Simple Healthy Habits for Busy Moms: Podcast Episode #237

Kristin Revere and Brianna Wilkerson of Mommy Me Time Community discuss the focus on prioritizing health and self-care during each season of motherhood.  Brianna has quick tips for both new and seasoned moms to get more intentional time and nourishment. 

Hello, hello!  This is Kristin Revere with Ask the Doulas, and I am thrilled to have my new friend, Brianna Wilkerson, on Ask the Doulas today.  Brianna is a holistic health and life coach.  She’s a brand partner with Savvy, podcast host, wife, mama, tea lover, Crossfitter.  You name it, she’s about it.  Welcome, Brianna!

Thank you so much for having me!

So your focus is all about helping moms.  You help ambitious women and moms prioritize their health and self-care so they can feel healthy, strong, and confident, no matter if they’re a first time mom or they’re a very seasoned mom, if their kids are older or if they’re in the new mom phase.  You support motherhood through all of the different changes, and your bio also tells me that you have a passion for women creating a sustainable income and growing into leaders that they were meant to be.  I love it!

Yeah, multipassionate always!  I think that the core of it in the last year or so is really seeing that moms is where I’m supposed to land, and if I can help a mom, I help a family and more.  So I’m excited to do that more.

That is so true.  That’s how I feel.  I feel like doulas can save marriages, and these support groups and communities that you create, your podcast, they give women the confidence to navigate the challenges and to have peers that are in the thick of it with you is so important, whether they’re in person or in a virtual community like those that you create.

Yeah, exactly.

So our topic today is simple healthy habits for the busy mom.  I’m excited to hear your thoughts and tips for our listeners.

Yeah, we can start wherever you would like.  I don’t think there is a mom that isn’t busy, or a woman that’s not busy, but I just think that with the busyness of life, there often comes a lot of roadblocks.  There are a lot of obstacles that make it challenging.  Not impossible, but challenging to prioritize our health and self-care, whatever that may mean for you.  That may mean nutrition.  That may mean exercise.  That may mean alone time.  It can mean multiple different things.  And those road blocks could be things such as time; not feeling like you have enough time.  It could be fatigue; you’re just tired.  It could be finances.  It could be lack of support.  It could be guilt; like, is it okay that I take away some time from my kid?  And onward and onward.  There’s just so many things that would make it hard for us to make time in the busyness of life.  But what I have found is that even when you spend five or ten minutes on those daily nonnegotiables that really fill your tank, that really take care of you, your cup is so much fuller, and you’re just able to show up more patiently, more powerfully, and be able to serve in whatever way you can, and you’re doing a lot better.  Before I had kids, I could do a lot of things.  I just felt like I had more time.

Oh, there’s so much more time!

Right?  And the reality is we have the same amount of time.  It’s just that our kids now are taking – maybe we didn’t realize this when we became parents, but we decided, like, when I become a mother, I am choosing, especially when they’re still in my household, to give my time to the growing, to the development, to the nurturing, to the love, to the memories with my kids.  And you quickly recognize, like, okay, well, that may mean that there’s less time to do other things.  So how do I then fit in those things that maybe I did at first that really filled me, nourished me?  And for me it’s really bite sized.  You’ve got to do it in bite size pieces, but yeah.

That’s beautiful, Brianna.  And I feel like there are different phases of motherhood.  Right now, my kids are in school all day, but I feel like I am their shuttle driver to sports events and activities and friend events, so it’s a different kind of busy than the toddler phase or if they are in preschool or daycare when you feel like you can’t get much done in those three hours, especially for entrepreneurs like ourselves when there’s so much on the to-do list.

Exactly.  And I think we’re just told – we just start to believe it’s a mindset thing, too.  It’s either all or nothing.  Either I go to the gym for an hour or I don’t go at all, or either I eat “perfectly” or I don’t eat healthy at all, when in reality, all successful people in any area of life would tell you that it’s all about those small, simple steps you take daily that compound over time that help you get healthier, that help you get fitter, that help you win an Olympic medal, for example.  But it’s not sexy to do those things all the time and feel like it matters or feel like it’s getting you places, but it really does make a difference, and studies have shown that you can do ten minutes of a workout and honestly it increases your heartrate and boosts your metabolism a lot more than an hour, depending on the type of workout you’re doing.  So a lot can be done in five or ten minutes.

Absolutely.  And even stretching can be so beneficial.  If you have a dog, take your dog for a walk.  You can walk or run with your children.  There are so many things that you can do to bond with your family.  I mean, even if you have a partner, just walking with your partner can make a nice way to get moving and active, burn some calories, but also clear your mind.  So a good walk does wonders.

It really does.

