The human body is the best work of art said, Jess C. Scott. Further, Isaac Asimov says the human brain is the most complicated organisation of matter that we know.
These two statements reflect truths that can be universally agreed upon.
Having been a doctor for a good number of years has allowed me to see and experience first-hand the potential of the human mind, body and spirit.
For this reason, because each one of us is uniquely amazing, we must each take time to take care of ourselves so that we can give the best of ourselves to others.
For mothers, this is certainly not easy. If a mother had two slices of fish that she was stir-frying, one for herself and the other for her child, and one of the slices of fish unfortunately broke, she’d without question give her child the slice of fish that remained whole. That’s natural for a mother — always giving the best to others and many times not taking the best for herself.
For the working mother, the pressure to perfectly achieve is high. She wants to prove she is indispensable at work while at the same time be the mother and wife or partner with an ‘S’ on her chest. The subject of work-life balance couldn’t be more pertinent to working moms. With this in mind, the first tip I would like to let all working mothers out there know is that there is no ‘perfect’ work-life balance. Don’t strive for a perfect schedule but rather a realistic one. Also, it’s not possible to give priority to everything all the time.
At times, work may take on greater priority whereas other times it will be home matters.
For the working moms who have been at it for a long time, they have achieved their rhythm. For those starting, it’s important to understand that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn along the way.
Below are some quick tips for the working mother to help her care for herself so that she can care for others:
Eat healthily. This cannot be gainsaid. Our bodies need different food types as they serve different purposes. Snacking is also a good idea but remember to snack on healthy foods such as fruits, plain yoghurt, nuts and seeds.
When eating try to stick to one plate a meal. Half of the plate should be filled with vegetables, and the other two quarters with proteins and starch respectively.
Get enough sleep. Being a working mom, sleep seems a luxury and yet it is not. Rather sleep is crucial for good health.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Sleep plays the role of boosting immunity, improving memory, restoring and energising, and improving creativity.
Know your peaks and troughs. If you’re a morning person, assign time in the morning for your toughest tasks.
Make good use of a time management tool that works well for you to ensure that everything you need to do gets done and in good time.
Unplug from electronic devices when you get home or when relaxing from work. This will allow you to truly take a break from your official duties and concentrate on the things that need to get done outside of work.
Take time to exercise. Exercise provides the benefits of keeping one happy, helping with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, giving an energy boost, maintaining healthy skin and aiding in brain health and memory.
Take breaks from work. Once you’ve worked for 90 minutes continuously, take 15 minutes to stretch and walk around. Practice also taking 10 deep breaths when you take a break.
Make time for recreational activities. Work on your hobbies and passions. Fortunately, you can do this with your family.
Have your blood pressure checked every six months. This will enable you to be in control of your health and avoid the heart-related scares that will put stress on your family and yourself.
Do a Body Mass Index (BMI) yearly. To measure BMI, take your mass in kilogrammes and divide it by your height in metres squared.
Normal BMI should range within 20-25. This means you have a healthy weight for your height.
Remain positive and have faith. Patients are known to recover even from debilitating diseases because they believed better would come. Being a mother is the most rewarding journey for every woman who gets to be one
Though the journey has its pains, it is worth it. When overwhelmed, don’t forget you can always ask for help.
The writer is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist.