Do you ever lie? You might answer no (is that a lie?) which is amazing. But I bet the answer is yes. You might always tell the truth to people you love or your kids or your partner, but I’m sure at some point you’ve told a lie, whether it’s a little white one, or maybe even a lie you told yourself.

The reason I’m talking about lying is because I think we’ve all been the victims of buying into lies that we either believe to be true or want to believe to be true. I wanted to share some of the most common lies, and why they’re lies.

Lie #1: You’re not getting enough sleep.

Truth #1: While this may be true, it’s possibly not the whole truth. Quantity of sleep is important, so if you’re only hitting 5 hours a night in bed, you should probably aim for more. But if you’re already in bed for 8 hours a night, that should be enough. The lie here comes in that if you’re not feeling rested after 8 hours in bed every night, you shouldn’t be working to sleep for 9 or 10 hours. Quality of sleep is just as important (maybe more so in some contexts) than quantity. So if you’re in bed and “sleeping” (or trying to sleep) for 8 hours every night, but you’re still exhausted, there’s likely more at play. If this is you, reach out.

Lie #2: You’re not exercising enough.

Truth #2: Again, this might be true. We want to move/exercise every day. I say move/exercise because while there are weekly suggestions for exercise to keep us healthy, I encourage people to focus on moving every day. Just getting out for a walk, or doing a yoga class, or doing some pushups while you’re waiting for your kids to get ready for bed counts as movement, even if you don’t think of it as official exercise. But the reality is that if you’re striving for a 60-minute intense workout every day, you’re probably exercising too much. Too much exercise can be very stressful on the body, and if you’re already experiencing a lot of stress, it can push you over into burnout mode. Too much exercise can actually make you even more exhausted. So if you find yourself going through a period of intense stress, dialing back the exercise might make you feel better.

Lie #3: You’re not doing enough self-care.

Truth #3: For me, self-care is such a tricky thing. I appreciate it, and agree with it, but I think what we as a society define as self-care is a little bit off. Yes, taking care of yourself is incredibly important! But doing the right things at the right time is even more important. A lot of moms think that self-care is a glass of wine before supper to unwind. I will argue that this form of self-care is actually not beneficial, even if you enjoy it. Pedicures are enjoyable and relaxing, and can be a form of self-care, but the effects of them are unlikely to last. So even if you are doing self-care activities, you might not be doing the right self-care at the right time.

Lie #4: You need to stay on track all the time.

Trust #4: Real life doesn’t work this way. Real life ebbs and flows. We go through phases of being really good at some things, and then phases of being really terrible at the same time. Healthy eating, for example. It’s possible to get on a really good train of eating well and avoiding junk food. But then it’s completely normal to go through a phase of not eating so healthy. Or exercise. It’s also completely normal to go through phases where exercise is not your cup of tea. Sometimes when we put the expectation on ourselves that we need to stay on track all the time, if we aren’t able to keep that up every day we feel like we’ve failed. Recognizing that these things come and go can help to take the pressure off, but also let us get back on track in the future.

Lie #5: Healthy food isn’t delicious.

Truth #5: Did you know that junk food is designed to taste incredible? There are a lot of scientists who spend a lot of effort designing processed food to make it taste amazing and leave you wanting more. So it’s natural to feel that this stuff tastes delicious. Where the lie comes in is that healthy food isn’t as delicious, as this just isn’t true. There are so many fun ingredients and fun recipes to find a healthy alternative to almost any processed food that you enjoy! I’ll have to put a separate resource together for that.

Lie #6: You just need to plan your time better.

Truth #6: There really aren’t enough hours in a day. That’s just the reality. A busy mom’s schedule is usually full to bursting, and adding in extra stuff generally doesn’t happen. Those people who say you can have it all? I don’t actually believe that. You can have a lot of things, but it’s not possible to do everything you want to do in a day. That said, prioritizing how you spend your time is an exercise I encourage everyone to do. You’re not always going to be able to fit in everything you want to do in a day, especially as a busy mom, but making sure the important things get fit in is something you can work on.

Are there lies you’ve been told about your health or energy or sleep over the years that I didn’t include here? If you need some help working through some of these lies, or others, let me know!

Elizabeth Brothers Health