How to get out of a rut now you're a parent
It can be odd to think back two years, five years or even a decade and realise how far you’ve come in life. You were once a carefree young singleton with the world at your feet and nothing but optimism in your aura. Somehow, life and all it has to throw at you has made you more realistic, and pessimism has slowly begun to creep into your being.
You ache to restore that naivety and innocence that you enjoyed throughout your adolescence but now, with a family and responsibilities, it can be hard to find time to concentrate on your well-being when you are so busy taking care of others. But you wouldn’t have it any other way. You have found your soul mate, and you have some delightful little human beings all of your own that you wouldn’t change for the world. That doesn’t stop you from reminiscing.
It’s almost as if you have forgotten how you ended up where you are right now. What happened to make you lose your spontaneity, feistiness and vigour? Is it a simple case of ageing or is there something more to decipher?
Life doesn’t have to change from a thrilling adventure to a humdrum existence just because you have gotten a little older and have kids of your own.
Let’s take a look at all of the different areas of our lives and try to uncover how we can break free from the shackles of our habits and routines.
Some of us were blessed when we were younger because we knew the exact occupation we wanted to pursue from the age of four and there was no deviation. You remember your best friend who always want to be a vet and she now has her own animal practice that she has been working in for the past decade. She was driven and remains fulfilled with her work life.
You, on the other hand, were one of those kids who didn’t know what they wanted to do. You weren’t a slacker or a procrastinator; you just couldn’t find the spark in something that made you fully commit to an employment path. In the end, you found yourself somehow tumbling into your current role without really considering the long term consequences.
You now find yourself completing the 9 - 5, five days a week and not really finding any passion or verve in what you are doing. It’s time to step back and reassess.
Now that you have your little ones and you are a little older, think about what it is that you could see yourself doing up until your retirement. Your mundane desk job doesn’t have to see you shackled forever.
Are you keen on working with children? Is charity work something that you are interested in? Or do you want to make a career out of your passion for all things antique and vintage?
It’s time to explore all of your options and relight a little bit of fire in your belly. Work life takes up at least 40 hours of your week. You need to make sure it is something that you enjoy doing.
If you’ve noticed that you’ve started putting on the pounds a little easier in the last couple of years, then this is something that is a byproduct of ageing. As we grow older, our metabolisms do tend to slow down. It also doesn’t help if you gorge yourself on all manner of sweet treats at Christmas and rinse the all-inclusive summer holiday for all it’s worth. Consider taking a look at your diet and embarking on a cleaner and healthier way of eating.
There’s no need to employ a personal trainer or nutritionist to get your daily health routine into shape. There are a few things that you can do to tweak your lifestyle that’ll see you feeling happier, more content and healthier.
Taste the rainbow. That doesn’t mean purchasing all the skittles you can get your hands on, but instead working out some sensible meals that you can enjoy with your family that include fruit and vegetables of all colours. If you can ensure that your plate is full of vegetables of at least three colours, you will be taking on board a variety of antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins.
Launch yourself into the world of smoothies and experiment with kale, blueberries and flax. Maybe give the wheatgrass a miss unless you are made of tough stuff. If you have a sweet tooth add a squeeze of maple syrup and don’t head for the chocolate drawer.
When it comes to exercise, you’ll be surprised at how active you actually are running after your little ones. It’s easy to lose motivation for partaking in any form of physical activity, especially after having your little bundles of joy. You may feel more self-conscious and aware of the post pregnancy weight that you still find yourself carrying around, but you shouldn’t. Gyms are now hugely welcoming, and some will often open up at specific times just for people who have an issue with their body confidence. You could investigate women only gyms and take a friend along for moral support.
If you’ve never been a gym bunny, consider playing a sport. If you loved racquet sports when you were younger, take a trip to your local badminton or tennis club and hit a few balls. All you need are a couple of badminton rackets or tennis rackets and some shuttlecocks or some balls. You'll be amazed at how exhilarating it can be to have a round of badminton or tennis with a good friend.
Being more active releases the happy hormone dopamine which can stimulate positive thoughts and ensure that you edge out the emerging pessimism from your life.
Sex, drugs, and rock and roll
Ok, so the chances are you don’t live the most hedonistic of lifestyles. This is good. Your idea of a vice might be a glass of red wine with dinner and a cheeky cigarette now and then. If you are keen to revolutionise your life for the better, it’s a wise idea to curb the smoking altogether. With vaping companies such as Electronic Cigarettes Limited becoming more mainstream, there is now an alternative to the tar and noxious chemicals that you force your body to endure when you take a drag on a cigarette.
You could forego the cigarettes and the substitutes by going completely cold turkey. You may need to find another activity to occupy you such as chewing sugar-free gum or completing a Sudoku. Soon you’ll be a master of the Japanese puzzle! Just keep your mind occupied and curb the cravings until they are gone.
If partaking in alcohol once in a while is your vice, it’s time to reassess your drinking habits. Have a drink with an evening meal and limit all other drinking to the weekend. An effective way to motivate yourself to do this is to think of something you want to save up for. This could be a trip to Disneyland for the kids, a new car or some home improvements. As you lessen your drinking, you’ll notice the savings add up. As the money pot builds, you’ll be keen to continue to reach your financial goal. And always remember alcohol is a poison! So many people seem to forget! It's just as bad, cancer-wise, as smoking cigarettes.
Find time for you
With a partner and kids, finding time alone can be like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s virtually impossible. In order to begin feeling more fulfilled, you need to set aside some time to embark on your own activities. You may want to take up a new hobby such as cycling or a martial art. You might want to take some time out to learn a new instrument or language. By immersing yourself in something new, you are giving your life a renewed purpose.
It’s great to have a solid family unit, but it is also beneficial to have something just for you, that you can retreat to if you begin to find the stresses of life a little too overwhelming. Finding time to relax can be tricky, but even if it is just one evening a week where you ask your other half to take care of your little cherubs while you head off to a yoga class, you’ll be able to unwind and let go of the pressures that have built up over the week. Yoga is an effective tool to control your breathing, gently exercise all of your muscle groups and rationalise your thoughts. If you join a yoga club, you’ll meet like minded people and make new friends, breaking the monotony that is beginning to seep into your life.
With the busy lives we lead in the twenty-first century, it can be ridiculously hard to find the time to take stock and consider how we want to change our lives for the better. There is no point saying you want to make your life more fruitful but then doing nothing about it. It’s time to take up a new hobby, sort out the 9 - 5, get fitter, healthier and happier and lead your life with a renewed sense of purpose, vigour and enjoyment.