Updated: April 16, 2020
If you’re a mom, no matter what is going on, chances are you’re busy … really, really busy. So busy, in fact, that you might be tempted to neglect your own needs. But putting yourself last can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. It can also become so ingrained that you actually forget how to practice healthful self-care.
So this May, how about dedicating some time and attention to yourself? Forget the nagging to-do list or the idea that you’re being self-indulgent (you’re not!) and take the time to invest in some restorative practices like those listed here. It’s time to practice some self-love — not only on Mother’s Day, but for the many days ahead.
1. Enjoy a healthy meal
Rather than ordering takeout, enjoy a healthy meal at home. It doesn't have to be extravagant — check out these simple recipes that can be made in a snap. Grill up some non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers and onions and pair them with some lean protein like chicken and a small side of whole grains (think: whole-grain pasta or brown rice). Turn on some relaxing music, light your favorite candle and enjoy every bite!
Not only can eating well-balanced meals support your overall health, but according to Harvard Health, certain nutrients can help reduce anxiety and can release mood-boosting chemicals within your body.1
2. Plant a garden.
There’s a reason that growing your own fruits and vegetables is gaining in popularity: Just-picked produce is mouth-wateringly good; it’s less expensive than store-bought produce; and there’s something infinitely satisfying about planting seeds and watching them grow. Bonus: Your children can get in on the act … and they might even eat more veggies if they participate in the growing and picking.
3. Take a nap.
There’s probably not a mother around who doesn’t wish she could get more sleep. So grant yourself this wish and grab a few Z’s … and make it a habit. If you want to get more restful sleep at night, check out these 10 sleep hygiene tips.
4. Read a book
Cozy on up to a good book and let your stress melt away. Research indicates that reading could not only reduce stress levels, but it could also reduce cognitive decline and improve your sleep quality.2
5. Practice yoga or meditate.
Practicing the relaxation techniques associated with yoga can improve lower-back pain, headaches and arthritis while lowering blood pressure and reducing weight.3 Trying an online yoga class for the first time? Check out our Beginner's Guide to Yoga.
6. Go for a walk.
Head to your favorite outdoor spot and enjoy some time outdoors with the added bonus of getting your heart pumping. You don’t have to hike a mountain to reap the benefits of this activity — just 12 minutes of walking a day has been found to offer mood-boosting benefits.4
News on the Sunshine Vitamin – Vitamin D
While vitamin D is an irrefutably vital nutrient — helping to protect against bone density loss and numerous health problems, perhaps even obesity5 — experts are somewhat divided on the best way to get it. The sun is one source: the American Osteopathic Association recommends spending 5 to 30 minutes in midday sun twice a week to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting outside is good for the body and soul. “Spending time outdoors can improve overall health and wellness,” the organization states.
However, the American Academy of Dermatology states that vitamin D is best obtained through food. Incorporating foods such as tuna, eggs and cheese can help you achieve your daily needs. Bottom line: Check with your doctor to see what is best for you, and be sure to wear proper sunscreen if you opt for getting outside.
We hope you take one of these ideas and make your Mother’s Day a healthy and fun day you won’t soon forget. Try taking these tips and integrating them into your daily routine — you deserve it!
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Carole Anderson Lucia
Carole is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California who specializes in health and wellness topics. Her work has appeared in Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Mom & Baby, Yahoo News, Viv magazine and Lifescript. She's won several national awards for her work including a National Science Award and two National Health Information awards. A frequent contributor to Jenny Craig’s Blog, Healthy Habits, she enjoys gardening, spending time at the beach and adopting far too many rescue animals in her spare time.
Favorite healthy snack: jicama dipped in homemade hummus