How to Stay Healthy as a Parent
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How to Stay Healthy as a Parent: Solutions for the Parent and Teacher Dashboards…
Becoming a parent means caring for your children is a priority, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about your health. Children imitate their parents, so you must set a good example and incorporate healthy habits early on in their lives. Whether watching what foods you bring into the house or doing physical activities as a family, there is a way to find balance.
Keep reading to learn about tips for eating healthier, creating an exercise habit, and ways of taking care of your mental health.
The first area you can improve for your health is eating healthier. Not only is it setting a good example for your children to eat well too, but healthy eating will give you more energy that you can use to care for yourself and your family.
Tips for balancing your parenting and healthy eating:
- Eating breakfast every morning. Even if you think it will save you time, skipping breakfast is setting your day up for failure as your body lacks the fuel it needs to keep up with activities and chores.
- Meal prep with your family. Put aside some time one day of the week to prep at least one healthy meal for the week. If your children are old enough, include them in the meal prep and have some fun coming up with ideas.
- Eat as a family as much as possible. Eating together is a great bonding experience, but it ensures that you are more likely to eat properly. If you wouldn’t let your children eat the way you usually do, this is an excellent method to correct that habit.
- Serve small portions. It can be tempting to cook a lot of food when you are cooking for a family, but you should stick to small amounts for yourself. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to tell whether you are full or not, and you can always get more if you still feel hungry.
- Have A Balanced Diet. When buying groceries for your family, it’s good to be sure you have a balanced amount of foods from every food group in your pantry and fridge. The benefits and nutrients present in vegetables, fruits, grains, and so on are vital in building a healthy eating lifestyle.
- Stay Hydrated. Drinking at most 8-10 cups of water a day will give your body more energy and reduce the amount of fatigue you feel throughout the day. If you don’t like plain water, try carbonated instead.
- Avoid/ Limit Alcohol Consumption. Alcoholic drinks take away the fluid in your body, making you feel dehydrated. If you feel the need to enjoy an alcoholic drink, be sure to make sure you’re drinking some water to chase it.
- Invest In A Ready-To-Make Meal Service. In your busy household you have to balance work, meals and caring for your children. Meal delivery boxes are a lifesaver. With weekly deliveries of at least 3 meals in each box you can have your children help you cook these delicious meals and build healthy habits.
- Keep Healthy Snacks In The House. As a parent, it’s hard to eat healthy snacks since a lot of snacks for kids are sugary. Find healthier alternatives like vegetables, fruits, or granola bars with reduced sugar.
Regular exercise has many benefits, from better sleep to coping with stress. Chances are, your children are pretty active, too, so joining into their games is an excellent way to get moving and bond with them.
Some activities to try:
- Incorporate short sessions of activity throughout the day. Scheduling multiple 30-minute activities is easier to manage than scheduling a more extended block of time.
- Go for family walks. This walk can be once a week on weekends or more regularly, such as after dinner a couple of times a week. Nature walks can also be a fun and educational outing for your kids.
- Play outside with your children. Join in a game of tag or shooting hoops with your children to ensure everyone gets the exercise they need.
- Limit screen time for yourself. Many parents have rules about how much time their children can spend watching TV, playing video games, or being on a computer or tablet. Ensure that these rules apply to you as well as it’s an example for your children and it will be better for your health overall.
- Invest In A Gym Membership With Childcare. Committing to exercising can be hard at home and it can be hard to stay motivated. Joining a gym that offers childcare means that you can have that external motivation and social activity to help you commit to staying healthy, without worrying about your children getting the care they need.
- Use The Equipment At The Playground. Lots of playgrounds have outdoor gym areas with equipment available to be used for workouts. This way you kids can get their exercise at the playground while you can get your workouts in while always keeping them in your sights.
- Join A Recreational Sports League. Playing sports is one of the best ways to stay social and also be active with your kids. You can let them practice with you and maybe even inspire them to play a sport as well.
