Parenting and Exercising- Stacking Values
How to get it all done? I get it- you intend to exercise, but by the time all the parenting is done, plus your other responsibilities- the day has gone by and you are ready to collapse on the couch with the next episode of Bridgerton. I get it!
In my work with busy parents and for myself personally, I am ALL ABOUT stacking values. So what does that mean? In this example, I have 2 values- I value being present in parenting my children, which takes time. I value moving my body in healthy ways every day as part of my self-care- which takes time. I stack values by problem-solving and finding ways to combine the 2 values. It gets even better if I stack multiple values. Let’s say I throw in: being in nature, and teaching my children new life skills.
Let me be clear in saying that stacking is NOT the same thing as multi-tasking. Multi-tasking involves doing many things at the same time, and not giving your full attention or presence to any one of those things. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed and your loved ones slighted. Stacking is designed on values and leaves you with a feeling of confidence that comes with leading a value-driven lifestyle.
So, how do I stack the 2 values of getting regular movement or exercise with parenting? This is the question, my life work, a never-ending journey, but here are some simple ideas to get you started:
-Intentionally take deep breaths throughout the day. It is seriously that simple. This helps calm your nervous system, and relax your deep core muscles, which then helps them fire better and get stronger as you move.
-Move well- seriously. Think about it. How many times a day do you lift your child or pick things up off the floor? Move more slowly, use good body mechanics- that’s exercise, strengthening work, and good quality movement.
-Take movement breaks. How many moments are there in your day when you are standing around and not really doing anything? For me, there are lots- especially days when I am with my kids. For example, I am watching them play in the backyard. I pull out some props- my jumprope, kettlebell, or weighted hula hoop. Do I get interrupted? Yes. But all movement counts, and by the end of the day, it all adds up.
Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking. By practicing stacking my values, I give myself the opportunity to be intentional with my time and challenge myself to always question what are my top values, and make sure those values are addressed during my day. And that leaves me feeling the kind of confidence that comes with setting an intention and showing up for myself by meeting it.