February is American Heart Month. It is an ideal time to remind Americans, especially mothers, to focus on their hearts. To date, heart disease is the number one killer of women. While you probably know what you should do to keep your physical heart healthy (i.e. eat well, keep active, maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking, control your cholesterol and blood pressure, drink alcohol in moderation, and manage stress), what about your “inner” heart? You know, the heart you share with your family and friends. The heart which stores love for you and others. How are you taking care of that heart? What
are you doing to keep your inner heart healthy?
This is something I constantly struggle with. Being a new mom, working from home and juggling life in the middle of a pandemic, sure has been stressful. It is so easy to put yourself and your needs aside, to manage all the other tasks and chores calling on you to fix them. But, by putting yourself last, you are hurting not only yourself, but your family and those around you. Your family, friends, and all the people who love you do not want you to struggle or be in pain. They want you to be happy and present. They want you to have a healthy heart.
Your inner heart needs to be loved, cherished, supported, and believed. Wasting time and energy on worry, anger, feelings of inadequacy or frustration, really does not help anyone. So, how do we rise above the anguish and humdrum of daily stress to take care of our most precious heart? It is not always easy, but we need to “not sweat the small stuff.” We are going to make mistakes, but we need to keep living. Moms, make space for yourself. Take 5, 10, 15 or if you can, 20+ minutes a day to be in your own special place. Use this time to reflect on your day, to practice deep breathing, partake in a guided meditation, anything that gives you pause and allows you to have peace.
You are worth it. You are beautiful. You are a gift to this world. With the million and ten things calling for your attention, taking time for yourself is challenging. But, think about your heart. If it were physically hurting and a doctor prescribed medication, would you refuse to take it? Would your family, friends, doctor encourage you to take the medication? You bet they would.
So, why should taking care of your inner heart be any different? Moms, take your prescription and give your heart some “me” time. You and your family will be better for it.
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By Cheryl Robertson Thode