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How Making Time for Fitness Can Make You a Better Mama

The laundry is in piles, the dishes need to be unloaded from the dishwasher, the kid(s) has made a giant mess, you need to shower, work is calling your name or, maybe you just want to finish that cup of coffee you poured two hours ago.

I've been there- looked around my house and thought that it was so much more important than slipping in a work out. In fact, I remember thinking it was selfish to take that time instead of keeping the house nice, prepping meals, working on client routines, etc.

However, making time for exercise is making time for you and will make the other aspects of like less overwhelming and maybe, more enjoyable therefore making you a better version of yourself.

How can exercising make you a better mama you ask?

1. Self-care:

We can't be kind to others unless we are kind to ourselves. Taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally go hand in hand- you have to do both in order to be compassionate with yourself and thus your family, friends and colleagues. How are you supposed to run after your five year old or toddler, carry around your infant, clean and cook for your family, go to work and be on point all day if you don't feel well? Movement imparts much more to the body that just physical and physiological changes. There are positive social-emotional changes that change in response to being active.

2. Time away:

The saying ‘absence makes the heart grow stronger’ can be a tough pill to swallow when you’re walking out the door to work out as your baby is reaching for you crying or, you see one of the innumerable to-dos staring at you in the face as you leave. However, taking a break from those things, allowing yourself time to not think about them makes you more capable of tackling them later. I know when I am my most overwhelmed, when it seems like I have heaviness of my to-do list tying me down, stepping away and focusing on something else gives me the energy to go back and not only complete my tasks, but complete them more efficiently.

3. Self-efficacy:

Self-efficacy is the believing in our ability to complete a task or, master a skill. Positive self-efficacy can promote positive self-esteem, our overall self-worth or subjective evaluation of ourselves.

Think about it like this- you look around and see all those things on your to-do list staring you back in the face and you think, “How am I ever going to get this done?” You’ve basically just told yourself you can’t or, might not complete some of those tasks- this affects your ability to believe you can (self-efficacy), ultimately affecting how you think of yourself as a wife, mother, care-taker (self-esteem).

I know exactly how it works. Today, I forgot a sheet for Ethan’s bed at school- I immediately thought, “Oh Lauren, how could you do that, what kind of mama does that?” We all have these moments where we question our abilities and guess what, it affects us and our self-worth. Completing a work out however, can give you a sense of accomplishment- allowing you a win, and reinforcing your strength, physically and mentally. Even 10 minutes can boost your self-efficacy and thus, self-esteem. So, that when you are handed a no-sheet moment you are able to blow it off.

4. Stress release & Fat loss:No, getting skinnier won’t make you a better mom, that’s not what this is about. Exercise increases our overall sense of well-being by increasing our endorphins, the hormones responsible for increasing pain tolerance and making us feel good. Additionally, regular exercise lowers cortisol, a hormone that when chronically elevated, promotes fat storage. So, just by moving we increase the hormones that make us feel well and decrease the hormone that can cause excess fat storage both of which increase self-esteem, giving us a grander sense of self.

Ultimately how feel and how we act as a parent and partner go hand in hand. I know for certain I am harder on myself and much more stressed when exercise is pushed to the bottom of the list- which affects how much patience I have for the other stressors in life. I am a better wife, mother, teacher and friend when I take the time to take care of myself.

Even 10 minutes a day can offer the benefits I listed above. I hope you will join me in adding yourself to your list daily. I promise you will see a difference.

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