We have all heard the age-old myth "if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of others". But is this really a myth? Are we as women or care takers too stressed out? According to www.womenshealth.gov the body releases "stress hormones" when responding to stress levels. These hormones can lead to increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels. The site goes on to say that long-term stress can cause many health problems including mental health disorders, obesity, heart disease, abnormal heart beats, menstrual problems and a variety of other health issues.
So what's the answer? Woman make excuses all the time, especially mothers, as to why we can't make time to cater to our own well-being. Between juggling school schedules, a job, nap time, keeping up with the house, and doing our duties as soccer moms, most of us put our own health on the back burner. We tell ourselves things like: "rest? I can rest when the kids get older" or "quiet time, what's that?". The truth is ladies, that if we don't take time for ourselves now, we may not have time later. Here are some things we can do to take care of us now, before we do more harm to ourselves than good for others.
Exercise. We all know exercise is good for our heart health, our body health, and our overall physical health, but did you know it is good for our mental health as well? Exercising releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. All of these chemicals combined work together to help you feel good. Not only does exercising improve our self esteem, keep our mind occupied, and give us an overall sense of control, it also helps us to have a generalized "good" feeling, less anxiety, and lowered stress levels.
Sleep. Whatever we have going on, no matter the circumstance, we must be sure we are getting the right amount of sleep. According to mysleepcoach.com (from the makers of Tylenol P.M.) adults require at least seven to eight hours of sleep, with pregnant women requiring a bit more. It goes on to say that sleep is one of the best things we can do for our health. If you are having problems with sleep sign up for the My-Coach Sleep Workshop at http://www.my-coach.com/sleep/articles and take advantage of customized training and interactive tools and resources to help get a better night's sleep.
"Me" time. It doesn't make you selfish to need some "me" time, although I know for myself it feels that way. Someone told me once "it is better to take a small amount of time for yourself now, then to lose a large amount of time later". So let's put our time management skills to the test. Having quiet time can help us maintain clarity, give us a sense of peace, help us maintain emotions and even helps to be sure we are not stretching ourselves to thin. All it takes is carving out 30 minutes a day to read a book, take a bath, journal, do a devotional-whatever helps you to find some peace of mind.
Some people say "we are all just pawns in the chess board of life", but I believe we have the option as to whether we win the game or not. They also say "life is short" so let's make the most of it. Am I saying make less time for family and responsibilities? Never! What I am saying is that if we can take just a few extra minutes for us, we will have so many more hours for others, and in turn, make the time we do have even that much richer!