4 self-care strategies for new career moms.

Adjusting to life as a new mom while balancing school, a job or business can be difficult. It’s easy to forget to prioritize your own needs.

When you forget to take care of yourself, it’s hard to give your best to the people you love and the things that matter to you.

After 6 weeks of being a new mom, Zimkhitha Mathunjwa shares her personal tips on how to prioritize your mental and physical health as a career mom.


No guide can prepare you enough to dive into the swimming pool of motherhood and career. Click To Tweet

1. Beyond the ‘bounce back’: take time for yourself

As a new mom, your postpartum recovery is about more than your body. Along with physical changes, you also deal with mental challenges like negotiating your identity.  Your life is more than work and motherhood.

Simple things like taking a lunch break away from your desk, getting my hair and nails done, drinking tea and curling up with a book, help remind you of your own identity outside work and parenthood.

2. Lean on your support system: it takes a village

A big kudos to any parent who has ever had to do it with no support.

If you’re lucky enough to have people around to assist you, accept the help. Without husbae and my family’s active involvement in our tiny human’s development, I would not be as snatched with edges intact as I am right now. 

Husbae with our little peanut

Use some of your time away to hang out with grown-ups. Focus on nurturing your most meaningful relationships. If you feel a little bit guilty – it’s normal. On my first date night away from the baby, I constantly checked in with my mother-in-law. I eventually allowed myself to relax and enjoy the time out. So can you!

3. Filter out the noise: set boundaries

As a new career mom, you become privy to a lot of well-meaning advice that might not be right for you.

You must be discerning and accept only the advice you deem resourceful. Filter out the noise by setting clear boundaries.

4. Learn to trust yourself

To every mother, biologically or otherwise – you are doing great. Trust the process and most importantly, trust YOURSELF! 

Ungazilibali is an isiXhosa (South African) word meaning ‘do not forget yourself’. It’s the word I think about when I’m faced with self-doubt and anxiety in balancing work and parenting. When those moments come, it’s important to have one go-to thought that reminds you of why you are a badass!

I think of my mother, grandmother (RIP) and mother-in-law, my role models. Remembering that I come from a line of strong women helps me re-center myself. They did a stellar job, and so can I. 


Life as a new career mom is not a walk in the park, but if you can take time for yourself, lean on the support of people who love you, set boundaries and learn to trust yourself, you’ll be physically and mentally okay. 

When all else fails, ungazilibali. Don’t forget (or lose) yourself on this journey!

Are you mentally exhausted? Get Peace Hyde’s free tips for fighting against the odds here.

Ladies, here are some health tests you need to do regularly

Life can get hectic so much so that it can start to neglect our health. You may find yourself canceling doctors’ appointments to meet deadlines. This is a bad idea. First of all, you need to be at your best physically, for you to be able to give your hustle the best possible version of yourself. But also because you could find yourself with serious medical problems that could have been detected early or avoided. Here are a few tests that you should never ever postpone:

Breast Exam

 You can do this at home at least once a week if you notice any lumps in your breast then you should go to the doctor for further tests. Ladies, let’s not even play. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. That is why it’s important to regularly check for any abnormalities in your breasts. Checking regularly allows you to learn what your breasts normally feel like so that should there be a change you can notice it immediately.    

Cholesterol Test

This test is done by a doctor, he/she will test your cholesterol level by taking blood. High cholesterol levels can stop blood in your arteries from flowing freely, causing heart problems. High cholesterol coupled with high stress is a recipe for disaster even for young people. Your doctor will assess your risk and advice you about how often you need to have this test.

Pap Smear

This test checks for cervical cancer, the doctor will take a sample from the vaginal walls. It’s best to do this every 3 years unless there are other health complications that would require you to get it done more often.

HIV Test

It’s always a good idea that you do an HIV test every 3 to 6 months especially if you engage in unprotected sex. But if you don’t, you can do it as often as you feel comfortable doing it.

Eye test

It’s advisable to have an eye test once a year especially if you spend a lot of time in front of the computer.

