You are not alone. Many women have talked to me about the same frustrations they have. Feeling trapped, isolated and overwhelmed by work, children, household chores and supporting family and friends.
Leaving little time for catching up with friends and having fun. And leaving less time for arguably the most important of all your roles, which is looking after yourself.
We all know that if we are not happy and healthy then we do not perform any of the above responsibilities well (or at all), leaving us feeling guilty, drained and stressed. When we try to carve out some “me” time, it is often sabotaged by any number of unexpected occurences, like poorly children, friends cancelling at the last minute or your childcare arrangements falling through. So then we decide that there is no point even trying. At least until the next time…
It’s a Catch 22 isn’t it? If you could find some time to yourself, to exercise and ‘switch off’ for an hour or so a week, you would feel more in control. More invigorated and able to deal with what life throws at you on a daily basis.
I am pretty sure my husband didn’t feel an ounce of guilt when he went with work colleagues on a skiing trip for 3 days.
But where is this holy grail of exercise? Well I couldn’t find it either. Which is why after years of searching for it, I decided to create it myself. As a lawyer I had struggled to find a workout I enjoyed, that would fit in with my hectic lifestyle. I tried lots of things but I could never switch off while I was doing it. Once I had children my free time was even more limited (and sacred). By this time I had returned to dancing (escaping the legal world) and was running adult ballet fitness classes locally. But clients were expressing frustration at being unable to attend more classes during the week or over the holidays. My solution? To create an online platform that worked for everyone. Breaking Ballet was born.
I understand your frustrations, your aspirations and your goals. And I want to share with you why Breaking Ballet exists, what it means to me and why I know it will work for you. My Ballet Journey explains all this so do please read on.
If you want to take back control over your body and your time, Breaking Ballet will enable you to do this by:
– working out anytime and anywhere with a tailored and scheduled workout plan;
– streaming all the workout videos on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone;
– having live discussions with me on Facebook to track your progress and ask any questions;
– meeting all your classmates in the Breaking Ballet Members Group for support, motivation, encouragement and fun.
In an ideal world we would all find 1 hour a day to dedicate to exercising. Back in the real world we are lucky to find 1 hour a week. So much happens in a 24 hour period that exercising always seems to come at the bottom of a long list of scheduling in work, school, chores, family, friends and food planning/shopping.
Time is limited and precious. Which is why it is so important to ensure we are making good use of the time we do have, and blocking out time to make our well-being a priority.
I have to work particularly hard with time. I have a tendency to say yes to everything, feel the need to do everything perfectly and as a result end up feeling overwhelmed and under-valued. This is entirely my fault. If and when I do decide to carve time out to do something for myself (like finally using the pottery wheel voucher I got for my birthday), I feel guilty. My family don’t suffer and don’t begrudge me this time, but yet I still feel a level of guilt. It is pointless and yet so many women I speak to feel the same. I am pretty sure my husband didn’t feel an ounce of guilt when he went with work colleagues on a skiing trip for 3 days. And why should he? What is stopping me doing that? ME!
So, its time to step out of your own way, re-programme your thought processes and create time to improve your sense of well-being. Your family will thank you for it. Let’s call this your “happy sweat”.
So to help you with this process, I have put together the ‘happy sweat checklist.’
The Backstage Membership is already saving you time. The workouts can be done anywhere, anytime. You do not need to travel to and from class, dress in clothes that are deemed acceptable to leave the house in, put make-up on, or arrange childcare. But if you are still wondering how you are going to fit the workouts into your schedule, here are a few tips to help you find that sacred time.
Change your mindset – no sneaky workouts
Don’t try ‘sneaking’ in a workout. You are just as important as everyone else in your family and are entitled to spend time on you, regardless of what you choose to do with that time. Rather than spending 30 minutes on Facebook/Instagram posts that leave you feeling less than adequate, or emailing or cleaning, carve time out each day for you and be fiercely protective of it. Shut the door and make it clear no-one is to disturb you.
Block your time out
If you have an appointment on your calendar, I bet you turn up. The same should apply to your happy sweat sessions. Sit down with diary in hand and plan your week. Make a list of the chores, admin, phone calls, that you need to do that week and plan exactly when you are going to do them. Now plan when you are going to fit in your workouts. Timetabling your day may seem a little regimented but if you are serious about exercising and have a hectic lifestyle, this is the only way you are going to find the time.
Decide which workout you are doing
Don’t waste time deciding what you are going to do when you should be actually doing it! When you are blocking out the time in your diary, pencil in the specific workouts you will do in your happy sweat time.
If you are home alone with your child and want to fit a workout in but they are older and don’t nap anymore, resort to bribery. Pop them in front of their favourite programme for 20 minutes, or give them a snack/lunch and get started on your workout. It is best to have them distracted while you are working out, otherwise they cause a distraction and you will not be connected to your body.
Be kind to yourself
Inevitably, things will happen that are beyond your control – the children are sick, an urgent work project, or a massive tantrum. Accept that there is nothing you can do, try a shorter workout if possible and plan to add a few extra minutes the following day. Always make the most of the time you have and don’t give up. DO NOT compare yourself to other women. None of us need that. You are working on improving your body and lifestyle. Let other people worry about theirs.
Ask for help
If you can find a babysitter to come and watch the kids while you workout, do it. If you need motivation, ask a friend to join you. If you want to be held accountable, send your workout plan to a friend/your other half and let them know when you have completed each workout. If you have achieved 70% of your planned workout one week, aim for higher next week.
All these tips should help you on your way to taking time for yourself. Create time, don’t chase it. But please please please let go of the guilt. You are important to your family so make sure in that precious time you have with them you are feeling refreshed and focused.