Whether you are taking care of a family of two or ten, it may seem like your to-do list never ends. If you are like many others, it is very likely that you or your health is nowhere near the top of that list. Let’s find out from nutrition Expert Staci Gulbin what small steps we can take to start putting ourselves first today.
Between cleaning the house, going to work, running errands, and keeping everyone in your household on schedule, it can seem like a workout in itself. However, in that whirlwind of activity, it is vital to ensure that you take time out to recharge so your own health doesn’t suffer.
From personal experience, stress (physical, mental or emotional) can have a major impact on the body. It can make sleeping difficult even though you may be exhausted. It can even make digestion difficult, which can make eating less enjoyable. Stress can also create anxiety in your mind that can make it difficult to maintain a positive train of thought.
In order to prevent stress from having an impact on your health, it is important to do the following:
1. FUEL UP WITH HEALTHY MEALS AND SNACKS.
Take time to plan meals and snacks ahead of time so you can ensure there are healthy ingredients on hand at all times. Planning will help limit the amount of days you lean on convenience foods for nourishment.
2. ENGAGE IN “ME-TIME” EVERY DAY.
Take at least 15 minutes each day, all at once or in smaller increments, to do something you enjoy such as reading a book, taking a relaxing bath, taking a walk, doing yoga, or just sitting in silence.
3. GET PLENTY OF SLEEP.
It may be hard for most parents to get enough sleep, but it is perhaps the most overlooked pillar of health. While you sleep, your body regulates fluids, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, to name a few. Therefore, a lack of sleep, less than seven hours a night for most adults, can put you at increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, and depression.
Taking time out of your busy schedule to exercise or relax can seem like a selfish act to some. However, always remember that if you are not healthy, then you will be unable to provide the best care for the ones you love.
So the next time you write your to-do list, make sure your health makes the cut.
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Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN is a Portland-based Registered Dietitian with a licensed private practice in Oregon and Maryland. Staci focuses on helping others be confident in the choices they make and to value themselves enough to make healthier decisions, even in moments where family and work life can be overwhelming.