Dental Checks

This is the most neglected test but really you should visit your dentist at least once a year. Many dental issues can lead to bad breath and this can be a career killer. You should never only visit a doctor when you are due for a test but also when you are not feeling well.
Listen to your body, it will tell you if something is wrong.
Take care ladies, your health is one of your most valuable assets.
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Busy yet fit: The urban woman’s guide to staying fit in a fast paced world

I guess congratulations are in order as it seems I found the title of my first book above! 😁

Okay, jokes apart, it’s a new year and while I’m not really one who makes resolutions at the beginning of the year, I believe that the feeling of newness that comes with the season can help us re-route to living better in all areas.

As a wife and mom who runs more than one gig (even though one is a fitness center), I find it really hard to stick with a specific routine when it comes to exercise and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Lord knows the hustle is real right?

True! But on the other hand, it’s only when we are in good health that the hustle can really make sense. So I’m going to share 3 ways you can fit in exercise into your busy schedule.

1. Treat it as an appointment:

Yes, when you intentionally prioritize your health and wellness, you will set out time to do what you need to do. I set alarms to exercise at night because that’s when it’s most convenient for me.

Trust me, you don’t need so much time to get your heart pumping and your muscles warm. You can start with as little as 10 minutes and increase it when you can.

My company recently launched a product, Fitfam exercise games™ cards that encourages busy people like you to exercise anytime, anywhere and have fun while at it.

2. Make more active choices:

I know the “take the stairs not the elevator” rhyme sounds cliché, but it’s true. If you are too busy to hit the gym, the best you can do is to deliberately make active choices throughout the day.

Take the stairs, ditch the intercom and the intranet if possible and walk to your colleague’s desk to make that inquiry.

If you run a business, try to move around your office or shop too, don’t be the madam who just sits on the chair directing everyone else around.

3. Don’t dwell on it too much:

Am I contradicting myself? No. Here’s what I mean. Sometimes we dwell so much on failure, we refuse to move forward. You missed two days of exercise, okay. Move on and don’t miss the third.

You gorged down half a box of pizza and 3 sparkling glasses on Friday night, not good but can we just move on with a salad and grilled chicken on Saturday morning?

 

I hope these 3 tips will help you get more active this year as we get set to smash those money and life goals.


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How I Became a Social Media Influencer

I started my Instagram page back in 2015 as a fitness inspiration account to keep me accountable while I was doing Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide also known as BBG.

There were a whole bunch of girls around the world who started their guide around the same time as me so I gained followers relatively quickly because my page was a source of motivation for all the new girls starting.

My page grew as BBG grew in popularity, and it eventually grew to where it is now. I became an ambassador for BBG Cape Town in 2016 and we hosted regular BBG workout events until the end of 2017.

Over the years I continued to document my fitness journey and post relatable content. Workout memes, inspirational quotes, and transformation pictures really motivated me and seemed to connect well with people on similar journeys.

I got into fitness to empower myself because I had no confidence in myself before I started working out regularly, even though I played sport throughout my life.

I started my fitness page in 2015 but my health and fitness journey started in 2013 back when I used to use Twitter for workout motivation.

If you’re a blogger, photographer, fashion stylist, makeup artist. Read this...we're spilling the tea Click To Tweet

Before you go on this influencer journey, follow these steps:

1. Decide your niche and stick to it

 

It’s easier to grow a page if you specialize in one or a few things so people will know what to expect from you.

Think about it, when you follow an account that’s not a friend or celebrity it’s usually because they post something specific that you like eg. make-up tutorials, fitness or fashion inspiration, food recipes etc.

2. Think of yourself as a brand

If you’re building a brand, there has to be some level of self-reflection your page needs to be an honest extension of you.

What do you stand for? What’s your vibe? Make sure your feed represents your personal brand.

3. Figure out your why

What’s the purpose/aim of your account?

Is it purely for fun or is it business? And then decide how much time you want to invest in it to match what you expect to gain from it.

4. Have a theme for your pictures

Everybody likes things, make sure you have a flow going on your page. There are so many categories to pick from. You can use a consistent color theme or even have a particular object in all your photos to test your creativity.

Even if it’s just the same filter, aesthetically planned feeds are nice to look at.

5. Work, Work, Work

Put relative time and effort into your posts and try to be as creative as possible. Try having “content creation” sessions once or multiple times a week like you have study sessions.

