Nappy Valley – 10 top tips to get back into the swing of things after the summer holidays!
As a single Mum of 5 year old twins who runs two businesses, I have a love-hate relationship with the summer holidays. Yes, I like to spend more time with my children, yes, it’s great to be out of the school routine and yes it’s nice to work a little less. But it leaves me exhausted, broke, and feeling inefficient as I rush and juggle it all – especially after 6 weeks!
So, I don’t know about you, by the start of September, I crave routine, ME time, renewed energy, earlier nights, less wine, more time for my businesses and I’m more relaxed knowing my children are being entertained by their teachers for six and a half hours a day!
What I find though (and you can have any age children to be guilty of this one), is that women often want to rush into extremes post summer. Total overhauls of their diets to overcome the endless BBQs, thinking they need to run 5 miles every day of the week to counteract the ice-creams scoffed, punishing themselves for having a few weeks off focus and so on. But they forget about the power of mindset and balance when it comes to health and well being.
Do yourself a favour this month, make things easier for yourself! This is one of my favourite quotes and something I think we can all be reminded of from time to time.
Here are my top tips for how to make September the most successful but least stressful month of the year!
- Get a positive attitude about yourself and your life. In other words, move forwards creating what you want, rather than focusing on what you might have done to jeopardize it or don’t have now. Your current situation is not your final destination!
- Create time for you. This means putting yourself on your to do list. Yes it’s nice to have a spring clean, yes it’s great to tick off your chores or help a local charity. But make time to do the things that enhance your health and well-being too. From a run in the park, a coffee with a friend you haven’t seen all summer (try to avoid the cake!) to doing absolutely nothing. Yes nothing! Only you can create that time, you’re the boss of your life after all.
- Make things simple. Book your training sessions in your diary and stick to them. Have your work out gear ready every morning. Set your juicer up the night before. Get organized with your online shop. Keep a variety of frozen vegetables in your freezer. Tell people you’re unavailable at certain times of the day. Turn off your facebook and emails on your phone. Don’t be reactive to texts. We are the ones responsible for complicating our lives, no-one else!
- Don’t lie to yourself. Another favourite quote of mine is ‘The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it!’ Harsh but true. I can’t exercise because I have a baby… I don’t have the time to make healthy food… My kids were up early… They are all excuses and deep down we know it!
- Sometimes women need to sleep as much as they need to move. This isn’t to say don’t’ exercise if you’re tired, because often it alleviates it. But get to bed early instead of Daily Mail online surfing and not only see the weight drop off and your mood increase, but you’ll have better body image too. Go to bed at 8pm on a Friday night instead of going out to drink wine with people you don’t really want to. Cancel meetings if you don’t really need to go, why not take a guilt-free sickie!
- Have more fun. Everyone needs to lighten up a bit more! Laugh each day, find something to smile about each hour, make a list of the things that make you feel good and the people that lift your spirits and do and see only those for a month. When tackling housework or accounting paperwork, put your favourite music on and be like Mary Poppins… Make the mundane things fun!
- Create new habits. September is great for getting back into a new exercise routine. As I said keep it simple, but just go out and do it. All habits can be replaced, so as the summer slacking-off ones have crept in, now is a great time to swap your latte for your trainers, your snooze button for a bootcamp, your slobbing-out for a power walk. Start having a vegetable juice each morning, add greens to your evening meal, swap sandwiches for salads at lunchtime. In a week it will seem like the norm!
- Make sure you have balance in all areas of your life. Too much fun and not enough fitness doesn’t work. Neither does too much work and not enough downtime. Too much time with the kids needs to balanced with ME time and fun time. Baby talk needs to be balanced with date night. Exercise needs to be matched with relaxation, you get the picture. Only you can create that balance, so if you heard yourself thinking ‘yeah but’ as you read this list, that’s a clue there needs to be more balance in your life!
- Focus on your food as much as your fitness. You simply cannot out-train a bad diet. Food should nourish you, not punish you and if you eat well, your body will function better and actually do what you want it to. Most people are undernourished and overfed and it affects women on an aesthetic and long term / internal health level. Cut out wheat, dairy from cows and sugar (sorry but it’s time to get real with health!) and replace with vegetables, fresh herbs, avocadoes, salads, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, quinoa and olive and coconut oil. Make your food taste great so you feel satisfied and your body isn’t having to deal with excess toxins and hormones and see how great you look and feel.
- Reset the stress. There is absolutely no point getting stressed about anything. Not anything at all. Please don’t argue with me on this one either! If you can change it, change it, if you can’t, well there’s no point stressing about it. Most stress is not life or death (yet ironically firing off our adrenals left right and centre causes a lot of disease and death in women) and we can choose how to react to things. Women put a lot of their focus on things that make then feel miserable. Stop! Try having a totally stress-free September and put all your energy and focus into the good stuff and monitor how you react to things. Nagging, complaining and feeling anxious are all signs you need to respond differently to challenging situations!
I hope you all have a great month!