Wake up time every morning during the week is between 4:45 - 5:00 am, it's always a bit tough (sometimes the snooze button gets hit, especially on cold mornings). Still, it's the best time for my family of early risers to get organised and spend a bit of time with my husband before leaving for work at 5:30 am. Time in our household is a precious commodity – we live in a rural lifestyle block about 30 minutes outside of Dunedin. My husband works 12 hours a day, and I work full time (but flexible hours) at a scientific firm located in the middle of Dunedin. To make the most out of time in the mornings and evenings to try to fit everything in (including my workouts), I try to plan out my week in advance on a Sunday afternoon. This means thinking about what days will be best for different types of workouts, meal planning, and working on a schedule with my husband on the upcoming week. I'm not naturally a Type A personality that enjoys making lists, but I find that if I can plan out even a flexible schedule with several go-to recipes that can cook in the crockpot during the day, I can usually wing it with a sausage or left-overs night on the days where "Life Happens", and my best-laid plans fall apart.
The DediKate workouts make it so easy because I can be in the middle of my workout when the kids get up and I can just quickly hit pause to serve breakfast, or the kids can watch me in the lounge until I finish. On mornings where I work out, I try to get absolutely everything organised the night before - lunches and breakfast made (overnight oats are a favourite in our household), clothes picked out, and bags packed. During lockdown, I experimented with more recipes like healthy fruit and nut slices, quiches, and casseroles to freeze and then dole out in individual portions for lunches. This has made a massive difference in nutrition for me, I'm guilty of being so busy that I forget to pack a lunch or eat breakfast, and then I end up buying a huge cafe sandwich with a slice on the side when I get to work. By planning out meals in advance and having some healthy snacks and meals pre-made, I'm more likely to keep my nutrition on track and putting my pocket money towards cute activewear rather than daily stops at the cafe.
I enjoy running, and I try to do one or two different running events during the year. I'm currently training for a trail half marathon which means adding in some speed sessions and long runs and other Dedikate workouts. I sit at a computer all day at work, but I try to go for short walks a few times a day and do a speed session or 30-minute run during my lunch break a couple of times during the week. If I'm training for an event, I'll do a long run first thing on Saturday or Sunday morning. My husband and I both use fitness as a crucial part of our mental health and well-being, so we make sure to communicate our goals and fitness schedule to each other to help support each other with carving out the time to get the workouts done. Now that the kids have been getting older (6 and 4 years old), we've been trying to spend more time doing fitness and sports as a family, making it a lot more fun.
A big challenge for me with working has been navigating the work/life balance and looking after my mental health. Even though I've got things running relatively smoothly at the moment, it took a lot of learning and stumbles to get to our current situation. I've learned that it's OK to ask for help to get things done and that the family can only operate if its leader (me, the Mum) is happy. I've been able to ask for more flexible hours at work, so it's not strictly 9am - 5pm. I have friends and family that help look after the kids after school or get to activities, and my husband and I switch off having a "solo weekend" each month, where we have a weekend entirely to ourselves to do what we want.
A big piece of my happiness puzzle that was missing until about six months ago was social engagement. Even though I fitted in my "me time" with exercise, there was not enough time during the week or on the weekends to regularly catch up with friends. Until my oldest started school, I didn't talk to many adults other than my husband or colleagues at work. This is where DediKate and the Online Community have made a significant impact on my life. Not only are there so many inspiring people within the online community, but so many of us are going through similar trials and tribulations with work, families, and trying to find the time to work on our health and fitness. It's these shared experiences, along with our passion for fitness and the support for one another, that has helped me develop friendships with people across New Zealand, some of whom I've never met in real life. The best part has been getting to know women who live nearby, who I've met and become fast friends through Sunday Dedikate catch-ups and daily messenger chats. Even in the weeks where work and family life are insane, just spending 15 minutes each evening to read posts on the DediKate page or share banter with the Otago group chat helps fill my happiness cup and keeps me going.
Bedtime is early; I try very hard to eight hours of sleep each night to ensure that I have the energy to face the daily chaos. Some weeks are better than others, but having a strong support system with my family, work, and friends helps immensely. A favourite quote from writer Nora Roberts that I tell myself frequently with juggling work, family, and fitness is "Know which balls are glass and which ones are plastic". I make sure that a few of those glass balls each week are just for me with my workouts. And also for wine on weekends!
We love that quote Kate and the way you use it!
If you have any questions or would like to get in touch, please don't hesitate!