And/or take down any ideas that pop in your mind in your memo pad so you can use them for post and caption ideas later.

6. Socialize

That’s the whole point of social media! Respond to your comments and engage with the accounts you follow so they are encouraged to engage with you too.

The more engagement you have the greater the chances are of your page being discovered by people and brands.

7. Use hashtags

The hashtag game is always changing but it doesn’t hurt to experiment with a few and see how it affects the engagement of your posts.

Also, try to use less popular hashtags so ones that have less than 1M posts. You’ll have to search for hashtags in your niche and find the ones that people use but don’t abuse like #fitness or #love

8. Collaborate with people in your niche

Follow and engage with accounts in your niche to let other people interested in your niche see your profile, the more your account has seen the greater chances you have of gaining new followers.

You can also do story shoutouts with people in your niche for more exposure or even try to ask them out for coffee.

9. Track your engagement

Pay attention to what posts people respond to best. Figure out what content your followers enjoy viewing. Track the times you get the best engagement, that usually helps get followers.

10. Have fun

It’s really not that deep unless you see it as a business, then different rules apply but don’t let social media get to you.

Remember, Instagram isn’t real life and real life has so much more to offer than aesthetics. That doesn’t mean I don’t love a pretty bowl of oats, just remember to keep everything in context.

The Bottom Line

Relax!

When you focus less on structure after you’ve done your content planning, more ideas tend to come your way. If you are someone takes their own photos.

I would recommend walking around with a portable camera or learn some tricks with your phone. People really do gravitate to someone they sense is genuine or can add value. I think you need to stay up to date with all the changes and continuously adapt your content (Try to think of ways you can make yourself invaluable) if you really want to slay the game.

For more on Shalom’s fitness journey and amazing fitspo, find her on the gram.


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The scramble to the top: 8 things overlooked in a fitness entrepreneur’s journey

People have to see to believe that you are capable of transforming fitness goals into a physical reality Click To Tweet

The hustle is real. Becoming a fitness entrepreneur may be one of the hardest career choices a person can make because of the required level of patience and discipline accorded to success in the fitness industry. People often overlook the journey of a fitness entrepreneur owing to the fact that they are not privy to the behind-the-scenes footage in their lives.

Most fitness entrepreneurs start out juggling their passion with another job in order to fund their lifestyle, gain experience and get professional certification. Here are eight considerations that are often overlooked in a fitness entrepreneur’s journey to career growth and stability:

1. Food and supplement expenses

A small fortune may be spent on food depending on fitness goals; weight loss, muscle gain or maintenance. Protein requirements vary per person depending on their body mass index and daily activity levels, so buying protein and multivitamins may be a major consideration.

Sometimes eating a balanced diet may dig a hole in your pocket but the results are totally worth it.

2. Blood, sweat, and tears

In order to stay relevant, you literally have to keep training. This could involve coming up with different challenges, hitting personal targets and diversifying your fitness regime to stay on top of your game.

A serious fitness entrepreneur trains at least five times a week and rests on other days.

3. Getting that perfect shot

It’s time to get into amateur modelling via social media. People have to see to believe that you are capable of transforming fitness goals into a physical reality. Sharing clear photos taken from a good camera is absolutely necessary to showcase your physique to a target audience of potential clients.

Early in one’s journey, a good camera phone may suffice but if you choose to engage your clients and audience through workout videos and short inspirational clips then investing in a professional camera will be worthwhile.

Building an army of loyal clients may take some time but requires consistent effort Click To Tweet

4. Client loyalty

Building an army of loyal clients may take some time but requires a show of consistent efforts on your part. Following through with a plan and holding yourself accountable for every bit of information shared on social media will build trust in potential clients and reinforce working relationships with existing clients.

Let’s face it, you have to lead by example; don’t expect your clients to be thrilled at their chicken salad dinner when you are actively sharing photos of Italian thin crust pepperoni pizza topped with extra cheese and a glass of South African wine.

5. Sponsorships

Becoming a sponsored athlete or fitness professional may not only be for the ‘elite’. You just need to position yourself to attract brands through social media and official websites. The companies that approach fitness professionals may not be in the fitness industry as they may be looking for an unexpected beauty icon or someone to drive their sales traffic.

