P.S. – I wrote this post in March 2017 when Vivaan was 3 and Saveer was 6 months old and published it about a year later.
Life feels pretty full right now with a preschooler and an infant, a full-time tech job and my last class in grad school. In many ways, it is very easy to let my own health become a low priority. However, I have realized that it’s not really that simple about saying no to myself because every time I do that, it’s much harder to say yes to everything else. Over the years, I have learned (the hard way) that my own health – physical & emotional are deserving of my own love and care in a very special way just as much as breastfeeding my baby is.
I do well when I exercise and yet the million dollar question pops up – “ How do you get time to exercise?” I don’t really “get” time but I have to “find” time to exercise. It often means letting the laundry stay unfolded but getting in a 15-minute walk after dinner. Lately, it’s in bits and chunks, 5 minutes here and 15 minutes there. There are very few intense cardio bursts or an hour-long uninterrupted class but it sure is better than me not doing anything. Best thing of all, these little chunks add up over the week and it’s a gift to myself and everyone else I am trying to care for.
Here is how exercise gets some love on my schedule
- Use a tracker – I am absolutely addicted to my Fitbit. I am typically not very competitive but when it comes to my steps I sure am. This ensures I take the stairs instead of the elevators at work. This means I will no longer complain to make multiple trips from the car when bringing back grocery. When I need to take a break at work, I (try) to walk instead of simply surfing the net.
- Outdoor kids activities – I recognize I am very fortunate to live in a part of the world with excellent weather which means I am typically outside with the kids as much as I can. We spend hours at the park, zoos & outdoor museums which means the steps add up more easily and getting a few push-ups while the toddler is making pizza in the sand is not that impossible.
- Barre3 Online – I am a huge fan of the Barre3 workout but getting to a studio is a luxury both in terms of time and money but their online app is fantastic. They have workouts of different lengths targeting different parts of the body which means I don’t really have an excuse. Yes, there absolutely are days when giving myself even 10 minutes is hard and I am by no means perfect. Can I humble brag about a 30-minute solo barre3 workout at the airport when both kids (strangely) napped at the same time? Last night, I got 10 minutes of barre3 in the bathroom while the infant slept and dad read books for the older one.
- Dance – This one is a lot of fun. Often time, I’ll turn on some music and we will all dance (for 5 mins!) or sometimes the rest of the crew has some fun at my expense. Regardless, I feel good, my tracker gets some more love and the kiddo enjoys a dance party on a weeknight.
- Family hikes – This one if perhaps my favorite because its more than just exercise but also a way to connect with nature, myself and people who matter. I am fortunate that both the kiddos and the husband like this too. This year, I committed to 52 hikes and 10 weeks into the year I am at 10 hikes. Investing in a good hiking stroller was one of the best purchases we made after the kids.
- Walking meetings – I try to do a few walking meetings at work each week when I don’t need to be in front of my computer. Having a park next to the office surely helps!
- Races – I signed up for a 10K and a half marathon this year. Running isn’t quite my thing but I do like long walks. Both of these don’t allow strollers but there are others that do allow for strollers too.
In the end, I need to embrace imperfection. Some days the steps don’t add up or my body doesn’t like the idea of another push-up. It means I try again the next morning and make as much progress as I can without judgment but more love and more compassion for myself.