In my mom’s group a few weeks ago we were talking about disciplining in anger and how to avoid that. One mom pointed out that she had a difficult time dealing with her children when her blood sugar was low, and all of us agreed that we had a hard time when we were running on little sleep. I’m sure all of us have gotten into a habit, at some point or another, of not taking the best care of ourselves. We do things for other people all day long, and it’s hard to stop and spend time on ourselves. The problem with this is that everyone around us suffers when we don’t take care of ourselves.
While being healthy and feeling good are important to me, the main reason that I need to take care of myself is for my mental well-being (in other words, so I don’t lose it on anyone in my family). When Charlie cries for an hour because he can’t wear shorts in December, I cannot handle myself very well if I only got 5 hours of sleep. When I have 10 emails to return, school to teach, and my phone won’t stop beeping with text messages, I get frazzled and can’t focus if I’ve had too much coffee and no breakfast. In order to handle life’s everyday stressors with grace and compassion, I have to care for myself.
My suggestions aren’t things that take a lot of time. You don’t have to find a babysitter or take your kids to a germy gym childcare to work out. You don’t have to get up at the break of dawn or spend hours cooking an organic farm-fresh meal. These are just a few simple things that you can incorporate into your day that will enable you to have more balance when a chaotic moment is inevitably thrown your way.
1-Get a good night’s sleep
It seems to be the cool thing for women my age to brag about how much coffee they need to drink during the day. Now, I am a coffee lover, so I’m not downing coffee, but on an everyday basis we should not have to drink coffee all day long in order to get everything on our to-do lists completed. It’s not healthy. We need to take care of ourselves by getting more sleep!
I am putting this first because it is so important to me. I need at least 7 hours of sleep at night, and if I don’t get it I am cranky all day long. Even thought I know this about myself, it is still really hard for me to make myself go to sleep at night. After I get the kids in bed I want to spend time reading, watching TV, or playing a game on my phone. After 15+ hours of hearing “Mom! Mom! Mom!” and “Laresa! Laresa! Laresa!”, my time alone at the end of the day is just wonderful and I hate for it to end. I have to really be disciplined and make myself stop whatever I am doing, turn out the lights, and go to sleep.
It really helps me to sleep better if I get up at the same time each morning, so I have also gotten back into the habit of setting my alarm.
That being said, for all of my friends who have new babies: you just go on drinking your coffee all day. 😉
There is nothing worse than the 3:00 slump. That time in the afternoon when we feel like shirking all of our duties and laying down for a nap? Whether you work at home like me or work at a job outside of the home, I know we all experience this during our day. It’s difficult no matter what you do, because we can’t just stop what we’re doing and sit down when we feel a little sluggish.
I have found that if I have a good workout in the morning I don’t experience this tired, cranky feeling in the afternoon. The problem is that I don’t have much time to work out. I used to love going to the gym or walking miles at the park, but that just isn’t feasible for me now.
I have tried lots of different YouTube workouts that I like, but right now I am really enjoying a new app called Aaptiv. You download the app and instantly have access to tons of great workouts. You can choose from strength training, outdoor running, yoga, and so much more. You can also select how long you want to work out, which is a huge plus for me since some mornings I have more time than others. If it’s a morning that I have to take Maddie to gymnastics or we have a MOMS meeting or science co-op and I have to get everyone ready and out the door in a hurry, I choose a short workout so I can get a good workout in without putting a strain on our chaotic mornings.
Aaptiv even has a series of workouts for parents-they’re all around 15 minutes long and give you a great workout in a short span of time. And, for all of my friends who are expecting, they even offer a great prenatal workout program with different workouts that are appropriate for each trimester. I wish it had been around when I was pregnant.
They’re offering a free trial right now, so if you’re like me and you need a quick, easy workout you can do at home, you should give it a go.
3-Essential Oils-I have become an essential oil freak. I used to burn candles all the time to have my house smelling good, but now I constantly have some sort of oil running in my diffusers to not only make my house smell nice, but to keep us all healthy. When it comes to keeping me balanced, I turn, of course, to DoTerra’s Balance. 🙂
I think I finally convinced my husband of the awesomeness of essential oils last week when he used my Tea Tree Oil on an ulcer in his mouth. It was gone the next morning!
4-Eating Well- I’m not talking hours of meal planning or crazy shakes or anything like that. I once heard the advice that I should eat 5 servings of fruits/veggies every day, and that’s what I do. I also try to drink plenty of water. Doing those simple, non-time-consuming things makes me feel so much better and better-able to handle life’s craziness.
Our bodies are gifts from God, and it’s so important we take care of them. When we do, we feel better, are kinder when faced with tough situations, and can find some balance in this chaos.