Sep 18, 2012 • By

Wellness tips for the working mom

Today General Mills was named to Working Mother’s “100 Best Companies” list and earned special recognition for its workplace wellness programs.

General Mills has been providing innovative employee wellness programs for the past 27 years, and the type of support we offer through our programs has evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of our employees.

Dr. Julia Halberg, our chief medical officer, has seen thousands of working parents in her medical practice over the years.

“In order to take good care of the whole family, it’s important for working parents not to lose sight of how crucial it is to take care of their own wellness. Taking care of yourself is the most unselfish act,” says Julia.

Each phase of working parenthood brings its own set of challenges: the infant and toddler years are a time of physically demanding work to meet the needs of babies and pre-schoolers.

The elementary school years become a three-ring circus balancing act as kids begin to get more involved in school and other activities.

And the tween and high school years tend to be more emotionally and mentally draining for parents, who are trying to keep up with their changlings who are half child/half mini adult.

No matter which season of life you are in, Julia says there are four tried-and-true wellness tips that can help busy working parents.

1. Get enough sleep.

We are a culture of sleep-deprived people. Without adequate sleep and rest, our bodies and minds never get a chance to fully recover from the demands of everyday life. Most people do well with seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Making sleep a priority can be difficult to do, especially for working parents who have high standards. Determine what you can let go in order to make sleep a high priority.

2. Fuel your body with proper nutrition.

Chances are you put great effort into ensuring your kids have balanced, nutritious meals, but often forget about yourself. Remember the basics: eat five to six servings of fruits and vegetables each day, choose whole grains and lean protein and dairy, and drink lots of water.

3. Move your body. Every day.

A key to staying energized is getting your body up and moving every day, ideally for 30 to 60 minutes. Walk, run, bike, garden, practice yoga, but the most important thing is that you find something you enjoy so you can stick with it. And don’t worry about doing it all at once. If necessary, break up your exercise into 10-minute chunks of time. You’ll still get the benefit.

4. Find your battery charger.

If you’re having a hard time carving out time for yourself to recharge, start small. Wake up five minutes earlier and meditate. Pause between meetings and spend two minutes breathing and focusing on what’s going on inside your body.

And remember … taking care of yourself is the most unselfish act.