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6 Things to Keep Doing Even After You Have Children

6 Things to Keep Doing Even After You Have Children

When kids enter the picture, it’s easy to let go of things that you hold dear to accommodate the new changes in your life. But that could be a huge mistake. Updating your lifestyle is inevitable, but letting go of the things you love and make you happy is not. These are six things that you should keep doing, even after you have children.

1. Travel

One of the most common regrets I hear among parents of teenagers is “I wish I hadn’t stopped traveling.” Many of us relish the opportunity to country hop, see new places, and experience new cultures. And you don’t have to stop just because you’ve started a family. Albeit, the way you travel, where you travel, and what you do may be different – but this isn’t a reason to stop completely. The best vacation I’ve ever been on was to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada. We trekked, drove, and rafted – all with a three-year old and a three-month old!

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2. Exercise

It’s easy to let go of yourself when you’re chasing after two (or more kids) and holding down a full-time job, but make sure you make time to exercise. Exercising is good for your body and for your mind. It gives so some much needed alone time several days a week and the endorphin rush makes you feel better. With so many things you have to do every day, do this one for yourself. Pick activities you enjoy – sign up for a barre class, or go for a forty-five minute run before or after work. Something that keeps you excited and motivated is key. You’ll be happy you kept it up when your kids are older. When you’re telling them about the importance of exercise, it’s easier to deliver the message when you are modeling the activity.

3. Adult’s Only Vacations

It’s great to travel with kids, but it’s important to take time out for yourself too. Go away (even if just for a day) on your own or with your significant other once a year. Everyone needs a mental break from the daily grind, and that includes the caregiver grind, so do yourself a favor and take a solo or couple’s vacation before you burn out.

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4. Date Nights

It’s easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your relationship (or the attempt to find one) once there are children in the picture, but don’t. Your significant other needs to see you as their husband or wife, not just as a parent or career person. And if you aren’t coupled up, you can’t meet someone or start a meaningful relationship if every date involves a high chair. So, for your own sake and long-term happiness, keep working on your relationship and don’t cancel those date nights.

5. Hobbies and Personal Interests

Are you a musician? Photographer? Biking enthusiast? Kids or not, don’t let go of the things that make you happy and keep you interesting. It’s easy to let hobbies fall to the wayside once you become a parent, but it’s harder to restart a hobby than to find ways to keep it going – even through paternal leaves or busy times at work. An added bonus? When your kids are older, they may take an interest in your hobby as well and then it will morph from a solitary to a family activity.

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6. Learning

You may be a parent now, but you still don’t know everything. We spend our lives learning new things. And best of all, you have a new teacher – your little one. It’s fascinating to discover the world through the eyes of a child and it’s not an experience you’ll want to miss.

Featured photo credit: Gulliver’s Travels / Mini-DV via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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