Whether they work from home, out of the home or are stay-at-home, moms today are under a tremendous amount of pressure. The pace of daily life and its challenges leave little time to unwind and release the stress from the day. Instead, we fall into bed exhausted, wake up way too early and start running again. Chronic, unchecked stress like this can literally put your health at risk. The effects of chronic stress include: high blood pressure, heart attacks, heartburn, back/neck pain, obesity, ulcers and diabetes, just to name a few. They can also affect relationships and your mental health, causing depression, loss of libido, anxiety and insomnia.
There are many ways to help manage and reduce stress in your life, and no single idea will work for everyone.
Here are a couple tips to get you started:
A recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise examined the association between exercise, diet and weight gain across various age groups in the United States. Even though overall diet quality generally improved with age, unless the subjects exercised, they didn't maintain a healthy weight. Exercise may actually be more important than making dietary changes when it comes to weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. Oh, and exercise is a great way to help reduce the effects of stress on the body too!
The food choices you make affect everything from your metabolism to your hormones and neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain that control mood). This in turn affects your emotions, concentration and energy. Studies have shown that unhealthy dietary habits are a risk factor for depression. Schizophrenia and Alzheimer's have been linked to blood sugar levels. Even your libido is affected by your food choices. You already know that diets high in saturated fat can lead to clogged arteries, but don't forget that those same arteries supply blood flow to the genital area, affecting arousal and desire. Your food choices truly do matter.
Moms, you love your children. They have changed, shaped and grown you in ways you never knew were possible. This is both rewarding and exhausting, so take a break. Whether for a few hours or a few days, the rewards of taking a little time off will benefit both you and your family. Go ahead, get away and reconnect with the woman inside of you. Give yourself permission to find time this year to honor her. Do something you love (or used to love) that doesn't involve your kids. Allow yourself to miss your children, and enjoy yourself anyway. You'll return refreshed, recharged and ready to tackle the challenges of mommy-hood head on.
Laughter is powerful medicine. It has the power to boost your mood, lower stress hormones and decrease blood pressure. It can also boost your immune system, helping you fight off all those nasty viruses your kids bring home from school. Laughter counts as a light workout too (10-15 minutes of laughter burns approximately 50 calories). Laughing actually raises your heart rate and increases abdominal strength while tightening and toning your midsection. So go ahead, be silly with your kids and skip the planks today!
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