As is so often the case with parents and with moms in particular, we simply do not have the time to adhere to that old adage about tending to your own needs before taking care of the children. Between the demands of work, home, and everything in between, it can be a difficult if not impossible challenge to regularly find the time to do the things that keep us healthy and happy, nourish our spirits, and help us feel good and look good.
But the reality is that we do need to take care of ourselves in order to be at our best so that we can be the best parents we can be for our kids. That means getting regular exercise, eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and doing what we can to reduce any stress.
Here are some important ways parents can take steps to make sure that they feel good and look good.
- Find Time for Exercise
The benefits of exercise are numerous and extensive. Not only does exercise help reduce your risk of heart disease and other health problems, it can also help lift your mood, help you maintain a healthy weight, and look good too.
Whether you walk or run, go to the gym, put on a workout video, or engage in any of the other great fitness activities for parents, the key is to make regular exercise a part of your routine. Working out while your kids are on the playground, trading off babysitting with other parents, and sneaking in exercise when you can (such as by parking far away from the entrance of your destination or using the stairs rather than an elevator) are just some of the creative ways parents can fit physical activity into their days.
And if you find yourself in a rut, break out of your old fitness routine and find a new and invigorating class such as krav maga or boxing at your local gym. Working out with other people in a class can often provide an extra incentive to keep going when you want to give up, and you get the benefit of having an instructor guide you through workouts for a lower cost than a private training session.
- Bust Out Timeless Beauty Tips
Let's face it: Busy mothers hardly have time to run a brush through our hair before we run out the door (and sometimes not even that!). But with a few fast, easy -- and best of all -- affordable timeless beauty tips, even hurried and harried moms can look gorgeous while we are running in five different directions.
Getting your eyebrows groomed, using a combination exfoliating scrub and mask, and moisturizing your face before stepping in the shower are just a few of the smart and simple beauty tips for every busy mom.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat can make an enormous difference in how you feel and look. Eating whole foods rather than processed, choosing lean meats and fish, and avoiding unhealthy fare such as fried foods, chips, and soda are some of the important principles to follow for a healthy diet. You can also opt for foods that are good for healthy skin to keep yourself looking good. The best part: Foods that are good for your skin -- such as salmon, berries, and nuts are good for your body, too.
Don't forget to include foods that are good for your immune system to keep yourself healthy, especially during cold and flu season. And since exercise is important for your body, inside and out, be sure to eat the right foods before and after your workout.
And remember: By setting a good example when making healthier food choices, you are also instilling healthy foods habits in your child.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
This bit of advice is a tough one to follow, especially for busy parents today. But the fact is that adults need an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep to function at their best. Try to minimize the amount of electronic stimulation you are exposed to at least an hour before bed (that includes TV and computers).
Sleep is incredibly important for health. Lack of sleep is associated with a myriad of problems including weight gain, increased risk of depression, heart problems, and more.
- Reduce Your Stress
Stress, as you probably know, can have many adverse effects on the body. Symptoms of chronic stress can include depression, weight gain, ulcers, and even hair loss, among others.
Some effective ways to manage stress include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and exercising regularly. Elizabeth Scott, MS, About's Guide to Stress Management, has an extensive list of articles about how to minimize and handle stress.