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.
This is not meant as a finger-wagging "I told you so." Sometimes even the very healthiest of us gets the flu. But you have a much better chance of staving off the germs that your child brings home, the headaches and backaches that you might be prone to, the fatigue that has plagued you in the past, if you pay attention to your health.
Unfortunately, most of us spend more time taking care of other people and other things than we do taking care of our health. We make sure our children eat nutritious foods, yet we skip meals. We let our exercise routine go because it clashes with another family member's schedule. We sacrifice our sleep staying up late to get things done. But part of taking care of other people, particularly our children, is to model healthy living. 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 have'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.
Water is the elixir of life. The problem is most of us don't get enough of it. If you experience fatigue or headaches in the afternoon, it could be a sign of dehydration. If you work in front of a computer, you are even more susceptible to dehydration. So how do you get those six to eight glasses of water a day that we're supposed to have? Try buying a case of water bottles and kept them in your office. To keep track of how much you are drinking, stack the empty water bottles on your filing cabinet throughout the day. Keeping a box of bottled water in the trunk of her car, along with your gym bag is another solution. When you go to work out, you can easily grab a bottle of water as you grab your gym bag. If you drive to work, keep two bottles of water in your car in place of that morning coffee mug. Then you've got one for the drive in, and one for the drive home.
About the Author
Lisa Martin is a certified coach who inspires working mothers to achieve success that's balanced. Author of Briefcase Moms: 10 Proven Practices to Balance Working Mothers' Lives, Lisa is a sought-after expert and speaker on work-life balance issues. Known for her very personal and practical approach, Lisa coaches working mothers to know what they want and get what they want. With 20 years of entrepreneurial and corporate experience, Lisa is also the founder and president of The Briefcase Moms Group -- a work-life coaching and training company that helps organizations attract, engage and retain working mothers. A mother herself, Lisa's powerful presentations and programs have helped thousands of women define success and balance on their own terms. www.briefcasemoms.com
Lisa Martin may be contacted at http://www.briefcasemoms.com