Your nose is running. Your body aches. You know you got that cold from your seven-year-old. The work project you’ve been struggling with is due Friday, and you keep telling yourself, “I just don’t have time to be sick.”
No career-committed mother wants to give up her precious time to illness. But the truth is if you don’t make time for your health, you will have to make time for illness. And, illness, we all know throws a curve ball at our balance.
So how do you fit in exercise, relaxation and all those fresh carrots and green vegetables when time is so limited in your life already?
Start by reclaiming ownership of your health. Good health is about integrating all aspects of your life—body, mind and spirit. It’s more than adding three hours a week at the gym to your schedule. It’s about obtaining a general sense of well-being. Take a step back and look at your health from a more holistic perspective—exercise is just one part of the equation. Examine how you are treating your body. Are you respecting it in terms of nutrition, movement and rest? Are you tuned in and paying attention to how you feel?
See Your Doctor(s) Regularly
If you haven’t seen your general practitioner lately, make an appointment for a full physical exam. That includes checking your cholesterol and blood pressure levels and, if you’ve been feeling particularly stressed or tired, having your thyroid and adrenal gland checked as well. This will give you a base measurement from which you can go forward.
While you’re looking after yourself, schedule an appointment or medical screening with your dentist and optometrist as well. You’d do it for your car, so why not your body? In particular, if you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms, don’t ignore them. Lumps, bumps, knots and fatigue are your body’s way of saying that something requires your attention. Tell the appropriate health-care provider about them.
Become a Strategic Eater
The fuel you put into your body can make all the difference to your health and energy levels. Practicing good nutrition means learning about food. It does not mean dieting. Understanding which foods give you energy and which rob you of your vitality is essential to keeping you at your best. Different metabolisms call for different combinations of fat, protein and carbohydrates, and through being aware of what you’re eating and how you’re feeling you will know what foods combine to bring you maximum energy.
While becoming clear which foods work best for you, start thinking about the size and frequency of your meals. Eating small amounts five or six times a day has proven to be better for us than three large meals. It is easier on the digestive system and provides a more constant, even flow of energy to the body, avoiding the hunger peaks and valleys. You’ll be less tempted to grab that chocolate bar or bag of potato chips to get you through the afternoon, and you’ll arrive home with better energy to face the evening.