From the Heart

Boosting heart health.

A Healthy and Happy Mom Is a Better Mom

Top 10 health tips for busy moms

If you’re a mom, your world most likely revolves around your children. Being a parent definitely brings incredible joy and is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but it’s also very exhausting. Moms are on duty 24/7, with no weekends or sick days off. Our kids are the most important things in our lives, but sometimes we can get so caught up and focused on them that we forget to take care of ourselves.

Self-neglect and ignoring your personal needs can then make you feel tired, stressed, worn out, and unhealthy. In fact, the less you focus on your needs, the less vibrant and healthy you will feel plus the more difficult it becomes to deliver on your kids’ needs. When you take the time to focus on yourself and your needs, you will not only have more energy, but you will also be healthier and happier, and have better interaction with your children hence become a better mom.

So how do you stay healthy and happy when you’re struggling to manage a million tasks and be the best mom possible as well? Here are some simple and realistic ways you can become healthier – no matter how busy you are:

1. Don’t skip breakfast. You’re vigilant about making sure your kids get a healthy breakfast every morning, but what about you? A simple cup of coffee is not the perfect healthy way to start your day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it sets the tone for your entire day.

2. Snack Smartly. Cut up veggies (celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.) and fruits in advance and place in individual Ziploc bags in the refrigerator so you can grab an easy, healthy snack when you’re on the go. Healthy snacks and mini meals throughout the day are a great way to keep energy levels high.

3. Eat right. Avoid highly processed and fast foods, stay away from excess sugar and focus on a healthy diet comprised of wholesome fresh foods. Increase your consumption of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and, eat organic if possible.

4. Don’t buy foods you know you shouldn’t be eating. Avoid buying junk foods such as chips, cookies, sodas, and/or ice cream. You know it’s harder to resist these foods when they’re in the house; and if you’re buying them for the kids, just stop they don’t need them either.

5. Exercise. Don’t let your workout get pushed off. Schedule your exercise just like you would an important work meeting or a parent-teacher conference. Try scheduling your exercise at the same time every day either first thing in the morning or in the evening when you have the most time.

6. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. Mild dehydration can affect your body even before you know you’re thirsty, and may leave you with a headache, fatigue, or lack of energy.

7. Get enough sleep. Getting adequate sleep is not only important for your health, but it also helps boost your mood and reduces stress.

8. Relax. Take the time to relax and de-stress. Stop and BREATHE (slowly and deeply), refocus and regroup. Perhaps try yoga or meditation.

9. Find some time for yourself. You deserve a break every once in a while. Plan for at least 3 hours a week for some alone time, walk around the mall, cuddle up somewhere quiet and read a book, give yourself a facial, or take a long relaxing bath.

10. Be positive. Change your thinking from negative to positive and you can drastically change your life with appreciation and gratitude.

You can find more healthy living tips and information about balancing your body, mind and spirit please in my new best-selling book on heart health, Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength and Spirit from the Body's Core. My book includes many more insights about how to nurture and care for your heart on both a physical and emotional level.

Cynthia Thaik, M.D., is a Harvard trained physician and currently an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine

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