How to stay fit, run a business and be a mom during lockdown

[Opinion piece by Fitness Mag publisher, Tanja Schmitz]

If you’re reading this, you’re either ticking two or three of these boxes: Trying to stay fit / working in the lockdown or trying to be the best parent you can be. So, let me keep this short – because you don’t have time to waste…

As lockdown approached, I had romantic ideas about how I’ll get more workout time in now that I don’t need to do the school run, shopping or extra mural trips. Not to mention the time stuck in traffic for work meetings.

I was wrong.

The pandemic brought with it a new level of anxiety, mixed in with digital information overload and the fear of not knowing what tomorrow brings. I found that I was getting stuck, simple decisions were taking longer to make, at home and in work. Everybody’s fuse is getting shorter. Now just over half way into lockdown, I’m trying all the things I advised others to do – and it actually works! 

Set a routine.

Go to bed early (try!), get enough sleep. Stick to a similar wake/sleep schedule as what you have during the normal days.

Routine isn’t just for you, it’s for everyone. Try not come across nazi-like, but guide your family to a flexible structure. This means structure times for sleeping and food. (It will also cut out extra time you need in the kitchen, and time spent on answering questions about snacks and dinner) If you can plan meals in advance, even better. Winner would be to cook them in advance too. This will help you control unnecessary snacking and ensure you don’t flatten your stockpile of food.

Ask for help.

If it’s from your significant other, your digital co-workers or kids, just communicate. Explain how you feel, how the situation makes you feel and ask for help. I keep recalling a lockdown meme a saw on twitter: “you are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work”. Also – ask yourself, how much of what you’re doing is actually self pressure? Now is not the time where you need to place extra pressure on yourself.

TV time is okay.

Argg how can I really be saying this, but you need to be a little flexi with your kids during this time. I try schedule TV time for when I really need to focus on my work. I found that by restricting times at other ‘non-tv’ times has made my daughter appreciate this extra TV more, but it’s on a schedule that suits me. Personally, I prefer TV to tablets, just from a postural perspective. 

Plan your workouts.

Get an app / buy a workout plan / sign up with an online trainer / draw from your experience and make your own. WRITE IT DOWN! It doesn’t matter how many workouts you’ve pinned on social media, Instagram it’s not going to give you an epic workout (or routine or structure) it’s just motivation. Put thought into the next 5 days ahead. Task out HIIT / Strength and mobility work. Go in with a plan!

Read this: your lockdown home training guide

Read this: a full body band workout

Work out in the morning.

Just get it done. Something will pop up, be it general laziness or yesterday’s dishes or that glass of wine that’s been on your mind since lunch. Have you heard about eating your frog in the morning? Well – have yours BEFORE breakfast.

Work: eat your frog in the morning.

Get through your day with the worse thing behind you. If your job ins’t like that – good for you, please come eat mine. But on a serious note – again structure applies here. Communicate with your family when you can do certain things, and when you have to work. Hopefully, you have co-workers or a boss that is understanding enough to also allow you that at work.

Kids – give them a purpose. (even if you’re faking it)

This is largely dependent on YOUR kids. Give them purpose by tasking them with house work / crafts / school work / reading / cleaning. If that does not work, incentivise them – maybe they can earn TV / iPad time?

If you take 2 hours out of the week, you can invest that into finding things for them to do / make – point is to try carve out the time to make a plan for to-do’s.

If they are too young for the above – use them in your workouts. Again, just give them purpose. If you have additional advice for toddlers, please leave it in the comments section below. 

Other nuggets that might work for you:

  • Ease up on the coffee – too much caffeine mixed with the adrenal overload will save that last nerve you have from snapping
  • See the sun – Take 10 minutes, sit, feel the warmth. TRY get your family (or dogs) to do this with you. In silence.
  • Think of something you are grateful for, every day!
  • Be kind. Your kids are watching.


Accept the new normal. And know that it’s not for always. I think most of our success will come from making peace with how things are, and not placing too much self pressure to be perfect. 

And parting thought – a little bit of digital detox might also go a long way now. 

Author: Tanja Schmitz

Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.

Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You'll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.

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