Staying Healthy on a Tight Schedule

Let’s face it: Life can be hectic, and we can’t always make fitness a priority. 

Sure, it sounds great to have the freedom to hit the gym for an hour every day, but that’s not possible for most single parents who run on a tight schedule. Plus, if we take into account the monetary investment of commuting, maintaining a gym membership, and paying for personal training services, it adds up.

It may seem like an impossible reality to create a balance between staying fit and active and parenting. But it is still possible. Even if your schedule is jam-packed, you can always make some time for health and fitness. All you need is the will and focus and the right discipline to make it work. Here are some simple tips on how to create a balance. 

Below, we’ll go over the latter. 

Begin With a Morning Ritual

It’s often said that how we start each day can have a profound impact on our energy, mood, and motivation. Start each day strong and determined, and the remainder of the day will be similar.  

It may seem like an impossible reality to create a balance between staying fit and active and parenting. But it is still possible.

What’s more, mornings are often the only time we can take for ourselves before the countless distractions of the day start fighting for our attention. 

So, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to establish a productive morning ritual. For example, as you get up: 

  • Meditate for 2-5 minutes. Check out this website for some ideas on meditation and finding focus before you start your day
  • Stretch for 10 – 15 minutes before you get moving. Check out Real Simple’s exercise tips for home based fitness ideas
  • Do some light dynamic training for 5 – 10 minutes. Check out Self magazine’s low impact workout ideas
  • Take a shower and refresh yourself to start your day.

This ritual won’t take longer than 25 minutes, but it will help you get into the habit of regular exercise. What’s more, this is a fantastic way to start each day with more energy and motivation and a better mood. 

Make Better Decisions Every Day

Our days are comprised of hundreds, if not thousands of small decisions. The more positive choices we make, the more they snowball into significant improvements over time. So, it’s vital for us to repeatedly evaluate our decisions and ask ourselves, “Is this a beneficial thing to do, or am I being lazy?” Is there an alternative way to do “something” that will lead to a healthier choice?

There are everyday activities we can do to improve our physical well-being and our daily decision make an impact on our long term health. Here are some ideas on how to make healthier choices:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park your car farther and walk the rest of the way
  • Take your bike instead of the car
  • Take a walk with your family every evening
  • Drink water instead of soda
  • Stand up frequently, even if your work has you seated on a chair
  • Cook with your kids and find healthy ingredients for meals

Do What You Can With The Time and Resources You Have 

Life can be hectic and unpredictable especially for single parents. We all enjoy making plans, and we do our best to stick with them. But, sometimes, life gets in the way, and we find ourselves unable to stick to schedules and plans.

So, what can we do in such a case?

James Clear coins with a fascinating idea. According to him, when life gets hectic, it’s essential to stick with the schedule, but reduce the scope if we have to. Say that you scheduled an hour-long gym workout for tomorrow evening, but life got in the way, and you now find that you can’t make it.

What you can do is still have a workout in the evening, but make it shorter and do it at home. A suboptimal session is infinitely better than none at all. Plus, by sticking to your schedule, you reinforce the behavior, further ingrain it into your identity and develop better habits.

Chanelle Dupre

Chanelle Dupre is a writer of parenting articles and was a single parent for 20 years to two sons now in their late 20's. She had a column in 3 newspapers and this blog is a curation of old and new stories around the challenges of single parenting and ideas on how to make life easier.

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