So how can a mom manage her hectic lifestyle effectively? First, create a vision statement. Just as an athlete imagines standing on the podium accepting a gold medal, imagine your family ten years from now. Ask yourself what family success means. Each member of your family should draw a picture of success. Take all ideas into account. Once you agree on areas important to your family, you have defined your vision of success. Know what you want.
Write down your vision statement. Pursuing your image of success will motivate you and keep you on track. It can also help you to set priorities, to focus and to better manage your time.
Take care of your bodyThe second step to balancing your life involves taking care of your body. Good nutrition, daily exercise, and adequate sleep are all necessary.
A healthy diet makes a huge difference. According to Canada’s Food Guide (www.hc-sc.gc.ca), your diet should:
If you are overweight, you are at higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Having a poor diet increases your chance of infection and chronic disease.
Ask yourself why you should exercise, and write down the reasons. We make time for what is important to us, so make a plan. Start exercising three days a week and build from there. Schedule activity into your day. Family fitness and activity should be everyday, lifelong habits. Raking leaves, working in the garden and housework all count as exercise.
Physical activity increases your energy, elevates your mood and helps you sleep better. It reduces the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer and premature death. With exercise you can control your weight, maintain strong bones and fight joint pain. Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living for Adults recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise, preferably daily. Supplement aerobic exercise with strength training twice a week.
Never discount the fun factor in exercise! As you clean the house, sing and dance to your favourite music. Scrub the bathroom last and be the first to jump into the tub once the room is sparkling clean.
Don’t forget to exercise your mind. Learn a new language, do crossword puzzles, or play card games with your kids.
Mindful Breathing 4:7:8 Exercise
This exercise is simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while you are learning it. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
The Breathing Cycle:
Time for youFind healthy ways to pamper yourself. During your bath, surround the tub with scented candles or with a bouquet of flowers. Since research suggests that sweet scents help us experience less pain, they may relax us too. Relish rest and solitude. Call time out and make it enjoyable for yourself. Involve others in your daily workload. You cannot do it all alone. Learn to say no and mean it. Do not try to please everyone else.
Another way to find more time for yourself is to get technology working for you. An excellent tool to help you with nutrition is www.dietitians.ca. Find healthy recipes that take under 30 minutes to prepare at www.foodfit.com. Check out online exercise programs such as www.runnersworld.com.
DreamtimeMake time for sleep. About one-third of the adult population worldwide is affected by insomnia. Different types of insomnia have different causes. Happily, whatever the cause, most of us eventually find relief. Going to bed and getting up at the same time of day may help. Do not force sleep – sleep only as much as you need to feel rested. Exercise daily, preferably four to five hours before you go to bed. Avoid large meals late in the evening or going to bed hungry. Cut down on caffeine and other stimulants such as smoking. Keep alcohol intake within healthy limits. Deal with your worries before sleep. Try writing in a journal before turning off the light. Learn and practice a relaxation technique such as breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.
MindThe third step in balancing your life may involve a change in attitude. David Myers, a social psychologist at Hope College, has identified several positive traits that lead to happiness. They include optimism, self-esteem, and perceived control over life.
Research suggests that being happy can result in better health.
Keep all things in perspective. David Myers writes that: “Although we often overestimate how much we can accomplish in any given day (leaving us frustrated), we generally underestimate how much we can accomplish in a year, given just a little progress every day.”
After a particularly difficult day with the kids, take the time to look at them as they sleep. You will quickly realize that you have within you an endless source of love.
Spend time with family and close friends. Confide in them, play with them, and nurture them during difficult times. Laugh together. Do not take those closest to you for granted. These are the people who want you to succeed and who can help you move toward your vision.
Act happy, self-confident and outgoing. Tell positive stories about your life. Choose one perfect moment and think about it often. Think like a kid. By living in the moment, you can notice details all around you to help jog your memory.
Whenever possible, spend time doing things you are good at and enjoy.
Remember to give yourself credit for everything you do.
SpiritThe final step involves looking beyond yourself. Stay socially and intellectually connected with family, friends and community. Connect with nature. Connections help build resilience, offer emotional support and foster a sense of well-being. A study of older Americans found that remaining socially active lowered the chance of dying almost as much as physical activity. Productive activity, which included working, volunteering and housekeeping, lowered the risk even more.
Volunteer to spend time with those in need. Take care of the environment or a companion animal. Nurture your spiritual self.
To care for others effectively, you must first care for yourself. Finding ways to nurture your own body, mind and spirit replenishes you, so that you in turn can give energy and affection to those around you. In the end, how can you manage your hectic lifestyle and make yourself happy? Make a plan, and make that plan a reality.