by Naureen Islam
I am the mother of a 6 yr old and a 2.5-year-old who is working full time in a management position in an IT company in North America – I guess this is enough to convince everyone that I have a crazy busy schedule. Recently, I lost about 30 lbs by doing Intermittent fasting with moderate exercise continuing hectic schedule and many of my friends and family has asked me to share some weight loss tips.
So, when my cousin asked me to write a guest post on her blog about weight loss, I happily agreed. But when I started to write some tips, I felt I should write about the overall wellbeing of parents of young children, not just physical health.
I, myself find it a hard battle to keep up with the pace of the world around me. We are expected to be the perfect parents, perfect spouse, perfect colleague, perfect friend and so on. To be successful in all these multiple roles we occasionally sacrifice our mental fitness. It’s all those tangible or intangible goals that we must achieve makes us mentally exhausted and we lose motivation from life. I struggle a lot with keeping up with so many things and at the end life feels like a to-do list with checkboxes. But I still try my best to keep with the pace of this busy world and here are some of my suggestions.
1. Decide your pace: – some people love to have a fast paced life with a lot of achievements; others can’t cope up with high stress environment. So, it’s important to identify your pace while considering life goals. Some people can be a director and still find time to work out, helping kids, help spouse and so on. Others would want to have a lot of free time – a relaxed morning coffee might be very important to start their day. There is no common equation that would fit everyone. For me, I have to work out at least for 30 minutes to fight my insulin resistance. Working out is extremely important for me to stay healthy. I also need to be able to spend enough time with my kids every day. So, every time I change my job I concentrate on the commute. If the commute is more than 30 minutes one way, that job is a NO for me even if it offers me 20K more. I have never regretted this choice. Having just one extra hour to work out and to spend time with my family is more important to me and I choose accordingly.
2. Know your priorities: I think this one is very crucial to identify between couples. What I mean is, it’s very important to identify and balance 2 careers, 2 wish-lists for any couple at any given time. The equation becomes tougher with kids. Managing and progressing two careers and having kids in time – is one great challenge everywhere. It’s an important discussion that needs to happen when you are in your early stage of marriage as this will have an effect on your careers that might impact your mental health in late 30s. I always wanted to be a mom- so when I graduated from grad school I had to choose a comparatively low stress, low paying job as I wanted to prepare to be a parent. People around me constantly tried to negatively impact my decision. But I knew what I wanted and it all paid off when God blessed me with my firstborn.
3. Workout: This is mandatory for having a healthy life. We need to make time for at least 20 minutes of workout a day. This could be any kind of workout: walking, biking, or following a video program. I make it a point that I exercise even if I am super busy, or my kid is sick. There are plenty of efficient high intensity cardio workouts in blocks and they require as little as 7 minutes. it needs determination and commitment to do that. I suggest opening a group with friends/cousins/coworkers to make yourself accountable. This has helped me a lot to make sure I complete my workout sessions.
4. Me time: This is a glass of wine for parents of young children. Me time is the time to reflect, planning next goals or to simply just relax. One important thing in ‘Me Time” is to be free from the digital leash of social media. I believe it’s a crucial step to get the freedom from social media and electronic gadget and just to breathe in fresh air everyday even if it’s for 15 minutes.
5. Share Love and positivity: I personally feel this is one of the strongest tool to lift yourself up. It helped me in the darkest moments of my life. Whenever I felt dull and unworthy – I just picked up something that could positively contribute to someone else’s life. I read an article that every day we ask our kids what they did in the school. What grades did they receive? Instead, we should ask them if they helped anyone. “Did you help anyone today?” I think this is the question we need to ask every day to ourselves too. Did I do anything for someone else today? Did I do a random act of kindness? It could be calling an elderly family member and find out how she is doing, fundraising, or giving a friend some mental support. I believe just little bit of help for anyone else comes with a lot of self-satisfaction.
Nonetheless, life is too short, and we should be thankful for being alive as the world became so restless and unsafe place. I was very close to my father and I used to talk to him every day from miles away. When he died suddenly in a stroke, the biggest challenge to cope up with it was not to be able to talk to him. I used to feel like a drug addict as that conversation was the motivation for rest of my day. It took me a lot of effort to overcome that and I have started loving life more than ever as I have realized every breath is a blessing. That’s why we should all take good care of ourselves and not take our mental and physical health for granted. My life is far from perfect but when I reunite with my family after a long day; I forget about the imperfection and feel blessed for the life I have.
More information on intermittent fasting: http://tinyurl.com/y255bt5o
*This post has been entirely written by my first guest contributor Naureen Islam. All thoughts and opinions are the author’s own. The post has not been edited in terms of content but has been adapted to fit the blog format. – Sonia Kabir