Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mama On the Run: Crazy, Hectic, Busy Weeks

These last few weeks have been crazy. 

It's the heart of daddy's basketball season. Mama has been traveling here and there for work. Kidlets have had events almost every weekend. And then there's the normal busyness that the week brings - you know....meetings, commitments, evening activities, plus the everyday tasks that life brings in laundry (that doesn't end when the dryer eats your clothes), cooking and dishes (that doesn't stop when the dishwasher breaks down), and the school obligations (you know, like reading and flash cards and parent teacher conference prep).

Mama's type-A hits overdrive when she leaves town for a few days.

We've been on the road several times these last few weeks to watch basketball, basketball, and more basketball!

And we can't forget to bake little miss's 1/2 birthday treats for school....or the cookies for parent-teacher conferences....or the cookies for the Soup Kitchen (notice a trend?). 

It's easy to get wrapped up into the busyness and make excuses. "I'm too busy to cook..." "I'm too busy to run..." "I'm too busy to sleep..."

That just doesn't work. It's not an option. (Okay, it's an option, but it's a lousy one for this mama bear!)

I have to sleep - at least 7 hours/night on those stressful weeks. I desire to keep cooking - even if it's quick fixes or packing the kidlets their sack suppers while attending daddy's games - because it gives me some control on the craziness. And I love to find any chunk of time to run or cross train - because it keeps me sane and the perfect addition to prayer time in the midst of a busy day. 

I write this to encourage all of those busy mamas out there that you CAN find time in the hectic, frazzled part of your day to fit in running and exercise and continue your training regimen. I'm no exercise expert or running coach, but speaking from a "normal" point of view, here are a few tips and things I consider when heading into those extra-stressful and extra-crazy weeks. This has taken me far in mamahood these last 6.5 years:

  • Block out the time you're going to run/exercise on your calendar and treat it like a meeting. You wouldn't skip a work meeting or conference call, would you? 
  • Go to bed as soon as you can at night so you can wake up earlier and get the workout done first thing in the morning, before life throws too many excuses your way. It's really difficult for me to do this, but I forced myself to turn off work (mainly email/electronic devices) by 9 p.m. at least 3 nights this week to calm myself down and help ease into the sleep cycle. And there are nights when I also take a melatonin simply because my mind will not shut off, regardless of the bedtime routine I put myself through. 
  • Opt for shorter runs/workouts (or even do two different sessions a day if you're planned to go longer) and then make it a mission to walk more throughout the day, take stairs, do planks or push-ups in the office, you get the picture. 
  • Adjust your training schedule (if possible) to make the weekend run not as long. I was oh-so thankful to have a 6-miler in my half marathon plan this Saturday after the crazy busy week we had this week. After five basketball games in six days - plus a mid-week work trip, parent-teacher conferences, and a week filled to the gills with meetings - I was feeling it and glad I "only" had a 6-miler instead of the usual 8-10 miler that I'm doing these days. 
  • Spend some time on the weekend before your crazy week to food prep, laundry prep, everything prep. This past Sunday I spent a good hour of the afternoon chopping veggies, cooking/shredding chicken, carving out my go-to grapefruit breakfast and putting it in individual containers, and making the cookie dough that I had to use later on in the week for baked treats at school.  
  • Keep moving. On those nights when I'm on my own, I do whatever it takes to keep moving after I put the kidlets down - at least for 20 minutes. If I don't, I end up on the couch and mindlessly watch junky television or scroll through my Facebook feed a gazillion times. Time waster! I don't necessarily mean to keep moving workout-wise, but instead I challenged myself to stay standing post-kidlet bedtime. Usually it's only 20-30 minutes and it almost always involves packing the lunches (for Mackie, Jack, and I alike) and setting out my running/workout gear for the next morning. They're simple prep tasks that truly make a difference in the morning. 
  • Stay hydrated (Nuun is a great addition to water in the afternoon!). Take vitamins (Dr. Mercola vitamins are my go-to's for both my children and myself). And I also find that the addition of a probiotic has worked wonders on my overall health and wellness these last six months (I prefer the Klaire Labs brand). 

Above all, give yourself a break and take time to key in on what's important! These uber-stressful weeks are great ways to re-prioritize. I know that while these seasons in life happen throughout the year, ultimately it's not a desire of mine to be this crazy busy day in and day out, year-round. God doesn't design us to be so incredibly busy that we don't focus on the tasks at hand and truly live out our lives for His ultimate glory. These busy times provide the perfect reminders of prioritizing our every hour and day to live out for His purposes. (I strongly encourage Tim Challies' book, "Do More Better" - I'm working through it now and it'll definitely be a go-to resource on my shelf that I reach for over and over again!).

Happy running - and LIVING LIFE, friends!

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