Moms, I see you!
Moms, I see you.
I see how hard you work. I see how much love you have for your family. I see how much you give to others.
I also see how exhausted you are. I see your stress levels. And I see how this has started to affect your health in sometimes quite significant or detrimental ways.
No your organs aren’t failing. No you don’t need to fast or workout 20 hours a week. You need to slow down, chew your 3 meals/day thoroughly, get more sleep and address your stress levels.
You’re probably thinking, yeah right, like anyone has time for that!
Here are some ways to find more balance in your life and improve your mental and physical health, hopefully before you feel really ill!
- Create a Routine
Following a consistent schedule will help you predict your days and weeks, but the benefit for you here is to schedule in some time for something you enjoy. It will take most of the guess work out of what’s coming next and help bring focus to your day.
- Prioritize Sleep
When you are under high stress and often disrupted by your sweet children, it can be hard to get enough quality and restful sleep. Aiming to get 7-9 hours every night and aiming to be in bed before 10pm is the most ideal, but ideal isn’t always real. Creating a healthy and consistent bedtime routine for yourself is the best way to habituate healthy sleep habits.
- Healthy Nutrition
It’s easy to munch on whatever food you serve to your children, if it’s different than what you serve yourself. It’s also easy to snack on the go, mindlessly and not nutritiously. When you’re stressed and tired, your blood sugar is all over the map, so you reach for things you may not usually reach for, you eat when you’re not hungry and you may not even think about what, when or how much you’re eating. All in all, you’re not getting a lot of good nutrition if you’re stressed and don’t plan your meals.
At the very least I suggest consuming protein at every meal and avoiding sugar as much as possible. I also recommend 3 structured meals to keep your blood sugar stable and if you’re hungry between those meals, try not to restrict, but rather plan out a couple healthy snacks to add to your day to keep you fueled and even keel.
- Stress Relief
This is often the place that Mommas give up. We’ve got the routine, the nutrition, the exercise and some sleep, but managing stress can be quite challenging. It is though, one of the most important things to manage, especially when your high stress is really at the root cause of poor sleep, fatigue, cravings, lack of exercise and brain fog. You may not be able to remove or reduce the stress in your life, but you are able to approach and manage it differently.
What are three things that gives you joy, that make your worries go away? Can you implement something small each day to relieve stress? What about something a little bigger each week and each month to relieve stress? This could look like a daily walk, a daily journal, a daily conversation with a loved one or song. This could also be a weekly tea time with your girls or tee time with your boys (not meaning to be gender biased here). It could be a weekly cold plunge or exercise class or monthly massage or drive down the coast.
Whatever it is for you, choose a few daily, weekly and maybe one monthly stress relieving act to support your overall health and wellbeing because when we can get to the root of it all, everything becomes much clearer.
- Self Care
What is self care? Self care to me is engaging in something, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, whereby I am refilling my cup, reflecting within myself and doing something I love in order to bring joy, peace and positivity to my life, for me. Some of the ways that I care for myself and examples in how to engage in self care yourself are below:
I prefer to journal at night, but if I have time during the day that works too! I find that it helps to organize and process emotions and thoughts. It provides a place for self-reflection and brainstorming. It is also where you can engage in gratitude practices, and as we all know, gratitude has been shown through research to actually improve your mood! An easy prompt is, one thing I did well today and one thing I want to do better tomorrow. Or simply write what comes to your heart!
One of my absolute favorite new self care practices!!! It helps you focus on the present moment and to connect with your body. It also supports better sleep, calmer emotions and less reactive actions. It’s truly amazing, but you can only understand what I’m talking about once you try it!! My favorite app is Ten Percent Happier, but another common one is Headspace. There is free content on both apps, so no reason not to try them!
Personal time alone is often ignored, but it is so important, even for you extroverts! It provides a quiet time to reflect and recharge, to gather thoughts and emotions and think a bit more clearly. It also provides time to take care of your personal needs (yes you have needs too!) and decompress from the relentless (and amazing) job of being a mom.
Another of my favorite self care, but also stress relieving activities is exercise! We know that exercise releases endorphins that make us feel happy and actually increase energy, but it also boosts confidence and makes us feel strong and resilient for the rest of the day’s events. Movement supports detoxification through blood and lymph movement and via sweat. And believe it or not, exercising regularly supports better sleep at the end of the day, so long as you don’t exercise right before bed and aren’t overdoing the caffeine during the day. Exercise looks different for everyone, but the two most important things when choosing your exercise/movement routine is, does it make me happy/is it fun and can I do this consistently? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then you’re in the right place. And sometimes you have to find the motivation and maybe do something that is uncomfortable, but that is where you grow! Schedule it in, engage in it at least twice weekly for at least 30 minutes and feel the benefits last all week lon