A while back, I covered 8 things that I believe will help you achieve and maintain optimal health as you balance your life as a mom. I’m covering 8 more. Why? Because I believe that finding the balance between caring for yourself and caring for your family is so very important today. As moms, we are pulled in many different directions and it’s far too easy to spread ourselves too thin. When we live life this way, we’re simply not living our best lives. So, here are some more tips to add to your toolbox.
- Express love and gratitude everyday. Don’t you love when someone shares his or her love or positive feelings about you with you? It feels so good! But, guess what? It feels just as good and maybe even better to express your love and gratitude for others. It improves your mental and emotional health and, heck, you might be the person who improves the health and lives of others. What a cool cat!
- Nighttime preparation. Set yourself up for success everyday by preparing for it the night before. Take a few minutes before bed to get everything ready for the morning. There is nothing worse than starting your day in a panic. It’s hard to keep that inner calm you have been working on when every day starts in chaos and high levels of stress – so opposite of Zen.
- Sweat daily. Sweating is important for daily detoxification, reduction of stress hormones and increase of the “feel good” hormones, chronic disease prevention and, finally, regulation and support of restful sleep. ‘Nuff said!
- Sex with your partner. What a great way to exercise and connect with your spouse at the same time. Sex is a healthy and fun way to get physically active on a more regular basis. There are so many benefits for partners who engage in sexual activity 4-6 times per week. Statistics demonstrate that most couples are not near this number, so it’s time to get down and dirty. Low libido getting in the way? It may be time for a visit with your ND – we can help!
- Sit down to dinner. Research shows that children of families that sit down for dinner (with no TV) have better diets, eat more fruits and vegetables and consume less fried food and sodas. This also means they are less likely to be obese. It is so important to sit down and reconnect with your family on a daily basis. Doing this over a healthy dinner positively associates these memories with nourishing meals.
- Sleep. I think I just heard you groan. Sometimes, with all we do, it just doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get it all done AND get a restful sleep. But sleep is so essential to health and yet very few get the necessary amount on a regular basis. Many chronic diseases can be attributed to lack of sleep. We all know that when we do not get what our body needs, we are not able to function optimally. Aim for a 10 p.m. bedtime and ideally 8 hours of sleep. If you wake up throughout the night, perhaps there is an underlying concern – consult your ND to help you address the root cause of your sleeplessness. Sometimes, even a natural sleep aide or acupuncture can help do the trick and get your body back on track for a restful and restorative sleep cycle.
- Avoid eating late at night. Want a quick and easy way to achieve optimal health and maybe even shed a few unwanted pounds? Stay away from the late night snacks. That’s right, back away from the kitchen when you hear the call of the cupboards or fridge. The body needs a period of ‘fasting’ on a daily basis to ensure proper digestive and metabolic health. Many patients often report to me that they are not hungry when they wake. Feeling hungry is a very important signal to start your day off right. You are supposed to be ready to eat when you wake, as breakfast should be your largest meal of the day. If you do not want to eat when you wake up, you are likely eating too close to bedtime.
- Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more. Have you noticed that one of the most consistent pieces of advice I give for any health-related issue is to hydrate? We need water! Yet so few get enough. We need water to manage blood pressure , regulate temperature, support bowel health, hydrate the skin and so much more. How many ounces do you need? This is individual and can be calculated by multiplying your weight by 0.65. Generally, most people need between 2-4 litres per day. Your needs will increase with activity, too, because you must replenish what you sweat out. Feeling hungry? Often, hunger pains are confused with dehydration and what you actually need is water. So the next time you’re craving a snack, try drinking a glass of water and then wait to see if your hunger diminishes. Did you know glass of water before each meal can result in a five-pound weight loss? What?! Yup, that’s right! When we fill our bellies with water, we feel full faster and tend to eat less. It’s an easy portion control method to help you stay healthy and maintain a healthier body weight.
When it comes down to it, these 16 tips are very simple things you can do that, when put together, can really pack a punch in your life. But probably the single most important thing to remember is to not beat yourself up or ‘should’ yourself. Change takes time and the road to health is a journey that starts with making habits of the little things. Do the very best you can today and move on to have an even better tomorrow. Incorporate more alternative and preventative lifestyle habits, committing daily to living healthfully. Small changes and efforts do add up to a lot… start somewhere and start today.
Cheers to living your best life NOW!
Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people. She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.