Why it’s good for your health to schedule a break from motherhood.
It’s easy to get caught up in being a mom—every day I see patients exhausted, drained and stressed from keeping up with the fast pace of their lives. Squeezing in a walk around the block, reading a chapter in a new book or even doing absolutely nothing (what a concept!) never seems to inch toward the top of the to-do list. As the mom of a teenager, I empathize with not only the difficulty of scheduling personal time, but also the sheer guilt of spending precious resources on anything but family time.
It’s a proven fact of life: if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of those you love.
Once you accept that, give yourself permission to imagine the possibilities of taking a breather—and then make plans to abandon your routine, even if it’s a five-minute mini meditation session. Or perhaps enroll in that yoga class you’ve wanted to take or schedule a long-overdue girls’ weekend. Make sure whatever you choose to do, it’s something you really miss doing or would look forward to at the beginning or the end of the day. The last thing you want is to consider “me time” as a chore. No doubt you have enough of those to fill a 365-day calendar.
As an early riser, I cherish my alone time while everyone in the house is still asleep. I leisurely watch the morning news, take a relaxing shower, eat breakfast, read my daily devotion book and sip tea. This sacred time allows me to ease into the day and helps relieve any stress that might build up.
And one last bit of advice I offer patients: While me time is solo—something you do by yourself without the presence of kids or other family members—it doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. Enroll your spouse, partner or even a best friend to support the noble pursuit of life off the mom clock.
So, what’s the me-time payoff? More of everything. Which, in turn, will ensure that once you come back to reality, you’ll love your life and your kids that much more.
Move for energy, positivity and health.
Whether you like to practice yoga, walk or run or more aggressive exercise—like CrossFit training—the objective is to move, get your blood flowing, combat anxiety, lower your blood pressure and stay in shape. Even 30 minutes several times a week can help increase your stamina and improve your physical and emotional health.
Unplug to unwind
Step away from your tablet, laptop and phone. Insert earbuds to listen to your personal playlist, an audio book or a favorite podcast.
Remember your joy
Keep a journal—whether it’s gratitude, memorable quotes or your dreams, it will help remind you of the happiness and contentment in your life that’s often pushed aside in the daily hustle.
Benefits of Meditation
As nurse in my 20th year of practice—and a certified nurse-midwife in my 14th year— I’ve learned the benefits of meditation, like stress reduction, increased concentration and self-awareness. Meditation has also been proven to help slow aging and promotes cardiovascular and immune health. It also tends to make you want to make healthy lifestyle choices—eat better, cut out alcohol or smoking and adapt a personal exercise regimen.
Though it takes practice to get into a meditation groove, once you’re there, you’ll wonder why it took so long. Consult iTunes for some great free apps like Calm, which teaches mindfulness and meditation and was named Apple’s number one app of the year in 2017.