Taking care of a child is such a big responsibility—it can require tremendous effort, mental and physical stamina, and the power to find creative solutions to all kinds of life’s ups and downs.
Most of us who are parents know that we could be doing a better job—instead of looking at the things we are and are not doing for our children, perhaps it’s time to focus our attention on the way we treat ourselves. Putting ourselves in a healthier state of mind and body will allow us to make better choices for our children as well. Here are some tips for best health practices so that you can do and be your best:
- Get adequate sleep
We know, easier said than done, right? Short and disrupted sleep patterns seem to be the norm for many of us, particularly those of us with young children. Over time, fatigue, mental stress, and other health issues you experience will take their toll on you and the way that you guide your children through life. Committing to achieving healthier sleeping patterns at least 70 percent of the time will leave you feeling well-rested, more mentally alert, and emotionally ready to handle whatever your littles throw at you on a given day.
- Evaluate extracurricular habits of tobacco and alcohol use
It’s time to take a look at your tobacco and alcohol use and evaluate whether you really need these substances in your life. They are harming your body, they have the potential to damage your relationships with your children, and they are setting the stage for future complications as your children grow and see that this behavior is deemed “acceptable”. If you feel that your recreational use of these substances is in check, great. If you feel that you need help cutting back or eliminating these substances from your life, consider entering an outpatient rehab program for substance abuse. Finding addiction treatment resources that you and your family can live with is the key to getting healthier as a parent.
- Clean up that diet!
Are you tired and run down, carrying a little extra weight due to the poor eating habits that you’ve justified because of your busy schedule? It’s time to evaluate and make better diet choices for better health and to set a better example for your children. You are the head of the ship, and you have the control to change what your family is eating for better health and wellness–for everyone! Add more fresh produce, quality protein and whole grains to your diet, and commit to cutting out items that contain excess sugar, refined carbs, and sodium. You’ll look and feel better, and you’ll be able to keep up with all of that energetic play that your youngsters engage in.
- Take care of those teeth
Studies now show clear connections between poor oral hygiene habits and the development of chronic illnesses elsewhere in the body. Gum disease affects almost half of all Americans, and this unassuming condition can lead to bigger issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic pain. Brush and floss daily, make regular trips to your dentist for proactive dental care and let your children know the importance of caring for their teeth as well. You are setting habits up for them that will last a lifetime.
- Do what you can to reduce and eliminate chronic pain
Nothing is quite as physically and emotionally draining as being in a state of chronic pain on a daily basis. It can have an effect on our energy level, our daily activities, and our mental mindset. Caring for children is already hard without the added burden of chronic pain—quite often this nagging pain is a sign that something bigger is going on. If you haven’t already seen a doctor, make an appointment to determine the cause of your pain and see what can be done to reduce or eliminate it altogether. You deserve to feel the joys of parenting, and your children deserve to have a parent that is present and available to them in every way possible.
Well worth the effort
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs one can experience, but it is also full of joy and richness that cannot be experienced any other way. Being the parent that you’ve always wanted to be will require self-love and self-care so that your vessel is full when you give to your precious children. May you create the beautiful, quality relationships with your children that you’ve always hoped for!
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