Tell me something, does this sound like you? Every morning you get up, (likely after a night of little or no sleep), try to guzzle your coffee as fast as possible, while making breakfast for your kids. The day starts before you’ve had a chance to even fully wake up and you’re mentally foggy.
Then throughout the morning you might perk up, (perhaps after having more coffee) but come that midday slump when your kids are napping or playing quietly, you become exhausted again. It takes everything in you to stay productive. Then once your kids are up again or quiet time is over, you’re thrust back into the rest of your afternoon and evening. Come nighttime, you’re exhausted again. And the cycle continues day after day.
Sometimes because you’re so tired, you lose your temper with your kids or you don’t want to engage with them because you’re tired and have trouble focusing, (ever tried to get your kids to play a game that involves closing your eyes/napping?? I’m not the only one who’s done this right?!).
Sound familiar? This was me all the time. I felt stuck in a constant state of exhaustion and mental fogginess because of the lack of sleep. It wasn’t just because of my sleep habits though. It also was because as a single mom, I’m responsible for everything and there is no partner to pass the kids off too or help you shoulder the other chores and errands.
I also knew that part of the reason for my short temper was because as a single mom, I have no alone time. Every second was spent with my kids.
So what happens with all of the negative feelings that build up throughout the day every day? They just sit there and fester unless you do something to get rid of them. Festering feelings feel as gross as they sound…So my mood was gross too.
As much as I absolutely love my kids, I needed something that was just for me.
I of course knew exercise is a good thing both mentally and physically but I never felt like I had the time. I would tell myself I was already so busy, I had other things to do that were more important, I didn’t have a babysitter for the kids, or if I did have free time I was just too tired to exercise!
Now these are all valid reasons for not exercising, but my schedule wasn’t going to magically open up and present me with an extra hour for exercise. If it was important to me, I had to make it a priority.
Beginning to exercise has made such a huge difference in my life and it will make a difference in yours too! It’s truly been therapeutic because I’m giving myself a mental break and making my body stronger and healthier.
Here are some other reasons why you should incorporate exercise into your day.
You will be more energized! Exercising brings more oxygen and nutrients to your body and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. This means more energy for you! (Mayoclinic.org)
I’ve found this is true because I workout in the morning when I can, before I have any coffee, and I often will not need the coffee until late afternoon because of the boost of energy exercising gives me!
Exercising can make you a nicer mom. You may be holding onto those feelings and stressors from your life and this is a great way to release them! It will improve your mood because it stimulates chemicals in your brain to be released leading to that feeling of being more relaxed. So if you find yourself stressed out (what single mom isn’t?!), try exercising to help relieve that stress! (Mayoclinic.org)
Along the lines of boosting your mood exercise can boost your self-esteem. You can workout to change the way your body looks, which is a huge self-esteem booster! Or if you are doing it for health reasons you know that you are actively becoming healthier which can be a major boost in how you feel about yourself as well.
Exercise shows your kids that it’s important to care about your body and health. You’re being a positive role model showing them the lifelong lesson that it’s important to take care of your body to stay healthy. Although my kids are little, they even like to join in when they see me working out!
Exercise can help improve your sleep! As long as you don’t work out too close to bedtime, exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep, (again what single mom does not want this?!) (Mayoclinic.org).
Exercise is something that you can do to solely focus on yourself. You can focus on centering yourself and working that stress from your life out of your body and mind. With the constant demands of your kids and everyday life, this is the one thing that can help you cope with them. This is your time!
Now you know why exercise is so good for you, how do you deal with your kids so that you can actually workout??
I usually do workouts that vary between 15-60 minutes. If my kids are too needy or rowdy, I will do a couple 15 minute workouts throughout the day. But if I can squeeze in an hour during naptime, or let them watch a cartoon so I can fit in that hour of exercise, I’ll do it!
The bottom line is there are ways you can squeeze in some form of exercise a few times a week. It will be so good for you mentally and physically. It will make you feel healthier, feel better about yourself, and you will have something that is just for you! It can help you clear your mind and relieve that nasty stress that is present in your life.
Plus your kids will thank you for it because your mood is likely to improve and you will thank yourself for doing something positive for your mind and body.
You deserve to be happy and healthy. Now I’m not sayin’ exercise is the end all be all cure for everything in your life, but it is something positive you can start doing for yourself today, that has tons of benefits!
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