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Is Your Health Part of Your Schedule?

mom doing yoga with childs arms wrapped around her neck

Whether it’s the end of a busy day or just the beginning, you’re probably thinking about your growing to-do list. Just make sure you’ve built in time for healthy habits that fuel your body and soul, too.

“I see it often, people packing their schedules with priorities for work and family, leaving little time for self-care,” says Jolanta Potoczek-Salahi, MD, family medicine physician with Atlantic Health System. “It’s not selfish to carve out time for your own physical, mental and emotional needs -- it’s actually selfless.”

So, if laundry, food shopping, and meetings take up too much real estate on your planner, it’s time for a "you" intervention. Here’s how to create space for it.

  • Block out time. Make sure there’s weekly you time in your planner.
  • Set yourself up for success. Clean off the treadmill if you plan to use it. Put your sneakers by the bed if you want to wake up and walk. Put your book next to a cozy chair so you’re ready to read.
  • Be selective. If you’re not enthusiastic about saying “yes” to an invitation, say “no” without FOMO (fear of missing out).
  • Move More. Make exercise a family activity so the kids are involved and invested. Bundle up and play outdoors. Plan a winter scavenger hunt.  Create a kid-friendly playlist to make tidying up fun.
  • Eat Well. Choose fruits, veggies, whole grains, and plenty of protein and fiber. This may mean that your breakfast, lunch, and dinner are sometimes different from the kids’ meals.
  • Sleep Soundly. Establish a solid sleep routine by going to bed around the same time every night and getting a solid 7-8 hours. Wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual for meditation, reading or planning your day.
  • Renew and Recharge.  Carve out time for things you love, like reading, painting, taking a fitness class, or connecting with friends. Creating boundaries for yourself sets a great example for your kids.  

“Self-care starts with prioritizing your own well-being,” says Dr. Potoczek-Salahi, “Good habits have a positive cumulative effect over a person’s lifetime. And the healthier you are, the better you feel and the more you can do for yourself and others.”

"It’s not selfish to carve out time for your own physical, mental and emotional needs -- it’s actually selfless.”

Jolanta Potoczek-Salahi, MD

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