You find yourself in a decent fitness routine. You’re able to fit it in a couple days a week without too much issue and you’re really enjoying the time that you’re focusing on you.
For the most part, you’re able to stay on the schedule that you set for yourself. Your young child(ren) have even learned how to enjoy themselves as they see that you’re getting a little exercise in. You found something that work and it feels great!
Now you find yourself returning to work in a few weeks and the anxiety begins to set in. As you’re busily trying to sort out daycare and prepare your young child(ren), and you’re taking care of every last detail--your focus is no longer on your fitness routine.
It’s your first day of work and you get the daycare drop off goes less than smooth but somehow you manage to make it to work on time. You get settled in and you start your work day as a working mom.
Pick up the kid(s) from daycare, rush home and get dinner ready, clean-up, baths, bedtime stories, and finally, you get a chance to sit and put your feet up. It’s 9 o’clock and you’re beat.
You wake up and the day repeats itself.
Before you know it a month has gone by and you haven’t been able to fit in a workout and the guilt sets in. Even though, you’ve been busy transitioning the entire family into something completely new, you’re left feeling like you failed yourself because you “feel off the wagon”.
“If other women can do it, why can’t I?” You ask yourself.
There is a period in every family’s life that a big transition takes place. Whether it’s back to work, care for a family member, a move, or possibly the loss of a loved one, there’s a time where your fitness needs take a back seat.
It’s ok to feel discouraged if you’ve missed a week or several of your workouts during this time. Taking care of yourself is important but it’s not always going to be your first priority. Sometimes the realities of life take over and your attention is needed elsewhere.
In no way does this mean you’re failing yourself, far from. There are times where the whole #noexcuses notion is complete bull. Some of these life transitions are hard to plan and there isn’t much within your control. You have to do what you can to get through it.
Go easy on yourself. Do the best you can and remember that transitional times are temporary. If you can only fit in one 20 minute workout in a 2 week period, great! Couldn’t get anything in at all, that’s okay too.
This is where you need to be realistic about your goals and where your life is in this very moment. If your goal is to get to the gym 5 days a week but that’s causing too much stress, maybe start with one or 2. Maybe, start off with workouts that you can do at home to cut down on travel time if that’s what works for now. If that’s too much emotionally, take a break completely and start again when the timing is better.
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There’s no need to go all in right away. Start slow. Doing too much too soon only creates stress and your fitness program needs to be a complement to your life--not feel like a prison. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, cut back, it really is ok.
There is no shame in taking time off, especially, during a transitional time. Life happens and we’re needed where were needed. Taking the time you need can also be a very healthy thing for you too.
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You can always return to your fitness routine when life settles and you’re feeling ready. Transitional periods take time and when you’re ready will depend on your family’s individual situation, so you may need to be a little patient.
I’m not going to tell you to do whatever it takes to fit your workout in. If you need rest, don’t wake up an hour early, get some sleep. If you’re traveling and not comfortable in the workout environment that’s available, don’t force it and if you’re not in the headspace, leave it. There is no such thing as the perfect time but there is a time where you need to be in a good mental place and that comes first for your sake and your family’s.
Planning your fitness program around life transitions isn’t a perfect process and the whole #noexcuses mindset is a bit silly if you ask me. There will be times you feel successful and there will be times that you just can’t win as far as fitting in a workout. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to completely throw in the towel either. Do you best and understand that different periods in life require different commitments.