By Kimberly Rutke
Being a parent, working full time and finding the time to work on health and fitness goals can seem very daunting.
With only so many hours in a week, we can often find ourselves spread so thin that it’s easy to have things fall to the wayside. Having an organized approach can help you stay motivated, feel productive and feel like you are taking the steps you need to accomplish your goal.
Staying on track is so much easier when have a clear vision of what needs to be done and in what timeframe. As a working mom of two little ones, I’ve found that planning ahead allows me to effectively balance family, work and fitness. Having young children means I need to be flexible on when things get done, but the important thing at the end of the day is that I find the time to fit it all in.
I often get asked, how do I manage? Honestly, it is a work in progress, but there are some things that I have found help us immensely.
Today I am sharing some tangible ways to help you and your family, balance it all.
Plan your activities for the week. On Sunday, take a few minutes to sit down with your family (we often do this over breakfast) and discuss what activities are on deck for that week. Check the weather, your work schedules and other commitments to see where you can add in physical activity. My husband and I are both runners, so we have to alternate who runs in the mornings, and who runs in the evenings. If we are both home early in the evening, a family-run with the stroller and our dog is always our first choice. On weekends, we have more time to spend being active as a family. Saturdays we explore trails or find a new local park. Sundays we visit our local pool for an open family swim.
Prepare meal options
Having healthy food prepped and ready to go can save so much time on busy days and can ensure you are staying on track with healthy options. Take some time on the weekend to think about your meals for the coming week. Write out what you need before heading out for your weekly shop. Spend some time on the weekend to prepare quick meals that are easy to reheat and serve when you are short on time. Bacon and cheese egg bites (add spinach or peppers for extra colour!) are an easy go-to breakfast in our home that makes mornings run smoothly. Pre-cutting fruit and veggies is another great way to save time around meals.
Fit an activity where you can
There are so many ways to add extra activity to each day, and the small choices can really add up. Instead of sitting at your desk for that conference call, put on a pair of headphones and take a 30-minute walk while participating. Round up some of your coworkers and go on an easy lunchtime run or walk. I like to pencil in my workout in my workday to-do list, this way I can have my mornings and evenings free to spend more time with my family.
Remove the excuses
Commit to your plan. Make activity a priority, like a meeting you cannot miss. Getting up early to get a workout in is not easy, but if you take the extra step of laying out your workout clothes, your work clothes and the kids clothes the night before, it will make your mornings seem less chaotic. I even go as far as getting our mugs out for our morning coffee!
One of the best gifts we can give ourselves and our families is to make health and fitness a priority in our everyday lives. Planning and preparing go a long way when it comes to staying on track with your goals.