What does a well-nourished life look like for you as a wife, mom and Women’s Health Physical Therapist?
Wow, this is such an important question, Jen. I think the answer to this changes for each of us depending on the season and stage of life we are currently experiencing. Right now, I’m a mom to three young girls (ages 3 and 16 month old twins), a wife to an entrepreneur, and have just opened a Physical Therapy practice dedicated to Women’s Health (oh, and we have an adorable dog that I try to remember to feed). To be well nourished, is to be well in our whole body: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As a Physical Therapist, I’ll speak to the need to nourish our physical bodies: our muscles, joints, nerves, and blood flow through daily movement of some form, even if that just looks like sitting on the floor and stretching your body as you play with your children. We need to nourish our respiratory system and respiratory diaphragm by practicing deep diaphragmatic breathing. In my physical therapy practice, I incorporate a lot of training around breathing and how that can effect other areas of our body, especially our pelvic floor. Diaphragmatic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which can reduce stress, anxiety, and inflammation. A win-win just for breathing.
I am a firm believer in nourishing our bodies through food. Our food choices directly impact our whole-body health. To make our everyday life around food simple, I make sure to only stock food in the house that myself and my children can have free-range over. It’s exhausting to be constantly fighting with our children over food. Our house rule is: If you see it in the house, and I don’t have to cook it….you can eat it! Sometimes this means my daughter decides to open the freezer and eat a popsicle for dinner (homemade from veggies, fruit, coconut milk & grassfed collagen protein power). My husband’s business, ButcherBox, speaks to our family’s love of food and also keeps our freezer well stocked with grassfed beef, organic chicken, and pastured heritage pork. I believe we are all, in very different ways, on our own journeys towards nourishing our lives.
From your perspective, what is one thing busy moms can do to increase a sense of health and happiness?
One thing I’ve been trying to do, Jen, is be intentional about my space during nap time. I’m lucky enough that all three of my girls still take an afternoon nap. In the past, I would find myself cleaning/cooking/laundry/etc during nap time and promised myself some self-care time once all those tasks were finished. Rare was the day the girls were still sleeping and I had time left over for myself after my chores were complete. More often I would find myself angry when the first child woke and I still hadn’t had my self care time. In this new season, I’m trying something new. Once the girls are asleep for a nap or for the evening, I will start the timer on my watch. I get super busy doing all the most important chores that need to be done (this usually includes a quick kitchen cleanup and meal prep for the next meal, and maybe a load of laundry). Since I know it’s only 30 mins, it gives me the motivation to move quick. Once my timer hits 30 mins, I stop what I’m doing and take the next 30 mins for self-care time. For me, this is yoga in my pantry (the only space in my house that doesn’t have toys all over the floor!). I focus on breathing and being present and try to wipe away the thoughts of my to-do list.
Some days this gets pushed aside, but on days that I manage to stick to this plan, I find I am more patient, less irritable, have more energy, and am more joyful overall.
Do you have a favorite recipe you would be willing to share?