Nutrition, Exercise, and Self Care for Busy Women
The tiredness and fatigue are real. We’re stretched to the limits every day between work and family, social obligations and social work, and the pressure of trying to fit everything from exercise and PTA meetings to political rallies and Girl Scout cookie sales in a 24-hour time slot.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day to commemorate the ongoing battle for gender equality. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual – an equal world is an enabled world. My proposal, as a mother, a grandmother, and a woman always searching for balance, is that we begin this battle for equality in our homes and with some very necessary self care.
It’s time to get a little selfish and put yourself first this Interational Women’s Month (and always).
- Get radical at restaurants. When was the last time you opened a menu at a restaurant and chose what you wanted to eat? Almost all mothers will relate. Eating leftovers off everyone’s plate isn’t the ideal way to get your nutritional needs met. Plus, it makes restaurant eating not so fun. So, ditch the kids menu and choose something you’re excited about. This is also a great way to get your family to try new things. Pick a fun appetizer, something different, for everyone to try. Share entrees. This encourages adventurous eating for everyone and gives you a chance to eat what you want!
- Be mindful during meals. I work with many moms who scramble to fit everything in. It’s all too common to buzz around the kitchen, scooping in bites of salad, casserole … whatever … while helping a child finish a science fair project or sending last-minute texts to the office. Nutrition isn’t only about WHAT we eat, but also HOW we eat. Taking time out to sit to enjoy a meal is critical for health.
- Value rest. We’re in a mad society that values being busy over almost everything else. It’s become this all-American thing to always be busy. Challenge yourself to take a break. What does this look like? It could look like sitting down to watch bad TV. Reading a book. Taking a nap. Turning off your phone and computer. Just … sitting and looking out the window. Saying, ‘No.’ (This last one is a biggie.) Value down time because your brain and body need it. Don’t fall into the hamster, be-busy-at-all-costs trap.
- Move… every day. Join a dance class. Find something that inspires you to move, whether it’s playing with your grandchildren in the park, gardening, joining a yoga class, or simply walking your dog. Movement is a critical element of health. Fall in love with your body again by valuing how it moves, how it works, and the magic of a machine it is.
- Improve your body self esteem. As women, we’re taught from a young age to hate our bodies. Turn off the 24-7 negative commentary in your brain. Celebrate your body, its beauty, and the amazing things it can do. You. Are. Beautiful.
Valuing who we are as women is a critical first step toward the battle for gender equality. To do that, though, we have to learn to put our nutrition, our health, ourselves … first.
We deserve it!