As a single mom, working at home and raising my kids, I have little to no “me” time. I’m sure moms everywhere can relate, but carving out time for ourselves is imperative if we’re going to be there for those important people in our lives. I present to you ten ideas I put into practice that help me stay motivated when life and I go toe to toe.
1. Exercise And Healthy Eating
As a romance writer and audiobook narrator, I spend a lot of time at my computer. As a former elite gymnast who based a series of romance novels around the sport I taught for twenty-five years, exercise and healthy eating are important to me.
Regular physical activity helps clear the mind and takes care of our physical body in order for us to be more productive. Exercise releases endorphins which help us maintain a positive frame of mind, plus we sleep better if regular exercise is a part of our daily routine. Find something you love to do, whether it’s ballroom dancing, an aquacize class, Pilates, Yoga, a run down the street, or a walk with a friend.
And remember, it’s important not to berate ourselves if we miss a workout. Sometimes our schedules and family demands take precedence. As long as we make an effort to stay healthy, we have to give ourselves kudos for that. Along with regular exercise, I also make it a priority to have healthy snacks near me at all times such as pre-cut veggies, nuts and fruit. Scheduling lunch or snack breaks throughout the day is also a great way to get my butt out of the chair, relax and ingest healthy food.
2. Relaxation And Sleep
Interacting with my readers, writing, and/or narrating, I could be online twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week! But I also have kids who need me and have their own activities – soccer, school activities, and homework—that keep me on the run. Taking time out to relax is very important throughout the day as is getting a good night’s sleep.
One thing other mom’s always tell me is that they feel like they never get enough sleep. I try to stick to a bedtime routine much in the same way I do for my kids. At a specific time, I brush my teeth, change into my jammies, and wash up for bed. It relaxes me and allows me to wind down before getting some shut eye. And if this isn’t enough, I practice conscious breathing by closing my eyes and breathing in deep, picturing my lungs filling up with life-giving oxygen.
In fact, if I’m having a particularly busy day I’ll take time out to “breathe.” When we experience tense moments, our breathing can become shallow, which in turn means we’re not getting enough oxygen to our brains to be able to think straight. Taking a few moments to sit quietly, breath and relaxing the tension in my body helps me maintain a productive day.
3. Get Some Lovin’
If you’re thinking sex right now, go for it! It makes you feel good. ‘Nuff said. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Give and receive a hug. Cuddle with your kids. Sometimes a simple hand squeeze from a friend who cares makes us feel like we are understood. Human contact is necessary for us to feel alive. Don’t underestimate the power of simple touch in your life.
4. Remember You Are More Than What You Do
As a mom, I’m guilty of putting others needs ahead of my own, especially when it comes to my kids. That’s when I have to remember to put myself first as a woman. When I need a break from the ordinary, I go to the movies, take the kids for lunch, shop, hit the spa, or visit with friends. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something enjoyable and remember – YOU are a whole person, and it’s important to take care of all parts of the whole.
Whatever it is in your life you’re striving to achieve, remember you can learn something from everyone. Even the most unlikely source may have something valuable to offer, and at some point down the road, we’ll be glad for this particular piece of knowledge. Attend conferences, take online classes, enroll in a class near you, or buy books on subjects that interest you. You’d be surprised what kinds of textbooks you can purchase for your Kindle, Nook, or Kobo! Learning keeps our minds sharp, and refreshes us in our everyday lives.
Have you ever been down in the dumps and tried to remember the last time you had a good laugh? When I need smiles, I call my friends or go out with them if time allows. Perhaps find a sitcom that’s guaranteed to produce a few chuckles, but when they say “laughter is the best medicine,” it’s true! You can’t be sad when a belly laugh erupts from deep within.
7. Be Open To The Experiences Of The Journey
Whether you want to write the next best-seller, are saving for a big trip, or are going for a major promotion at your work place, remember – enjoy the steps it takes to get there. Because once you’ve achieved your goal, then what? The next journey will begin, so you might as well enjoy the ride while you’re on it.
8. Throw A Pity Party, But Remember To Leave At Last Call
It’s okay to feel discouraged sometimes. Negative emotions are a part of life, and we have to learn how to deal with them. Get angry, shed a few tears, scream into your pillow, or whatever else might make you feel better. I cry when I need to release stress, and I often hash things out with close friends. Do what works for you, but remember to let it go.
9. Don’t Give Up!
So many people give up when they meet a road block. Perhaps the road block is signifying a lesson to be learned. In any case, there’s always a way around it, through it or over it! Having faith that things will work out in the best possible way for us can be difficult sometimes, but you’ll never know how far you could have gone if you simply give up.
10. Keep Perspective
Sometimes we only see another person’s highlight reel. We all struggle in our own ways, so know you’re not alone. When you’re feeling unsuccessful, this is a good time to stop and remember that others have the same life difficulties that come with financial burdens, family, and illnesses, despite their professional successes. Take some time to be grateful for what you have and how far you’ve come. And remember—don’t give up!
What helps you stay motivated to follow your dreams? Kellie would like to hear from you. www.kelliekamryn.com Kellie presented this topic as an interactive workshop at the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference in October 2012.