For a parent, it goes without saying that nothing comes before their kids. Parents will routinely make tremendous sacrifices in their own lives, in order to give their kids the best possible set of opportunities in life, and to ensure that their particular circumstances are as peasant and uplifting as possible.
While this is natural, well and good, it is nonetheless quite possible for dedicated parents to be too dismissive of their own health and well-being, while striving to raise their kids and make their lives as happy and opportunity-rich as possible.
And, it’s worth pointing out that it’s not going to be good for either your children, your partner, or yourself, if you end up burning yourself out completely as a result of your desire to be “supermom” or “super dad.”
Here are a few straightforward tips for taking care of your own health while raising kids.
Consider online GP assessments if you don’t have time for face-to-face consultations
One issue that many parents tend to face, is that they are simply busy around the clock, dealing with the various responsibilities involved in parenting itself, not to mention more run-of-the-mill obligations like paying the bills, going grocery shopping, and all the rest.
Since the schedules of many parents are often so incredibly booked up, it stands to reason that those parents will often attempt to shrug off lingering health conditions rather than make a GP’s appointment, simply because the time involved. Not only does arranging the appointment take time, but so does getting down to the GP’s practice, and having a consultation.
Fortunately, these days, there are tools and systems out there that allow you to arrange an online GP assessment, from the comfort of your own home, which often culminates in you having a prescription written for you via the web, that you can then collect at your local pharmacy.
For certain conditions and symptoms, an online assessment or video-chat-based consultation likely won’t work. But for many other conditions – particularly recurring health issues that your GP is already aware of – an online assessment and consultation might in fact be just what you need, while saving you a whole world of time and trouble.
Make sure you are eating well, and that you don’t have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies
When people are very busy and preoccupied, in general, it’s often the case that they let their own diet and nutrition fall by the wayside to a pretty substantial degree.
Busy entrepreneurs often end up becoming malnourished while struggling to invest as many hours as possible into their new start-up, and busy parents can often end up falling into the same trap, as a result of being constantly on their feet, and perpetually scrambling to try and ensure that everything is on track with regards to their kids.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that, as long as you are eating something on a fairly regular basis, and aren’t starving, you are meeting your nutritional needs and anything else is essentially a matter of “fine-tuning.”
In reality, though, it’s certainly possible to eat at a prolonged calorie deficit by accident if you are distracted, and many people suffer from deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, even in affluent, developed societies.
Magnesium deficiency, for example, is very prevalent, and has negative repercussions ranging from an increased risk of heart disease, to low energy, and depression.
One of the best things you can do to ensure that your own health is “on point” as a parent, is to eat filling, well-balanced meals on a regular basis, and to consider supplementing with vitamins and minerals you may be deficient in.
Try to get as much sleep as you can manage (and make that sleep as restful as possible)
The sleep scientist and researcher, Matthew Walker, lists all sorts of incredible facts about the importance of sleep, in his highly-acclaimed book “Why We Sleep.”
Among other things, he points out (on the first page, no less) that failing to get adequate amounts of sleep, even just for a week, has such a powerfully negative effect on your blood sugar regulation, that any doctor who tested you would class you as prediabetic in that state.
Sleep is extremely important – but it’s also one of the first things that tend to go out the window when we are very busy and preoccupied. And parents are already at a disadvantage when it comes to sleep – especially parents of very small children.
In order to ensure that your health is as good as it can be for your family, however, you need to make a point of trying to get as much sleep as you can manage – and of making that sleep as restful as possible.
Good “sleep hygiene” – such as avoiding bright screens within a few hours of bedtime, and keeping your bedroom at a reasonably cool temperature – can play a big role in enhancing the quality of your sleep. Particular supplements and nightly routines may also help.
Find regular opportunities to get some fresh air
Everyone knows that exercise is fundamentally important for good health – but did you know that research has found that exercise done in nature has a more potent positive effect that exercise done elsewhere?
There are many interesting studies and anecdotes that show that getting out into nature may be crucially important in terms of maximising your overall health and well-being. People who spend the most time in natural settings, or who live closer to natural settings, tend to have significantly better health outcomes than those who live in cities, for example.
Find some regular opportunities to get some fresh air, and you’ll be doing your health a very real favour.
In fact, fresh air in particular is extremely important, in large part because we tend to spend so much time in confined indoor environments these days. While your home may be cosy, there is also a real risk that the air inside is stagnant and polluted, due to things like mould spores, pet dander, and gases released by various appliances.
At the very least, you should be opening the windows to air the place out regularly.