When you become a parent, your entire life changes in an instant. This little person that you have grown, nurtured and loved is your whole universe, and their needs come firmly first. Is that at the expense of your own happiness at times? Mothers often have a selfless spirit about them; to a fault at times.
Add to that the caring responsibilities you may have for other children, parents, your partner, pets and your job, and it’s little wonder that your own health and self-care can slip further and further down the list.
How to Become Happier
Many of us take being busy as the green light to slide into unhealthy habits. However, the truth is that we’re only short-changing ourselves and those we love by not taking care of our own wellbeing. If you run yourself down and make bad choices for the sake of convenience, you will become de-energized. As all parents know, raising kids requires endless energy. You may also begin to suffer mentally, feeling as if you have lost your own sense of identity as well as your pre-baby body.
If things go too far and you become ill through neglecting yourself, you won’t be able to provide care to loved ones. With that in mind, you owe it to yourself and those you care for to keep a check on your own wellbeing and make an effort towards positive choices that will create a happy, healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Having good intentions, however, doesn’t mean that there are any more hours or any less responsibilities in your day. Are there realistic ways to keep healthy in the limited time and headspace available? Luckily for us all, there are! Making a few small changes can actually add up to quite a large impact, so try these simple tips to try and begin turning things around today.
Prioritize Quality Sleep
Sleep is one of the pillars of good health – without it, everything else begins to suffer. If we aren’t getting enough, then our mental focus falters, our mood is low, we don’t have the energy to be fully present or to think about exercise, and we make poorer food choices to get a quick hit. Altogether, it’s bad news.
Any mother of a small child or a newborn however, may be laughing at those telling her to get more sleep. It’s not as easy as that when you’re getting woken up multiple times through the night. However, make sure you are redressing the overall balance with naps. The old saying ‘nap when the baby naps’ should be your mantra in the early days. You may worry that you have other things to do, such as cleaning, the never-ending loads of laundry etc, but it’s important to let these things take a back seat while your kids are young, or rope in extra help to support with them. If you find it hard to sleep in the day, treat yourself to a silk eye mask to block out the rays, or use a relaxation app to help you relax and drift off. Ultimately, if you are managing to cancel out some of your sleep debt with daytime naps, you’ll be much better off mentally and physically than having a spotless home.
Swap Your Drinking Habits
An easy key to weight and energy management is to focus on what you are drinking. Many of us try to eat the right things, but are badly let down by our choice of beverage. Sodas, sugary coffees and sweet teas all contain empty calories that hold no nutritional value for us and play havoc with our blood sugar – leading to peaks and crashes in our energy, which then have a knock on effect on the food choices we make too. Start by always ensuring your water intake is adequate. Becoming dehydrated has a range of severe consequences on the body – ranging from increased muscle fatigue to loss of mental focus, to even our fine lines and wrinkles! Not to mention the fact that drinking enough water stops us overeating. If you don’t like it plain, you can always try a flavored water instead – infuse it with lemon and grated ginger or strawberries and mint for a tasty twist. If you want a hot drink, swap your afternoon cup of coffee or tea for green tea with a citrus fruit – green tea has so many health benefits, antioxidants and nutrients, so it works to enhance your wellbeing and more cosmetic things such as your skin. If you find it bitter to the taste, try adding a little honey or agave nectar to the mix.