You now have one of life’s most precious gifts. A darling baby has entered this world and into your life. The life you once knew has suddenly changed. There is another beautiful living being who depends on you for its survival, for love, for growth and strength.
However, there comes a time for all moms (and dads) when reality sets in. Late nights, early mornings, feedings, diaper changes….more feedings, more diaper changes!
You may be asking yourself, how can I get my workout in when I have a baby? I’m teetering on the edge of baby burnout. My emotional tank is near exhaustion, and I feel like I have nothing left to give…let alone working out. My baby is 100% dependent on me.
The truth is, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have anything left to give. I love the metaphor of being on an airplane. As the cabin crew explain safety precautions in case of an emergency, they demonstrate and remind parents that they must first put on their own oxygen mask before assisting children. Take care of yourself first!
Below are my five strategies that will provide you with what you need physically + mentally to start and finish your workout, baby burnout free.
1. Rest & Recharge
Sleep is vital in preventing burnout. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) conducted a study that found just one week of insufficient sleep dramatically alters the activity of our genes, which control our response to stress, immunity, inflammation and our overall health. When your baby goes down for his/her longer afternoon nap, skip all your to-do’s and catch some zzz’s. Use your child’s morning nap or any 20 minute catnap they have during the day to do a speedy, powerful HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session. Here’s one you can use that is just over 20 mins.
(2 minute max effort. Do as many as you can in 2 minutes and write down your score. After one set, have a 2 minute break before repeating. Try to beat your first scores).
2 mins pushups
30 sec break
2 mins squats
30 sec break
2 mins triceps dips
30 sec break
2 mins burpees
2. Eat for Energy
Your body is dependent on fuel! Similar to a car, you would never put water in the gas tank if you were wanting to drive somewhere. Your body is the same, you want to fuel your body with high impact, energy-enhancing foods. Expending energy from our fuel source is directly related to what that fuel source is. Choose foods that are colourful. Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. Eat balanced meals that are light and easy to digest. Avoid foods that are high in sugar and that are processed. Best and easiest tip to begin is to shop the outer lanes of a grocery store.
3. Say YES to Support
People love to help and by allowing them to, you’re creating the space you need to get rest, workout, all while giving them the gift of being of service. No one coming to your aid? Ask for help! Communicate clearly and calmly to your partner in crime what your needs are. Give your partner or another caregiver one-on-one time with baby for 30 minutes so you can get outside for a walk or do a home workout with your favourite exercise DVD. No partner? Sign up for a Mommy and Me postpartum fitness class/group where you’re surrounded with like-minded positive people.
4. Get Outside
Vitamin D boosts energy levels and research shows that Vitamin D is integral for making our muscles work. Get your daily dose of Vitamin D and all it’s benefits with 10-15 minutes of sun exposure (this varies depending on your age, skin type and where you live). Kill 2 birds with 1 stone by using this time outside to push your baby in their stroller for a walk or run. Many cities are now offering Mom + Baby Stroller Classes. My personal favourite is hitting up a local park and using it as my own personal gym. Slides can be used for planks, benches for triceps dips, monkey bars for pull ups and pushing swings for squats.
So simple, so powerful…yet self-talk can be our biggest asset or worst enemy. There’s a lot comparing going on in our society to be a ‘Super Mom’ that is robbing women of joy. There is no escaping the continual monologue that streams in your own head. The ‘trick’ is to create positive patterns within your mindset. Like anything, this is a skill that can be practiced, rehearsed, and learned through repetition. Don’t be scared to tell yourself how great you are and stop the comparing. Say to yourself phrases like:
I am a great mother
I am enough
I am loving, kind, and caring
I am a role model and positive influence for my child
I have strength, health and vitality
My mothering body is beautiful
I can be whatever, and whoever, I choose to be
Today I will see the best in my child and the best in myself
I am the Captain of my Ship, and Master of my fate
Choose your favourites or create your own. Write them down, print them out, and place them somewhere visible where you can recite them on a regular basis. Use them as motivation before a workout. Create a routine of affirmation and see your attitude, and energy shift into the POSITIVE!
Now that you have 5 strategies, don’t get overwhelmed. Choosing just one of the steps above to implement is enough to wake the body up and get your energy on track.
Calea is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) through the Coaching Training Institute (CTI) who specializes in helping moms find a balance between being a mom and being themselves. She is the founder of Yummy Mummy Life where she will help you in the confidence department, offering 1 on 1 signature packages designed to make your dreams happen + goals happen. In addition, Calea is also a mom & baby fitness instructor, and an essential oil wellness advocate. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.