The work from home mom life presents some serious challenges.
If you don’t believe me, you’re going to want to read about my summer struggles… and here’s a preview: think naked bottoms and screaming children during a video conference call for work. For all of the difficulties, however, working from home affords me the ability to live the life I want.
I didn’t always work from home. I used to work 40+ hours a week out of the home. My husband and I did not have to worry about childcare as my mom stayed with our kids while both my husband and I were at work. That lifestyle was not ideal; our family of 4 was rarely together. I felt like I was drowning and I could not get my head above water to breathe.
Almost 3 years ago, my husband was transferred to Vermont, about 400 miles from all of our friends and family. This move necessitated that I take on the primary load of parenting: chauffeuring to and from school, providing food, activities, and appointments. These new tasks made working outside of the home nearly impossible. To be quite frank, I was relieved.
Flash forward almost 3 years and now I am a full-time work from home mom to a kindergartner and a 1st grader. This September, I am entering my second “school year” workin’ it from home while my kids are in school full-time, 5 days a week.
Last year, I packed on the pounds. The work-from-home lifestyle was new to me, I didn’t think about my meals, I was sedentary, and I ate like crap. By March, I had packed on about 15 extra pounds.
That same month, I discovered Ayurveda and went in deep. Since then, I’ve gotten my health on track (with a few small hiccups from the summer madness).
Here are my top tips for staying healthy when you’re a work from home mom:
Prepare Fresh Meals:
This is a top priority for me. Since I’m home, and I don’t have little people bugging me to wipe their butts and get them incessant snacks, I have the time and patience to prepare myself a home cooked (or at least made) meals. I make smoothies, energy balls, or stewed apples for breakfast. Some of my favorite options for lunch are an arugula salad with strawberries, goat cheese, and a homemade vinaigrette, kitchari, or red lentil curry.
I also use my time to plan healthy dinners and get them prepped or in the crockpot.
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. I make a conscious point to stop working while I eat. This is better for both digestion and my mental state. The added bonus is that if you stop working while you eat, you are less likely to overeat. Eating while working is similar to eating while watching TV. Your mind disconnects from your stomach and you eat well past being full.
You might also know that one of my top health tips is not to eat unless you are hungry. Not eating while working helps me to stick to that tip, as well.
Schedule in Workout Time:
I put my walks and yoga class on my calendar with alerts and reminders. I walk 3 days a week and hit yoga class twice a week. I make it a non-negotiable priority, but, I consider my solo walks business meetings. I do some of my best thinking, planning, and strategizing while on walks.
Exercise is good for my physical fitness and for my mindset. And if the word “exercise” makes you cringe, then only think of these walks and classes as self-care time. These workouts are typically what I do right after school drop-off before getting deep into work. If I get into work before moving my body, I won’t ever go back to working out and I know that.
For my own mental health, I try to get outside to work as often as possible. The scents and sounds are good for the soul. The change of scenery typically changes my mood, and my mindset, and perks up my creativity. There are a few parks I like, but even my backyard will do for fresh air and sunlight.
This is the key to every single tip above. Time blocking pulls it all together. I time block my upcoming week the Friday before. Right down to the minute, starting with my morning routine. This helps me to keep my priorities straight and see them, visually. Of course, last minute things pop up. But, having your whole week set out, it makes it easier to find the right place to fit the surprises in.