Hi Hayley,

I am writing to you out of desperation. I am a mom of a 2 year old, and a lawyer with a busy, time consuming job. I never feel like I get enough exercise but I was keeping it together through running, a couple of boot camp type classes a week and biking. I hurt my rotator cuff earlier in the year (my 2 year old likes to be carried) but got through that. I have a pre-existing injury - I fractured C6 and C7 many moons ago - which caused osteoarthritis in my neck. I usually have that under control but my neck recently went into spasm so I’ve had to take a bit of time off to recuperate. Add to that a newly diagnosed bursitis in my hip and I’m feeling depressed and defeated. I’ve been on some muscle relaxants and naproxen which is hard on my stomach so I’ve been eating mostly carbs to top it off. While I’m certainly not overweight I will gain weight if this continues and my mental health suffers if I can’t be active.

Do you have any advice of what I could do keeping in mind that I don’t have a lot of time… or am I a lost cause for now?

Thanks so much for any advice you might have.


I am going to be honest with you, and this may sting a little bit but it comes from a place of love as well as my experience in working with so many clients who have the same story as you. I’m too busy. I’m too tired. I’m too injured. Nothing ever seems to go my way. I can’t. When it is going to be my turn for a break?

You need to change your story and you need to do that now, because until you do you are going to remain in this constant battle to be healthy. Instead of focusing on your obstacles, let’s figure out how you can take control.

You tore your rotator cuff, which can be painful. You have had a fracture in your cervical spine, which is something that should not be ignored and you have an inflammation in your bursa sack in your hip – painful yet something that you heal. Let’s take a moment and look at what you can do. You can cycle.  You can buy a bike, and a trailer to put your toddler in, and the two of you can go for weekend bike rides together. You can go do water aerobics. Sure, those classes are usually filled with the retired generation but that doesn’t mean they are not hard. Have you ever spent an hour treading in deep water? It is exhausting! You can strength train. Maybe jumping lunges are out of the question, as are burpees, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make yourself stronger. And yoga! 

Oh my goodness you need to do yoga. I know, all that breathing and chanting can be a bit daunting, but if you get through that I promise that not only will your body feel better, but your mind will feel better. I understand all too well that without activity our mental health suffers, which can be a slippery slope, so right now any type of movement is good movement. Sure, yoga doesn’t burn mega calories, but it is a way of moving that will not only make you stronger but also help alleviate the injuries you are hiding behind. As your body feels better and becomes stronger then you can start to push yourself harder.  Start with hatha or yin or restorative and then work up from there. 

I know what you are thinking right here. “What about my 2 year old and my busy job”. Find a way to make your health a priority. Maybe it’s taking your daughter to a center that has child minding on a Saturday morning so you can exercise. Maybe it is doing a YouTube yoga (our site manager Emily swears by this program) workout after you’ve put your toddler to bed, or before they wake up in the morning.  Whatever it is, you need to make time because you will never find it.  

Consider reducing the muscle relaxers and naproxen, or cutting them out completely if that’s an option.  I have had to take them myself after a bad car accident (I actually have to take naproxen every month when I get my period from hell) so I know how they make you feel. The relaxers make you feel stoned and the naproxen makes you more constipated then you’ve ever been. You don’t have to turn to the carbs every time though. Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated would be another option.

Getting active again can be a part of a pain management program. Stretch. Ice. Do your rehab exercises.  Also, look for natural methods to reduce inflammation. There is a lot of new research on anti-inflammatory diets so seek out an alternative medical professional for natural ways to improve the quality of life. Have you ever tried acupuncture? It has changed the lives of many that I work with.  Acupuncture works with the central nervous system and can help decrease pain and inflammation as well as it can help to improve your mental health and anxiety.

I hate to sound so harsh but I have seen this so many times in my career as a personal trainer and it isn’t until my clients stop identifying with their injuries and start identifying with who they want to become that they see success. There is no magic answer here and there is no movement I can prescribe to you that is going to make this easy. You need to sacrifice, you need to put yourself first and you need to have the will to be strong.  Start small and take it one step at a time but keep the ball rolling towards the positive lifestyle you are craving.