Parent Resource

Staying Well While Working at Home and Parenting

by Leslie Campos

There should be an award for parents everywhere who are working at home while caring for little ones.

Keep Your Body Happy

Adequate hydration is a key component of staying healthy. How much is the right amount? There is no easy answer to this question, as there are a lot of variables to consider, such as climate, health conditions and activity level. In general, men are recommended to consume 15.5 cups of water per day and women should consume 11.5 cups. Keep in mind that the sources of water are foods and beverages. A lot of healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits are high in water content, so these offer nutritional benefits and hydration.  

The World Health Organization reports that eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day helps decrease the risk of getting a non-communicable disease, along with reducing salt intake to the recommended 5 grams or less per day and reducing saturated fat. Getting the right nutrients is an important part of staying healthy.

Getting to the store can be a challenge when you’re a busy parent, so one way to ensure you keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand is to use a subscription service. Options like Imperfect Foods and Misfits Market offer produce rejected by restaurants and grocery chains (usually due to cosmetic imperfections). You can usually find coupons to save on your purchase or meet a minimum spending threshold to get free delivery, and it’ll save you running to the store every few days for nutritious foods. 

Of course, what you consume is only one side of the equation. Our bodies function best when we get the proper amount of exercise to keep our systems operating on all cylinders. Exercise routines that challenge our strength, flexibility and endurance are best. There are many ways to incorporate exercise into daily life at home, such as cleaning parts of the house and climbing stairs. Parents can include children in a workout routine to create a healthy family habit that can increase accountability and make it more fun.

Tend to Your Mental Health

Pay attention to your emotional health. Your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are intricately linked, so it is crucial to remain aware of your inner processes. How we think and feel impact how we live. Tracking Happiness explains tuning in emotionally can be part of a daily process through journaling, meditation or deep breathing and mindfulness exercises.

Another way you can tend to your mind is to keep learning. Lifelong learning is loaded with perks, like improved mental efficiency, better mental health, and even a longer life. Think about what you would enjoy learning more about and take a course or two online. Did you always want to learn how to play the drums? Or maybe you would enjoy dusting off your French skills that you haven’t touched since high school. If you have an idea for a budding business, earning an MBA online could help make it happen, and some programs allow you to complete your degree at your own pace. 

Stay Inspired

When you are working at home while parenting a young child, every day can start to look the same. Spark your inspiration on a regular basis by using your imagination, learning a new skill, or trying something new. 

Engaging your child in crafts and other creative activities can help both of you relax and enjoy each other’s company. You aren’t limited to making stuff to hang on the wall, either; put on a play, do a fashion show, or have a treasure hunt. Remember that you don’t need to master these activities; simply playing with the supplies and allowing your imagination to wander is the important thing.

Reduce Isolation

Staying in touch with friends is difficult when you are working and parenting. Contact with friends is crucial for you to feel connected and to reduce the sense of isolation that comes with working from home. Set a date to go for walks, have a weekly Zoom game night or connect in some other digital format.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes it can help to take an outside look at your circumstances to keep things in perspective. Imagine yourself reflecting on this strange time in future years. Without consciously realizing it, you are creating memories, and in many ways, they’re memories you probably wouldn’t have been able to shape were it not for this strange era in our lives. Take heart in knowing that with time, you and your family will reflect on these times fondly and recall how you made the most of difficult circumstances and became healthier because of your efforts.