed some serious patience over the years, so it’s time to use that for your benefit.
Exercise with Your Kids
If your kids are up for it, try convincing them to come on a walk or run with you. Not only will this get both you and your family up and moving, but could be a great opportunity for some bonding time. Organise a time after school or on the weekends to get out in nature or kick around a ball at your local park. You might roll your eyes at this and think ‘my kids would rather do anything else but exercise with me’. You might just be surprised! Seeing a parent take initiative in their health can actually be really motivating. Kids want to see their parents happy, so if an afternoon walk does the trick, they’ll most likely participate.
You don’t have to follow your teenage son into the gym, in fact, probably don’t do that. We don’t want you to put off the gym entirely by being introduced to the sweaty, testosterone packed weight lifting area. Find a neutral space, where everyone feels comfortable (this lessens the chance of any bickering or arguments).
Remember Your Why and DON’T Feel Embarrassed
Sometimes when you re-start your fitness journey, it can feel like everybody is watching you. Sometimes the condescending remarks like ‘good for you!’ and ‘you’ll get there eventually’ can be extremely off putting. The best way to combat this is to change your mindset first. If you start thinking that you ARE the mum that exercises frequently, then you will be. If you constantly attach yourself to your past identity, you won’t get very far. From today onwards, you’re no longer the mum that’s pretending to be fit, you are fit and you’re doing something every day to solidify that belief. When you firmly believe that, you won’t be affected or embarrassed by any third-party remarks.
If you find yourself going off your desired trajectory, remind yourself of your why. Why are you getting up earlier to go for walks? Why do you want to make an effort to intentionally exercise every day? Write down your core reason and come back to this when your motivation begins to fade.
If beginning your fitness journey seems overwhelming, remember this; you don’t have to exercise every single day for the rest of your life, TODAY. Take one step at a time and be proud of yourself for taking initiative on the way you want to live your life.