Again, talk about the different types of self-care.  For me, I like to get up a bit early, and really, how I start the day sets the tone for the day.  And sometimes, you just need to sleep in and you don’t need to get ahead of when your kids wake and all of the work activities that need to be done, so it can look different every day, but I try to get up before my family and set some time, take my dog out, and move my body a little bit, get some water, and then start the wake up process and looking at my emails, but I try to avoid technology for at least a short span of time to meditate, or for those of you that use prayer, like praying, and starting some rituals for your life.  But for me, how you start and end a day can really set the tone.

Yeah, I think it’s figuring out – because there are so many different things that you could do and focus on, but the reality is – it’s not that you can’t do all of those eventually, but you shouldn’t start out trying to do all of those.  What are your three to five daily nonnegotiables that you need to do each day to feel your best?  Is it movement?  Is it nutrition?  Is it drinking enough water?  Is it that five to ten minutes before your kids wake up to have that centering time?  Is it cutting off technology before you go to bed at a certain time?  And there’s no right or wrong here, and you may not even know what you need.  That’s the importance of definitely talking with someone, but also just start trying to do something so that you can see if it’s really impacting you and really nourishing in the way you need.  I highly recommend always considering four to five main areas.  You do want to consider your nutrition.  What are you putting in your body?  Ultimately, the word nutrition is Latin for nourish.  It’s just nourishing; we’re nourishing our body, giving it the care that it needs.  And our body needs certain things.  It needs certain micronutrients.  It needs certain macronutrients to thrive.  Just start somewhere.  When it comes to nutrition, I really suggest people crowd out by adding in.  If you want to eat less of some other type of food – not that you say you can’t eat it, but you just want to eat less of it because it may not be nourishing you the way you want – add in something else.  Maybe you want to eat less rice at a dinner, for example.  So you’re like, okay, one way is to add in broccoli, because I want to add that in more.  And then maybe you try that at one meal a day or one meal a couple times a week, and then you add it in every dinner.  Or maybe you add in broccoli or a vegetable at two meals a day, then three, and just over time, that slow process will become like second nature for you to have a vegetable at a meal.  And vegetables will feel you way quicker than rice, for example.  I love a good rice.  We’re not shaming rice over here.  But yes, it’s nutrition, and we can dive deeper into that, but I really think for most of us, we know at least the basics, that certain foods are more nourishing than others.  So if you want to incorporate more of that, it’s really just picking one and adding in slowly.

Now, with movement, again, there are so many types of exercise programs and fitness programs, and no one fits all.  It really depends on what you love, what you enjoy.  There’s still a way to get cardio, flexibility, stamina, endurance, strength training, all of those, the general physical skills, in the types of exercises that you’re doing.  But you might have to be more intentional if you’re doing it on your own, or maybe you join a certain type of program that does it for you.  Then it’s like, well, I don’t have to think about it.  But what I think is key with that is just commit to moving every day regularly.  And I say like, okay, maybe you start with just moving more like tracking your steps or just choosing to park a little further, or maybe you’re like, no, I want actually to do a workout because it challenges me in a certain way and releases endorphins and all that.  So maybe you start with ten minutes a day, which, again, does not seem like a lot, but let me tell you, I’ve gotten very fit doing ten minutes a day just consistently.  You know, there’s so many different things you can do for that, but I just think ten minutes of walking a day does wonders for your body.  So don’t negate walking.  Maybe you used to run.  For me, I went from walking to running, and now I’m like, I just love a good walk.  I love a good walk.  I don’t want to do long distance running right now.  Now I do a lot of walks with the kids in tow.  A lot of my workouts are with the kids in the stroller.

It’s that life stage.

Exactly.  And again, whatever stage you’re in – you know, before having kids, I served a lot of women who were grandmas.  At that stage, they’re like, okay, I can finally take care of me.  My kids are out of the house.  They’re a little bit older.  And I say, well, the challenges are still the same.  You’re still busy.  It’s not like your busyness decreases.  Maybe in a certain way, but you can still be on your toes, being involved in certain things, and so you still need to practice some of these things.

So yeah, nutrition, movement, and I would say stress and sleep are too ignored.  Very ignored areas, because we often think we can just survive without consistent sleep, quality sleep.  And we don’t actually realize how much stress we’re under in this day and age.  Talking about the phone: you can be connected.  You can Google anything.  Before, you had to go to a library to find out something.  Now you can find it out right then and there.  You can order everything online.  You can find out the news.  Most of us don’t even watch the actual news anymore.  We just check Instagram.

Just look at the little summary clips on your feed, and you’re good.

