May 10, 2013
Put your health first. Yes, first—above your kids, your husband and your job. Sounds strange, but most moms put themselves last on the priority list. There’s just not enough time, so you surely can’t make health a priority and it would be selfish of you to care for yourself, right? Wrong! Chances are that you are the backbone of your family. When your kids get hurt, you have to be there to take care of them. When your husband gets sick, it’s you again. The reality is that you can’t afford and don’t have time to get hurt or sick. But you will. You absolutely will if you don’t take care of yourself. There’s no cheating in health. You can’t postpone it and say that you’ll do it when you’re kids are off to college or when you retire. The longer you go without taking care of yourself, the more severe the consequences.
What do they say you should do when there is an emergency on an airplane? Put your oxygen mask on first. What you won’t do for yourself, you will do for your family. So do it for your family. Here are 10 ways you can put yourself first—with your family benefitting most.
- Eat well. You can be a healthy role model for your kids. The fact is that they all take your lead. Aren’t you the one cooking the meals? (At least for now—once the kids are old enough, get them to help, too.) If you aren’t eating well, neither will they.
- Exercise. Your children should see that mom values her health and enjoys exercise. Maybe your husband or partner will be inspired by your increased energy. And they will all benefit from you being in a better mood, less stressed and less tired.
- Reclaim just a little personal time each day. Ask for a small block of time from your spouse or a friend, or get a babysitter so you can recharge. You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself. It’s actually the best gift you can give your family.
- Drink water. Dehydration will lead to a feeling of exhaustion. To keep your body healthy and your energy up, make sure you drink at least 64 oz of water each day.
- Date night. Marriage often takes a backseat when you become a mom. Make your marriage a priority and get out for some grown-up time. Connecting and communicating with your significant other is good for your health.
- Take a bath. Water is soothing to the body and the brain. Pour in your favorite bubbles, light a candle and take a dip. This small ritual can be quite replenishing.
- Connect with a friend. Science has confirmed that women gain health benefits from friendships. Make sure you carve out some time to connect with your friends. If you don’t have time for a mom’s night out, consider an online coffee date. Oxytocin, our feel good hormone, spikes after childbirth and also during friendship.
- Laugh. Children laugh about 300 times per day, whereas adults laugh about five. Our entire sense of life lightens when we laugh. Listen to a podcast, get a joke of the day or just giggle with your kids.
- Touch therapy. Feel-good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin are released from touch therapy such as massage. Consider it body maintenance!
- Give Gratitude. The simple act of being grateful is good for our health. Create a gratitude journal and write in it each morning. Women who feel grateful have more energy and happiness than those who do not. As a mom, the days are long, but the years go by far too fast. Being thankful may just help you appreciate each day a little more.
Lisa Druxman is “Chief Founding Mom” of Fit4Mom, the national franchise that offers Stroller Strides, Fit4Baby and Body Back. She is also an ACE-certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and continuing education provider. She has been a guest on shows such as the Today Show, CNN and featured in publications including Self, Entrepreneur, Fit Pregnancy, and American Baby, among others. Lisa is author of L.E.A.N. Mommy and the host of Mom On A Mission, an online TV show aimed at raising healthy moms so that they can raise healthy kids in a healthy world.