5 tips to help busy moms care for their own health and well-being
With packed schedules, multiple commitments and countless chores, it’s a challenge for moms to stay mentally and physically healthy.
But eating well, engaging in regular physical activity and getting enough sleep are key to improving your health, lowering cardiovascular disease risks and increasing quality of life.
Here’s a few tips to overcome common barriers moms face on the journey to a healthier lifestyle:
I don’t know how to start.
Tips: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start small. Completing something — anything — will give you a sense of accomplishment. Do a simple task such as drinking more water today or scheduling a doctor’s appointment you’ve delayed. Research shows that even modest health improvements have positive effects. And these actions may boost your motivation to tackle bigger health goals.
I can’t find time.
Tips: The days can pass by when you’re busy caring for everyone else. Schedule time on your calendar for your health just like you would for a work meeting. And don’t let anything bump it out of the way. Remember to ask for (and accept) help from family members, friends or a babysitter when you need it. Research shows support from others improves mothers’ health and motivates them to be more active. Make the most of any time you have. Even 10-minute blocks of exercise are beneficial. Fit movement into your day by walking instead of sitting in the car while waiting to pick up kids from school or after-school activities.
Caring for myself is selfish.
Tips: Caring for children is an important responsibility. But it shouldn’t be the only one. Saying “yes” to your health means saying “no” to mom guilt and unrealistic expectations about parenthood. Taking time for yourself can make you a more patient, less stressed parent. Escape to a quiet space while someone else watches the kids and do something healthy such as reading, meditating or journaling.
Eating well is expensive.
Tips: Moms are often so focused on making meals for the kids that their own nutrition becomes an afterthought. But prioritizing your dietary goals doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Keep a grocery list of your favorite healthy items and opt for in-season produce, which is typically less expensive. Understand the value of meal-planning shortcuts. If you’re going to be away from home for a while, pack portion-controlled snacks for yourself just like you do for your kids. This will ward off high-cost, high-calorie temptations later.
I’m too tired.
Tips: Sleep problems are a common struggle for moms. Insufficient sleep impacts mood, health and even longevity. A calming nighttime routine benefits the whole family. Keep bedrooms dark, quiet and calm. Turn off all screens — including your phone — at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The blue light emitted by mobile devices can lead to poor sleep quality. Also, trade off nighttime duties with others so you can get uninterrupted sleep some nights. And don’t use tiredness during the day as an excuse to skip your workout. Exercise helps your body work more efficiently and makes getting through the day easier.
We know your kids come first and the health of your family often gets put before your own, but prioritizing your health is not only important for you, but essential to the overall well-being of your family.