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At this stage of my life, I’m focused on my family, homeschool, my business, and my health (including self-care), and fitness. Being a busy working from home mama who also homeschools can come with many challenges, as you can probably imagine. While we are all different in our priorities and we will differ in the hats we wear, I’m willing to bet that many of our challenges are much the same, like….how do we get everything done? Where do we find the time to fit in activities that align with our priorities? How do we juggle all the things? Are we sure to fill our own cup before pouring into those around us? I’ve been wrestling with these challenges and I’ve been working to come up with some solutions to my struggles. This post outlines some things that I’ve put into place that have been proven quite useful in setting up each day for success. While not all of these ideas may be applicable to your life, perhaps some of these simple tweaks could help you, no matter your situation!
There is much to be said about filling your cup (both figuratively and literally) and having alone time before we need to pour into the needs of those around us. For me, juggling a busy daily schedule of homeschooling, mothering, wifing, and working from home can present challenges for finding this time. I’ve made it a priority to carve out this time before my kids get up as much as possible. I am a morning person by nature, so this helps! Even just a half hour or an hour can make a big difference for setting my day up for success.
Is this strategy foolproof? Absolutely not. No matter how much I tiptoe around, my oldest (almost 7) is often up with the sun, but this is where boundaries come into play. She knows that if she gets up during mommy’s time, she must find something to do independently and quietly that does NOT involve a screen. She will do puzzles, read books, build something with magnatiles or bristle blocks, or draw or make something (she’s very artistic). I won’t fix breakfast until 8am, so if she’s starving, she can fix herself something simple, and believe it or not, she LOVES this autonomy and will often even fix a little something for her little brother if he gets up, as well. If my son (3) gets up before 8, I will change him and let him out, but then he is expected to play with his sister until it’s time to eat. It may not be feasible for you to get up before your kids or get up any earlier than you already do, but I still highly recommend finding some sacred time in your day and setting some boundaries with your family so you can practice some self-care and fill your figurative cup.
This will absolutely look different for every person and the roles that they play. I stay at home and work from home, so I’ve flipped the script on what normally might be a “mom uniform” of pajama pants and a baggy T-shirt on the daily. Instead, because I’m currently prioritizing my health and fitness journey, I’ve made the habit of putting on workout attire to ensure that I get a workout in during the day! It’s so much easier to fit a workout in once you’re already dressed and ready for one. Even if health/fitness isn’t top of mind for you currently, maybe you are working from home or your job is governing the household as a stay at home parent, and that is where your priorities lie. No matter your situation, there is something to be said about getting up and getting dressed for the day, and maybe fixing your hair and putting on a little makeup even if you aren’t headed to an office to work. You will undoubtedly feel better and you will be more productive when you dress the part.
This will look different for each person and their priorities and beliefs, and maybe even the season that you are in. Self-care is so important and can do so much for your mental health. On days when I get a chance to focus on myself, first thing in the morning, I carry much less anxiety for the day. So what do I do before my kids get up to fill my cup? I pour some coffee, have a little nibble of something to eat, and I step outside while the dog does his business (with weather permitting) to enjoy some morning sunshine. I also use this time to read while there is some peace and quiet as often as I can. Sometimes, I’ll even work in some morning movement like walking the dog, lifting some weights, or hitting a quick yoga or ab workout while listening to an audiobook or my favorite workout playlist on spotify. What are some things that fill your cup?
On days when I work in my bullet journal before the day gets started and get a brain dump of tasks written down, my days seem to go better as well. If I don’t brain dump, those tasks are swirling around in my head and muddle my thoughts and attention. In my opinion, a brain cannot possibly remember all the things that need to be accomplished in a day! This can be problematic, as I have other hats that I need to wear throughout the day - mothering, wifing, homeschooling, and working from home. Getting all of my thoughts on paper allows me more headspace to focus on other activities that deserve my attention. This also allows me to prioritize the tasks, move things around, schedule things, and determine tasks that may no longer be important. Are you a list maker as well?
Ever heard this expression before? If not, it means to do the most challenging task first. It’s often the one that we as humans are most inclined to put off or do last. There’s a whole book on this concept! From my experience, these are the activities that weigh most heavily on me and tug at my attention when I should be focusing on other things like being present with my family or homeschooling. Just like the brain dump, eating that frog first thing can help free up our mental headspace to set up our day for success! Maybe you don’t work from home or manage a business, but I can guarantee that this still applies for you. Think about the household tasks, chores, or parenting tasks that you put off, but if you just did them, everything else would likely come easier for you. Those are YOUR frogs. For me, the first household task I do in the morning is feed the pets. In this small example, everything else will come easier after I complete this task because my pets won’t be circling me like vultures and disrupting my morning routine! What are some frogs that need to be eaten in your life?
I’m not sure about you, but over here, life always feels chaotic and as much as I can hope for things to “settle down,” that never seems to happen! Such is life, right? But I hope this post has provided you with some encouragement. Are these ideas helpful? What are some things that you can do to help set up each day for success? In what days can you work to run your day so that your day doesn’t always seem to “run you?
Includes 30 cards for birthdays, new home, get well, weddings, etc. all housed in a beautifully designed organizer box with matching envelopes.
Includes 30 cards for birthdays, new home, get well, weddings, etc. all housed in a beautifully designed organizer box with matching envelopes.
