7 Quick Ways Executive Moms Can Keep Their Blood (and their Brain) Moving

As a busy working mom, it’s often near impossible to put yourself first.  But it’s important to remember that if your health suffers, it affects everything around you –your family, your job, and all else that comes into play with your daily activities.  You should keep in mind that even small things that aren’t necessarily time-consuming can make a big difference.  Healthy habits will keep the decision-making brain optimal, and your body stronger.Let’s take a look at some of the helpful, healthful tips that you can quickly implement into your busy day:

1. Drink water.
Even mild dehydration can affect your body before you realize you’re thirsty, and may leave you with headaches, fatigue, and a general lack of energy.  Drinking a bottle of water can provide a fast pick-me-up, and it’s a great idea to bring one to work with you to have at your desk to refill as needed.  If you drink water throughout the day, you’re less likely to get to a point of feeling sluggish.
2. Never skip breakfast.
That old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day just may be true.You’re probably already vigilant about making sure your kids get a healthy meal before school, but what about you?  Studies have shown that people feel more satisfied by food eaten in the morning, and that feeling can translate into better energy for your entire day.  Incorporate protein in your breakfast – a peanut butter banana smoothie, a fruit and yogurt parfait, or an egg white/avocado sandwich on wheat toast.  This will keep you full and alert all morning long.
3. Make sure you have a bedtime too.
Sleep deprivation causes decreased performance and alertness, not to mention memory and cognitive impairment, among other less-than-desirable consequences.1 This hurts not only your work performance, but also has a negative effect on the quality time you do get to spend with your family.  Therefore, just as your children have bedtimes, you will benefit from having one as well.  Consider easing your brain into sleep; turn down the lights, read, and light some candles – make de-stressing part of your nighttime ritual.  
4. Work short bursts of exercise into your schedule.
If the time just isn’t there for a full exercise session, you can instead include small acts of fitness throughout the course of your day, as these do add up.  Take a quick walk around the block with your child in the stroller after work, or just stand up from your desk periodically to do some stretches.  Take the steps instead of the elevator.  You can also take advantage of your work lunch break, even if it’s a short one; on a nice day, you can take a brisk walk outside.  Once you develop a routine that includes exercise, it’ll become second nature and you will reap the benefits.
5. Prepare healthy foods ahead of time.
Planning and also shopping for lunch and snacks in advance ensure you’re not grabbing something quick and last minute that may not be the best for you.  For example, cut up some carrots, red peppers, or cucumbers at home to take to work inZiplock bags for that mid-afternoon hunger.  Vegetables are also full of H20, which helps you out with number one on this list as well.  Fast food and junk food can leave you feeling bloated and lethargic, so if you put in a little time and thought to your meals in advance, you can set yourself up for nutritious success each day.
6. Keep your blood sugar steady.
Wild fluctuations in your blood sugar can be detrimental to your energy level and affect your decision-making abilities.  If you grab a candy bar or a soda for a fast sugar rush, the energy burst lasts just for a short time and then you crash, feeling more tired than before.  To prevent this, eat regular small snacks to keep an even keel.  Greek yogurt, fruits, or hummus are great suggestions.
7. Get into the groove.
Music can ease anxiety while sharpening mental focus, and one recent study involving information technology specialists found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly, and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t, because the music improved their mood.2  So load up your iPod with favorite tunes, or create your own radio station on Pandora.  YouTube is also chalk-full of meditation and focus music that facilitates concentration.Each of these ideas can be incorporated into your daily routine in no time.  They just require a bit of thought and initial effort, but the results can be life-changing and lasting, and this goes for both your work life and your home life.  Balance is possible;you just have to remember to take care of yourself first.