We are all so busy ! Work, children, spouse, housework, parents, siblings, volunteer work,… As a working mum myself, I know we often come last on our list of priorities ! And taking care of our health can sometimes take a back-seat. Until something serious forces us to reconsider.
During one of my recent business trips (in Rome), I found a lump in one of my breast. My heart sank, I immediately panicked and started imagining the worst. For an entire week, it was all I could think about and suddenly all my worries about work and the kids seemed ridiculously trivial. I ended up being lucky : a very kind radiologist diagnosed today a benign cyst and it is now sorted out.
For this entire week of agony, I thought a lot about how health is something we often take for granted, even though it is the absolute backbone of our lives. Without our health, there is so much we won’t be able to do, so much hope that can get taken away.
So now that this big scare is over, I am determined to keep preserving my health and help you to do the same by sharing some simple ways you can take care of your health. No hippie fluffy bullshit, just common sense practical tips !
- Go to bed early : Getting enough sleep is a good basis to start from. Sleep-deprivation causes mental health strain, overeating, stress and long-term harm. In the early days with a newborn, there is not much you can do but otherwise 8 hours is the goal. What time do your kids wake up ? Subtract 8 hours and you know when to go to bed !
- Make your evening counts so you can go to bed early : Going to bed at 10 means the evening can be short and I know it is frustrating. But a good way to make it better is to make conscious choices about what you do with your evenings. Will Love Island really bring you more satisfaction than reading a good book ? If you need to fold laundry, can you do it with an interesting podcast or good music in the background rather than in front of the telly ? It’s up to you to decide what is the most deeply satisfying (and no shame if it is Love Island) but once you know, do that ! And then you will go to bed more satisfied and happy !
- Eat real food : I have written several posts on this, but it is really easy to eat wholesome food. An omelette with frozen veg takes literally minutes to cook and is much better for you than a ready-made meal. And know your basic : red meat yes but not every day, cured meat in moderation, not too much salt…
- See your doctor if something is not right : I know life is busy busy but there is no second you. If something is wrong, don’t delay and go see your GP. A good rule of thumbs : if your kid had the same symptom, would you take them ? If the answer is yes, then you should march yourself right to the surgery !
- Exercise that fits into your routine : Finding the time to regularly go to the gym as a working mum is borderline impossible. But can you cycle to work ? Or walk part of the way ? Do walking 1-2-1 with your team ? Climb the stairs instead of the lift ?
- Limit alcohol : There is no safe limit with alcohol and it also makes your sleep less restorative. No alcohol during the work week is an easy way to limit your intake and help protect your health.
- Don’t forget your mental health : High-stress level is suspected to be a contributor to cancer so try and keep it at bay. Consistency is the key to have a low baseline of stress, so think about a couple of short activities that have the maximum impact. Lion does 10 minutes of meditation a day. I drink a nightime herbal tea every night (the Yogi Tea bedtime – it does wonder for zzzz). What works for you that you can do in 15 minutes ? A hot bath ? Yoga ? Dancing ? Reading ? Sex ? One of these at least 3 nights a week will help.
You only have one body and mind and it is the key to everything you are striving to achieve in your life so please take care of it !