When you spend all day trying to keep your kids from hurting themselves, how can you find time to take care of yourself and stay healthy too? Moms make it happen and here’s how.
Moms everywhere know the old joke about getting enough exercise by just having a youngster running around the house, but is there any truth to that cliché? It turns out that you do burn more calories while taking care of a child. Is that enough exercise? Probably not, but of course this depends on eating habits, activity levels, and how you define enough.
What if you take a look at overall health? To answer that question, let’s turn to the authority on health-related issues. The World Health Organization defines healthy as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
While this quote from 1948 is the source of some controversy, let’s take a look at some ways you can conquer a complete physical, mental, and social well-being as a busy mom.
Aside from a broken leg, a sprained ankle, or wounds from falling out of a tree, you might not think you’re experiencing physical pain. Sure, the occasional headache or sore back might start nagging you, but does that mean you’re not healthy?
Well, yes. According to the WHO definition, you aren’t healthy in that moment. So how can you take care of those issues in a way that puts you in a state of healthiness?
One way is through getting a massage, something that 89% of consumers agree can be effective at reducing pain. Even 40% of hospitals worldwide agree that there are some health benefits in offering massage therapy as a treatment option.
While massages can be healthful, even lowering cortisol levels by 50%, they don’t quite get at the objective health the WHO is looking for. What about mental health?
More than 80% of depressed individuals don’t seek out help or treatment. Of the treatments for depression, one of the most well researched and effective methods is exercise. This doesn’t mean just running and lifting heavy things, but merely engaging your muscles physically in a tiring manner. Now, of course, exercise doesn’t cure depression, but it can certainly help. Exercise is also good for the rest of your body. So if you have a healthy mind and body, why would the WHO definition not consider you healthy?
If you’re a parent, most of your socialization occurs with an adorable blob of baby that either can’t yet speak or won’t stop screaming. Though there is often a powerful connection that can be fulfilling in many other ways, it isn’t the type of social health most often referred to. Social health is the connection you feel to your peers; it is based on trust, compassion, respect, acceptance, and reciprocity.
Social health of this sort is predictive of at least a 50% higher survival rate than those who suffer from social isolation according to an analysis of 148 studies on social health and mortality. So, if you needed an excuse for margaritas with the girls, there you go!
Being healthy, of course, cannot be broken down so simply as the World Health Organization did in 1948. We all can agree that when you catch a cold, for two to 14 days, you aren’t healthy. Rather, you are sick. But after an average of 10 days, you will no longer be sick. You will be healthy in respect to your baseline of health.
We are constantly revising our models of health, and it might not ever be entirely decisive what ‘healthy’ is, but we do know that exercise, relaxation, a positive state of mind, and meaningful social connections are all crucial to the ethereal healthiness we all seek.
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