Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for all you do to nurture your family and our community. I know today all the attention is on you. I want you to feel the love and wellbeing every day of the year too.
Self-care is a buzzword that takes up plenty of real estate these days, especially among moms. But, the idea can leave many women wondering: Is it even realistic to take time to care for myself in the midst of a demanding professional life and a busy family?
The short answer is yes. Practicing self-care is not only vital for your personal health and wellbeing, but also for the wellbeing of your family. Put simply: If you don’t care for yourself, you won’t have the energy to care for those you love.
As a mother, the way you care for yourself greatly influences how your kids— particularly your daughters—will manage stress and nourish their bodies throughout their lives.
In the spirit of Mother’s Day, and in honor of the many mothers I see in my practice each day, here are simple ways to integrate self-care and exemplify a lifestyle of wellbeing as guided by the Quadrants of Wellbeing.
Play more (Mechanical Quadrant). Studies show that moms who lead active lifestyles are more likely to have children who follow suit. Exercise not only helps to maintain a healthy weight, it’s beneficial to our emotional and mental health, reducing the incidence of depression and anxiety in adults and children. Explore a nearby park, take a walk, dance around your living room, or ride bikes together.
An active lifestyle contributes to the development of a girl’s healthy self-image, self-esteem and self-confidence. Want additional support? Look to organizations like Girls on the Run, which is a non-profit that encircles 3rd through 8th grade girls with a positive community that supports their emotional and physical health.
Nourish a healthy body image (Chemical Quadrant). You might be enjoying breakfast in bed, your favorite chocolates, or a meal cooked by the family. It’s great to indulge on special occasions, especially today!
When planning the next meal focus on consuming nutritious, whole foods that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Avoid talking about dieting, your weight, or your daughter’s weight.
This is the perfect time of year to visit the farmer markets together. Try produce you’ve never had before. Prepare new recipes and aim to make veggies 40 percent of your food consumption. And, don’t forget to drink water! Water activates the metabolism. Drink half your body weight in ounces every day. (For example, if you are 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water.)
Manage your stress (Energetical Quadrant). Moms can play a significant role in how well a child manages their stress. Unmanaged stress leads to a multitude of chronic health conditions and pain. It’s natural to experience stress in our lives. But I want you to feel empowered when stress arises, not overcome.
Show your kids how to engage in small acts of self-care. For example, do breath work together when your child is anxious or stressed by taking slow, deep breaths. When you’re feeling stressed, you might say to your kids: “I’m feeling overwhelmed right now. I’m going to take a break and get some fresh air. Want to join me?”
Make lists together of relaxing activities that you can each refer to in times of overwhelm and stress, like drawing, gardening, blowing bubbles, taking a warm bath, watching a funny TV show, or listening to upbeat music.
Mother yourself (Psychospiritual Quadrant). Be your own best friend. Engage in activities that you find personally fulfilling. Curiously explore your interests. Treat yourself to a special dinner out. Buy yourself cheerful flowers. Spend time with close friends. It doesn’t have to happen one day a year!
And, when you make mistakes (because you’re human!), forgive yourself. Perhaps say out loud in front of your kids, “Oh well, mistakes happen. I’ll know better the next time.” Through your example, you’ll help your kids build resilience when it comes to moving past their own failures.
Above all, remember that when you care for your mind, body and spirit, you provide your child with the most valuable gift a mother can give—a vibrant example and a strong foundation that underscores personal acceptance, self-confidence and overall health and wellbeing. We honor and value you. Once more, happy Mother’s Day!