HealthONE - May 10, 2019

Many women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond are doing incredible things with their lives. Some are launching their own companies, running their own businesses, working in leadership positions — and doing all this while raising children and still finding the time to volunteer for causes they care about it.

If you're like many women today, you've got a lot on your plate. Because of this, it can be challenging to prioritize your health and find time to do things like cook meals at home, exercise and meditate.

Women who don't take time out for themselves may experience burnout or develop unhealthy habits, like drinking too much. Women who neglect their physical or mental health aren't just harming themselves — this can also have a negative effect on their families, their relationships and their work.

For women who are finding it hard to stay in the moment and keep calm in the chaos of their daily lives, here are some tipsh3 for prioritizing your health and avoiding burnout:

1. Take short breaks to recharge —

Human beings are always breathing, but when was the last time you took a moment to pause, take a deep breath and slow down? During the day, taking a short, five-to-10-minute break to step away from your desk; going on a brief walk outside or closing your eyes and inhaling deeply can go a long way in helping you feel more present and relaxed. When you are on overload, it's harder to make good decisions or healthy choices. Women should figure out what calms them down (whether it's a walk, meditation, stretching, etc.) and take a few minutes each day to build these mental and physical breaks into their routine.

2. Put down your phone and be aware of “phubbing” —

Smartphones are a major distraction for many people. In moments of stress or anxiety, it's not uncommon to reach for your phone as a way to "check out" from your current reality. However, these tech gadgets make it harder to stay present and focused on the task at hand. "Phubbing" refers to when a person is ignoring the people they are spending time with by being on their smartphone. While phubbing now seems commonplace, it takes you away from the moment and the people whose company you actually enjoy. Adopt some new smartphone rules for yourself (like not checking your phone when eating) or have your family establish "no tech" zones in your home, like your child's bedrooms.

3. Include family and loved ones when you are having trouble prioritizing —

There are days (and even weeks) when you just won't be able to accomplish everything on your to-do list. In these moments, ask your family and friends to help identify what is and is NOT a priority. If your child is involved in multiple after-school activities, ask them which ones they really want you to attend this week. You may be surprised at how your child answers if you take the time to inquire about what's important to them. Some women may feel guilty about missing a soccer game or ballet practice, when in fact their kid enjoys the independence of participating in these activities on their own.

4. Start small and go slow when adopting healthy habits —

For women who have children or busy career lives, working out can often be neglected in favor of other responsibilities or demands. This also applies to eating healthier, as getting takeout several times a week is often faster and more convenient than preparing meals at home. If you have children, make cooking and engaging in physical activity a family affair — not something that mom has to do on her own. If you're a busy career woman, find a workout buddy or fun workout class, which will help keep you accountable and make exercising a more social activity.

5. Focus on progress, not “perfect” —

Many women feel pressure to be the perfect mom, the perfect employee, the perfect boss, the perfect spouse, the perfect friend, etc. But it's impossible for women to be everything to everyone. Let yourself off the hook and realize that you're human, just like all of us. If you're a mom, your kid might go to school with messy hair and mismatched socks some days, and that's okay. You might make a mistake at work, but it's not actually the end of the world. Remind yourself daily that you're doing the best you can and don't forget to ask for help from your family, spouse, friends or other people who support you if you really need it.

Eight hospitals. One health system for every family. The HealthONE health system was built for the strongest people we know – and we are committed to meeting the healthcare needs of women, for themselves and their loved ones. That’s why we have a phone line available 7 days a week with nurses to answer your medical questions and staff to make physician appointments. Call 303-374-0777.