If you’re a mom, you probably start the week off on Sunday evening thinking, “okay this week I’m going to stay focused and balanced,” preparing Monday’s packed lunches, planning a week of meals and glancing at a growing list of appointments on the calendar. It seems so possible when viewed from a relaxed state. Then Monday afternoon reality hits and leaves you wondering where you’re going to get the energy to make it through until the weekend.
Okay, so maybe this doesn’t happen every week, or maybe the energy lasts until Wednesday, but there are a few tricks that can help busy moms (or anyone, for that matter) keep up the momentum to get through hectic days and still find a little time to relax and regroup.
Weekly balancing tips:
- Make an effort to wake 10 minutes early and stretch in bed before jumping up to face the day.
- Take three deep breaths while standing in the shower enjoying the feeling of the water running down your back. Think of the water rinsing off any worry or heavy thoughts about the day.
- While planning lunches and other details for the day, schedule a brief (less than an hour) interlude for fun time doing something you love later. Reading a few chapters of a book or leafing through a magazine, posting on your blog, sending new pictures to grandma, calling a friend, or doing a quick stretch or workout, for example.
- If you can, nap when the little ones are napping. Set your alarm and allow yourself 15 – 20 minutes to refresh and you’ll still have some time to do the things you can only do while they’re sleeping.
- While cooking dinner, chop a few extra veggies to pack in lunches.
- A key element of staying balanced is to allow little moments for yourself even when there isn’t enough time for the big moments. Can’t seem to make it to an hour-long Yoga or Pilates class? Three 10 minute exercise, stretching or breathing sessions equal thirty minutes of time for yourself and your body and mind will notice the attention.
- Remember that taking time for yourself to exercise is anything but selfish, so make it a priority even when there are lots of demands on your attention. Take care of yourself first, and you’ll be better able to take care of those you love–you’ll find you have more energy, and time to get things done may even start to miraculously appear.
Pilates balancing move of the week: The Roll-Up
- Lie on your back on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Relax your shoulders and draw your belly tight (think of pressing your belly button toward your spine). Take a couple of deep breaths as you check your alignment and focus your body.
- Next, leave your shoulder blades anchored to your back and your ribs down as you bring your arms straight up over your head and reach back so that your fingertips are pointing toward the wall behind you.
- Inhale and bring your bring your arms up over your head. As your arms pass your ears let the chin drop and head and upper back join the motion as the body starts to curl up.
- Exhale and in one smooth movement, roll your body up and over reaching toward your toes as if you were rolling up over a big ball on your belly. It is important to pull in your abs in and deepen the curve of the your spine as you exhale (belly button to spine). This will allow your body to roll up with control instead of using momentum.
- Last, keeping the head tucked, the abdominals deeply contracted, and the back rounded, reach for your toes.
- Inhale a big breath in, then exhale as you slowly roll back to the starting position, letting the spine come down to the floor one vertebrae at a time.
- Try to repeat in one continuous, controlled, flowing motion synchronizing the breath. Repeat up to six times.
If you find that you are “stuck” and cannot roll all the way up, don’t despair, it often takes practice to perfect the roll-up. Allow yourself to get to the point where your body resists–and know that your abdominal muscles are working hard! The breath will allow you to feel balanced and the roll-up will tone your body: The perfect balance packed into a small moment in a busy day.
Written by Michele Fulkerson, Photography by Lenka Ulrichova