Saturday evening, we went out to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants with Stefan’s parents as an early birthday celebration for me. They’ll be over in Florida in a couple weeks when it really is my birthday so even though Germans don’t typical celebrate birthdays early, we made an exception.

Unfortunately as the meal started to wind down, I started to feel a bit sick and have to admit that I’m still not back to my usual self yet. It’s not like I’m gravely ill…I’m just running at limited capacity which is a problem for me. Being a WAHM, I’ve always got a lot going on. I’m working on business projects, writing on NOH, running after Mackenzie, keeping the dog fed and walked, and trying to stay on top of housework (which includes lots of laundry and dishes every week — I don’t know how large families keep up with it all because just the 4 of us make a TON of laundry every week!)

Anyway, I’m pretty sure that my recent health drain is the result of me just trying to accomplish too much this past week. I was running around a bit like a crazed woman as I tried to get the small stuff cleared out of our living room for the renovation (which was a lot more junk than you can imagine), writing launch content for a new info product (that I still have tons of work to do on over the next month or two) and staying on top of the usual day-to-day stuff. I probably spread myself a bit too thin this last week…but I often do that so I didn’t think to much about it. Until this weekend.

So today, I want to remind all you (especially the stay- and work-at-home-moms) that in addition to taking care of everyone else, you must remember to take care of yourself too! I know it’s not always the first thing on your mind, but I know that your body will appreciate it and you might even find yourself getting more accomplished every day.

  1. Ask for help

    This is a big one for me…I’m not good about asking for help at all. I’ll take it if someone offers, but just going out and seeking help is something I rarely do. I know you probably think that doing it yourself is the only way to get it done right…but sometimes even if it’s not done perfectly, it’s still good enough. So hire that housekeeper or delegate someone else to organize that bake sale this year. You can always take the responsibility back next year if you still feel you need to be in control.

  2. Eat breakfast

    You’re sure to have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day…and it truly is. Not only does it give your body fuel to get through the first few hours of the day, but eating breakfast actually boosts your metabolism. So if you’re struggling with your weight, make sure you never skip breakfast.

  3. Eat healthy, small portions five to six times a day

    While we’re on the subject of food, let’s talk about portion sizes. I personally eat 4-5 small meals a day. When you’re constantly on the go, your body needs energy throughout the day…and not just chips, sugary sweets or other hollow calories. Also do your best not to eat or snack within 3 hours of your bedtime. Your body will have to spend time overnight to digest the food instead of making sure you’re having a restful, peaceful sleep.

  4. Spend at least 30 minutes moving every day

    I chase an almost 2 year old around most of the day and we walk with our dog for at least thirty minutes twice a day…and it’s not just a leisurely stroll. I have other stuff to get done so I let the dog wander off the leash but I go pretty quickly, even when Mack is walking on her own along with us. You don’t necessarily have to do some rigorous exercise routine but you do need to get your heart-rate up. Vacuum the house, mop, dig a hole in your garden, walk with your dog or child, do a power shopping grocery excursion…whatever it is that gets you moving and your blood pumping is considered exercise in my book…especially if you break a sweat!

  5. Get fully dressed every morning

    I know it’s sometimes easy for those of us who work from home to just skip getting dressed because it would take too much time from our working schedules. But the postal guy shows up to your door three days in a row and you’re always in the same pajamas, people are going to start to worry about you. So just throw on some clothes and make yourself look presentable. This is especially important if you have kids at home all day with you, even if you never leave the house with them. They don’t need you to look like you’ve stopped trying. And I’m sure your partner will appreciate seeing you in something other than sweatpants all the time.

  6. Shine your sink before bed

    This is a little something that I learned from the FlyLady and although I generally don’t make the time to keep up with all her other emails, I do love the feeling I have when I go into the kitchen in the morning to get some breakfast and don’t get greeted with a war zone of dishes and pans. So load the dishwasher, get all the remnants of dinner off the stove-top and just leave the room looking like you’ve got things under control at the end of the day….not like a bomb just went off. Stefan and I often cook dinner together, so while he’s putting the finishing touches on things (I’m the sous-chef), I can clean up the kitchen a bit.

  7. Reduce the clutter

    Having fewer “things” around you to worry about means you have more freedom for yourself. We’ve been working on decluttering our house and it’s amazing how much more inner peace you find when you enjoy the home you live in. When you’re stumbling over things, constantly shifting stuff just to make space for more stuff and just surrounded by chaos, you tend to suffer. Or at least we do. Even though it’s never easy to shed off 10 years of extra stuff (as we’re doing), it sure does feel good to know we have made someone else happy by receiving what is weighing us down.

  8. Use a personal calendar

    I would be completely lost without my calendar. I’ve got everything from play dates to birthdays to US and German holidays in mine. I use Google Calendar which can also be synced with my Blackberry because it’s easy to use and I can take it everywhere I go. I actually have about 8 calendars in one, and each of them is color coded so I can quickly see what’s what. Stefan’s calendar is also linked up with mine so we can remember nights he’s got appointments and things like that.

  9. Learn to listen to your body

    When you start feeling like you have a cold or you experience pain, that means you need to slow down and take some time for yourself. Know what your physical limits are and when something seems wrong, make time to go to a doctor and resolve any problems you might be having.

  10. Live it up, within moderation

    Don’t go crazy with the caffeine, junk food, alcohol, cigarettes or anything else. If you want to give up smoking, set your mind to it and find a way to stop. Get professional help if you have to. Don’t let any sort of dependency or addiction rule your life. I know we all used to be able to party like rock stars in our early 20’s…but now that I’ve hit my 30’s I definitely can’t drink like I used to. One night of partying results in 3 days of recovery and I just don’t have the time for that…so I either don’t party or I keep the drinking to a minimum.