Right?  And all that to say none of it is bad, but we’re so stimulated, and it’s just so easy for us to be more mentally stressed, and that really impacts your body.  It impacts your hormones, and it impacts your health in various ways.  On the other side of that, though, is that again, we’re so connected.  Even back in my parents’ or grandparents’ generation, they didn’t really have electricity in the same way.  When it was dark, it was dark.  You stopped doing things at a certain time.  But us, we have light.  We have unlimited internet access.  We can just be doing things all day, every day.  But we need to rest.  We need that good quality sleep to restore.  So really creating a good sleep time routine there and really figuring out tools to manage your stress.

It’s so important, and many of our listeners are either pregnant or pre-conception or in that early parenting phase, so sleep is vital.  With a newborn, you get so many wakeups, so trying to prioritize sleep or get support from a postpartum doula who focuses on overnights, for example.  And in pregnancy with discomforts, sleep can be challenging, as well. 

Yes.  Even with that, my eldest is now only four and just sleeping better through the night.  She still goes to bed a little later than I want, than what I would like.  So I understand.  I’m not trying to be one of those people who are like, oh, my gosh, just sleep.  I understand different kids and different lives.  Maybe you work at night or all these different things.  But I do think there are things within our control that we don’t think are in our control.  So, like, I know that sometimes my daughter goes to bed late, but I feel like I haven’t had my time, so I will stay up later than probably I actually want to in order to get whatever me time that is.  And really, that’s actually  hindering me because she’s probably still going to wake up early, or my son will.  So I just think it’s like, what can we do?  What can we actually do?  And then the fifth area is like your mindset.  That goes with the what can we do.  Just really seeing that you do have control over some things when it comes to your health.  It may feel like there’s a lot of barriers.  There’s a lot of road blocks.  But when you start to believe that things can change, whether they’re slow – I actually think slow is always better because it’s more sustainable – you start to see that, like, okay, it doesn’t have to just be this way.  Or maybe it won’t always be this way forever.  And so you just have more a positive attitude which makes you more hopeful and therefore more likely to take action around taking care of yourself.

Yes.  I love it.  Mindset is so important.  We focus on mindset in pregnancy, and as an athlete, you understand this, that runners visualize a race in advance, and a lot of athletes, swimmers, do so much mental as well as physical preparation.  In our classes, whether it’s HypnoBirthing or the Comfort Measures for Labor classes that I teach, we talk about visualization and mental preparation as well as how to feed your body, move your body, and how to best prepare for birth in a way that could be compared to preparing for a marathon.  You want to rest and nourish yourself in the very early stages of labor, so we talk about the importance of sleep and rest and not knowing how long the labor will be but needing that strength for the pushing phase.  For a race, you’ve got to make it to that finish line, so don’t beat everyone in the first mile.  You want to be able to pace yourself and know your limits and know that your mind can take you far when your body is tired.

It’s so interesting.  I had a really good friend who’s on her sixth pregnancy now, but I just remembered she would tell me, like – yeah, just the importance of the mindset, of visualization, even in pregnancy.  And I remember with my second I tried to practice that more.  The pain was just so bad.  I wanted to not think; not relax.  I wanted to clench up, and just having to visualize and tell myself and talk myself through it – it made a difference.

It does make a difference!  But your body does want to clench when you are in discomfort with contractions of labor or even just pregnancy aches and pains, and you just need to open up and relax and not resist because the more you’re clenching and stressed, the more uncomfortable you’re going to be.  I love that your friend gave that advice and that it worked for you.

It really did help.

So you likely focus on ways to reduce the stress levels and cortisol levels.  How do you talk to your community, whether it’s using breath work or mindset?  I’m interested in how you address that.

I think it does depend.  I mean, the power of breathing is just like when we’re going through birth.  They’re like, just breathe, and I’m like, I don’t want to breathe.  I just want to scream.  But it does really calm that fight or flight response that your body is feeling, and it really brings you to a more calm state to do whatever you need to do.  So don’t underestimate the power of just breathing in and breathing out, or breathing in and holding for a bit and breathing out.  You can do the box four or the count to four method.  And another thing I like to do is a process – I learned this one time through a program I did where you write out your stressors and really figure out which ones you can eliminate, which ones you can reduce, and which ones you just have to cope with.  Because the reality is, many of us think we have to just cope with all of our stressors, but sometimes you can actually eliminate it or reduce it.  For example, kids are stressful, especially when they’re young.  I mean, maybe all the years, right, but – so I have to cope with that, but are there ways I could also reduce certain things or eliminate the need where I feel like I need to do everything in the house?  You know what I mean?  Is there something that I could do?  Yeah, I could ask for help, or I could hire – or maybe I find little tips and tricks to keep things less likely to get dirty.  I don’t know.  Again, it goes back to the mindset of what can I actually control?  And when you start to see that – I mean, you write out your stressors, and then you just go and label them.  Eliminate, reduce.  Then you’re like, okay, well, this is what I can control.  This is what I can’t.  So how I can get help with some of that?  And I think as you’re pregnant, you’re stressed about so many things.  Like, is my baby going to take this pacifier or am I going to have to buy all the brands?  How is the birth going to go?  And there’s so much within the birthing and the whole process that we actually can’t control.  I’m not saying you can’t be concerned about it, but really asking yourself, what is my role here and when do I just need to let go and realize that I don’t have control over some of those things.

