10 Habits for Healthy Working Mom
Staying Healthy is a Priority for Women Who Juggle on the Go
Like so many working moms out there, I’m sandwiched between my tween daughter and my older parents. Add an amazing forever fiancée and a sister with two-kids-under-two to the mix, and the spinning plates balancing act comes into focus. Trying to be all things to all people seems ridiculously achievable, right? In my utterly insane quest to have it all, the last thing I need is to get run down, stressed out, worn out, or sick.
Here's a quick list of an amazing array of simple and affordable ways to improve health, wellness, and energy. Viva vitality!
EVOO. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or EVOO, was touted as the ‘elixir of life’ by the ancient Greeks, but is drinking a shot of EVOO the new ‘apple a day’? As the newest/oldest miracle cure, 1 to 2 tablespoons a day is touted to do everything from increase weight loss to reduce high blood sugar. But at 120 calories per tablespoon, is it worth it? Sources say yes. Since it takes about 43 olives to make 1 oz of EVOO, each little tablespoon is packed with antioxidants, Omega-6, Omega-3, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. Bottom’s up!
Warm Lemon Water. Lemons are nature’s sunshine. With their bright color, uplifting scent, and stunning way they look in a bowl on the dining room, what’s not to love? Warm lemon water also has amazing health benefits, and although it is by itself acidic, actually becomes alkaline in the body. What does that do? Restores pH to optimum levels and decreases the chances of kidney stones, bladder infections, and bacterial infections. Although I often have a glass of warm lemon water in the morning, if I eat out at lunch I’ll often order hot water with lemon and honey, and it becomes a nice little mid-day pick me up. (And the cheapskate in me loves that it’s free, but if I were to add a teabag to the mix it would be a $3-$4 cup of tea.)
Yoga. For a non-adventurist exerciser (especially one like me who is not very coordinated and has too many aches and pains when I do aggressive exercise), yoga can be a workout sanctuary. And if a group introduction is too intimidating, YouTube is a wonderful way to get to know the exercise. With YouTube, you can find a different yoga class every evening to accommodate whatever time you have left during the day … even 5 minutes. There are videos that cater to whatever style or intensity you need to completely de-stress and focus only on the exercise. Unlike other exercises, yoga can be completely customized to suit your needs, and many yoga poses are used in physical therapy for back and neck rehabilitation. Two excellent video courses for beginners are from ‘Yoga by Adrienne’ and ‘Yoga by Candace’.
Savasana. So technically savasana and is a part of yoga, but it’s not just a part of it. I would contend it’s the most important part of yoga and is both the easiest and hardest to do. At the end of each yoga session, you should end in a pose where you are literally lying down, palms facing the sky, relaxing every single muscle and any bits of tension in your body. To be done correctly, this is done for at least five minutes, though ten to twenty minutes is recommended. I’m just going to say that as a working mom, even five minutes is some serious premium temporal real estate in the average day. (Seriously, laundry and dishes are waiting!) But connecting to yourself and your body through deep relaxation is the single greatest ways you can reset mentally and physically while focusing on an intention for your immediate future. If you venture into the world of yoga, or if you’re already there, take the savasana challenge and see how it revitalizes your spirit.
Vitamins. Years ago, I was getting sick… A lot. The downtime made me feel completely disconnected from really relevant aspects of my life, and was a drain on my leave balance at work and my wallet with visits to the doctor and subsequent meds. One of the changes I made was starting to take very targeted vitamins. A friend of mine worked for GNC and shared with me that vitamins aren’t just about the ingredients – their potency and quality are directly tied to their processing. I tried GNC vitamins, and although they are excellent vitamins, I couldn’t find the right combination of vitamins that worked for me. With my stress levels and anxiety, I really wanted to target these two areas. As a result, I moved to New Chapter. Again, you have to go with what works for you and your system, but for me, two of their vitamins have changed my life. These are their B-Complex and Perfect Calm lines. (And I usually wait for the once or twice a year when they are 40% off, because they are pricey.) Although you can take more than one a day, I tend to take one a day during the weekdays, and then if I’m feeling run-down or that I’m about to come down with a cold or virus, I’ll take the maximum recommended dose. I have also recommended it to friends, who insist that they can literally feel a difference after taking the New Chapter vitamins.
Allergy Meds. Over 50 million people will be affected with seasonal allergies. If these allergies aren’t kept under control, the immune system can be weakened, and histamine reactions can be heightened. Untreated seasonal allergies can lead to sinusitis, headaches (or in my case migraines), and chronic fatigue. I asked my allergist what they recommend, and she recommended Claritin. Although I like Claritin, I don’t like the cost. However, I love the generic, and my generic of choice is Walgreens version ‘Wal-itin’. Generics have the exact same ingredients for about half to a third of the price of brand-name.
Drink More Water. Would you believe that research says 75% of Americans are dehydrated, and may be chronically dehydrated? I’m not sure I believe that, but that statement was actually released by a CBS affiliate, and has been repeated since 2013. The real question is are you dehydrated? One of the ways to tell if you are dehydrated is if your lips are chapped. If your lips are chapped, you are likely already dehydrated. Try drinking a glass of water and see if your lips become un-chapped. Watch a show in HD, and you’ll be amazed how many actors and actresses have chapped lips and show signs of dehydration. And when you’re dehydrated, your entire body is strained. Your organs work harder, your skin suffers, your joints are less lubricated, and your brain starts focusing on making your body work properly rather than what you want to focus on. So help your body out and keep hydrated.
Snooze. For some people, three or four hours of sleep a night is plenty. I am not one of those people, and if you were like most mothers you are not one of those people either. Sleep is a critical mechanism not only to rejuvenate your thoughts and lift your spirits, it is a very necessary remedy for rebuilding your cell structure at the molecular level. Sleep also works the brain actively but differently from when we’re awake, ensuring the body fully recuperates from the stressors of the day. And if you have issues sleeping, take melatonin to help re-regulate your sleep pattern. A word of caution: if you take melatonin but don’t wind down, you can ‘shake off’ the effects and remain awake. Do yourself a favor and make diligent efforts to quit working your mind overtime and rest.
Lend Yourself a Hand. If you’ve ever walked into a bathroom and heard somebody humming the ABCs, just know that they’re doing and very thorough job washing their hands. Washing hands is the single number one way to avoid cross-contamination of viruses. And despite popular practice, anti-bacterial products are not necessary. Just wash your hands with soap and water. Just good old fashion soap and warm water will remove 99.9% of the germ on your hands because it’s removing the oils that the germs are adhering to. And it’s not the soap that matters as much as the amount of time spent washing your hands. Washing hands for at least 20 seconds is recommended by the CDC, but feel free to sing the entire alphabet when in doubt.
Breathe. I never really thought I would have to think so hard about breathing, but yoga, swimming, running, and Pilates (as well as other sports) will teach you a lot of your work out is in the breathing. Likewise, meditation teaches the same. Proper breathing ensures maximum oxygen into the lungs, and optimum cognitive and physical operations of your body. There are different forms that help you to maximize the oxygen you bring in when you breathe, and one of those ways is with bilateral breathing. See Blogilates POP Pilates for Beginners … she gives a terrific quick lesson on bilateral breathing. Just a few bilateral breaths when you are tired or stressed can make a world of difference.
Push forward, stay healthy, keep stress in check, and make it all happen. You’ve got this!