PREVENTATIVE CARE

5 Self-Care Practices for Moms

by
Health Writer
Author
Medically Reviewed
July 8, 2021

Asking a parent to add one more thing to their endless to-do list may seem unrealistic, but it pays off in the long run. Moms often report higher levels of fatigue and stress and rate their overall health as worse than women without children. A study published in Preventative Medicine also found that for each child a woman had, her risk of obesity increased 7 percent. There are many factors that can be at play with symptoms like fatigue and weight gain, including postpartum hormonal changes , which are common but should be addressed to prevent health issues down the road.

Simply put, science-backed self-care is healthcare and it should be non-negotiable. Here are some ways mom's can priorize self-care. If you're not a mother, consider supporting those you know in doing the following!

Replenish your body consistently and creatively

Self-care isn't something you do just once. You need to continue showing up for yourself. As Parsley Health Lead Clinician Dr. McConnell reminds us, “When we’re not feeling good physically, we’re not going to be feeling good mentally and emotionally.”

Vary the activities you rely on for self-care, she says, because oftentimes typical self-care means engaging extensively with one thing. There’s power in variety, epecially when it comes to fitness and movement. Dr. McConnell tells moms to “mix it up,” because if you're only focusing on one activity (e.g., running or cycling), there’s a greater chance you’ll injure yourself.

Create a supportive environment

Take a good look at your daily activities and routines. Who inhabits your world? How do you interact with your community? Dr. McConnell calls this the bio-psycho-social model. “It’s our environment that’s also so important. It’s where we are; it’s who we spend time with; it’s what we do with our lives; what we’re passionate about; the place we occupy; the people that we have relationships with; and it’s the community we spend time with."

Dr. McConnell uses this model in her work with members at Parsley Health . “When we ask about your health, we’re asking about your physical health and your mental health, but we’re also asking about your social health—how you're doing in a community, what support you have. And I think for moms, that is more important, really, than anything else.”

Care for yourself as you care for others

Dr. McConnell reminds us: “Would you let your little one stay up on their devices until 1 a.m.? Of course, you wouldn’t. Would you deny them a healthy habit? Of course not. But the same goes for us, as moms. I think of it as shining this nurturing, empowering light that we are always granting to other people—we’re teaching them, training them, loving them—and we have to turn that back internally to ourselves.”

Remember, high levels of stress can impact you AND your children . It's imperative to your health to prevent burnout before it becomes an issue.

Find a physician you connect with

Part of self-care is also having an expert medical team around you to support and guide you when you need it. Dr. McConnell suggests, “Find a doctor you can really trust. You want to find someone you can be in a collaborative relationship with. That they will listen, hear you, and work toward common health goals .”

Bring up the smallest issues to your healthcare team, because anything may be a clue about your health. “Ask for testing,” says Dr. McConnell. “At Parsley, we do diagnostic testing —a deep dive into bloodwork to make sure we see more than the average baseline labs at a standard care practice. We run a full nutrient panel, thyroid and hormone testing, heart health, a deep dive into lipids, and metabolic markers (like glucose and insulin). And inflammatory markers, too, for data-driven healthcare .” Make sure your doctor is onboard with your goals.

by
Health Writer
Author

Brooke Klauer is a freelance writer and editor in the lifestyle and wellness space. She’s worked for various publications such as The Fold, The Chalkboard Mag, The Everygirl, and Honest History among others. She has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in education from Loyola University Chicago. When she’s not working or chasing down hugs from her three children, you will most likely find her in a cozy nook with her nose buried in a book.

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