As a WAHM, it can be hard to stay healthy. You have flexible hours, generally, and you aren’t necessarily being seen every day by co-workers or clients. It can be tempting at times to hang out in your pajamas all day, and it’s easy to develop some really unhealthy habits. But staying healthy as a WAHM doesn’t have to be hard.
All it takes is to be mindful of a few key areas.
Staying healthy physically is more than scheduling time at the gym or having a home workout. It’s about healthy sleeping and eating habits too.
It’s so tempting to burn the candle at both ends when you’re a WAHM. Trying to fit in everything you need to do as a mom, along with keeping a home and maybe a relationship with your significant other alive, and still fit in your work needs — well you might find yourself getting up early and staying up late.
But going without sleep, or limiting how much you sleep, will put you on the road to burnout. You’ll find that your productivity, creativity and your mood will suffer with your lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation affects more than your energy — it affects your memory too. So if you need to function well to get everything done, you need to prioritize your sleep.
If you find it hard to fall asleep at night, try setting up a sleep routine. Turn off the devices about 30 minutes before your desired bedtime and do things that will help your brain and body slow down. Try having a rest period during the day as well, to help catch up if you’ve been neglecting your sleep habits for a while.
The old adage is that you need 8 glasses of water a day. Well, you might not need 8, but you do need to hydrate.
Water does so many good things for your body. It flushes out the wastes, it energizes, it helps with skin and hair issues, and it refreshes. So pay attention to your cues and drink your water when you really do feel thirst.
But beware. Don’t reach for the soda pop, juice or coffee when you’re feeling thirsty (at least, not all the time!). Once in a while, a pick-me-up drink is fine, but juice and soda can lead to sugar crashes. And caffeine not only dehydrates you, but it can interfere with your sleep too!
This is my biggest struggle. When the kids are eating meals, they’re contained, relatively quiet and occupied, and that makes it easy for me to catch up on emails, chores or other tasks. So I often find myself skipping meals in order to do things that feel more pressing.
Then, when I get hungry, I’m reaching for the quick-and-easy fillers, instead of eating a proper meal. And junk food isn’t going to help my health any.
Food is fuel. Just like your car, your body needs regular filling in order to function well. And premium fuel gets better results. Unlike a car, however, you only have one body. No trade-ins here. So feed your body the best stuff.
And supplement too, if your diet has been neglected for a while. You may want to book yourself an appointment with your doctor, and check on your nutrient levels. If you’ve got more than one child, your iron, B-vitamins and other nutrient levels might be on the low side, and you won’t believe the difference supplementing will make in your health.
Where do you work? As a WAHM, I can curl up on the couch with my laptop, or hunch over my desk and type away. And then I end up with cramps, pins-and-needles and sore hips and back.
Adding movement into your day can help prevent issues in your back, hips and overall health. Try standing up to work — move your laptop to a counter for better posture. If you do sit to work, use posture supportive chairs or cushions to help. Or try an exercise ball for extra movement while you work.
Even better, schedule in workout time in your weekly routines. Try a gym with childcare, like a YMCA, if you have children at home. Prioritizing your health isn’t going to make your business suffer. Instead, you’ll find your productivity will soar.
Even if we prioritize our physical health, we can often forget that our emotional & mental health is important too. As a WAHM, it’s easy to go days without talking to another adult about things important to us, and not logistics or work related.
Isolation isn’t healthy. If the only other adult you see is the mailman or your neighbour you wave hi to when you pick up the paper, you are going to feel ill. Set up regular date nights with your significant other, or girls’ nights with friends. Grab the phone and call your mom, sister or bestie. And if you struggle with maintaining relationships, sign up for a class (that isn’t work-related!) and make sure you go! Getting out is healthy.
Taking time off just for you to be a person (and not just somebody’s mom/wife/employee/contractor), is essential for your mental health. This doesn’t have to take up a lot of time or money — and you can combine it with other healthy habits.
Try reading a book once in a while. Your gym time, hobby class, or date night can also work as downtime for you. What doesn’t work is screen time. Watching a movie or TV show might be relaxing, but it’s not mentally refreshing.
The best way to make sure you get downtime is to schedule it. Whether it’s 5 minutes every day to read a few pages in your novel before bed, or a weekly session with a massage therapist, make an appointment with yourself to take time off.
Your mental and emotional health often affects your mood and energy. So if you find yourself in a funk, try reconnecting with your own soul and spirit.
I’m not one for a lot of exotic practices, but having a basic journal can be freeing mentally. Practicing meditation, recording what you are grateful for, and releasing your worries can help cleanse your mind of negativity and pessimism.
Sometimes one of the best ways to make yourself feel better is to make a difference to someone else. Whether you go big and offer a pro bono contract to someone, or you simply pay for the order behind you in the drive-thru, giving back will help your own mental and spiritual health.
Try a Random Act of Kindness, or give a small gift to someone. Donate to your favorite charity, or even better, volunteer. Generosity is an awesome way to refresh your own spirit.
Declutter your environment:
Look around you. Do you see things out of place, crowding into your space, or just in the way? A cluttered environment clutters your mind. It can impede your mood, energy and productivity, and hurt your creativity.
Cleaning is a great cure for writer’s block, and beauty inspires! If you’re needing some motivation, try decluttering your space. Spend an hour or two cleaning up, and watch your own energy increase too.
And don’t forget the power of smell. There’s nothing like a fresh, sweet smell in the air to energize your mind and body. Need to wake up? Aromatherapy can help you turn a bad day into a better day.
Stressing over your money can ruin your motivation. If you’re wondering where the money went every month, you might be tempted to give up the WAHM life, even though you wanted to work from home. Here’s how to keep going, even when income isn’t where you want it to be:
Having a budget means getting your money under your control. You need a plan for every single dollar you get. Whether you do it on paper, use an app, or meet with a financial expert, set a budget and stick to it.
Having a budget isn’t about being controlled, it’s about being in control of your own money. That means you get to tell your money what it’s supposed to do, rather than your money telling you what you can and cannot do. Isn’t that freeing?
You aren’t restricted by budgets. Budgets are simply determining ahead of time what your choices will be. Budgets shouldn’t be made out of fear, but instead out of clear decision making. Set your goals, and decide in advance what you will do with your money.
Leave room for spontaneous by choosing to have a fun money option, if you think you need it. But you might find that the freedom of knowing exactly what you’re doing with your money is better.
The only way you’re going to reach your goals is if you pay attention to where your money is going. Keep an eye on your savings, on your credit report and on your investments. Having expert advice is a great way to help, but ultimately it’s your money. You get to decide. So make sure you know what’s going on.
Staying healthy as a WAHM isn’t hard.
It just means you need to pay attention. Pay attention to your body, and give it the hydration, fuel and rest it needs for optimal performance. Don’t neglect your social and spiritual health, but connect with yourself and others regularly. And keep an eye on where the money goes. Make those decisions in advance, and feel confident in your choices.
Does it seem like a lot of extra work? It isn’t. It’s just about healthy habits and better choices. Choosing to drink water instead of that extra cup of coffee, choosing to turn off the TV and computer 30 minutes earlier, and calling that friend you’ve only been texting for the last 3 weeks are small choices with huge impacts.
And you don’t have to make changes all at once. Pick one area to start making healthier choices in. What area will you choose?