As a first-time mom to a 7-month-old, I have to admit I am still surprised by my level of exhaustion at the end of the day. I've always enjoyed being busy, but having another human being who depends on you for everything can absolutely take a toll. As a mom, valuing my own health is superimportant to me. I know if I feel good and have energy, I will be a better mom and wife and perform at a higher level in the workplace. To ensure I find time to prioritize my wellness, I committed to exercising for a least a little after my son goes to bed every night. I've found doing a YouTube yoga video for a minimum of 10 minutes is incredibly impactful on my overall well-being.
My favorite yoga videos start with 1-2 minutes of closing your eyes and taking some deep breathes. This alone helps me reset my mood, focus on being thankful for my life and healthy body, and leaves me with a sense of gratitude. No matter how stressed I've been throughout the day, within the first few minutes of my yoga practice, I can feel the tension easing from my body and my mind relaxing.
Once the deep breathing is over, there is usually some light stretching and plank work. After carrying a 20-pound baby around for a significant part of the day, washing a handful of bottles, walking the dog, sitting at my computer doing work, and folding a ridiculous amount of laundry, it's pretty typical for me to feel stiff and have upper back and hip pain — something I never really experienced prior to having a child! The stretching and continued deep breathing in my yoga practice helps to alleviate the muscle tension and generally leads to much better sleep once I am done.
Holding a plank is challenging, but there's something so gratifying about being able to support your own body weight while feeling strong and in control. Through daily practice, I've built up the length of time I can hold planks, while also challenging myself and building in some unique variations. I never push myself too hard, as I aim to be aware of what my body needs in the moment. (Sometimes it's more rest than it is work!) For me, yoga allows time for self-reflection and helps me to create a mind-body connection that's difficult for me to find outside of the gym.
Even if yoga doesn't work for you, I think it's important for all moms to add a bit of self-care into their daily routines. Just figure out what works for you. I find that taking even just 10 minutes a day to check in with myself makes me a better mom — because when I'm taking care of myself, I can take better care of my baby boy, too.