Wellness for Mothers: Part 3

fruit

Avacados with other fruits and vegetables: Photo by US Department of Agriculture /  CC BY 2.0

 

Physical wellness

Physical wellness is about taking care of your body. This dimension includes sleep, physical activity and nutrition. Many mothers I know struggle in this dimension. Mothers (especially new moms) lack sleep, can hardly find time to eat and physical activity may be the last thing on her mind. The following are ways a busy mother can improve her physical wellness.

  1. Make healthy snacking easy. Place healthy snacks, such as nut mixes, near places where you breastfeed or sit frequently. Easy access can help a busy mother stay nourished.

 

  1. Cut up fruit and veggies once per week while your partner or a family member is around so you have easy accessible snacks to grab. Or if you can afford it, buy them already cut for you!

 

  1. Put your stroller to good use. Pack your kids up in the stroller and take a walk outside. Walking is the simplest form of activity for most. This will help two fold, by engaging in physical activity and fresh air.

 

  1. Make moving a family affair. If you have a baby, check out this link for a mom and baby routine. With older kids, go to a park and play with them instead of being on the sidelines. Here is another link for ideas with older children. Remember to check with your doctor before engaging in a physical activity routine.

 

  1. Sleep is a tough one for moms. Many moms do not sleep enough due to children’s needs. However, if you struggle with falling asleep, even when you have the chance, try a guided meditation to help induce sleep.

 

  1. Another method for falling asleep is breath counting. An easy way to try this technique is to count your inhales up to 5, then start over. Continue this cycle. Focusing on breathing automatically relaxes the body.

 

Remember drastic changes are not necessarily the way to go while improving wellness. You can begin with one simple change and continue to add small changes as they become habit.

Wellness for Mothers Series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Wellness for Mothers: Part 1

An Introduction: The Dimensions of Wellness

The word wellness has been used frequently in the past few years. It is used in business names and product lines. What does this word really mean? Why is it so important for mothers?

One frequent definition is wellness is health beyond the absence of sickness. When you have a sickness, you are treated for it. When the sickness is gone, you have achieved the absence of sickness. To achieve wellness, you move further towards health and wellbeing by finding balance in the six dimensions of wellness.

The six dimensions of wellness are:

Intellectual – This dimension is focused on expanding a person’s mind

Physical – This dimension includes all physical aspects including sleep, nutrition and exercise

Emotional – This dimension consists of one’s ability to cope with stress and emotions

Occupational – This dimension relates to a person’s purpose in life

Spiritual – This dimension encompasses the idea of embracing existence and higher powers

Social – This dimension emphasizes the importance of meaningful relationships

This handout created by the National Wellness Institute gives a further explanation of these dimensions.

On the journey to wellness, balance in all areas is equally important. For example, if your goal is to “get back in shape” and you focus solely on the physical dimension of exercise and nutrition, you may find your motivation level lacking over time. However, if you create a balanced wellness plan, your motivation may remain much higher.

In the following mini-series about wellness, I will discuss each dimension separately, then put them back together again at the end.

Wellness for Mothers Series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Motivation Monday: SMART goals

We all know Mondays can be tough. Maybe you had fun in the sun with your family all weekend and now it is back to “reality”. Even though Monday typically has a bad reputation, it can be a new beginning to a goal you would like to accomplish.

SMART goals stand for: SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC and TIMED. It is important when you make a goal it is all of these things. Here is an example:

Your goal: I will read more.

This goal is vague. How will you know when you achieved your goal? Make it SMART:

I will read 20 minutes per day at least 3 times this week of July 11-17.

SPECIFIC and MEASURABLE: You will know if you reached your goal on July 17th by reviewing if you have 3, 20 minute sessions of reading in.

ATTAINABLE and REALISTIC: If you went from no reading at all to trying to read 3 hours per day everyday during the week, that might not be attainable due to time restrictions. It would not be realistic to expect to go from no reading to 3 hours per day. The goal of 20 minutes, 3 days during the week is realistic and attainable.

TIMED: It is important to time your goals. If you say you will achieve this goal for the rest of your life it may become overwhelming. Make your goals for the week, month or year, depending if it is a short or long term goal. Start small and work your way up.

Tips for goals:

  • Make sure you plan for “life” getting in the way. Avoid setting up for failure by being too ambitious right away. For example, going from no exercise to exercise every single day of the week. Start with 2 or 3 days and build from there.
  •   If you are not successful the first time, do not give it all up. Adjust your goal and move forward.
  • Seek help. Tell a partner or family member about your goal and have them ask you about it occasionally.

    Happy

    Happy: Photo by Carmela Nava / CC BY 2.0

 

Move Mama!

Mother Bear

Photo: Mike Dunn, NC State Museum of Natural Sciences Credit: NOAA Climate Program Office, NABOS 2006 Expedition. Photo / CC BY 2.0

As mothers, it can be difficult to take care of ourselves physically. You are responsible for your tiny humans lives and they need to be fed, clothed and cared for. Their needs often come first. Just remember, movement can benefit your mood, your body and increase your energy level.

Even 5 – 10 minutes can be beneficial. Movement can be as simple as going out for a walk or stretching at home.

Here is an at home workout where no equipment is needed:

ACE FIT: At HOME

It includes a full body workout with a warm up, workout and cool down with no equipment.

JUST REMEMBER: Always check with your doctor before beginning any workout program.