Being a mom is a lot of work and often our needs come last on the list. Check out this list of simple ways for busy moms to boost your health while still putting your family’s needs first.
As moms, there is so 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, helping with homework for a school-age child, or figuring out how to parent a teen, 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 go to bed and the last to get any time to myself. But being last doesn’t mean my health has to take a hit. Here are 10 simple ways that busy moms can boost our health without detracting from serving your family.
10 EASY THINGS MOMS CAN DO TO IMPROVE THEIR HEALTH
Being outside is wonderfully uplifting 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. You could go on a scenic hike—or simply taking a stroll through your neighborhood or stepping out into your backyard is simple enough to refresh your spirit.
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How much time do we as moms really give ourselves to dream? Sometimes, it’s 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 mom, it’s OK to think about them from time to time. Mull them over to see if they still interest you or if your goals have shifted. If you’re still passionate about those dreams, think through a plan as to how to get one step closer to them, whether that means next week or next year.
Spend Time with Mom Friends
With so much time spent focusing on caring for your family, it’s important to spend time with other females too, 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 date or mom’s night out.
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 moms 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.
Reading offers a myriad of benefits when it comes to your health. It alleviates stress, keeps your mental focus strong, piques the intellect and can improve your sleep. As a busy mom, I only have time to read before my kids wake up in the morning and after they go to bed at night. But my nightly routine of reading my Kindle before bed is something I’ve been doing since my teens. It helps me wind down and relax with a good fiction before falling asleep. I save my Bible reading and parenting books for the morning time when I’m more alert and can focus and absorb information.
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, 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.
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 healthy fats while decreasing sugar and processed foods. It’s 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.
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.
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 and stress.
Sleep is a crucial key to overall health that many moms will tell you is tough with babies and young kids. Most all moms have experienced some form of sleep deprivation for the sake of their kids—and we will all tell you they are worth it. But even in the trenches, there are ways to get more rest when you’re tired. If you can nap, do so when your kids are napping. But if you’re not a napper, work on going to bed earlier soon after your kids are down for the night. If you work full time, consider napping on the weekends when possible. A well-rested mom is a force to be recogned with.
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?