Includes 30 Happy Birthday cards for kids of any age all housed in a beautifully designed organizer box with matching envelopes.
Includes 30 cards total (19 blank cards and 11 Thank You cards) all housed in a beautifully designed organizer box with matching envelopes.
Includes 50 cards for various holidays all housed in a beautifully designed organizer box with matching envelopes.
Taking off my book lady hat here for a minute....
I know that I share a lot about books and homeschool in this space, but if you follow me elsewhere, you may know that I've been on a health and fitness journey for a few years now and I can tell you from experience that this time of year can be a true challenge if you don't approach it in a proactive way. I've learned a lot over the years! To give you some background, I have a long line of negative past experiences with yo-yo dieting, bingeing food, exercise addiction, and periodic flare ups with a past eating disorder. I now having a much healthier relationship with food and movement, and I give a lot of thanks to the principles that I learned on my Noom journey starting back in 2020. A lot of people have come to me saying that they have been inspired by me and what I have shared about my health and fitness journey and I'm glad to know that my vulnerable posts have inspired others to make positive changes in their own lives.
As many share similar struggles around the holidays, l wanted to share a few tips that have personally worked for me to help avoid self-sabotaging my health and fitness during the holiday season.
'Tis the season to treat yourself, right? If you’re anything like me, it would be dang near impossible to go completely without some treats this time of year. We need to be realistic and not completely deprive ourselves of a few holiday treats this season, within reason, in my opinion. Afterall, it would be nothing short of torture to watch our friends and family indulge in treats without having a little something for ourselves. Since many of us are going to treat ourselves this time of year, it may help to set limits on HOW MANY treats you will have in a day, or focus on portion control to help keep your food intake from spiraling out of control.
This year, in order to be proactive, I chose to find recipes for a few sweet treats that I could make and/or have on hand that follow my gluten-free/dairy-free eating regimen instead of indulging in treats that contained these ingredients. I chose to do this because I know that I feel MUCH better when I stick to this eating protocol. Every once in a while, I do have foods that contain gluten and dairy, but I chose to stick to my guns this year on this one. It was a rule that I set for myself and I’m pretty proud of sticking to it. I wanted to have some sweet treats on hand because I knew that my kids, husband, and extended family were going to be making and indulging in treats around me and I wanted to be able to have something that I could grab and eat when the sweet tooth cravings struck, or when everyone else was having dessert in front of me.
If you set a rule for yourself like I did this year (see last tip) - maybe it’s not drinking, or not having a certain food group, or not filling your plate up with seconds, or something else that you’ve chosen, it is well within reason for you to be able tell others no thanks when you are offered foods or vices that break the rule that you set for yourself. We have to look out for ourselves and be firm, setting boundaries around what we are comfortable with for our own health and well-being. Our friends and family should understand if we set the boundaries with them about what we are comfortable with, and if they aren’t understanding, know that it’s a problem with THEM, not a YOU problem and in most cases, they will get over it, eventually.
I go into the holiday season knowing full well that I’m not going to completely deprive myself of some of the sweet and savory treats that I love this time of year, and with that, I know that I’m going to be consuming more calories than normal. On the other hand, I know that I have worked my tail off this year to make the health and fitness progress that I have made and I do not want to throw that all away by completely succumbing to the “calories don’t count” mantra that often comes up this time of year. In order to help offset some (but obviously not all) of those extra calories, keep up with my daily movement goals, and to FEEL better mentally and physically, I chose to make it a goal to continue to move my body DAILY, even ON the holidays this season and even WHILE family was in town visiting (this also goes along with those boundaries and expectations from the last tip!).
As far as motivation goes, I personally soaked up all of the fun surrounding the holiday content on my Peloton digital and Bike+ and the seasonal challenges in my Peloton fitness communities! I have been super impressed with myself by setting some personal records this month and feeling myself getting stronger during this holiday season. While I didn’t do this myself this year, you could also consider participating in a holiday themed race or training for an upcoming event or race to keep you motivated to continue showing up daily (or as much as possible) for your workouts!
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I don’t know about you, but one of my pet peeves is food waste. I seriously cannot stand it! But with my health and fitness in mind, I make an exception when it comes to the following tip that I’m going to share. It always helps me to pick a date to call it quits on all of the extra treats and leftovers. To make this stick, I commit to tossing whatever is left in the house, because if it’s in the house, it’s going to be “staring at me” and tempting me to eat it. Funny story - as much as I hate food waste, sometimes I have my husband do the honors and toss the leftovers and remaining treats and then I don't feel as bad.
I encourage you to give yourself grace when considering all of these tips. No one is perfect and I know that what works for me may not work for you! I religiously weigh myself (daily) as one of the habits that I learned from my Noom days in order to help stay on track on my health and fitness progress and during this season (while not abandoning weighing myself completely), I have been weighing myself less so as not to beat myself up over the inevitable pounds I’ll gain during this season. I give myself grace by reminding myself that this type of eating is just for a season and we all need to “live a little” around this time of year for our own sanity, in my honest opinion! And if you find yourself completely falling off the bandwagon one day and indulging more than you had hoped, know that it’s totally okay and you can treat every day as a new day. All is not lost, my friend.
I hope that this post has been helpful! I know that these tips would have helped me in the past so I thought that I would share! If you like this kind of content, also, be sure to check out out my previous blog post about how I set my day up for success.
Want a bit more encouragement in this area or have questions for me? You are always welcome to contact me!