Staying Healthy while Balancing Business & Mommyhood
In 2015 I committed to living a more active lifestyle. As the owner, sole employee and lead photographer of a wedding photography studio, I find myself sitting in front of a computer, A LOT. And when I'm not wearing my business hat I spend the other half of my time being Mom. All this to say my days are VERY full and leave little time for anything else. I'm guessing there are just a few MANY of you out there who feel the same way.
What I noticed towards the end of 2014 was that I wasn't moving as much as I wanted to feel healthy. Yes, I was running around after my toddler. But I didn't feel challenged physically, especially since the other half of my day was spent sitting in an uncomfortable desk chair. My neck and back were hurting and I was starting to sleep less regularly at night. Add to that my up and down diet of healthy veggies one day but then a slice of pizza the next, I knew I needed a change and that changed had to start right away.
So how does a busy Mom and business owner find the time to move, exercise and stay invigorated physically? Below I'm sharing several ways that I commited to moving more and staying healthy in the new year.
1. Scheduled Breaks
I work best in small chunks and so my first goal towards a more healthy and balance lifestyle was to schedule breaks throughout the day when I would step away from the computer, take a stretch, head down stairs, pet the dog, etc. These breaks were aimed at getting me to stand up and move away from the computer. I can no longer go for hours upon hours of sitting in front of the computer. And though sometimes I literally have to pull myself away, I know that these scheduled breaks are essential to my well being. I schedule them (about every hour or so) and put them into my daily timeline so that I am held accountable to it.
2. Workout At Home
Before Jonathan was born I belonged to a gym near our home. But after baby there was little time left to workout. I had to figure out how to make working out a priority with this new routine. No longer did I have the "luxury" of driving 20 minutes to the gym, taking an hour class, driving 20 minutes home, taking the shower and then starting the day. Working out had to happen in small bursts of time. We started by purchashing a used treadmill from a friend so I could train for my 1/2 marathon, which worked out perfectly and allowed me to train indoors during the brutally cold winter months. I'm also an exercise DVD junkie so we hooked up a DVD and TV in our basement and created an area where I could work out comfortably at home. This was a game changer for me. Suddenly I had the time to workout with minimal commute and disruption to my day. I could easily fit in a 30 minute workout before the day started without sacrafising any time with Jonathan or in my business. Jillian Michaels & Shaun T have been our DVDs of choice and are fantastic, challenging workouts in 3o minutes or less, perfect for the busy mom and photographer.
3. Steals and Deals & the Local Gym
Now that it's January the shooting season has slowed (only just a little!) which has allowed me small bit of flexibilty in my schedule. Read : small. But regardless, this little extra wiggle room in my schedule is just enough to allow for time to workout on a regular basis. Jonathan is also older now, sleeps regurarly and takes an afternoon nap. All this means I have found time again in my schedule to leave the house and work out. Thanks to an awesome Groupon deal I found, I was able to attend classes as our local gym, literally a minute down the road from our house. A perfect fit for my schedule and desire to exercise and move regularly. The only reason why this works for us is that a groupon made it an affordable option and that it does little to distrupt my schedule thorughout the day. If you're motivated by a gym class and like the companionship of working out with others I would highly suggest finding a local gym to join. And if you're restricted by budget, check out Groupon! During this time of year many gyms and local clubs are offering steep discounts to get you into their gym, take advantage and get moving!
4. Food Journal
I've never been good at nutrition and have struggled in this area my entire life. From an eating disorder as a teenager and young adult to yoyo dieting throughout, it's been a bumpy road. This year I felt compelled to take control in this area and at the promptly of a nutritionist I began journaling what I consumed each day. It's not a diet but simply a way to document what I'm taking into my body and the nutrients I'm receiving. Wait, coffee doesn't count as a nutrious breakfast? Ha, just kidding...sort of. You know how it goes, you sit down to your computer coffee in hand and come up for air hours later only to realize that it's 2pm and you haven't eaten yet today. You run to the kitchen to find something quick to eat (usually the first thing you see) only to head back to the computer to work. A vicious cyle that leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. By journaling what you eat (or don't eat) you can gain a better sense of where your diet is lacking and how you can properly fuel your body throughout the day. Which in turn will give you more energy and stamina and desire to move more!
(Above, the local gym.)
So what does this have to do with balance? To be our best (whether as a Mom or business owner) we must make time for our own health and well being. This can seem like an incredibly daunting task, especially when we haven't made time for this in the past. Start small. Maybe it's simply commiting to taking a walk every day or eating a more nutritious breakfast. Perhaps it means joinging a gym or running with a friend. Or maybe it just means taking time each day to pray and meditate.
To be completely honest, it's incredibly hard. I struggle with feeling self indulgent when I make time for things like working out. But the truth is to be our best, we have to make time for our health and well being. I know it can seem overwhelming. Start small, those small changes can lead to big results! And you don't have to join a gym or track your meals like I do. Find what works for you, something that you can make a habit and work into your daily routine. Your clients will thank you, your loved ones will thank you and most importantly your body will thank you for taking the time to invest in your health!