As moms, there is such much vying for our attention at the same time that we often put ourselves last. Whether we’re tending to a newborn, potty training a toddler, disciplining a preschooler or helping with homework for a school-age child, the list of mom tasks is never-ending.
As a mom to four kids, I can attest that many times my needs come last. I’m the last to the dinner table, the last out the door, the last to get time to myself, the last to pamper myself. But being last doesn’t mean my health has to take a hit. Here are 10 easy ways that us as moms can improve our health.
10 Easy Things Moms Can Do to Improve Their Health
GET OUTSIDE. I know this sounds like my answer for everything, but being outside is so good for people at any age or at any stage of health. Nature and fresh air helps us de-stress, relax and find natural energy, as well as assist with self reflection and gratitude, reduce anxiety, offer a break from technology and more. (Related post: Our Prescription for Vitamin N)
DREAM. How much time do we as moms really give ourselves to dream? Sometimes, it’s so cathartic to simply let your thoughts and dreams run wild for an hour. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own Etsy shop or turn a hobby into a side business? Maybe you’ve dreamed of traveling abroad or moving to the opposite end of the country? Maybe at one point you considered writing a book? Whatever dreams you’ve pushed aside since you became a mother, it’s ok to think about them from time to time. Mull them over to see if they still interest you or if your dreams have shifted. If you’re still passionate about those dreams, think through a plan as to how to get one step closer to those dreams, whether that means next week or next year.
EXERCISE. Whether you decide to go on a three-mile walk or do a CrossFit or HIIT workout that skyrockets your heart rate, exercising is great for the human body. Working out can lighten not only your mood but also your weight over time. And though weight loss may take time and consistency, exercising at your own pace can instantly help you to relax as your body releases endorphins. Some people (like me!) use exercise as a healthy outlet to help manage stress. As with being outside, exercise can also provide a natural energy boost and at the same time help you sleep better. If you’re in a season when you’re running on fumes, check out my tips for staying active even when you’re tired.
READ. I’ve always been a reader. Not as avid as my husband, I’ll admit, because some nights I read for 5 minutes before falling asleep. But we read every night (we both have Kindles) instead of being online or watching TV. I’m not saying doing those other things are wrong, but I do think reading is good for the mind to help it wind down and relax. By nighttime, I only have the mental energy to read fictional books. I save my Bible studies and parenting books for the day time when I can focus and absorb information.
COOK MORE AND EAT OUT LESS. It’s true that it’s hard to beat a home-cooked meal. By cooking at home instead of eating out, you know exactly what’s in your food. To feel your best, increase your veggies and healthy fats while decreasing sugar and processed foods. Easier said than done, but if you stick to it you will feel amazing. If you’re looking to save time, money and even your sanity, consider meal planning. Pick a day each week to plan out what your family will eat for the week. Then make your grocery list and go shopping.
UNPLUG. Unplugging in today’s world is so hard to do, but taking a break from online technology (even for a few hours), is so freeing. Technology isn’t necessarily bad to have at our fingertips—I love using the Zillow and Mint apps daily. But technology, especially my phone, is a time sucker. Even when I’m not on social media or reading blogs that I follow, I often have my phone nearby so I can capture sweet or wild moments of my kids. Harmless enough, right? But then I want to post that cute picture and fall down the social media rabbit hole soon after. This year, I’ve made an effort to leave my phone behind more (when it’s safe to do so) and instead snap pictures with my Nikon camera. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing with all the settings, but my strategy is to take tons of snapshots and one will work out!
WORSHIP. As moms, we spend so much time focused on caring for our kids that when we finally get a few moments alone, we want to focus on ourselves. But one way we can mature and improve our health is to focus on something (or Someone) greater. Lift your eyes up and hold out your proverbial hands. Instead of spending all your free time working to fill yourself up, let God fill you up as you simply let go of your grip on life. Worship looks different for everyone. Maybe you like to be outside in nature admiring His creation or you enjoy worship through music. Maybe you love to jot notes in your gratefulness journal or sit in a quiet space to pray and reflect on your life. Worship isn’t a matter of outward form, it’s a matter of the heart.
SPEND TIME WITH MOM FRIENDS. As great as your spouse may be, it’s important to spend time with other females, especially other moms. They understand what you’re going through—the ups, the downs, the frustrations, the joys. They are great sounding boards when you need to vent as well as an experienced source who can offer advice when needed. And sometimes, it’s nice to leave the kids at home with all the dads one afternoon and have a mom’s day (or night if you can stay awake) out.
MEDITATE OR GIVE YOURSELF WHITE SPACE. Though there are now many meditation apps available, simply detaching, closing your eyes and resting your mind is sometimes all the meditation we can do as moms. Meditation helps to slow the mind and increase mental focus. It can also help to change your mood in a matter of minutes as well as reduce anxiety.
SLEEP. If you have a baby (like me) or young kids who tend to wake up in the night, work on going to bed earlier. I’ve never been a good napper, but if you can nap while your kids are napping—do it! Or if you work full time, nap on the weekend when you have time. A well-rested Mama can conquer the world!
Though it’s near impossible to do all these healthy habits daily, making a point to focus on them weekly can help to reduce stress and improve your health. What tips do you have for moms to improve their health?