Although it takes a while to get to this stage, doing what you love for photoshoots, working holidays and press briefings will give you a financial boost and expose you to greater opportunities.

6. Becoming a thought leader

Want to become the next Lita Lewis? Growing in your area of fitness expertise will allow you develop ideologies on a certain type of fitness goal or exercise. Trying and testing what worked for you in your fitness journey will spark peoples’ interest and increase your following.

This can be reinforced by testing your ideologies on yourself and a focus group to build credibility.

Maintaining relevance in the fitness industry can be likened to a product life cycle Click To Tweet

7. Competitions

Sports, physique or athletic competitions are great ways to advertise your personal brand, challenge your physical capabilities while escalating your career to a different level of professionalism.

Placing in a competition usually attracts endorsements from supplement and fitness apparel brands which may be in the form of money or free products in exchange for regular promotion and modelling.

8. Guest appearances

Making a name for yourself in the fitness industry requires you to actively network at fitness festivals and other related events. Popular fitness entrepreneurs may often have the chance to speak at health and wellness workshops or lead a corporate wellness event.

These appearances will ensure that your face becomes familiar to fitness enthusiasts and people that are just beginning their journey.

Maintaining relevance in the fitness industry can be likened to a product life cycle: a fitness entrepreneur will get to a stage that requires innovation to maintain steady growth. This phase is mentally and physically tasking but the benefits accrued are insurmountable.

Apart from growing in discipline and perfecting your time management skills, you get to be in the best shape of your life while turning your passion into profit! This career path may not be suitable for introverts or socially awkward people unless they are willing to grow in their confidence and interpersonal skills. Are you ready to step outside your comfort zone and embark on this journey?

Webinar with April Laugh: Earning profit in the fitness industry (Apr 26)

Lola Komolafe, founder of April Laugh  is a fitness enthusiast, a meal plan genius, and a healthy foodie. Join us for a webinar with her on Apr. 26th, as she shares with us how she progressed from passion to profit.


Are you passion driven, or profit driven? Wait a minute! Who says it isn’t possible to pursue both? For many people, working is about much more than simply paying the bills. It’s about having a full life, using talents and making a difference.

Understand that knowing your passion is a lot more easier than learning how to make money from it full time. Whatever it is you love to do, there are an incredible amount of ways to monetize your passion.

Lola Komolafe discovered her passion for fitness and a healthy living and started organizing fitness challenges online, before long she got positive testimonies from friends she’d helped and decided to do what she loved full time, thereby giving birth to April Laugh.

Join us for a 45-minute webinar with Lola Komolafe on Wednesday April 26th, 2017. We’ll be discussing how to discover your true passion and make money from what you enjoy doing. Register below to get the exclusive link to the webinar.

Learn how to turn your hobby into money. Join @fitmrsfats for a webinar on Wed Apr. 26th Click To Tweet

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • Starting out in a non-traditional industry
  • Turning a hobby into money
  • Stages and steps to a healthy living
  • Juggling work, life and your finances while working from home.

Webinar Details:

  • Date: Wednesday April 26th
  • Time: 2pm UK // 2pm Lagos // 3pm Johannesburg

Watch here:

 About Lola Komolafe

Lola Komolafe aka April Laugh is a Fitness Entrepreneur, Certified Nutritionist, Meal Plan Genius and a Fitness Enthusiast who takes conscious efforts to live a healthy lifestyle. She helped her husband to lose over 40kg and has been inspiring people to adopt lifestyle changes with the #LifestyleChangeWithApril 12 Weeks Challenge.

She’s also a God-fearing wife and mom to Bryan and lives in England. You can read more about her on here and find her on Instagram: @fitmrsfats

 

Mildred Apenyo: Creating a safe space for women’s health

mildred apenyo she leads africa

Mildred Apenyo set out to create a warm, supportive and safe space for women when she started FitcliqueAfrica. The women-only gym, the first of its kind in Uganda, offers a wide variety of classes including; aerobics, African yoga, dance, kickboxing, strength training and personal safety. The Kampala-based startup is focused on the overall wellness and safety of women rather than attainment of the elusive “ideal body.” By so doing, it aims to provide women with the tools that they need to empower themselves both physically and psychologically.

