Making Mom’s Health A Priority
Guest Post by Leah
When my children wake up in the morning, I sometimes chuckle to myself as I’m reminded of some old horse races I used to watch as a child. The whistle blows, the announcer proclaims, “And she’s OFF!”, and the remainder of the race is spent simply trying to keep up with what’s going on, and preparing for what’s to come around the next bend.
While doing my best to nourish precious little bodies, minds, and spirits each day, there are occasions when I can’t help but feel like I’m in a race of my own: a race to check off my to-do’s and compile my will-do’s before the day ends.
It is easy to become so absorbed by the responsibilities of being a joyful wife, mother, and homemaker that we neglect to adequately tend to our own personal health and well being. Often times, we may just dismiss the warning signs of stress as they appear, or even allow them to go unrecognized until physical symptoms begin to develop.
Did you know that too much stress can lead to digestive issues, depression, insomnia, and even skin conditions such as eczema? The list goes on and on, and let’s not forget the ill-effects it has on our family as well!
I will be the first to admit that I have frequently failed in the “cheerful disposition” department, especially after receiving an unpleasant health diagnosis last fall. Since this time, I have been on a mission to intentionally rebuild my body as the temple God created it to be, and renew my spirit within.
It has been a process requiring time and considerable effort, but the results have been well worth it. Most days, I can honestly say that I am feeling healthier, more joyful, and more at peace than ever before. Each step towards your own good health is a blessing, both to you and your entire family as well, and it’s much easier than you may think!
Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3
Start by making a list of goals for yourself.
Divide these goals into 3 groups: physical, personal, and spiritual. Write down everything that comes to mind, and then start to number each category in the order of importance. Once you have everything laid out in front of you, you can begin to make a workable plan.
The next step is to look at your current routine and search for areas where you can squeeze in some personal time, even if it’s only five minutes. It’s easiest to try to establish one new habit at a time before moving to the next. Be patient, and start with the most important ones first!
Here are a few of the habits that continue to work for me:
Waking up at least an hour or so before my children. This has been the single most effective strategy I’ve found to nurture my craving for personal and spiritual growth. In the quiet morning hours I can journal and read uninterrupted, shower, and gear up for my day. Recently, I’ve also started using a great program called PraiseMoves which incorporates stretching, gentle exercise, and scripture meditation all in one, and I simply adore it. You can read my full review of PraiseMoves and enter a giveaway here.
Dedicating five minutes or so to myself in between my daily activities. This has been a simple way to focus on a few basic recurring needs, such as having a glass of water, or taking my vitamins.
Playing “copycat” when spending time with the kids. This is a great way to fit in some exercise. If they are running and jumping around, why not join them for a few minutes of fun? When they get thirsty, join them for a drink!
Designating a home spa time for myself once a week during my children’s nap time. This consists of taking a nice, relaxing bath, reading a good book, and then fussing over my hair and skin a bit more than usual. I find this regular time of self-pampering works wonders in my mood and disposition. I highly recommend that you try it!
Work on eliminating stress.
Besides exercise, another very helpful stress-reducing technique is called diaphragmatic breathing. The name may sound a bit daunting, but with a bit of practice, you will be filling your lungs with more oxygen than you have since you were a child, and letting go of loads of tension in the process! Here is a video tutorial to help you get started.
Meditating on God’s word is an extremely valuable tool in maintaining a more peaceful spirit as well. Find verses that are most helpful to you, especially ones that focus on His wonderful qualities. After all, our true identity is based on Him alone!
Enlist a few helpful allies.
If you don’t have a set schedule to follow each day, consider setting a timer to go off periodically as a reminder to stop and take a short break. Pray, have a cup of tea, and get refreshed! You may benefit from asking a friend to check with you weekly and hold you accountable. I personally do much better when I have someone else helping to keep me straight.
Another thing that I find helpful is to post little reminder notes throughout the house, and place scripture verses to meditate in practical locations such as beside the toilet or above the kitchen sink.
Above all, don’t forget that we can do ALL things through Him who gives us strength.
The important thing to remember is to trust him for the timing. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, so neither should we expect it of ourselves! Take the time to relax and care for your body and spirit today. Your family will thank you for it, and you’ll be on your way to feeling better than ever!
