Caring For Our Bodies

 The last Mom post I wrote, you can read it here, we dove into the subject of taking time for ourselves. Let’s expand on that idea today and talk about caring for our body.

The Lord says:
“ Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We only get one body and we better take care of it. Jesus died for us on the cross, he paid the ultimate sacrifice and we worship Him by praising Him and by doing His will here on earth. God’s will for me at this time in my life is to be a mother to my children and a wife to my husband. I cannot minister to them effectively if my body is dragging behind due to too much going on, not enough exercise, or poor nutrition.

Here are some practical ways we can care for our physical bodies.

First of all, pay attention to what your body needs. We all have limits. I know at thirty my body cannot do the things it used to when I was twenty… and it sure doesn’t look the same after having 2 babies. I definitely require more sleep now than I did when I was younger if I am going to keep up with monkey one and monkey two. I also have a much slower metabolism, which means I need to have regular exercise if I want my body to keep in shape so I can be healthy. Below I hope you will find some helpful hints on how to care for your body.

Sleep by bitzcelt, on Flickr

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  bitzcelt 

Sleep is a basic human need. It affects our physical and mental health and is necessary for the normal functioning of all the systems in our body, including our immune system. When we deprive ourselves of sleep it leads to an impairment of memory and physical performance as well as a weakened immune system and if continued it can lead to mood swings, hallucinations and other things you do not want to bring upon yourself. The average adult needs 8 to 8.5 hour of sleep to be fully restored but the average woman typically sleeps only 5 or 6 hours at night. A lack of sleep breaks down our ability to care for ourselves. How much sleep are you getting at night? Do you need to go to bed earlier or take a little nap during the day? Do not allow yourself to become over tired… it is a form of torture.

Let’s move on to my favorite subject… food! :0) How is your diet? I am not talking about a diet in the way most women think of dieting. I am merely referring to what you put in your body.

Farmers’ market haul by heatherjoan, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  heatherjoan 

Are you eating balanced meals or just scarfing the leftovers off of your kids plates in between vacuuming the living room and taking the dog out to pee. As appetizing as cold peas and crusts off of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich are, you need to make sure you body is getting enough vitamins and minerals to do the many tasks a Mom does during the day. Make sure you are getting protein, fresh fruit and veggies, whole grains, and dairy products into your daily diet. For more info peek at the new and improved food pyramid.

It’s the free beverage that every system in your body depends upon. Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues (yucky but true). It is an important part of our body’s makeup so we need to make sure we are replenishing what we are putting out.

We lose water through breathing, going to the bathroom, and sweating. So, how much should you drink? Well, that depends on your health, how active you are, and even where you live but a good rule of thumb is 8 or 9 cups (which sounds like a lot but a cup is only 8 ounces) a day. If you fill up your water bottle a few times a day then you have completed that task.

A lack of water will dehydrate you which causes your body to have a hard time carrying out normal functions, mild dehydration can also drain your energy and make you tired. So set a goal for yourself today and try to keep hydrated. Personally I prefer water over any other beverage but if you are not a water hog, like me, try sparkling water, adding lime or lemon to your water or eat some foods that have a high percentage of water (20% of our total fluid intake is accounted from food), such as tomatoes or watermelon.

As women we need to be on top of health related issues that are specific to us. This means making sure you have your pap smear, colonoscopy, and mammogram when needed.
  Being a daughter of a breast cancer survivor I make sure to have my yearly tests. I have cared for my Mom while she was sick and I cared for my mother-in-law who went to be with the Lord after six months of enduring stage 4 colon cancer. These diseases are real and they are prevalent in our time ladies.  Be proactive! Make sure you talk to your doctor and have your tests done. It may be awkward and uncomfortable but it is much better to take preventative measures now. Early detection is key so PLEASE take care of yourselves in this area.

Exercise… a taboo word to many yet it is so important to live a healthy live and keep our bodies in shape. The benefits of exercise are almost too numerous to count. Here are just a few:

Exercise improves our mood. When you exercise the endorphins in your brain increase which send out “happy feelings”… regular exercise is a great way to battle depression or burn off steam after a stressful day, you are guaranteed to feel better after.

Exercise helps combat chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoperosis, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancers.

Exercise helps manage your weight and if you are a Momma then you know that in order for most of us to be able to shed the baby pounds we need to have some form of physical activity.

Exercising gives you more energy. Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and regular exercise helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently which gives you more energy.

Being active also helps you sleep better. Try not to exercise too close to bedtime as it can energize you but if you exercise earlier in the day it can help you get a good night’s sleep.

And (gasp) dare I say it, exercise can be fun! Physical activity does not have to be a dreaded part of your routine. Find something you enjoy… ballroom dancing, a local hiking trail, walking with a friend, playing at the park with the kids, planning a neighborhood kickball game… enjoy it! Put some loving movement into your day and reap the benefits.

Another part of caring for our bodies is to get ready each day. I happened to stumble upon a discussion at another blog this past week about stay at home Moms and what they wear. I was able to take the poll and add my comments. The majority of the Moms said that they stay in their jammies all day or sweats and a t-shirt and they might throw something on before hubby walks through the door. I totally believe that if we take care of ourselves on the outside then we will take care of ourselves on the inside.

I have found that if I wake up and get ready for the day (I am not talking about a full face of makeup, manicured nails, and dressy clothes), meaning I wash my face, do my hair (at least run a comb through it), and wear something comfortable but presentable, then I am more productive and I feel better about myself.

We have all had the moment when at 1:00pm there is a knock on the door and we are in our jammies still with bed head… it is embarrassing opening that door. Now, there are days that I declare JAMMY DAY. Those days are when I am sick or if it is a bitterly cold, blizzard and I know no one in their right mind would stop by on such a day and if they do then they should also be in their jammies and we can have cocoa together.

I know it is easy to not take the time to get ready for the day when you have no where to go but I truly think it will make you feel good to wipe the toothpaste off your face, swap the paint stained sweats for a cute pair of jeans and the t-shirt with a hole in it for something classy, run a brush through the bed head, swipe on some lip gloss and go make cookies with the kids. Hubby will come home with a gleam in his eye when you open the door and you will feel like a million bucks. Just try it… I think you’ll like it!

So… let’s recap.
Sleep - get enough to feel rested and ready to face the day
Food - healthy stuff that goes beyond Lucky Charms and coffee.
Water - essential for your body to function and it’s free so stay hydrated.
Health - get those annual exams, they may save your life.
Exercise - Include some movement into your routine… 20 minutes a day will make a world of difference.
Hygiene/Clothes - Wash your face, comb your hair, and put on some clothes. There are enough people shopping at Walmart today in their jammies, you do not need to be one of them. J Even though you may not work out of the home, your job is important so dress like it is.

Drop by next Monday when we will be talking about our mind (I know, scary isn’t it) and how we can keep it healthy.

I hope this Monday Moment for Moms inspired you… if you have any info to share with us please do so by adding a comment below. I would love to hear from you!