As part of my work, I often tell folks how important it is that they take care of themselves.
However, it’s sometimes hard for me to take my own advice. As I write this I am battling a
sinus infection. This is because last week I put in too many late nights working in my home
office. This has prompted me to think of all the people, myself included, that I know who work
themselves sick. Often we have children to take care of, deadlines to meet, phone calls
and emails to return…where do WE fit in to all of this?
Yes, it’s true that hard work can pay off in many ways and bills need to be paid. But at
what point do we think to ourselves, “oh, I can stay up a little while longer” or “I really wasn’t
hungry anyway”, and forget self-care? Why do we feel the obligation to sacrifice our own
well-being in order to make ends meet or to further our careers?
We do it because we want to provide the best for the people we love. But I believe that at
some point a solution must be found so that we can change this way of conducting our
days. Because of course, the only people to take care of the parents are the parents
I can sometimes get to this middle ground, when I am a bit more relaxed and balanced
within myself. Yoga and proper nutrition are how I usually get there. Enough sleep is, of
course, essential. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle when we remember to take care of ourselves:
we feel well, in control (a relative term of course), and happier. Then we can better take care
of our families and actually enjoy doing it. How do I get off balance? Most often it is
when I am passionate about something, like my work, where I can make a difference with
moms and families. (How ironic—life coach, heal thyself!) Thankfully, my training affords
me many tools where I can get on the right track. These are so simple that the truth is,
ANYONE can apply them.
Here are some of these basic tips I use in my own life when I get off-track and wind up sick.
These are also good when just feeling worn out or as if something’s coming on.
1. As previously mentioned, enough sleep is paramount. If I’m not walking my talk here,
my kids are the first to pick up on it: “Mommy, you’re grumpy today. You didn’t get enough
sleep last night!” A good night’s sleep provides us with a head start to our day.
2. Proper nutrition is just as important.
Whether we’re stay-at-home parents, work-at-home, or work outside the home, we must
have enough stamina to do all that is required of us. Good nutrition can also be a great
mood stabilizer–so we can actually enjoy our hectic days!
3. Exercise is key. Though I am far from being an athlete, when I exercise I feel good. A
good guideline is to start out slow if you are just starting an exercise program–and make sure
you check in with your doctor so that you can find a program that won’t overtax your body.
This way you’re much more likely to stick with it.
Some of the benefits of exercise include a stronger cardiovascular system, more energy,
mood balancing, lower stress-hormone levels, and better sleep.
4. Listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel you need a nap and can find the
time to take one, do! Now that both my kids are home for the summer and I get to work at
home, I like to nap on the couch while the kids watch some morning TV. As parents we have
come up with creative solutions for our families, even if we work outside the home.
See which solutions you can find so that you AND your kids get your needs met. It
may be something as simple as going to bed early or taking a walk after lunch.
As parents we often put ourselves last. I think that when we do this, we’ve got it
backwards. When we take the time to take care of ourselves, everyone benefits. To
paraphrase a friend of mine, “When parents are happpy,