Mildred wants women to be able to workout without harassment, discrimination or any restriction. Through FitcliqueAfrica, she hopes that women will be inspired to own their bodies and their spaces. I caught up with the fitness entrepreneur, who is also a writer and human rights activist, to talk about her experience and her unique venture.


Tipping point

Mildred didn’t start out in the fitness industry. After graduating from university with a degree in Mass Communication in 2012, she worked in advertising. Her office was located in Kamwokya, a neighborhood she calls the hub of street molestation. Having to navigate this environment daily caused her to experience anxiety. Running became her coping mechanism. “It helped me learn how to inhabit space,” said Mildred. “It made me feel like I owned the streets. It made me feel like I owned my body.” Mildred broke her leg and had to stop running, then decided to join a gym so that she could workout.

Her gym experience was awful. The trainers did not pay attention to female clients unless they were in the aerobics classes. Mildred, who was interested in weightlifting, was dismissed by some of the instructors. The people who paid attention to her instead were lechery men. While working out one day, a man threw a dumbbell at her because she refused to give up the exercise equipment she was using. “I vowed never enter a mixed gym again,” she said. It was then that she decided she wanted to create a warm and supportive space for women.

Two months after the idea solidified in her mind, the first draft of Uganda’s Anti-Pornography Bill was released. The media and the minister of ethics and integrity turned the narrative it into an anti-miniskirt campaign. As a result of this, there were many women who were undressed and violated on the streets. This enraged Mildred. “The only thing that presented itself to me was that nobody cared about the safety of women,” she said. “Not even the men who society says are the protectors.” This further fueled her desire to pursue her idea. She realized that she had to find a way to ensure that women become stronger and have more agency. “While rage will be the spark for an idea, the building of the idea depends largely on how you can begin to channel this energy to something practical, something that people will come to,” said Mildred. “That is how the space and the gym happened.”

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Building blocks

Mildred’s plan was to start with a Facebook page where she would discuss body ownership and self-love. She wanted people to able to talk about bodies and women enjoying activities that are typically reserved for men in regular gyms. “I wanted it to be that kind of space online and offline,” said Mildred.

She first had to come up with a name for this space. The naming process varies from one startup to the next. It takes anywhere from several hours to months. The key is to pick a strong name that adequately represents the ethos of your brand. As a copywriter, Mildred could have come up with a name utilizing the same process she used for her clients. However, she wanted it to be a community space, and as such sourced for name ideas from her friends on Facebook. Solomon King, one of her friends, suggested the name Fitclique256. “It got the most likes,” Mildred said. “I decided to call the space that.” In March 2014, the fitness movement officially began.

Mildred decided to quit her job so as to fully focus on and dedicate herself to Fitclique. “I said to myself, ‘How can you be seated here writing copy about products that you don’t care about when women are out there being undressed on the streets?’” she said. “FitcliqueAfrica hit me in the soul and demanded to be started.” With two salaries saved from her job, she embarked on taking the open and safe online space offline in the form of a gym.

The first order of business was securing gym equipment. Mildred, aware of her financial limitations, had to get innovative so as to do this. Having done her research, she knew that there were people who had bought exercise and fitness equipment in the hopes of working out but ended up not using them. She started a campaign where she traded training for equipment. People would be able to get a personal trainer to work with them for a certain duration at a reduced cost if they gave Fitclique their equipment. The concept excited people and they responded positively. There are also those who simply ended up donating their unused equipment. Mildred was able to significantly drive down costs using this strategy. The gym has grown since then and is now able to buy its own equipment with the money it makes.

Then Mildred had to find a physical space for the gym. She approached a gym  she had worked on a marketing campaign for while at her advertising job. They agreed to let her hold one class for an hour in their space. “It was a yoga class that was massively successful,” said Mildred. After a while, the owner pulled out of the agreement because the classes only had women. “He asked, ‘Why yoga? Why only women? Are you witches? and added ‘I don’t want this to happen anymore,’” she said. Mildred had to go back to the drawing board, a practice that is not uncommon in the entrepreneurial journey.