Chances are, you have heard the saying “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” or perhaps the similarly playful saying “happy wife, happy life.” There is now scientific evidence to back these sentiments up. A recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family concludes that not only is marriage satisfaction a large contributor to general life satisfaction, but also, a husband’s marriage and life satisfaction is dependent on the wife’s marriage and life satisfaction.
More anecdotally, children seem to really thrive when their moms are happy, healthy, and not super stressed out. It makes sense: If a mom is exhausted, has no energy, and is stressed out, chances are the overall vibe at home isn’t going to be as happy or fun as it could be.
What does this mean for you? It’s proof that women’s lifestyle changes that bolster health and an overall sense of well-being are important to everyone in the family! As a wife and mom, spending time attending to your own self-care each day will not only make you feel great, but will contribute to your family’s overall happiness as well.
Here are the top four areas that deserve special attention:
This doesn’t have to be difficult. Granted, there are hundreds of experts touting dozens of super complicated diets, eating plans, and dietary recommendations, but the important thing to remember is this: Simply add healthy, nutrient-packed food choices to what you’re already eating.
Start your day with a tasty green smoothie packed with baby kale, carrots, and frozen organic berries. Add superfoods like acai or pomegranate to your salad for extra color, flavor, and vitamins. Try a baked sweet potato as a filling and satisfying afternoon snack instead of heading to the drive-thru. Just this move alone will give you more energy and help balance your mood.
You don’t have to change anything else or go on a restrictive diet. As your body adjusts, gradually add more healthy foods to your day. Keep this up, and before long, your body will begin to crave more nutritious food, and junk food filled with sugar and empty calories will no longer seem as appealing.
The recommendations come fast and furious here, too. But this can also be very simple: Just aim to move more and reap the benefits, like a calmer mood and more toned body. Moms are already at an advantage, since chasing toddlers and young kids around the playground or carrying your baby everywhere in your Baby Bjorn is already a great workout. Challenge yourself to find even more ways to move your body and get your heart pumping each day.
This might mean parking a block away or on a higher level of the parking ramp. Maybe it means getting off the elevator a floor early and taking the stairs. Maybe it means shutting off the electronics and doing something with your kids for a few minutes. They’ll undoubtedly love it, you’ll get the bonding time with them, and you’ll get a bit more movement in your day.
Joining a stroller fitness class, or working out at the rec center while dad watches the kids are other good ideas. If working out sounds like, well, work, just focus on how great you will feel when all those endorphins are flowing through your body, and remember that you deserve to do things each day that make you feel amazing.
Sleep is often a rare commodity in women’s lives today. But it is perhaps even more important to your health, mood, and stress levels than anything else. Skimping on sleep actually disrupts the brain’s ability to learn and to cope with stress. While it may sometimes seem impossible to get enough sleep as a mom, it’s crucial to prioritize a good night’s sleep as much as possible.
Stage your bedroom to ensure more restful sleep, including adding a comfy memory foam topper if your mattress isn’t particularly sleep-inducing, and perhaps a white noise machine. If you have been up each night with your baby, consider asking your partner to take more turns, enlist the help of your own mom or other family members, or even consider an infant sleep expert to help your baby begin sleeping for longer stretches, which will be good for both of you.
4. Emotional Health
Finally, don’t overlook the importance of your emotional health. Being a wife and mom can be complicated and stressful, even while these experiences are also joyful and meaningful. Don’t martyr yourself to motherhood—if you need a break from the kids to enjoy brunch with your girlfriends once a week or even just go for a drive by yourself, speak up to your partner and consider hiring an occasional babysitter.
Create a daily or nightly calming ritual, including candles, meditation, stretching, or whatever makes you feel centered and at peace. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, get to a therapist or doctor right away. Remember, a happy and calm mom is the center of a happy and calm family.
A healthy diet, plenty of exercise, a sense of inner peace, and restful sleep make the core of a stress-free lifestyle and a happy household for your entire family.