For mothers, establishing a work-life balance can be a juggling act. Being a working mom is like working a double shift; the second you finish one, you’re on to the other, and the cycle never seems to end. Given the busyness of your role, maintaining your health may take a backseat.
When it comes to being a mom that can handle it all, it’s crucial to prioritize your overall well-being. Here are some common health mistakes you may not even realize you’re making:
Taking Your Kids to the Doctor But Not Yourself
When it comes to health, yours is just as important as your children’s. It’s important to make your health a priority to be the best mom you can be. With a busy schedule, it can be difficult to make time for your appointments on top of everyone else’s. However, it’s a good idea to schedule your appointments as a family with your primary physician. That way, you’re getting it all accomplished at once and won’t have the excuse that you were too busy.
On the other hand, there are some routine appointments that you’ll need to schedule by yourself. Screenings like pap smears, breast exams, and skin assessments are all crucial to maintaining your health. If you schedule these out a year in advance, you won’t have to worry about forgetting to make an appointment, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing everything’s already set up for you.
Tip: Sometimes, you won’t have time to go to the doctor, and that’s okay. In these cases, try utilizing telemedicine services to receive proper care online instead of in-person. There are telehealth services for non-emergency conditions, such as diagnosing and prescribing medication for the flu. There are even services for women to order their monthly birth control online and address any health questions or concerns with a doctor.
Stressing Through the Night
After the kids go to bed, do you ever find yourself staying up way later to work or get things done around the house? By doing so, you rob yourself of valuable time that could be spent relaxing and re-centering.
On occasions when you have deadlines to meet, you may find yourself needing to work at night. However, it’s important to limit this to roughly 30 minutes and only focus on the necessities of the project. Then, put your laptop and paperwork away, and make a list of what needs to be completed for another time. This will help you better visualize what you have left to do and give you some relief knowing you have things in order for the next workday.
Tip: Bedtime routines aren’t only for the kids; you should have one too! Start by reviewing your calendar and list of to-do’s for the following day. This will help you visualize what needs to be accomplished and determine if there’s anything you can prepare for the evening before. Then, lay out your outfit for the next day as well as anything you’ll need for work, all organized and ready to go. Lastly, practice a little self-care. Try a face mask, watch your favorite show, read a book, and put your phone down. Show yourself some TLC to unwind and get a restful night’s sleep.
Multitasking to the Extreme
Multitasking is a mother’s greatest skill, but it can become very exhausting very quickly. The more you put your brain into overdrive, the more likely you are to reach burnout at a faster rate. When your mind is on multiple tasks simultaneously, you limit your productivity potential and are more likely to make mistakes.
Instead, make a list of tasks that need to be completed. Focus on one at a time, as this will give you a clearer head and a greater sense of accomplishment. Utilize planning tools such as your mobile calendar, planner, or whiteboard at home. Actively marking things down and creating an easily-digestible visual will make things go much smoother.
Tip: Plan out your to-do list strategically. Need to run errands? Schedule your errands based on their proximity. Tackle errands in one area at a time so you’re not constantly driving all over to get everything accomplished. By doing so, you’ll improve efficiency and be more mindful of the task at hand.
Believing There Isn’t Enough Time to Work Out
Exercising isn’t just an hour session at your gym or going for a run around your neighborhood. In fact, it can be so much more than that. Incorporating exercise into your day can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk on your lunch break, or even doing a short video workout at home. Once you formulate a more realistic perspective on what working out is, you’ll reap the long-term health benefits.
At first, it may be hard to motivate yourself, especially when you feel like your time is already limited. It’ll take some effort in the beginning to develop motivation, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Try getting a fitness band, like the FitBit, to track your steps, calories, and overall fitness goals. Once you realize how many steps or flights of stairs you’re taking, you’ll only want to keep going. You can also download fitness apps meant for busy people to make your life easier.
Tip: Get your kids involved. Take them for a bike ride or a walk around the park. You can even stay active at home through activities, such as dancing or throwing a ball around. This will not only get you used to living a more active lifestyle, but it will encourage your kids to as well. Over time, being active should start to feel more like a part of your daily life than an additional chore on your list.
Not Planning Out Your Meals
During a hectic day, it’s normal to want to eat quickly at your desk or order takeout to save time. Or, when it comes to eating at home, you may focus more on cooking food for your children than you do for yourself.
However, it’s important to focus on and be mindful of what you’re eating. Plan out your meals ahead of time and find recipes that you actually enjoy eating. This will allow you to get the daily nutrients your body needs while also managing your weight, stress, and overall well-being.
Tip: Cook once so you can eat twice. If you’re making a staple dish, like rice or pasta, make enough for leftovers. That way, you can reheat for lunch the following day or have a portion of dinner set for two nights in a row. For some extra inspiration, here are a few easy ways you can prep meals ahead of time!