Being a public figure synonymous with “health and wellness” I get asked a lot of questions. And yes, they run the gamut. Anything from “how do I get motivated” to “how do I lose the last 10 pounds?” However, one of the more common is “how do you do it all?”
It’s true that I am a mom, a partner, a friend, a business woman, and my health is pretty solid, but it’s critical to mention that while I do it all I certainly don’t do it perfectly. Maria Shriver once said, “you can have it all, but not at the same time”. I, however, am testing another theory – you can do it all, but a little bit shittier than you used to (before kiddos). And that is just the reality. A 90 minute yoga class is now a 20 minute sweat session in my living room with a streamed workout or an app. I don’t make every swim meet for my kids, but I make some. I’m not doing it all perfectly, but it seems to be good enough. Good enough for myself and my family to be healthy and happy (more than we are sad).
So if there was one tip I could give on that balancing act it would be appreciating that it’s ok to lose your balance. Jettisoning the idea of perfection and appreciating that no one is. There is such a thing as good enough.
The second thing one must address is the mommy martyr mentality. I used to tell moms (before I was a mom) that they had to put themselves first. You know the whole “put your oxygen mask on first conversation”. For the most part that analogy is bullshit though. You do need to put your kids first until they are old enough and capable enough to care for themselves. That said, you don’t need to practice the all or nothing. All kids no you. That is a recipe for disaster regarding all parties involved. Remember, you are your kids primary role model and caretaker. If you are not healthy and happy ultimately it will stress them out and take it’s toll.
So exactly what is the magic split of how much energy goes where? Well, it’s a bit different for everyone, obviously. But I find I have a golden rule that is malleable enough to work for almost everyone. I call it the 12 hour rule. Put simply, find 12 hours in a week of you time. This is enough for 4 half hour workouts in your living room or on the go. It’s enough to squeeze in the necessary doctors appointments or beauty appointments over the course of a month. It allows you to have a date night and or a night out with friends. Again, it’s not ideal, but it’s enough to help you maintain your health and the health of your family as well as everyone’s sanity.
Think about it. You have 168 hours in a week. Of those 168, let’s say 112 are waking hours. There is no way you can’t find 12 hours of you time. That still leaves 100 hours to split between work, family, and chores. Even if you have a 50 hour work week. Even if you spent 4 hours of quality time with your kids. You would still have 12 hours left for errands, like cleaning your house, scooping the dry cleaning, taking the dog to the vet etc. And you would still have 12 hours left for yourself.
Again, it won’t be perfect. You will have to make some compromises. Ask your parents to watch the kids on a Sunday morning and hit the gym with some girlfriends then go for lunch after. Get a sitter one night for a couple hours and go on a date with your significant other. You get the idea.
Ultimately, I avoid looking at my day in a vacuum and rather look at my week. How can I balance my schedule to make sure I workout 4 times, grocery shop, get that check up at my doctors office, etc. I spread these events out over the week and I know that 12 hours a week over the course of a month is “good enough”.
Jillian Michaels is one of the world’s foremost wellness entrepreneurs. She has dominated the health and fitness space with her successful Jillian Michaels app and fitness streaming platform FitFusion, hit television series, bestselling workout DVDs, eight New York Times-bestselling books and an award-winning podcast. As President of Empowered Media, Michaels and her company are also investors in numerous like-minded health and wellness companies.