Women are natural givers. We are constantly giving of ourselves to others. If you are a mother, you know this all too well. Whether you are a single-mother, a working-mom or a stay-at-home mom, you are busy juggling your children, your spouse, your ailing parents, your job and your home. One of the more common things that I see in my medical practice are mothers who do not take care of themselves. Mothers are so busy giving to everyone else that they lose sight of themselves, which ultimately compromises their emotional and physical health. Common illnesses I see in mothers are as follows: Obesity, Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Stress-Induced Headaches, Gut Dysfunction and Irritable Bowel Syndrome to name a few.
Action steps mothers can make to find balance
Despite the around-the-clock work schedules, never-ending-to-do lists and taking care of your family, there are action steps that you can take to improve your health. Grant it, for some (especially single-mothers) it may be easier said then done, but what choice do you have? Are you willing to risk having an illness and not be there for your family? Here are a few action steps that you can take to find balance in your life:
- Start believing you deserve to be a priority. Focus on your mind, body and spirit.
- Get organized. Schedule your workouts ahead of time. Prep healthy meals ahead of time. Cook in bulk to avoid having to cook everyday.
- Be mindful of what you are eating. Are you eating because you are really hungry or are you eating because you are feeling stressed or emotional?
- Exercise regularly. Build time in your schedule to be active. For some, it may mean getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning before the rest of the family awakens. Or when attending your child’s sports practice, use that time to take a walk.
- Get rest. Just as your children have a bedtime, so should you. Seven to eight hours of sleep per day is ideal for optimal health.
- Ask for help. Don’t let your pride get in the way. If you need help, reach out to your spouse, friends and family. Also when your children are old enough, have them participate in household chores.
- Communicate to your family that you need time to care for yourself.
- Have a yearly medical check up. Keep up to date with preventive screening exams such as mammograms and Pap smears. Also, don’t ignore any unwanted physical or emotional symptoms. If you don’t feel well, seek medical attention immediately.
You should take care of yourself if you want to give your family the ‘best of you instead of the rest of you.’ Carve out time to work on your mind, body and spirit.