“It would be like, ‘OK, this is what I need at two in the morning when I’m breastfeeding: Please have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a water waiting so I’m not scrounging for this stuff in the middle of the night while also trying to feed a two-week-old,’” she says.
Prune your social space.
To carve out the space for healing, Arzón spent a lot less time on social media. While she’s amassed a ton of followers, Arzón was thoughtful about her level of engagement with them, scheduling her content ahead of time so she wouldn’t have to keep up with the nonstop influx of likes, comments, and shares.
“This was simply because I needed to create this cocoon of strength around me,” she says.
Creating intentional boundaries around her social media use is nothing new for Arzón. In 2018 she shared that she partakes in an annual “digital detox,” deleting her apps for a full day in order to regain a sense of presence in her life. “Life is the meal; social media is the snack,” she wrote.
Acknowledge that it’s not all joy.
Arzón believes embracing all the emotions that accompany the postpartum experience is a necessary step in moving forward in fitness—and in the new stage of life in general.
“There is a really beautiful surrender to parenthood for birthing folks. You are becoming somebody’s first home and sometimes you feel like you’re in the middle of a construction site,” she says. “That is very real. But it’s okay to feel your most joyful and grateful and also acknowledge when things aren’t going right.”
For example, Arzón dealt with the loss of three of her uncles during the same year she was pregnant with Athena.
“We can be ‘both and,’” she says. “I was so joyful, so hopeful, and also truly mourning and grieving. There are complicated feelings that might come up for us on a daily, hourly, minute basis when we’re pregnant and postpartum and well into parenthood—that’s okay.”
When you feel up to it, schedule workouts that make you feel good.
Arzón steadily began to increase the duration and intensity of her workouts with the sole intention of finding a physical and mental state that made her feel her best in her new role—not to chase a performance goal or a physical ideal.
“I still don’t know what I weigh,” she says. “That is very intentional because I don’t want to focus on numbers that, for me, aren’t going to be additive and helpful.”
While she’s added more intense workouts back into her routine, she has fine-tuned what her all-important adjective of “hustle” means to her now.
“I re-defined ‘hustle,’” she says. “My hustle now is to bend so I don’t break and to really ask myself, ‘What do I need right now?’”
For instance, take her #3for31 challenge in December, where she invited people to join her in walking or running three miles every day of the month or logging 30 minutes of movement. Rather than holding herself to a rigid standard each day—say, that she’d have to run three miles at once every single day—Arzón instead sought out and celebrated opportunities to break her goal into bite-sized chunks. “Every little bit helps,” she wrote on Instagram. (Of course, 3 miles or 30 minutes a day can still be a lot if you’re just getting started out, so don’t be afraid to modify challenges to meet you where you are!)
Bring yourself back to the basics to rediscover your “why.”
There’s no getting around the fact that progress just feels good. But progress isn’t linear, and especially during the postpartum time, expectations and pressure to keep it coming can really hinder the joy that comes with moving your body.