- Take The Stairs. Whenever possible, you could skip the elevator and take the stairs up to your office, or down to the subway platform. If there is an option to take stairs instead of an escalator or an elevator, it’s a great way to stay active, even at work or while you’re out.
Protect Your Back
If you decide to join your children’s games or you have a baby to care for, you will probably be bending over and lifting a lot more than your body is used to. Educating yourself on proper lifting and carrying safety can help prevent injuries and aches.
Some tips for protecting your back:
- Keep your back straight and your movements smooth. Try not to twist as you carry or lift your child, and don’t make quick or sudden movements that might cause your back to strain. If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time, adjust your chair to a comfortable level where you can sit straight.
- Have the right height. Ensure that your stroller’s handles are high enough that you are standing straight while pushing it and kneel or squat if you need to pick some up from the floor. Remember: bend your knees and not your back.
- Have your baby sit high on your chest when in a carrier. Your baby’s head should be under your chin when in a carrier. Having them higher up prevents their weight from pulling you forward and down.
- Stretch. Stretching right after you wake up is a great way to loosen your muscles for the day ahead, especially those on your back. Some yoga stretches focus on the back muscles
- Find A Good Crib. To avoid needing to lean into the crib to lay your baby to sleep, think about investing in a crib with sides that can be lowered. This way you can prevent any back pain that could come from lifting your child out of the crib.
- Maintain Good Posture. When living your life as a parent, you might find that you’re slouching more than you should. Maintaining a good posture will help in preventing any back pain or injuries in your daily life working or with your children.
- Back Exercises. When exercising it’s also important to focus on your back muscles to strengthen them. Adding some lifting exercises to your routine will help you in carrying your children and all the other things you need to do as a parent.
While being a parent can be a fantastic time in your life, it is also a huge change that comes with its fair share of challenges. Failing to take care of your mental health can make you feel tired and even irritable without an apparent reason.
Some tips for taking care of your mental health:
- Take a break. It can be overwhelming how much you need to get done as a parent but making time to do things you enjoy, like reading or taking a relaxing bath, is vital to stress relief.
- Ask for help. Not everyone wants to admit that they need help, but asking a partner or family member to look after your children for a few hours to rest or take care of errands like getting groceries can be a great way to manage everything in your life while still taking time for yourself.
- Go outside for some fresh air. You can either spend some time outdoors while drinking your morning coffee alone or you can go for a walk with your family.
- Prioritize Your Own Bedtime. Most parents take the time after their kids have gone to bed to take time for themselves, often staying up much later doing tasks rather than winding down and going to bed themselves. Take time to drink some tea, listen to some guided meditation and don’t look at your phone at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.
- Wake Up Earlier. Even if you kids are early risers, it’s also a good idea for you as a parent to wake up early and take some time for yourself for stretching or preparing yourself for the day ahead. Sleeping more and having an early rising time gives you more time to enjoy the day with your children.
- Invest In Therapy. Sometimes you won’t be able to work on yourself on your own, a therapist can act as a professional ear to help you through any problems you have. If you have health insurance, they should cover therapy making your mental health management more manageable for you financially as well.
- Build A Support System. You’re never alone when it comes to your struggles, whether as a parent or in the workplace, having a support system can help you through it. Friends, family, even coworkers can act as a support system to help guide you when you need emotional support, advice, or even a little encouragement.
- Exercise. As mentioned already, exercise is a great way to cope with stress, and that also includes your mental health. Go for a walk alone or with your partner to clear your head, do some yoga, or even go for a run, whatever works best for you.
- Date Night. One of the best things you can do for your children, as parents, is to strengthen your relationship with your partner. This can mean going out or just leaving the kids with their grandparents so you can stay in and make a nice healthy dinner for just the two of you.
Being a parent takes plenty of time, energy, and attention, but it doesn’t mean you should forget about taking care of yourself too. Taking care of yourself the way you take care of your children is a great place to start as it will prompt you to spend time outside, eat better, and find time to play.
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Keep this article to learn how to balance parenting and your health with tips on eating better, exercising, and mental health.