As a parent, the choices we make can affect how we function not only as a parent but as an individual. Making unhealthy lifestyle choices can add more strain on our parenting than we can even imagine. So make healthy lifestyle choices is very important. But it doesn’t always work out that way, does it? I have found myself making some bad choices and paying for them later. That is why I was excited to get this contributed post with these great tips on how to make better lifestyle choices that can help keep parenthood from becoming miserable.
All of us are surrounded by airbrushed images of perfection, and parents are certainly no exception. It can seem like everywhere we look parents are assailed by images of picture perfect and impossibly young-looking parents grinning with unimaginable joy at their kids while bathed in the perfect light of a beautiful spring morning. The iconography of advertising tells us that parenthood is supposed to be a universally and unrelentingly joyous experience… Maybe this is why we feel so bad about ourselves when our real-life experiences don’t mirror this. Check out this Washington Post article from a few years ago that reveals that parenthood can be worse than divorce or even bereavement for our mental health. If this feels achingly familiar, it may well be worth reassessing the lifestyle choices that parenthood inflicts upon us and seeing what we can do to redress the balance of our quality of life…
Don’t let parenthood make you a hermit
It’s all too easy to see parenthood as an elaborate form of house arrest. As wonderful and edifying as it often is to spend quality time at home with our kids, it’s also perfectly natural (and important) to want to spend time with your partner, your friends, and your social circle to live your life outside of being a parent. Becoming a hermit parent will inhibit your personal, social and intellectual growth and will actually impair your efficacy as a parent. How can you expect to raise your kids with a healthy understanding of the world if you refuse to participate in it? Your kids will want a cool parent by their side, not a twitchy recluse.
Get up, get out, get active
There are many reasons why regular exercise improves your quality of life and makes you a better parent. That morning job, yoga lesson or a trip to the gym gives you a little time away from work and home and the respective troubles and pressures of each. Moreover, it boosts your brain’s production of the neurotransmitter dopamine and endorphins. These boost and stabilize your mood, making you a happier, healthier parent and a nicer person to be around.
Getting plenty of sleep has a wide range of health and psychological benefits. Indeed, a good night’s sleep can even make you look younger and more attractive. While we sleep, our bodies rush collagen to our skin keeping it firm and youthful while also feeding water and nutrients to our skin and hair, ensuring that they are well hydrated and look well nourished and healthy. Moreover, restful sleep on quality mattresses has numerous psychological benefits. A good night’s sleep can relieve stress and keep anxiety at bay while facilitating healthy cognitive function. All told, sleep makes us prettier, smarter and happier!
Cut out the toxins
It’s all too easy as a parent to over-rely on ready meals, processed foods, and unhealthy snacks, foregoing water and nutrition and lurching from one caffeine hit to the next. Unfortunately, the time saved by doing so is a false economy because living like this does little to improve our quality of life. Cut out the toxins, ease off the stimulants and fill your plate with green veggies, whole grains, and pulses and see how much better you feel after a fortnight.
Parenting can be difficult but we don’t want to make it more difficult by the choices we make. The lifestyle choices we make as a parent not only affect how we function as a parent but they directly affect our children.
I can relate to the first tip and have often had to remind myself when I was younger to get out of the house. Taking care of children can keep you so busy that we often forget about ourselves. Getting outside is important to our well-being because we need things like sunlight and social interaction.
Exercise is not only important for weight management but it helps us with things like stress relief and improves our mood. These alone can help us with our parenting and give us more energy to do the things we need to accomplish as parents.
Everyone needs sleep, but parents need a little bit more because those little ones are counting on us. It can be difficult to find the time to manage a household and get enough sleep but if you manage your time properly you can accomplish it all.
Lastly, the time you save from unhealthy food practices can actually do harm to your body and make it harder to function. I learned the hard way that easy isn’t always better. You can still find simple ways to incorporate healthy foods into your diet that will keep your body and your children’s functioning properly. A healthy diet means proper health, better mood, and lots of energy.
So, do you make choices as a parent you are not proud of? Do you have any tips to help those of us who make the wrong choices make better ones? I would love to hear your experiences and suggestions below.