What are some of your ideas for putting better health into action?
Leah enjoys a simple life as wife and home schooling mama to 4- ages 9,3,2, and 1! Through the Lord’s strength and amazing grace she has overcome a past of drug addiction, approval addiction, and atheism, and now knows her true identity as a child of the King! Challenged by personal hardship, Leah started her blog, Dance And Be Glad, to share her heart and testimony of the power of God to bring joy, health, and healing back into our homes.
This post is right up my alley! I love the idea to split up goals into physical, spiritual, and mental. I have been thinking about similar things recently! I wrote a post on pregnancy health and nutrition…
and a post on planning…
Thanks Tacy! I’ll definitely check out your planning post! I’m preparing a similar post myself, with hopes of setting it into ACTION! LOL Any inspiration would be welcome 🙂
This topic is at the top of my mind right now, because of my own health problems. Thanks for the encouragement! Last week, I had a great visit with my doctor, who told me, “I think it’s much better to embrace a positive than try to combat a negative.” He encouraged me to do 3 things to create good health: eat a balanced, real-food diet; get aerobic exercise at least 3 times a week; and allot myself at least 20 minutes a day of quiet time (no activity, no reading, just praying or meditating on Scripture while I practice relaxation breathing).
@Kathryn, Wow! If I could find myself a doctor like that, maybe I wouldn’t mind going to one as much! He is a smart man: stick with him! Let’s journey together to good health, sister! My prayers are with you.
Awesome article! Can’t believe you wake up at 4:30 though!
@Rebecca, haha My best days are the early ones. (Even if they don’t feel that way at first!)
I love your post. Though I don’t have kids and am only staying home until I can find a new job I find this post very helpful. I strive to be the Proverbs 31 lady and this is what I needed to re-check my daily habits.
@Angie Alford, You are so sweet..thank you! I love verse 30:
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
I love how the Lord uses us to minister to others, and provide for our families. He is so good 🙂
As a childhood friend, you have become an inspiration to Christian mothers and I’m happy to see how happy you are through the challenges you have overcome. They have made you who you are today. I enjoyed reading this article and it is a great reminder of what our priorities should be!
I really appreciated this post. Taking care of ourselves can seem “wrong” at times but it’s very important. My English teacher would say, “When you are physically tired you are spiritually in danger.” I can’t tell you how many times that statement has forced me to bed or turn down and activity.
Copycatting your kids is great idea too.
@Janna @ Mommy’s Piggy TALES – Record YOUR Youth, Thank you! That quote holds much wisdom. My English teachers have often been role models to me as well. So much so, that I had been inspired to become one! Taking a 10 yr or so break for now, though..to focus on more important matters 🙂 Looking forward to checking out your blog!
Great post Leah! I’ve only been on the school schedule for two weeks and I can already feel myself slipping back into the old habits of not getting enough sleep and eating too many quick, processed foods. I’m physically and mentally exhausted. I need to make lists like you did and stick to them!
This is such a great post. I was getting myself ready for church this morning and began to feel so ill with stomach pains I had to call my husband to come home and help me as I was worried about being able to care for the baby (he goes early as part of the worship team). I realised whilst talking to a friend I had been completely neglecting my own health. We’re in a very busy season with two babies, 16 and 5 months and are in the middle of a house move and whilst as a bare minimum I try and get plenty of water and fruit and veg into everyone elses tummy I hadn’t eaten properly in days. After a dliecious and nutritious lunch from my gracious and adorable friend I already began to feel better and after a walk in the fresh air whilst chatting with my friend about diffferent things God was doing in our lives at the moment I felt like a new woman! It’s true that sometimes the best thing I can do for my family is take good care of all aspects of myself.
As always, its a pleasure to read your posts. I totally agree with taking care of our health and wellbeing since that alone will enable us to take care of the ones we love.
Am starting on a journey of cleansing my body, getting fitter and healthier and so, can completely relate with your post and goals.
Thank you for sharing these with us.
I love Praise Moves too! Just thought I’d throw that out there. 🙂 4:30, huh? Impressive!