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Managing all the responsibilities of our daily grind — from work to family to friends — while trying to also squeeze time in keep fit, can be quite the challenge. What more when you’re also a parent holding a full-time job?
This week on Let’sCHAT! we sit down with Marissa Parry, co-founder and Health and Wellness director at PurelyB to talk about how she manages it all — keeping fit and healthy whilst being a working mother.
Between being a full-time mother with a 2-year-old and working a full-time job — my hands are full! I can barely manage the household and staying healthy and fit is the last thing on my mind. Teach me your ways! What are some hacks for staying fit that even a busy mama like myself would be able to follow?
Charmila, that’s a great question! It sounds like you’re struggling with something I like to call “The Balance Myth” — and that is thinking we have to do it all and be some kind of supermum!
It may seem like I have it all under control, but here’s the truth: I have my days too. It’s only natural when there’s so much to juggle! So I have a few quick and easy hacks that help me keep on top things, and will hopefully help you find some time to focus on your health — after all, the time to be fit and healthy is something you deserve.
Managing work-life, family-life and home-life can be a balancing act in itself, but the most essential tip to conquer it all, is planning. Just like you’d schedule a business meeting, schedule everything that needs to be done. Whether it’s on your phone, a diary or even an Excel spreadsheet — plan it all out.
Having it all done on paper will get it out your head — now doesn’t that seem less stressful already?
Simplify things for yourself and you’ll see you have more time on your hands than you think!
Pencil in your exercise sessions and work your other appointments around this. It’s easy to move an exercise session over if something else comes up but now is time to take control!
Give it a go the other way around and at the end of the week, you’re going to feel great about yourself for hitting up all those workout days you thought you’d never get in.
Lighten the load of the coming week by planning the menu from Monday to Friday ahead of time, leaving some flexibility during the weekend. And keep things simple when it comes to meal prep.
Try these nutritious fuss-free meals:
Soup — a favourite in my household and so easy to make! Just throw everything into a pot, and add some potatoes for carbs. You can can either serve it with noodles or even just as is.
Top Tip: For convenience, make a vegetable or bone broth and store it in the freezer so whenever you need soup, you already have the base.
Dhal — packed with lentils (a great plant-based protein) this is so easy to make because you can add in potatoes, eggplants, whatever suits your taste!
Top Tip: Cook extra and freeze the leftovers and as easy as that, you have lunch for work covered for a few days. Separate extras into single portions to make things easier!
To schedule in something as simple as a trip to the supermarket may seem trivial. But trust me, you want to be on top of it all!
Knowing when you’re going to the supermarket will help you with your weekly meal plan.
You’ll know exactly when to stock up on ingredients so you won’t be making any more last minute trips pick up something you forgot — we’ve all been there!
Now that you’ve got time-management under your belt, let’s talk about how to plan your workouts. First and foremost, you’ve got to understand what fitness can do for you.
Keeping fit isn’t just about looking good (although that is a great bonus) — it’s also about feeling good.
Not only will it give you the strength to keep up with your kids, working out is also one of the best ways you can relieve all that stress! When we exercise, we release serotonin — our happy hormone. Trust me, with kid stress, work stress, husband stress, a bit of serotonin will do wonders!
It also keeps us looking young! I’m so looking forward to getting onto the dance floor with my kids in the coming years and I want to be the cool older sister and not the daggy mum.
To me, being healthy and fit is a top priority. And it’s not just because it’s part of my job, it’s actually because I’m experiencing all the benefits of living this type of lifestyle.
Find time for it and work your schedule around it. “I’ll start tomorrow” is not a valid excuse!
Get daily movement into your busy schedule by skipping the lift, escalator, the walker-lator, and instead taking the stairs. You’ll be surprised what a good workout this is. If you’re on a high floor in your building — even better! Work up a sweat and get that heart racing.
How many of us have experienced this — you’re driving around the main entrance and there’s not a parking space in sight. So here’s what you should do: drive further away and park where there are loads more spaces available. Not only are you going to save time, you’ll even manage to squeeze in a little bit of exercise.
Provided that it’s a safe area, parking a little further gives you some time for a nice stroll.
With a fitness device like a Fitbit, count your steps on a daily basis. You might be surprised by how many steps you’re hitting when running around after toddlers, doing housework and even at work. It’s a boost of motivation when you see that you’ve hit a few thousand steps by just doing your everyday work.
Once you’ve added in little hacks like taking the stairs and parking your car further away, you’re gonna clock up those steps in no time! Researchers say that in order to be healthy, the ideal number of steps is 10,000, about 7-8 km in a day.
As fun as it will be for them, kids are also the perfect exercise equipment. Don’t be the parent who sits there scrolling their phone at the park. Run after your kids and pick them up — they’re the perfect weight (depending how old they are).
You can get nice strong shoulders lifting them above your head. And when you carry them on your back, do some squats and lunges — think of it as a good 10-20 minutes workout!
Get the idea that exercise has to be a straight 60-minute session out of your head! Simply interject a few minutes of exercise here and there throughout your day.
Spend 5 minutes in the morning stretching, do some squats and even some push-ups. When you get to work, opt for the stairs instead of the lift. Squeeze some exercise in during your lunch break — how about a nice brisk walk with a friend instead of sitting at your desk? Getting moving will even help you clear your mind!
What you want to do is make things easier for yourself. Implement little changes and habits you can sustain and be consistent with. And with a more efficient use of your time, you’ll find that being the fittest, healthiest version of yourself can (as it should) be achievable!
I hope these little tips and tricks help you in making changes for a healthier lifestyle. I still use these on a daily basis to get in that little bit more exercise here and there where I can. If you’ve got any hacks on staying fit and healthy as a busy mother, share them in the comments below! As always, we love to hear what you have to say.
P.S. Got your health and wellness under control? Take our quiz and see if you’re really being healthy in Asia.