Not too long ago, I wrote a post about coping with stress. Today, I'm happy to report that simply by pushing myself to fit in a workout -- even though it felt like I couldn't possibly squeeze another 30 minutes out of my day -- I'm feeling not only more energetic, but more optimistic, too.

I confess that I sometimes forget how strong the connection is between my mind and my body. And I'll also confess that I'm guilty of something I'm sure many mothers can relate to: When times get busy or tough or otherwise problematic, I tend to put myself last. My self-care goes right out the window, leaving me tired, stressed and feeling low.

You might not think I can relate this to body image, but I can. See in some ways, it's a self-worth issue. When we make everybody else -- their wants, wishes and feelings -- more important than our own basic needs, we're sending a message...not just to them, but to us, too.

Airplane oxygen mask examples aside, we all know we should be making the time to take care of ourselves. But what do you do when you honestly feel like you can't? Here are three tips that help me:


  • Apply the mommy guilt. I remind myself that I'm an example to my children and if they see me ignoring my own health, I'm sending a message that it's more important to run yourself ragged doing for others than to take care of yourself. Odd as it sounds, I can actually "guilt" myself into taking care of myself.
  • Up your expectations. Guess what? Kids -- and husbands -- are capable of way more than we might imagine. Making lunch, brewing coffee, walking the dog...someone else can actually do those things!
  • Make a trade-off. Remember that workout I mentioned earlier? It came at a price; namely, I got up a half-hour earlier. It was hard to drag myself out of bed in the cold morning darkness, but when that workout was over, it was well worth it. I followed it with a nice protein-rich breakfast and felt amazing all day.




About the Author

Dara Chadwick

Dara Chadwick is the author of You'd Be So Pretty If… :Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies—Even When We Don't Love Our Own.