Maintaining Balance (and keeping your sanity) when you have kids
As a busy business owner and mother of one fiercely independent just turned three-year-old, maintaining balance and keeping my sanity can seem impossible at times.
You know what I mean, right? I’m sure I’m not the only one.
There’s never enough hours in the day and it’s easy to put yourself at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list!
But we all know deep down inside that if we don’t look after ourselves, then we don’t have the energy, time or sanity to be the best mother, wife, girlfriend, friend or worker that we can be.
For me, maintaining balance is a constant work-in-progress, but it really is worth fighting for (for everyone’s sake!) Here are some of the tools that I use and recommend. Some weeks will be better than others. But that’s totally OK.
- Nutrition – When you’re a parent there is no time for getting sick or feeling tired, so eating well is crucial to supporting your immune system and maintaining your energy levels. Eating a diet rich in wholefoods and ditching processed ‘foods’ (and I use that word loosely) can be a game changer. You may notice increased energy levels, better cognitive function, improved sleep and the ability to handle stress better. Yep, all that just from making a few changes to your diet, not to mention all of the other benefits such as clearer skin and reduced PMS symptoms! (if you’re a woman).
- Be present –Are you a chronic over-thinker that goes around in circles in your mind before getting anything done? Or are you a multi-tasker, juggling housework or work while looking after the kids? You may really benefit from mapping out a daily/weekly/monthly schedule so that you can allocate specific time to specific areas of your life. This allows you to really focus on what you are doing and who you are with, in that present moment because you know that you have time allocated to your other tasks and you’ll get to them later. It’s a great feeling when you can tick something off your ‘to do’ list without sacrificing precious family time.
- Self-love and care – Once a month I schedule a ‘me day’. A day to do whatever will make me happy. Catching up with friends, sleeping in, having a massage, practicing yoga, reading a book or just going for a run. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it makes you feel like you are giving back to yourself. I’ll be honest, these days I rarely get a whole day to myself and some months it doesn’t happen at all, but the important thing is that I schedule it. I inform my family so that they know in advance that mum is unavailable and I do whatever I can to make it happen, even if it is just for a few hours rather than a full day. Worst case, if you can’t get a few hours to yourself, find a way to pamper yourself in some way, even if it means putting on a face mask while you wash the dishes.
- Exercise – Regular exercise is a great way to maintain your energy levels and maintain your sanity. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones, helping you to feel happier and calmer. Any form of exercise will do, walking, lifting weights, swimming, cycling… even running on the spot at home if that’s all that you can manage. Make exercise your respite or include the family so that everyone benefits. Even better, exercise outdoors and tap into the healing power of nature.
- Sleep – When you’ve got young kids, a good night’s sleep can feel like an elusive dream (pardon the pun) and we often just resign ourselves to always feeling tired. However, even one bad night of sleep can impact your mood and energy levels the next day, as well as your quality of sleep the next night, and this can become a cycle if it isn’t addressed. Drinking 1 to 2 cups of strong sleepy time tea an hour before bed is a great ritual to have before bed. Try passionflower, chamomile, lemon balm and/or lavender – it works really well for me!