Remember the days before social media when people would forward emails? You’d go into your inbox to find it filled with forwarded emails you would have to scroll twenty times to get to the message. Then, if you wanted to remain friends with the sender, you had to forward to 10 people immediately. Oh, those were the good old days, right?
One of my favorite emails I received was comical description of a day in the life of a mom. They are busy all day, go to bed exhausted and feel like they get nothing accomplished. Moms start a million different tasks each day but get distracted during every single one of them. It’s to the point where they cannot even figure out what they got up to do by the time they take five steps. I wasn’t even a mother yet when I read this but could totally relate to everything in the scenario being described. Boy, was I in trouble!
Fast forward several years, and I find myself thinking that the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” book series sounds like a typical day in my life! Every time I read these books to my kids, I think to myself, “Brooke, your focus is about the same as the mouse, the pig and the moose on a daily basis!”
The ability to stay focused on one task at a time from start to finish is something that is incredibly challenging, especially for moms.
Some reasons for this include constantly being distracted by the needs of our kids, having “mom brain,” and the environment and culture we live in today with access to technology and information overload.
I am concerned about this so much that lack of focus made it on the list of the top ten reasons why moms don’t exercise as much as we’d like.
We’ve all heard about the phenomenon of New Year’s Resolutions going by the wayside by February 1. Why do you think this is?
Is it because we set goals that are too challenging?
Do we decide our goals are not meaningful?
Are our goals are not realistic?
Maybe, we’re overwhelmed with too many things we are just trying to maintain and realize making improvements is not possible.
Or do we lack the focus to persevere through the challenging phase of turning a new behavior into a habit?
I would say that all of these reasons are true. Perhaps, our inability to maintain focus is at the root of the issue.
“Mom brain” is a term that gets used commonly, and it has actually been ruled a real thing because hormones and lack of quality sleep do cause irritability, forgetfulness, chronic fatigue and a general struggle to pay attention.
The good news is that “mom brain” does eventually go away from a physiological standpoint.
However, the other causes of our lack of focus will still persist. That is why it is so important to check in with yourself regularly to gain an understanding of what helps or hinders your ability to stay focused- both in the short term and long term sense.
For example, one common thing that my clients share with me is that their to-do list is so long that it makes it difficult to keep everything straight that they need to get done.
Can you relate to the struggle of starting to work on one task and before you can get that done, another three things get added to your to-do list?!
In this very simple, but common example, you could gain a better understanding of the situation with these two questions:
What are factors outside of your control that contribute to this?
What are factors within your control that contribute to this?
Having an awareness of what is outside of your control is helpful. However, the real progress is made when you determine and act on what is within your control in the situation. This will help you to move forward without being stuck in the muck of helplessness and negativity.
Here is another scenario that is all too-common these days, especially for moms.
A few days ago I was leading a virtual exercise class, and near the end of the 30-minute class, one of my participants shared with me that she had 30 different notifications come up on her phone during that one single workout. Oh my goodness! She was just trying to step away to do something good for herself. Yet, she had to return to post-workout reality and see all of those alerts.
Fortunately, she has a great positive mindset in knowing that exercise gives her what she needs to feel better and manage all those alerts. However, I can totally understand how some people might just avoid exercise because it seems too challenging to step away from the chaos, only to return to more chaos after a workout.
If lack of focus is one of your main reasons why you don’t exercise, at least not as much as you’d like, then I have good news for you! Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention.
So once again, we can take a very common reason for not exercising and turn it into a reason why exercise is the solution!
I would like to give you a fun challenge. There are likely moments in your day where you find it more difficult to maintain your focus. (for me it’s about an hour after I eat lunch) Have a plan ahead of time for a 5-10 minute exercise break that you can take during this time each day. Depending on the type of day you are having, you might need to do some stretching or myofascial release or you might need a quick burst of energetic cardio or strength exercises. Maybe you just need to move around randomly and fidget.
There are four simple steps for this challenge:
- Make a plan
- Listen to your body
- Be fully present to your body while you move.
- Go back to your day with renewed energy, focus and balance.
I am willing to bet that this one small change could be the catalyst for your journey in using exercise to help you feel better in so many aspects of your life. As a mother, your schedule likely is pretty full, but I know in my heart that you have 5-10 minutes in your schedule to try this. If you replace the time you spend struggling to focus (which in all honesty, is unproductive time) with time for moving your body in a way that it is craving- what have you got to lose? There is only something to gain (like better focus) with this one small change.
Need more focus? Fit Mom Connection Is Here to support you in your journey to embrace the power of exercise in helping you stay energized, focused and balanced!
Virtual Exercise Class Membership. Hang out with me and other mothers live or onDemand to benefit from some fun exercise routines that are functional for the body of mothers. The first month is free so really there is no reason not to do it. There is something in it for all abilities, ages, stages, and interests.
30 Day Self-Care Challenge Want some support in making daily self-care a habit? This program will give you the daily motivation and tools to help you discover how life with self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Work with me 1:1 You are a beautiful, unique individual, and I would be honored to help you tap into your strengths so that you can use exercise as a vehicle, along with a S.M.A.R.T. plan for turning your intentions into actions with the results you want and deserve. Whether it’s starting with a three month wellness coaching relationship or working with me for 1:1 Personal training, I am ready to chat about your needs and desires.
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