It can be tempting to focus on your kids and pour all your energy into making sure they’re okay. Divorce is often tough on kids, but you’re no use to anyone if you’re not feeling your best, and physical fitness is a big proponent of good mental health.
By sticking to your fitness goals, you’re creating a healthy habit, and after a while, that habit will become part of your everyday life. Not only does this result in better physical health, but it can also help maintain the sense of stability and routine that can often disappear during a big life change.
Fitness Tips For Divorced Moms
#1 Start Slow
If you haven’t worked out recently or have a tendency to be all-or-nothing, try starting slow. It can be tempting to dive in and suddenly start doing intense, hour-long sessions, but it’s perfectly okay to do short 15-minute workouts daily. There are a ton of great short workouts on YouTube you can follow along with in your living room in those pockets of time you have around work and looking after your kids.
#2 Make Eating Right Easy For Yourself
Eating right is easy provided you’ve got the right things to eat. This goes beyond simply making sure you’ve got healthy food instead of sugary and processed foods – it’s not unusual to feel unmotivated about eating right (or even just a proper meal) when you’re feeling down and your kids are having something different. Consider buying healthy prepackaged meals or meal prepping so your decision to eat right is the easiest one; all you need to do is grab your meal out of the refrigerator and heat it up.
#3 Workout While You’re Motivated
If you tend to fall onto the sofa, exhausted after the kids have gone to bed, try to make time for exercise before the day starts. We know this is often easier said than done with kids in the mix, but making time for exercise and healthy eating can make a huge difference in how you feel physically and mentally.
Plus, a good workout regimen makes a good impression on your children as they’ll see you taking control and being proactive. The way you approach food and exercise can impact how your kids see them, so be sure to demonstrate a healthy schedule and balanced diet, for their sake and yours!
#4 Practice Kindness and Gratitude
Be realistic and be kind to yourself. The worst thing that can happen if you set an easy goal is that you’ll smash it and have to set a new one! Easy wins are essential to progress, so don’t be hard on yourself and set lots of easy milestones. Give yourself the same motivation you would give a friend and take the time to be grateful for what you’ve done for yourself at the end of each workout.
#5 Don’t Forget to Stretch!
It’s all well and good heading to the gym for a half-hour stint on the treadmill, but you have a higher risk of injury if you don’t warm up or cool down. Flexibility is just as important as muscle strength and can help reduce your risk of arthritis and joint pain later in life. While a brisk walk or some jumping jacks for 3-5 minutes is enough to get the blood flowing, ensure you stretch properly after your workouts to prevent tight muscles and potential injury in the future.
#6 Stay Flexible (Not Just Physically!)
Stretching will keep you flexible physically, but you need to stay flexible mentally, too. As a mom, you know the need to adapt your daily schedule at a moment’s notice, but all too often, we’ll only do it for someone else’s needs. Make sure that schedule flexibility extends to your self-care. If you’re prone to overgiving or overextending yourself for others, try to say no to anything that might eat into your you-time, whether that be your workout time, bath time, or just staying in with a good book.
#7 Get the Kids Involved
Working out and eating right is difficult when you’re going against the rest of your household or when they’d rather you were doing something else. So, instead of getting frustrated, get your kids involved. Get them to “work out” with you to a dance video, go swimming, or get them on their bikes and head out for a run. Even getting out in the yard to throw a ball around is better than nothing!
#8 Wear Workout Clothes That Make You Feel Good
Heading to Sweaty Betty whenever you feel reluctant to workout may not be the best idea, but you should have workout clothes that make you feel awesome. Invest in a few pieces that you can’t wait to wear (they don’t have to be expensive), and consider adding something to your collection once a month or so to keep you looking forward to putting on your workout clothes to get a sweat on. You may even need to so that your clothes fit your new and improved body!
#9 Mix it Up
Don’t be afraid to mix up your exercise and step away from rigid programs. If you love running now but know you won’t want to when winter comes, then run while you love it and switch to weights, interval training, or yoga when you aren’t enjoying it anymore. The best way to get healthy for good (and have a ton of fun while doing it) is to try new things when you’re no longer enjoying or feel motivated for your routine. Some days, a run is just going to seem too hard, and it’s absolutely okay to grab your yoga mat and your comfiest clothes and chill while stretching for a while. Your body will still thank you for it!