This month’s coach nibble comes from Helen:
“I work about 50 hours per week and have four kids. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I have to get up at 5:30 a.m. each morning to get my kids up and ready for school. After work, helping the kids with school, making dinner, and cleaning, my day ends about 1:00 a.m. By that time, I’m so exhausted that all I can do is crawl into bed to start things over the next day. How do I motivate myself to make changes like eating better, working out, meditating, or any of the other things people are always talking about that help with stress and physical health? I feel completely drained and am worried that something’s going to give, but I don’t know how to motivate myself to make changes in my life.”
First off, I’m glad you recognize it is important to do things for yourself as well as your family. Awareness is always the first step to make a change. Taking care of yourself also sets a good example for your children. It teaches them how to prioritize and set boundaries.
Consider starting with my time budget exercise (under the Self-Care section of the Downloads page) to see exactly where your time is going. Try to free up at least 15 minutes per day. Notice if there’s anything you could rearrange to improve efficiency. For example, if you get lots of calls at home in the evening, let them all go to voice-mail and dedicate a particular hour to return messages if they are important, and let friends and family know when your phone hour is.
Next, prioritize one change to try each week. Ease into new routines. Start with whatever appeals to you the most, or whatever would make you feel best to have in place. Begin with a 15 minute session with the new time you cleared out. Maybe you just need 15 minutes of more sleep each night. Maybe for eating better, you’ll spend those 15 minutes looking up new recipes on the internet. For working out, try a short, free video on YouTube (try a search for “dance aerobics” or “beginner yoga”).
Talk to your kids and explain what you are trying to do and why. Ask them to help you. Get them involved if it’s appropriate for their age. Turn it into a challenge if that helps them stay motivated. If you have a partner at home, get him/her involved too.
After 2 to 4 weeks, see if you can free up another 15 minutes per day. Tiny changes are easier to stick to.
Recently, I made a change in my own routines. I try to meditate every morning. I started out doing 15 minutes, but slowly got distracted by chores or other things in the morning and my meditation time gradually eroded down to 10 or even 5 minutes on busy days. My goal was to get up to 20 minutes regularly, so I was not moving in the right direction!
One week, I just decided I was going to do 20 minutes each morning. I said everything else could wait. You know what happened? It worked. I meditated 20 minutes every morning that week, and am still keeping it up. I do the chores a little faster after my meditation so it all fits in.
Time is relative. If we feel time-poor, it affects the quality of time we have. Steal time for what is important and the less-important things will fit into the time remaining.
Know that your self-care is important! Make it a priority and make the time to take care of your needs.
I would love to hear if this exercise helped you! Please leave a comment, or send me an email if you’d prefer to keep it private (exploringyourdepths @gmail.com).
If you liked working through this coach nibble and would be interested in one-on-one coaching with me, check out my coaching information page and F.A.Q. and email me if you have any questions!
I’m accepting submissions for next month’s coach nibble. If you would like to give me a topic you’re dealing with, please email it to me! (exploringyourdepths @gmail.com) I’d love my examples to directly help people. You can give me a code-name or I can just say the topic is from Anonymous for your privacy.
Everyone who suggests a coach nibble topic each month will be put in a drawing for a free 15-minute coaching session! (One entry per person per month.) You would be amazed at what we can uncover in 15 minutes, so don’t poo-poo it. When I select which topic to post that month, I’ll see if there are any common themes; or if there aren’t, I’ll select one at random, and the free session drawing will come from those who were not answered in the blog that month. (So you either get your topic posted in the blog or you get entered to win a free 15-minute session.)
If I get lots of coach nibble topics each month, I will consider doing them more often.