Too many stay-at-home moms forget they need to take care of themselves. It’s easy to spend all your time and energy taking care of your little ones, but your health is important! Staying healthy can make you feel happier and more fulfilled, and it can even help you be a better mom. Fortunately, your health doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s how to stay healthy as a stay-at-home mom.
Maintain a support network.
Your children aren’t the only ones who need friends—give yourself a social life, too! Friends are great for your mental and emotional health. They provide advice, support, or even just a much-needed laugh. Organize play dates that let your child play with their friends while you chat with your own. Don’t forget to schedule child-free time with your friends! Taking even a brief break will help refresh and relax you.
Elizabeth Peace, health coach and mom at Girls Who H.I.I.T. suggests moms, “Find one day a week you are able with or without your children to spend an hour or two outside of the house with other women. I found local Facebook groups and invited other women to meet me for a weekly coffee break. Each Tuesday a group of us meet up at 10 a.m. Some bring their children, most don’t. We sit and talk about whatever is on our minds but it’s usually not our children!”
Your friends can also help improve your physical health. Exercising with someone else is a powerful motivator, so try meeting up with fellow moms for a brisk walk with your strollers. Need a more intense workout? Swap babysitting with other moms to give each other time to hit the gym.
Watch what you eat.
Getting children fed can be exhausting, whether you’re breastfeeding or battling picky older children. Many moms forget to make their own meals a priority. Eating your child’s leftovers might be easy, but nutritious eating can benefit your health. Good food gives you energy, supports your immune system, and keeps you strong enough to face any challenge. It can even help prevent heart disease and some forms of cancers.
Give yourself time for three square meals a day. While your child bangs on pots and pans for a few minutes, you can prepare your healthy lunch. You might be surprised at the energy you find! As a bonus, regular meals will help you curb bad snacking habits. Your healthy eating might even be key to losing extra weight.
Michael Joseph, nutrition educator and creator of Nutrition Advance encourages moms to eat “minimally processed foods. Instead of packaged foods full of sugar, flour, oils and preservatives, real food from farms, fields and oceans should predominate. These foods—such as fish, fruits, meat, vegetables and nuts—are much easier for our body to use, and contain an array of health-protective compounds.” Take a page out of Michael’s book and cut down on the processed foods although they might be easy, they can really harm your overall health.
Make time for exercise.
No surprise here: regular exercise is key to maintaining your health. Of course, finding time to exercise as a stay-at-home mom is challenging, but it’s worth the effort. You’ll reap the physical benefits of exercise—strength, energy, and endurance—and it will benefit your mental health, too. You’ll love the satisfaction and confidence that come with regular exercise. The endorphins produced by exercise can improve your mood long after your workout ends.
Make exercise simple. You don’t have to leave the house, and you certainly don’t need a gym. Just get creative! For example, find guided workouts on Netflix. Workout videos may seem like relics of the 80s, but they’re easy to do in your living room in a set amount of time. Think outside the gym, and you’ll find time to exercise.
Remember your personal hygiene.
Moms everywhere teach their children to sing songs while washing their hands. It helps children remember to actually clean their hands instead of just splashing around, and it shows how important it is to set aside time for hygiene. The same applies to moms! With all the germs your kids bring home from playdates or school, you’ll want to make sure you’re warding off sickness. Stay clean, and stay healthy.
But don’t stop there. Personal hygiene can make you feel good. Demetria Clark, best-selling author of Aromatherapy and Herbal Remedies for Pregnancy, Birth, and Breastfeeding tells moms to slow down and take a bath. “Taking a bath promotes relaxation, healthy blood pressure, breathe easier, reduce pain and inflammation. It also calms and soothes the nervous system and reducing the levels of stress and anxiety and it improves one’s overall mood.”
Even if a long, steamy shower or bath isn’t on the schedule for the day, you can make yourself feel clean and beautiful. Remember, your mental and emotional health are just as important as physical health. Make yourself feel good, and your children will appreciate their happy, healthy mom.
Get better sleep.
Sleep is one of the hardest things to get as a stay-at-home mom, but it’s vitally important. The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of sleep are well-documented. Of course, knowing how important sleep is doesn’t make it any easier to get it. Just remember: you should never feel guilty for getting the rest you need. Being rested benefits you, and it also helps you be a better mother.
Max Robinson from Precious Little One agrees that, “Sleep is the one aspect of your life that will almost certainly be sidelined once you have a child, and for stay at home mums who are constantly having to attend to their child, it can be even worse. Often the best times for stay at home mums to catch sleep is during the day, when their child is also asleep”
Make sleep a priority. If your child is down for a nap, you can be, too! Sure, you might be tempted to catch up on chores, but sleep improves your health more than clean dishes do. Likewise, take time to relax after your child’s bedtime, but don’t stay up too late. It’s worth curtailing your TV watching to get an extra hour of sleep at night. Most importantly, make every wink of sleep count by improving your sleep hygiene. You can develop good habits that will lead to better sleep and a well-rested you.
There’s no doubt that it can be hard to find time for yourself as a stay-at-home mom, but putting in the time and effort to stay healthy is well worth it. Take care of yourself! It’s okay to start small—just pick one area to begin working on today. You’ll feel better, and your children will appreciate it too!