Exactly, yes.  And it’s a great way to approach parenting.  I feel like the unpredictability of labor and birth leads well into the unknowns in early parenting, and even parenting teenagers.  It’s not predictable.  There’s not a manual or formula.  So we’ve got to use our instincts and our resources to make informed decisions.

Right.  Exactly.

I would love to have you fill our listeners in more about your community.  Mommy Me Team Coach?

Yeah, so I’ve gone through so many names of my coaching work throughout the years, but I realized that ultimately, there is so much power in mom having her time.  Like, whatever that is.  It may mean time alone.  It may mean time to just invest in herself.  It may mean time to do a hobby or a side hustle that she loves.  I am about advocating for moms to take care of themselves.  I just think we’re such caregivers, and we give so much.  And sometimes we can even be a little, like – I don’t know the right words.  Resentful, that people aren’t doing that for us.  But it comes to a point where when we raise our kids, we want them to be advocates for themselves.  We want them to stand up for what they want, and we teach them to be independent young adults.  And it’s the same thing with us.  We don’t stop doing that.  We still need to advocated for the things we need and want and speak up about it.  That’s what Mommy Me Time Coach is all about.  It’s helping women really prioritize their health and self-care in small, simple ways.  And so I do a weekly – right now, my official podcast is on hold, but I do a live Instagram show weekly.  I have multiple summits that I do a year just helping moms in different seasons.  I have a Facebook community, and then I have a membership to help busy moms take care of their health and their self-care, too.  So that’s kind of the focus right now.

So many different options!  Depending on the budget and the time, checking out your Instagram and some of your summits, and then when budget allows, investing in your very valuable membership community.  And are there different levels of membership?  Explain that for our listeners.

Yeah, so I’ve done one on one coaching throughout most of my eight year of coaching, and I love it.  But just in this season, I was just thinking about myself and busy moms, and I’m like, you know what, I still think that’s valuable, but I do think there’s power in a community and power in working over time, and I think that’s what a membership allows.  You don’t feel the pressure to do everything because you’re going to be here however long you need to be here.  So no, right now, it’s only one level you join.  It’s $30 a month for that, and you’ll get a monthly theme, masterclass training, resources, check-ins, coaching call, a community.  And then of course – like, some women do it and they’re like, okay, but I actually do want more one on one support, and that’s an option, too.  Right now, it’s mainly like, if you want to join the membership, it’s group formatted, but I do a limited amount of one on one spots, as well.

Excellent.  And how can our listeners connect with you, whether it’s social or your website?

I’m really on Instagram, almost all the time.  Not all the time; it’s just my main place.  So Instagram, @mommymetimecoach.  You can also go to Mommy Me Time Community on Facebook.  Those are my two social hangouts.  And if you want to join my mailing list, I send one or two emails a week, just if I’m doing events.  You can grab my free Healthy Habits Challenge for Moms, and then you’ll be on the mailing list, and that way you’ll also get some tips on some of the things we talked about, as well.

And for the LinkedIn lovers, you’re also there?

Oh, I’m on LinkedIn, too.  I don’t do as much on LinkedIn.  I need to.  But I am on LinkedIn, and I will get a message if you send it to me there.

Excellent.  People will be able to connect with you and get your download as well.  Do you have a final tip for our listeners before we say farewell?

Yeah, I would just say the biggest thing is to give yourself grace during this time period.  I think pregnancy in itself, your body goes through so many changes, but you still have to live life and do different things, and maybe you have other kids, so give yourself grace, even with the things I talked about.  And then postpartum, I mean, with my son, he was the second, and it really took me a while to get into a flow of some of the very things I’m talking about.  He’s nearly two, and I just feel like I can do some of this stuff, you know?  But I made sure to still move when he was young, whether it was two times a week walking versus like, now I do more than that.  Give grace to really trust your intuition of what you need, but also don’t wait.  Try to take a small step at a time.

Perfect tip.  Thank you so much, Brianna, and I can’t wait to connect again.

Thank you so much!


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Birth and postpartum support from Gold Coast Doulas

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