The ball has dropped, the new year is upon us, and everywhere we look people are sharing their resolutions for the year. We get it – the new year has a way of inspiring and motivating people to live better. It’s a chance for a fresh start and to make changes to be healthier.
But when you’re a (tired) mama of a new babe or a get-into-everything toddler (or both!) trying to fit in a daily shower, many of the resolutions seen on our Facebook feeds seem unrealistic. This doesn’t mean we should just throw in the towel completely on resolutions. It means we need to tweak them to better suit this stage in life. We might not be resolving to complete a 30-day plank challenge or bring our healthy recipe Pinterest board to the kitchen table every night, but we can set the bar at making small changes to take better care of ourselves so that we are at our best to care for the little people in our home.
We asked some experts in the health and wellness field for their advice on what realistic things we can do to improve our health while in the throes of new #momlife. Resolutions? Nah! Think of them as ways to up your mom game in the new year. Incorporate as needed.
Fuel your body with good stuff…
We admit there are days when we realize we’ve only had a cup of coffee, our toddler’s leftover grilled cheese crust, and a handful of Goldfish crackers to eat since sunrise. Relate? When there’s no time to prep three meals a day for yourself containing all five food groups (like when your kids are age newborn to five), keep quick healthy snacks within reach to fuel your body. The less messy the better, such as fresh fruit and chopped veggies, nuts, hummus with whole grain crackers, yogurt, and grab-and-go bars packed with goodness to keep you moving.
…and drink more water.
“A very simple thing we can do for good nutrition is to focus on our water intake,” says Colleen Scholer, a certified holistic health coach who works privately with clients to improve their heath and well-being. “Some recommendations say 8 glasses a day and others might say when you are thirsty. But as a mom with little ones, you might not realize when you are thirsty. Fill a large water bottle and carry it with you throughout the day and try to refill a few times.”
Add some lemon to the water for additional health benefits. “I love to start my day with 8 ounces of warm water with one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice,” Scholer shares. “Lemon water flushes out toxins, boosts the immune system, aids the digestive system, and can even help cure a common cold. To protect the enamel on your teeth, it is always good to dilute lemon juice with water and to drink through a straw.”
Adjust your fitness goals.
We already know we should exercise because we love our body, but after baby, it’s not what it used to be. So where should we start? Haley Stone, the founder of WERQ Dance Fitness – a wildly addictive cardio dance workout, recommends “Baby steps: Pun intended.”
“Your body worked round the clock for months to create a whole new person! So many new moms are pushed by themselves or by media to get their pre-baby body back … and FAST. I say, give yourself time and recognize that life has changed for you, so your fitness goals will have to change too,” Stone explains. “Building in activities that help you get steps with your baby along for the ride is key. Take walks every day. Lay on a blanket in the park and do push-ups or planks over your little love. It can be great fun for you and baby!”
Say it with us: “Let me get back to you on that.”
Hosting a playdate for your moms’ group, bringing homemade muffins to story time, or babysitting your neighbor’s kids for a few hours may not seem that hard. But tack on an already busy week of appointments or a stuffy-nosed sleepless baby and these small gestures of kindness can take their toll. Rather than agreeing on the spot, get into the habit of saying “Let me get back you on that.” Buy yourself some time to take a look at your own schedule. Thoughtfully determine if you really do have the time (and mental capacity) to take on the extra commitment. Say yes when you can and kindly decline when you can’t.
Take some me time.
We know what you’re thinking… Take some me time? When? There is no time! So start small. Jenny Steadman, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Family Fitness, stresses the importance of me time: “One of the simplest things a busy mom can do to focus on her own health is to find one thing per day that is hers and hers alone. This could be anything from a quiet shower, a meal sitting at a table, 10 minutes reading a book, a walk around the block … the list is endless. The days, months, and years of parenting go by in a flash and all of the sudden, as a mom, we forget who we are. Taking 5-10 minutes per day to be in our own headspace, is life changing. As the kids get older, expand that time frame to 20-30 minutes. It’s best to create this self-care habit while the kids are young, then it is easier to continue.”
Enlist your partner to keep an eye on the kids, or let the laundry wait a little longer during nap time. This year, try to grab a few minute just for you. Regroup and then be ready to conquer the rest of the day … and year.