This Mother’s Month, Give the Gift of Self-Care

Mother and her baby

Leigh-Anne Wooten MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, LSS BB
Registered Dietitian

May is Mother’s Month. Who knew we get a whole month and not just one day?! Now, that’s something to celebrate!  

This past year has been one of the most difficult on record for everyone in the world. Parents, mothers, in particular, have had a uniquely trying set of circumstances to navigate. Whatever you, or the mom in your life, have been through, it’s time to embrace some self-care.


The Past Year…

Job title: ‘Household CEO’ also known as MOM. A mom’s role has evolved. Maybe it’s society, the times, our inner drive to be everything to everyone. Even for moms who have a great partner, it’s still hard. Really. Hard. Throw a pandemic into the mix and we are talking exhaustion, frustration, and maddening times. Working at home with screaming babies, keeping children on track with remote learning, being an essential worker, losing a job, not being able to pay bills or buy food. 

Whatever the situation, 2020 has taken a toll on moms physically, mentally, and emotionally. All the stressors of trying to ‘keep it all together" have led to “alarmingly high rates of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety in women” according to a recent study.


Looking Forward…

While we are just starting to see the light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel, the aftermath of the past year will inevitably stick with us for some time. And as a parent, self-care usually takes a back seat to care for the rest of the family. But these days, taking care of ourselves should no longer be considered a luxury. It’s essential. So, here are a few healthy tips that hopefully will help.

Practice Healthy Habits

This may be a no-brainer, as we all know we need to eat right and stay active, but to know and to don’t always go hand in hand. Get creative in carving out time to work out. And when it comes to food, studies continue to show that diets rich in antioxidants, vitamins (especially the B vitamins), minerals (like zinc and magnesium), fiber, healthy fats (omega-3s), and other bioactive compounds, such as probiotics, have been linked to better mental well-being. It just so happens that chia seeds are packed with all of these nutrients. You get everything you need in just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds added to your morning smoothie or 1 teaspoon of chia oil drizzled over your salad. It couldn’t be easier or tastier!

Practice the Art of Mindful Eating

Pick at least one meal each day where you can slow down, remove distractions (TV, scrolling through social media, etc) and take 30 minutes to enjoy your meal. Interestingly, it takes about that long for your brain to receive the “I’m full” signal from your stomach, which can help prevent overeating. Taking this time also allows you to appreciate the texture, smell, and taste of food more fully.

    Simplify. Simplify. Simplify

    Until life calms down a bit more, and who knows when that will be, we need to embrace the term SIMPLIFY and put it into practice whenever possible. One example? Mealtime. Below are a few quick, nutritious, and tasty recipes (one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) that can help get a meal on the table in no time. And - enlist the family to help. No child (or significant other) is too young or old to help in the kitchen!

    Tomato and Avocado Pasta

    Burgul and Chia Meatballs

    Keep your immune system strong

    At this point, we all know the basics: handwashing, social distancing…. But did you know that eating healthy is also a great way to optimize immunity? Research time and time again shows that eating a varied healthy diet focusing on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, dairy (or alternatives), nuts, and seeds (like chia!) is the best way for your diet to support your immune system.

    This Month, if you know a mother, don’t ask if they need anything… Assume they do. We all do right now. Let’s give the gift of time. Time devoted to Mom’s Self-Care. 

    And on behalf of all moms, thank you… Oh, and YOU’RE WELCOME!