Finding time for myself is not easy these days, which is why I’m so glad that I’m training for the LA Marathon.
It doesn’t seem like running 4, 10, 20 miles counts as time to yourself, but it really does. I’m a work at home mom and for me that means that work never stops and neither does being a parent. If there’s a spare minute, I’m at the computer or putting in a load of laundry. Because I don’t have a set schedule, I have to work in time for me and I oftentimes feel guilty when I do.
But when I’m out on the road, I can’t feel that guilt. I have to make this time for myself because if I don’t, I’ll be hurting on the next long run. Or worse, I won’t be able to complete the marathon. And, not only that, I signed up to run for the non-profit Help a Mother Out on Crowdrise. So not only am I running for me, but hundreds of babies who need diapers.
I get so much out of this time. I don’t take my phone with me when I go jogging, just my Ipod. Four times a week for 30 minutes to an hour, I have uninterrupted time to myself. I listen to podcasts, music, or my own thoughts. How often does that happen? I can actually pick a song to listen to without my kids yelling, “I hate this song, turn it off, ahhhhh!” or “Why is that lady saying that she’s gotta shake her ass?”
And when I’m running I don’t feel like a chubby middle-aged mom. I’m Sydney Bristow, or Diana Prince or me at 19. It’s liberating to run like a kid or a crazy person. And it’s fun to be outside or in a gym.
Running can be hard on your body, I’ll admit, but it could be worse. When I don’t exercise, my body aches. My hips, knees, ankles just don’t feel as good as when I’m exercising. It’s not just my body that feels good. If I’m in a bad mood and I go on a run, I almost always feel at least a little bit better when I get back.
And when I feel good, when I have time to take care of myself, I’m a much better mom.
Here are some tips to help get you to make time for yourself and exercise:
1) Sign up for an event – a marathon, a 10K, or a walk can really help get you motivated to start a routine.
2) Join a group – Meetup.com has walking groups or if you sign up for a marathon or bike ride through Team in Training, they train you along the way. If you live in LA, see my post for CBS about how to start running in Los Angeles.
3) Make it an adventure – Map out a new walk, run, or hike every time you leave your house.
4) Pick an activity that’s fun for you – If running isn’t your thing, try swimming, walking, biking, yoga, pilates, bar workouts or any other sport that works for you. Check out your local YMCA to find out what it offers.
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