Refocus on Exercise: Beating Mommy Burnout and More
Picture this. You hear about a new drug that doctors can prescribe. It promises to reduce stress and give some relief to anxiety. It promotes a feeling of overall well-being that leads to increased confidence. It helps to make one’s mind clearer and improves problem-solving skills. It improves your children’s lives when they see you use it. In the majority of patients who took it, it improved muscle tone, improved balance, and reduced body fat. And best of all, there are absolutely no bad side effects.
Pharmacies would not be able to keep this pill in stock! Alas, this pill does not exist. It never will exist. But with 30 minutes a day, we have access to all of those incredible benefits simply by engaging in regular exercise.
Too many people think of exercise and only equate it with physical changes in the body. And while that is certainly an important benefit, the mental and emotional benefits may be paramount, especially for parents. Put simply, we’re stressed out, we havea lot to do, and we’re battling burnout all the time. Emily Myers Garner is a mom, wife, Volunteer and female business owner that lives in the Flowood/Reservoir area. She has recently reconnected with her yoga practice (at the Flowood YMCA and Tara Yoga) after pledging to be kinder to her mind, body, and spirit. She says “After class I feel more centered, relaxed and energized to take on the day.” Exercise doesn’t make stress go AWAY. But those who are calmer going into stressful situations simply handle it better.
LeeAnn Bates is a mom who lives in McComb, is self-employed, and is a coach for CrossFit there. Most weeks, she works out 6 days a week. As she says “you can’t pour from an empty cup and CrossFit helps me fill my cup and helps my body function the way God intended it to.” She gets a sense of accomplishment that boosts her confidence to run her business. And she is able to maintain an identity that complements her identity as Mother OfA Teenager. When she’s not exercising she says “my days feel ‘off’. My body is stiffer, my brain isn’t as clear, and I don’t feel as positive or happy”.
Do you think you don’t have time because your kids’ schedules come first? Consider the important example that exercise sets for them. Caryl Sumrall is a primary care nurse practitioner with two busy girls and a husband. She doesn’t belong to a gym because she knows she wouldn’t make the time to go. So instead, she walks 4 to 5 miles a day at least 4 to 5 times a week. She says “it’s benefitting me and my family if I keep myself healthy. And it’s also something I do to show my patients the importance of staying healthy as well.” The quiet time to herself is also important to her ability to stay sane in her busy week!
Homeschool moms Stacey Williams (Rez Area) and Terri Wells (Madison) each have three active kids, and they both exercise regularly. Stacey attends the Get Fit Studio in Flowood and walks most mornings, and Terri is a runner and also practices Pilates. They both depend on exercise to help cope with stress, but for Stacey, she also enjoys the boost that the sense of community at her gym gives her. And Terri depends on that quiet time to pray and get her mind cleared for the day. Both mamas feel a duty to take care of the temple that God has given them in order to be able to care for everyone else.
The takeaway here is the need for self-care. The physical benefits are almost outweighed by the emotional and mental advantages. What if changing your schedule to include 30 minutes of exercise every day could make you FEEL better? It’s worth it. Think outside the box. Are you a mama with lots of littles at home all day? There are gobs of online videos that can be done any time at all. Are you able to go walk for 30 minutes before or after work? Do it. Maybe make the kids walk with you! Are you most motivated by having a scheduled class time at a gym? Adjust your budget and sign up. Do you have a schedule that is never the same from one day to the next? Expand your exercise choices to accommodate your different needs. Take up a new sport. Exercise while watching tv. Do something for ten minutes, 3 times a day, even! If you’re too tired to exercise, then you definitely need to start.
Save your sanity and possibly save your health by getting in some regular exercise that works for YOU. This isn’t about looking good. It’s about feeling good. And we can all use more of that.
Leah O’Gwynn Kackley is a homeschooling mama to three and wife to Jason. They live in the Rez/Fannin area. Her exercise includes a mash-up of walking, tennis, and at-home Pilates, and she is way more patient with her kids when she’s being diligent with exercising!