Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is tricky at the best of times, without a child or two constantly running underfoot. While there is plenty of exercise to be had by clearing up and chasing after your kids, there’s more to living healthily than simply getting a few extra thousand steps in each day!
We are always trying to get our kids on the healthy track, encouraging a greater amount of fruits and vegetables into their diet and limiting the amount of screen time they are exposed to (and everything that comes with it!).
Tricks to Keep Yourself Healthy
However, by giving all our time to our precious dependents, we can be left with little to no time to take care of ourselves and often priorities them over our own needs. While this might feel like it’s just ‘part of being a parent’ the reality is, if we don’t take care of our needs including caring for our and our partner’s well being and spending time looking after the marriage, everything can quickly fall apart and your child will suffer in the process.
If you are luckily enough to have access to home gym equipment, this can be a great opportunity to squeeze a few minute’s exercise here and there. Whether it’s a simple skipping rope or a comprehensive Primal Strength power rack, you can work on your fitness levels while setting a good example for your kids.
That’s not to say that you should ignore your child’s need for attention but simply make the time spent together more meaningful and encourage them to be independent. Not only will you get some time back to yourself, but it will benefit your children greatly in the long run when they don’t feel entitled to someone else’s time or become a burden.
A Good Day Starts with a Good Night’s Sleep
While a ‘good night’s sleep’ might seem like we’ve just told you that unicorns exist, it is possible and it’s a case of being smart with improving the quality of your sleep – even if you are only catching a few hours here and there. The first step is to remove blue light from your routine at least an hour before you are planning to sleep, this can include stopping use of all electric devices (yes, including the smartphone!) or installing programmers or screen protectors that can reduce/remove the blue light from your display. Blue light causes our brain to fire up and become active which keeps us awake long into the evening, especially when turning off the screens just before bed.
You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with sleep cycles and how these work – based on a cycle of 60-90 minutes our bodies enter several sleep states. In the most simplified explanation, stage 1-2 is light sleep, 3-4 are deep sleep and the 5th stage is the dreaming period, known as REM sleep. Each stage is necessary for you to move into the next and is important for ensuring your body receives the rest it needs to repair and rejuvenate for the day ahead.
If you know you are going to be able to sleep, aim for between 90 minutes to 3 hours to truly take advantage of sleep cycles and feel a bit more refreshed when you are awoken before you want to be.
Learn to Shrug Off the Small Stuff
Stress, anxiety and anger are all negative emotions that can have devastating effects on our physical and mental health. While being a parent absolutely comes with feeling stressed and frustrated at times, the best advice that can be given is to learn to let go. That’s not to say it’s a switch you can turn on and off but the next time you find yourself in a situation that you might normally lose your temper in or feel upset at, take a minute or two to regain yourself before dealing with the issue. This can include taking some deep breathes, clearing your mind, recanting some positive affirmations or simply taking a few minutes to a song you know makes you feel happy.
Parents are only human. By becoming parents, you have given yourself the responsibility of raising positive, productive members of society but that doesn’t mean that life is going to be smooth sailing. We all have our moments, parents too, but the more we focus on our children, the more we become a shell of who we were before our children existed. Change is to be expected but disappearing into the background is not. Love yourself and take care of yourself so you can ensure your child doesn’t suffer in the future.