I’ve always been an A+ student. A perfectionist. An over-achiever.
And I work with a lot of people like me.
I work with folks who in their careers or in their parenting want to absolutely knock it out of the park.
Even when it comes to self-care:
They envision the perfect nutrition plan, exercise routine, sleep schedule.
And they go into their postpartum recovery with the expectation that they’ll be able to ACHIEVE great nutrition, consistent exercise and good sleep- because they’ve always been able to.
And then it’s a real mind fuck when we find out we can’t, through sheer power of will, achieve the things we set out to achieve.
Your superpower is your hard work, your passion, your determination to reach your goals.
But your kryptonite is that you care TOO much. That you can be unwavering in the expectations you set for yourself.
➡️ You become paralyzed by the IDEA of the perfect routine so you don’t take the steps to get started.
➡️ You get derailed by a missed day or two.
➡️ You’d rather do nothing than something if something means you’re falling short of the original plan.
But the reality is, something has to give.
There WILL be obstacles during this chapter that make prioritizing exercise a challenge.
For folks like us, its really hard to accept that we don’t have to be perfect all the time.
We don’t always have to do A+ work.
If you find your drive for perfection is getting in the way of taking action, check out these 5 tips for getting out of your own way:
1) Embrace the half-assed workout.
Consistency matters FAR more than perfection when it comes to your long term strength and health.
It builds towards a habit that will serve you for a lifetime.
Rather than skipping your workout because you don’t have time or energy for the full meal deal, half-ass it. Do what you can. When you can. And then pat yourself on the back.
2) Your exercise intensity should vary according to your life’s intensity.
To your body, stress is stress.
When life-stress is high, your exercise-stress should be lower.
If your child is going through a sleep-regression, if you’ve just started back at work, if it’s all feeling a bit overwhelming…
Keep the intensity of your workouts low (lower loads, lower end of the rep-range, focus on the stuff that feels most restorative).
3) If exercise isn’t adding to your day, re-evaluate your exercise selection.
Exercise should be an add.
It’sis not an obligation.
It’s not a punishment.
It’s not a reflection of your morality.
If you’re struggling to engage in the exercise you think you “should” be doing, it likely means you need a shake up.
Find something that you enjoy. That adds to your day. That feels like a privlidge instead of an obligation.
4) Pay attention to your pelvic floor.
Pregnancy and postpartum are already a colorful time for the pelvic floor.
And for those of us who tend towards Type A, we often carry a lot of extra tension in our pelvic floor.
Just an extra layer on whatever pregnancy and postpartum served us up.
Pay attention to signs and symptoms of pelvic floor tension
And consider practicing exercises that take your pelvic floor through a full range of motion and that focus on relaxation, not just contraction.
5) Make time for sleep, rest and recovery.
For those of us that want to do the most, it’s important to constantly remind ourselves that sometimes not doing anything IS a form of “doing”.
Quality sleep, rest and recovery matter as much or more than your formal exercise for your long-term health and strength.
And during this chapter, it takes just a little extra intention to make sure we’re blocking off time to prioritize restorative activities.
One more time:1) Don’t let the ideal of perfection prevent you from taking action now and building habits that will serve you for a lifetime. 2) Remember to rest, recover and listen to the signals your body is trying to send you. 3) You don’t have to do it all AND it’s better to half-ass it than do nothing at all. Embrace the messy middle. 4) However you show up right now, you’re doing a freaking great job.
My mission is to make sure that having a baby is not a reason why you can’t do all the things.
Laura Jawad holds a PhD and a personal training certification (NASM). She’s a proud Certified Prenatal & Postnatal Coach and Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism Coach. You can check out the rest of her alphabet soup here.