Body

Healthy mum, healthy kids

You’re a rock star when it comes to mothering your family, but when do you nurture yourself?

Healthy mums are also happy ones who have lots of energy to give to their children. Here are six things you can do to help boost your wellbeing:

1 Take time out for yourself
If you are busy working and raising a family, it can be hard to get any time to yourself. Try to schedule at least half an hour a day for “me time” that doesn’t involve doing things for anyone else, whether it is catching up with a friend, reading a magazine or exercising.

2 Get a good night’s sleep
This is easier said than done, especially if you have children who don’t sleep through the night. If you can, nap when they do during the day and make an effort to go to bed earlier – even an extra half an hour’s sleep at night can make a difference. If you have trouble dropping off, make sure your bedroom is dark and not too hot, and have a warm bath or hot, milky drink before going to bed. Don’t look at your phone, device or laptop for an hour before bedtime – the lights they give off can affect the production of the hormones that send you to sleep.

3 Recognise when you’re stressed
You may not realise it, but you could be in a permanent state of stress overload. Do you get regular headaches? Are the muscles in your shoulders and neck really tense and sore? Are you often irritable and anxious? It’s likely you’re stressed, but because you are like this a lot of the time, you tend to think it’s normal. It shouldn’t be. Learn to recognise the symptoms of stress, then find ways of dealing with it. Practising relaxation techniques such as meditation is one way, exercising is another. Try going for a walk or putting on some music and dancing around the living room.

4 Step away from the alcohol
Reaching for a bottle of wine or pouring yourself a gin and tonic can feel like you’re treating yourself at the end of a tough day or it may seem a good way of dealing with stress. But if you are not careful, you can end up drinking more than is good for you (the recommended amount for women is no more than two standard drinks a day), which can lead to health problems.

5 Change a few bad eating habits
You’re probably aware that there are some things you should change when it comes to your diet – now’s the time to do something about it. Whether it’s making an effort not to skip breakfast, ditching the sugary mid-afternoon snack in favour of a piece of fruit, or eating more vegetables, start introducing a few healthy changes. Do one at a time over the course of a few weeks and you’ll soon find they become second nature.

6 Make exercise part of your routine
You find time to clean your teeth every day and you manage to sit down for half an hour to watch the news without fail – they’re just a part of your routine. Now’s the time to add exercise to that routine. That doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym or a long, brisk walk. Break sessions into smaller chunks – for example, set aside 20 minutes in the morning to walk around the block and another 20 minutes before dinner to work through an exercise video. If 40 minutes of physical activity seems like a lot to do each day, remember that it’s possible to spend the same amount of time watching funny cat videos on social media – use it instead to do something that will improve your fitness and wellbeing.

Words: Donna Fleming

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