Health and Fitness is a LIFESTYLE, Not a Destination
A homeschool mom I know asked me how in the world I manage to fit in all the things I “claim” to do for my health with homeschooling my kids, working on writing projects, seeing clients and the various things I am always doing to improve my personal education. She just couldn’t see how I manage to do so much during the day. She commented that homeschooling is 80% of her day, and there is never any time for her to do anything for herself.
Before I answered her I gave it some thought. How DO I manage to fit it all in?In my case the answer is simple and direct. I have to make the time and find the space for my own health. Because of the MS, my body is incredibly unforgiving when I skip a walk, don’t get enough sleep, or eat convenience foods. I just can’t do these things if I want to be able to function. Sure, I can handle taking a week off from my daily walks, and I can skip the body weight work outs (and truth be told I frequently skip the body weight stuff even though I know I shouldn’t). I can handle one or two meals a week that are not completely “clean” and home cooked, and I can function on less than ideal sleep for a day or two. But, if I do these things even one time to often I pay for it, and so does my family. Symptoms of stuttering, loss of balance, vision disturbances, inability to think, loss of coordination and strength hit hard and fast. If I slip too much or to often I can easily go from a fully functioning homeschool mom to not being able to drive, walk, or do much of anything. It does happen on occasion when I get to comfortable in my regained health.
So, knowing loss of function can and does happen to me I have made it a point to build my lifestyle around my health needs. By extension, I suppose my kids’ lifestyle and routines are partially built around my health needs, too. But they are learning healthy habits and household skills that will serve them for a lifetime.
We are a family who cooks all of our meals from scratch. Now that the kids are teens and pre-teens we share the meal planning and cooking duties. My husband and I share shopping duties. The kids and I usually plan out 2 weeks worth of meals. If it’s something the kids or husband aren’t comfortable making without a recipe, I find them a recipe and list out the name of the website or cookbook, along with URL or page number, as needed. I’m always available to help with the cooking if needed (and I frequently do help), but each of us has two cooking days each week.
My morning routine consists of making Bulletproof Coffee, walking the dogs and writing in my journal. While coffee is steeping (I use a French press), take my morning supplements and walk around the house to get in at least 1000 steps before my coffee. Then, I complete my journal writing while I drink my breakfast coffee. After that, I take one or more dogs for a mile walk. If it’s too cold to walk outside, then I simply let the dogs out, and do my mile of walking inside the house.
I have incorporated walking, meditation, and relaxation into my daily routine. When one activity ends I take a 15 minute walk outside before starting the next activity. I do this when switching writing project, or when going from “work time” to “homeschool time.” I also go for a 15 minute – 30 minute walk before I make dinner in the evenings, or before I sit down to play video games with my kids. When it’s not dark outside my husband and I walk for 30 minutes alone together either after dinner or as soon as he gets home from work, depending on time and who is cooking.
Often, when I need a break from writing, or I’m letting an idea or topic brew in my head, I do 10 or 15 push ups or squats. I also do push ups and squats while I’m waiting for tea water to boil, or waiting for something to finish cooking on the stove.
I read inspirational or educational material while waiting for things to cook, or a child to finish an assignment. You’d be surprised how much German, Irish or Spanish I can practice while waiting for a kid to complete a math assignment.
When the weather is nice, we do homeschooling outside or at a park. The school work gets done and I get much-needed walking and sunshine time.
I’ve intentionally incorporated health, fitness, and personal improvement into my lifestyle and into my day. I don’t wait for the time, and I don’t schedule time for a workout. If I did, I’d never get any of it accomplished. I’ve made fitness and personal improvement part of everything I do.