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Balancing Family with a Healthy Lifestyle

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Balancing Family with a Healthy Lifestyle

Balancing Family with a Healthy Lifestyle

We all play various roles in our life that keep us busy. Balancing time and energy in all of these rolls to sustain a happy and healthy life can be very tricky. A role that many people take on is that of parenthood. At this point in their life, most people certainly have many other roles they are pursuing or have established in their routines and adding children to the mix can be very energy and time consuming.

As a father of two girls, a 4 year old and the other about a month old, I understand the importance and experience the pressure of living a balanced healthy life while maintaining my responsibilities as a father and spouse. Stress and burnout are very real and can negatively impact overall life satisfaction. With the addition of each kid, responsibilities increase more and more leaving less and less time and energy to send on taking care of yourself. But as we all know, if someone does not get the opportunity to take or make time for themselves, eventually that person will likely experience a tipping point and may lose emotional control and stability. Taking care of others requires personal mental, emotional and physical stability. If even one area of our routine is thrown off, such as getting adequate sleep, it can negatively impact how we are able to feel in control in all the other events and roles in our life.

You may be thinking how is it even possible to create balance in a situation where you have 2 toddlers and 2 infants while you and your spouse are trying to work full-time and pursue college degrees all while your mother needs 24 hour care. Or maybe you have teenage kids that need to get to their sporting events during the same time that the church event you volunteered for is, that is right after your doctor's appointment and dinner still needs to be prepared.

Some questions that arise could be: What will we eat? When will we eat? How will it be prepared? When will it be prepared? What am I going to do for exercise today? When am I going to be able to exercise today? What does my bedtime routine look like? how will I make sure I get adequate rest? What am I going to do to reset my mental and emotional health today? When can I incorporate some breathing and meditation so I can remain patient and calm in situations that can be overwhelming? Who in my family can I do these things with and when?

So the ultimate question is how can we maintain a healthy lifestyle with a busy family life? The following paragraphs briefly tough on techniques that can be used to efficiently apply time and energy to establish a health and happy lifestyle.

Involve Others and Combine Activities

All these questions and more can and should be addressed. It is not only important for you to have good nutrition, be physically active, be mentally and/or spiritually present, and get adequate and efficient sleep, but is is also important for each person in your family. Taking care of yourself will help you take care of others around you more effectively. Involving those you live in the process of taking care of yourself will make a seemingly impossible healthy lifestyle, more possible. With many various roles and responsibilities, time and energy run short.

You may need to do something for work, but at the same time realize that you can go for a walk at the same time. Or maybe your kids need to get outside and play and your spouse needs a break, so you take the kids to the park while you go for a run. Preparing the following week's meals and routines on Sunday as a family can be treated as spending time together. Then after may be a perfect time to practice yoga or bond over spiritual material and conversation. Including others and combining activities can make routines more time and energy efficient.

Prepare and Establish Routines

Another way to use your time and energy efficiently is to prepare and establish routines. s we know if we wait until the last minute to decide what to eat or if we want to workout, we will more than likely talk ourselves out of doing the healthy thing with a lot of excuses. Looking ahead and preparing goes a long way. If it is set on your schedule and you are mentally prepared you are more likely to engage in the healthy choice or behavior.

If your meals are prepared ahead of time or you at least have a plan of what food you are going to prepare, you will more likely stick with t hat rather than spending money on fast food or eat junk. If you know what workout you are doing, who you are doing it with, where ou are doing it and when you are doing it, you will be much more likely to stick to that schedule and less likely to talk yourself out of it. Having a set schedule and routine for bedtime is very important. Physiological and psychological changes and reset happen during proper rest. This is the most important factor for parents, especially new ones. To be adequately prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically, effective sleep can set your mood, cognitive processing, and overall pace and tone for the day. If you struggle to reset at night with proper rest, the activities of the following day can be more difficult and stressful to deal with.

After establishing routines, you and your family will create a flow that can seem much more effortless and sustainable over time.

Weed Out Time and Energy Wasters

When establishing routines and what is important to you, you will quickly identify what behaviors and people are wasting your time and energy. It is important to make necessary changes to gain optimal satisfaction in your lifestyle. Find out what behaviors and people are supporting and aiding in your healthy, progressive life choices making it easier and happier, and weed out those that are not. Putting time and energy where it matters will get you where you want to be quicker and make you much happier.

Take Turns Giving Each Other Breaks

If you have the ability to, have your spouse or maybe a family member or friend take the kids for a few hours one night of the week. That way you can take some "YOU" time for whatever it is you may want to do. With kids it is especially easy to get caught up in daily routines and forget to take time out for yourself and your passions once in a while. However, it is important to make time for these passions and interests. You may not want to do anything but take a nap if the kids are away, and that is perfectly okay! These breaks away from responsibilities are a good reminder that you are still human and have interests of your own. And it is also a good time to reset mentally and emotionally.

Spend Quality Alone Time with Your Spouse

It is important to take time out to be alone with your significant other if you have one. Throughout the hustle and bustle of taking care of kids along with our own personal routines, we may not only forget about our own needs, but also the needs of our partners. Have the grandparents or daycare watch your kids for a few hours every once in a while so you can go out on a romantic date night. For anybody in a relationship, they know that it takes effort and intention for it to be happy and sustainable. If your spouse is forgotten about, it can escalate to many other problems in the family household. it is vital to show your partner you still think about them and care about their feelings. This will also help make sure you both are on the same page, that your partner feels heard, and prepare both of you for any upcoming difficult situations.

Summary

This article provides just a few techniques that can be used to incorporate healthy living with a busy family life. You may find things that work for you and your family that were not mentioned. Remember that these things will not just fall into place and it takes intention and effort, just like a full-time job. But after a few months of setting everything up on your calendar and putting these things into practice, your routines will become more automatic. This is much less stressful in the long run than living day to day and just winging it as you may have done in the past when you were single. Stress and burnout are very real. Having kids or adding nay kind of real responsibilities can eat up your time and energy. If you are struggling to identify where you should put your time and energy, ti may benefit you to work with a health coach. They will be able to help you identify what is most valuable to you and why. For answers to questions about this article, health coaching, or personal training, please reach out to a GoTimeTraining team member.

Caleb Campbell, M.S.

NASM-CPT, BCS

GoTimeTraining Coach

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