If you are like many moms in the US, you get up at around 6:30 AM and don’t stop working until 8:30 at night. That’s about the equivalent of working 2.5 jobs, says a study released by Welch’s.
So it’s no surprise that parenting stress is on the rise. And stress that isn’t tended to can lead to a host of health problems that can have long-term effects on your life. Additionally, stressed out parents can lead to pushing kids too hard.
But if slowing down to keep yourself stress-free remains a nice but vague concept for you, where do you start? Here are the most important actions that will protect and prevent putting your health at risk.
Say YES to your Yearly Checkups
The first step on the ladder to better care of yourself is to make and keep your doctor appointments. This is a basic move, but one that many parents forego because they feel fine in the moment.
But when you miss your yearly checkups, you miss the opportunity for health professionals to catch problems at an early stage.
For example, skipping a teeth cleaning appointment might not seem so bad, particularly if your gums or teeth are not in pain. But, according to Celebrity Dental, a dental office in New York that is accepting new patients, “The entire body’s immune system and heart function depend on removing bacteria from your teeth. When bacteria remain, one of the first negative side effects is tooth decay. This typically manifests into cavities, small holes in the outer structure of the tooth. Unhealthy bacteria can also lead to gum disease, a serious bacterial infection that has both oral and physical ramifications. As the disease progresses, it can result in tooth loss, but it may also increase your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.”
Fuel up with Quality Foods
Do you always feel like you are eating on the run? Or that what you eat is largely dictated by your children’s preferences? Because who has time to cook two meals?
Investing in preparing food for yourself does take time out of your day when you could be cleaning the house. Or taking care of yet another item on your to-do list. But showing your kids that you are taking the time to eat healthy foods that your body needs is setting an example for them that will speak loudly.
Having a meal plan and the right ingredients in the house will help you overcome your natural resistance. At the start of each week, write out a list of the healthy meals you want to eat, as well as quick, nutritious snacks. Shop for all the ingredients in one go, and you will be cutting down on your excuses that say it is too much work.
Put Yoga on your Mommy-Care List
Or choose an exercise type that you enjoy or that you have been telling yourself that you will get back into one of these days… Because that day is here!
If you feel like you might blow off exercise if you do it alone, attend a class. Find a way to hold yourself accountable.
Not only will you grow your body confidence, but exercise improves your mood, making you a happier mommy for your little ones!
Find What Helps you De-stress
Stress triggers are different for each person. So, too, are the activities that help you de-stress. So start up a list that you add to as ideas occur to you that help you unwind after a long day.
Some activities that many mothers enjoy include meeting up with a friend for coffee, or a quick phone call with a best friend. Or if reading is your thing, but it’s hard for you to find the time…?
Make yourself a large cup of tea and grab your book while the kids are away at school. The house will always need to be cleaned. But opportunities where you can relax in a quiet space are limited for moms.
Practicing gratitude is another activity that can help you slow down and calm a worry-prone mind. Think of something that you are thankful for and either write it down or allow your thoughts to hold onto the feeling of gratefulness for a count of 10. This will improve your mood and could be the start of a meditation habit.
Want it in a nutshell? To summarize, the best way to keep yourself healthy for the long haul? Start to prioritize yourself a little more.