It’s 5:30am. The alarm clock sounds off, catapulting you into a new day and just when you were slipping into that deep, rejuvenating sleep. Oh well, you’re used to it by now. Daylight is ducking just below the horizon, and your day is booked solid. You have the next two hours to cook four breakfasts, bag three lunches, dress the kids, make the beds, do the dishes, shower…maybe, get the kids off to school, and get yourself off to work. It’s 5:30am. The alarm clock sounds off, catapulting you into a new day and just when you were slipping into that deep, rejuvenating sleep. Oh well, you’re used to it by now. Daylight is ducking just below the horizon, and your day is booked solid. You have the next two hours to cook four breakfasts, bag three lunches, dress the kids, make the beds, do the dishes, shower…maybe, get the kids off to school, and get yourself off to work. After a solid day of phone calls, emails, invoices, and a cold lunch quietly eaten in the light of your computer screen, you are off to grab the children, get them changed and off to soccer practice, dance class, a football scrimmage, and piano lessons. Drop them off, drive home, start dinner, drive back, pick them up, eat, help them with their homework, get them ready for bed, tuck in the little one, check your emails again, read a few pages of that book you’ve been trying to finish, and then nod off with the open pages spread across your chest while the lamp is still on. And then… It’s 5:30am. Being a busy mom has many challenges and rewards. You must be organized, flexible, patient, and giving. It is difficult to find the time to take care of yourself when every waking moment is devoted to taking care of others. How do you find the time? What do you do if you find the time? Here are some ways to make sure you are taking care of yourself so that you may take care of everyone else. Schedule in a Workout Working out even for a half an hour will boost your energy, reduce stress, and make you feel good about yourself. Clearly your day is packed, and every minute feels like it is allocated but there is time. Even if you need to get up at 5:00am instead of 5:30am, the benefits of the workout will far outweigh the benefits of an extra half an hour of sleep. Find the holes in your schedule, or create them, and get your heart rate going every day. We thrive on consistency, and if you make exercise a priority, it will become an indispensable part of your routine. Drink More Water Substitute water in place of as many other types of drinks as you can. Pass on the soda and coffee…well maybe not the coffee…but drink water constantly throughout the day. Hydration has a major effect on energy levels and brain function. Get Outside and Play with the Kids Even 15 minutes of getting fresh air, interacting with your children, and ignoring all your deadlines and due dates can do a lot to help keep your sanity. Being outdoors can improve your mood. Playing with your children helps you bond with them, not to mention a little bit more exercise is good for you as well. Eat a Good Breakfast You have been fasting all night while you sleep. Your blood sugar is low, and you need to replenish the fuel for your body to function at its best. With so many things on your to do list, this is a meal you can afford to skip. Be sure to include the right foods, like lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fruit. Fuel your body with foods that are high in fiber and nutrients. They digest more slowly and help prevent spikes in your blood sugar, which helps your energy stay regulated. 75% of your carb intake should come from non-starchy veggies and low-glycemic fruits. Breakfast sets the tone for how your body functions during the day. It is truly the most important meal. Taking better care of yourself as a mom is about small steps, and reasonable changes. There are things that have to be done every day no matter how you feel, or what you think you have time for. Consider thinking about it this way; taking care of yourself first will strengthen and empower you to take better care of those around you. It’s like the old saying “pay yourself first.” If it’s all riding on you, then the best thing you can do is be the best you for everyone.