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3 Easy Ways to Start Making Healthy Choices for Ourselves as Over-worked Parents {And We’re Not Talk

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

There’s more to making healthy choices than just having a good diet and exercise routine. Our mental and emotional health is just as, if not more, important than that of our bodies. As parents, we are busy enough keeping our tiny humans alive and well that trying to do the same for ourselves seems nearly impossible but it is so damned important.

We are role models every single day and it’s exhausting - and difficult to remember. So we eat the easiest access junk food, we binge watch HGTV instead of being productive or exercising, we lose our tempers quickly and forget to talk through what’s troubling us at work and home, we go weeks - months, even - on end without taking time out for ourselves. There’s no shortage of unhealthy mind and body behaviours. From biting your nails to staring blankly at your phone screen for hours, everyone struggles with bad habits at some point in their lives.

One of my - many - bad habits is forgetting about self care. I am that typical ‘hot mess momma’ who desperately needs new shoes, a hair cut, and come to think of it… when was my last shower? These poor mental and emotional choices sometimes manifest themselves in external frustration about unrelated things - like a spilled cup of juice or a request to run an errand for my husband. It’s important to make time for yourself not only for yourself but for others as well. You know that, I know that, but does it stop me from putting my kids first - too a flaw? Nope. So, if just knowing it's not good for me doesn't drive me to action, what will? This article might give us a hint as to WHY but what about the HOW?

The following is a list of 3 easy ways to start making healthy choices for yourself and your family - especially the children who are always watching, especially when you don’t want them to be. *sneaks another gummy bear into mouth before dinner*

Own up to your flaws…

This health blogger suggests that “the first step in stopping your unhealthy choices is to determine what they are. Simply tracking the things you do will make you more aware of your behaviour.” While this method is sure to work for some, a busy parent doesn’t always have the time to formally track their everyday happenings. I mean, I can barely keep track of my cell phone… and car keys and… where did I leave my glasses? Alternatively, just recognizing a poor health choice when it happens will point you in the right direction. That, in itself, often keeps me in better check than if I turn a blind eye or make excuses for my behaviours.

Watching your poor choices get repeated by your little ones is a real eye opener as well. When I see that happening - and I do, often. I stop and - honestly - explain to them why it’s a poor choice and that I, too, am trying to get out of the bad habit. This reinforces your decision to cut the bad habit out of your life and it teaches your child a valuable lesson about self control and acknowledging difficult truths, especially about oneself.

Talk about it.

While talking to your children about working through bad habits is a good lesson for both of you, you may be surprised to find out how many others adults and parents are in the same boat and also how many of them are ready, willing, and eager to lend a helping hand. Having a chat with like minded others - parents or otherwise - may help you find out why you’ve managed to get into a rough cycle of poor health choices and what you might be able to do to turn yourself around. Sometimes just talking to someone clears your head enough to form some semblance of a solution or at least which path to take next. Similarly, they may have something affecting their health negatively that you might be able to help with too. I don’t know where I’d be without my mommy-friends to support me through this crazy thing we call parenthood.

Take Action!

Utilise your resources! If someone offers to help, ACCEPT! Helping someone makes a person feel good and getting the help you need feels great! It’s a win-win so do it! Then, once you’ve figured out where the trouble is stemming from, take the time to do what it takes to nip it in the butt. Whether that means letting someone else babysit your kids while you go to the gym, or the spa, or to a coffee shop to write your next blog post… whatever you need, again I say, DO IT!

There will be many articles and blog posts on how to eat healthy, how to slim down, how to do your makeup just right, but sometimes all you need is for someone to tell you that it’s okay to be human. You’re allowed to indulge a little and live on the edge while the kids are asleep but don't let it eat away at your mental and emotional health. All of the choices made in a day are important so choose wisely. This article on Positive Psychology lends a more elaborate view into why people choose not to engage in healthy behaviours - mental, physical, or otherwise - and they also provide “a better approach” to helping people get on the right track.

Take your you time, have a late night snack, and ignore your responsibilities every once and awhile, but do yourself a favour and don't beat yourself up over it! Just be the best parent you can be! Don't worry about the super fit mom down the street, or the super daddy who’s got their kids’ extracurricular schedule memorized down to the minute. Don't worry about the parents whose kids sleep through the night, eat whatever they're given, and who listen when they're being spoken to. Don't worry about any of them, - especially that last one cause their kids are probably cyborgs bought from Amazon or something - just worry about you and yours. Keep yourself in a healthy space and it will automatically trickle down to your 'kidlettes', making them healthy - and happy! - as well.

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