Written by Nadine Cheung
While you're busy being the caretaker for your family, it's easy to forget to take care of yourself. On top of that, many moms feel a sense of guilt for indulging in "me time," but taking time to relax is imperative for one's health. So, how do you balance your kids' needs with your own?
First, let go of the guilt. It's important to take a moment, a day or even a weekend to recharge. Whether you're worried about getting your kids to school on time, fretting about what you're going to make for dinner, or simply feeling overwhelmed by a long to-do list, these low-grade stresses can potentially cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate and muscle tension.
According to an article on Harvard University's website, getting a massage, going to the gym, meeting your friends for dinner or any other stress-relieving activity can trigger a relaxation response, which "may help people to counteract the toxic effects of chronic stress by slowing breathing rate, relaxing muscles, and reducing blood pressure."
Maternal instincts are powerful, though, so taking time away from your kids may be easier said than done. Plus, not everyone has the ability to take a day off. In this case, remind yourself that small moments can really add up. Ten minutes here and there can quickly allow you to return to a state of calm. Take time to self-reflect, write thoughts down on paper, or even meditate. Do something that you enjoy -- whether it's watching a guilty-pleasure TV show or moving through a short yoga sequence -- and give your mind and body a rest.
If you can hire a sitter, have your own little staycation by taking a luxurious bubble bath or reading a book in your room while the kids have fun. Make sure they're occupied with activities, and then retreat to your sanctuary, worry-free. Remember that putting yourself first once in a while can make all the difference in your health, and at the end of the day, when you're at 100 percent, you're also at your best for your family.