The key to not just surviving, but thriving, as a mother is to look after your body. Because if you don’t look after yourself, then how can you care for your family?
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Looking after you is way more than just caring for your physical self, such as staying fit, eating well, and getting your medical check-ups. It’s also all about your body, mind AND spirit. Clearly, all these parts make up the essence of who you are.
As it says in the Bible:
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul [mind] is getting along well. 3 John 12
This blog refers to 20 Ways to Rock at Being a Mother No 7: Look After Your Body. Looking after your Mind and your Spirit is covered in the two following blog posts.
This Mother’s Morning Routine
Her eyes fluttered open in the darkness to glance at the red bedside digits. 6:10.
Time to get up. Moving quietly so as not to disturb her heavily breathing husband, she crept to the bathroom, closed the door and flipped the light on. Her walking clothes were there, waiting.
Showering quickly, she emerged from the warm bathroom cocoon and tiptoed through the house, quietly so as not to wake five sleeping children. There at the back door, the dog was already excited, tail wagging vigorously. This was his moment.
She clicked on his leash, and they were away. Through the gate, down the driveway, and out into the quiet street. The clouds hovering above suburban rooftops were a beautiful rosy hue.
“Quick Scruffy,” she whispered. “We might be in time to see the sun rise!”
And off they went, to their favourite haunt where they might catch a magnificent view, if they were quick.
Walking briskly towards the park, she breathed in crisp morning air.
The usual hum of traffic was almost non-existent. In the pre-dawn light, only a few households were stirring. One or two had windows edged with a band of internal light.
This mother and her dog glided past them all noiselessly, intent on their purpose: He to trot alongside, in adoration of his mistress. And she to breathe out the worries of the day ahead, in silent adoration of her God. For her, it was a moment of prayer and praise.
Together, they watched in awe as the new day dawned. The tiny sliver of liquid gold appeared quietly, and gloriously, over the horizon. Truly, God’s mercies are new every morning, she thought.
The sun rose over the horizon to shine on Melbourne. One more day of God’s mercy.
Breathe. Let go. Choose freedom. Choose JOY.
By the time they returned from their mini-trek, five children were waking. And she too had woken: In mind, body, AND spirit. Now she was ready to face the day.
Unclipping the leash, she took a deep breath and stepped inside to bring one more day of God’s mercy into this, her world. One rambunctious household.
And this, my friend, is how my day started for day after day, week after week . . . and continues year after year!
Caring for your BODY
As a mother, it’s so easy to get caught up in everyone else’s health: teething, coughs, colds, immunisations, check-ups. But then sometimes you are so busy caring for others, you completely forget to look after you!
However, it’s a no-brainer to realize your personal health is critical. Because if you don’t look after your body, who’s going to do the 101 things you do? If you are the first to grab an ice-pack for your child’s sprained ankle, but forget to do anything at all when you hurt your shoulder, then perhaps it’s time to re-think your priorities.
When I do my daily walking-of-the-dog routine, described above, the other benefits are usually lost to me. Walking up and down hills, along the road, through the park, beside the river and back home, I enjoy not only the quietness of the moment, a healthier dog and a great start to the day. But I also increase my heart rate, improve my balance, and get better coordinated, among many other advantages. You can read about many of the benefits of walking HERE.
Looking after yourself is very similar to the suggestion of airline stewards during their pre-flight play-act: it’s sensible to take care of yourself before assisting others. Because if you black out while you help everyone else, what good is that!
This blog covers caring for your body. Caring for mind and spirit are the subjects of future blogs.
What to do to Look After Your BODY
Bis for Body awareness:
- It is so important to ensure you get enough sleep. Oh this is a tough one, especially for new mothers! The best amount of sleep varies from one person to the next. Discover for yourself how much you need to work at your optimum level. Of course, there will be times when you need more sleep than others. So be aware.
- In addition, make sure you book in those next health check-ups. You know the ones. It’s so much better to avoid bad toothache, disease, and being out of action, by preventing it in the first place.
Ois for Organize your Exercise:
As I found, walking the dog is great. But that was in addition to the twice-weekly visits to the gym and playing badminton with friends. You might prefer other ways to get your heart pumping. Just make sure it’s regular.
I found you have to carve out time in the week to exercise, or else it won’t happen. So get organized, make it a priority, and let everything else flow around it. And notice what a difference it makes! It will affect your ability to sleep, to concentrate, to relax, and to reduce your stress levels. As a bonus you may lose some extra weight!
Dis for Dietary habits:
It’s so easy to eat the wrong thing. Oh my gosh we have some bad habits. Our modern-day Western diet has a lot to answer for. Many of us, maybe even you, are addicted to sugar, wheat and dairy. For the first time in generations children have a shorter life-expectancy than their parents. This is anticipated in USA, Europe, Canada and Australia.
So choose fresh, locally grown produce wherever possible. The less processed food you eat, the better for you and for your family. That means, in terms of good health, choose an apple over a croissant any day. (Although I have to say, I love a good croissant!)
Check out Cut out the Crap, the website of a friend of mine, Collette White. She writes delicious recipes for gluten, dairy and preservative free cooking.
Yis for YOU! You are the keeper of your body:
You are aiming to be the best YOU that you can be. So, decide to treat your body well. Love it. Be kind to yourself. Look after your body to treasure it and get the most value out of this precious, one-of-a-kind God-given resource.
If you do look after your body, you will be so much more able to do your motherhood job well. And that has to be good – for EVERY BODY in your family!
Check out 20 Ways to Rock at Being a Mother 7b: Look After Your Soul
What are your health challenges as you look after your body? Care to tell? Please leave your comments in the box below. I’ll respond – I promise!