The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family

Family commitments are one of the most common excuses people give for not eating healthfully or not exercising. Perhaps one of these will sound familiar to you:

I can’t get to the gym because I have young children and no time.

I don’t cook healthy meals because my husband or children won’t eat them.

I’m too busy to take care of myself—I have a family to look after.

Before I was married and had children of my own, I tried to give clients who used these excuses the benefit of the doubt. Of course, I was well aware of the fact that there’s always an opportunity to sneak in some activity, but I tried to be sympathetic nonetheless. Now that I’m a parent and face many of the same struggles, I’m less understanding. That’s because I know that as a parent, it’s more important than ever to make exercise, healthy eating and your own well-being a priority.

Some people may argue that putting yourself first is selfish, but if you think about it, it’s just the opposite. Taking care of yourself is one of the best gifts you can give your family. When you make your health a priority, you’re better able to be a good parent and spouse. You have the energy, endurance and patience to give your family the love and care they deserve. It’s just like when a flight attendant advises you to put on your own face mask first in the event of an emergency. After all, you can’t take care of anyone else if you’re not healthy.

Plus, you model good behaviors that your children will learn from and carry over into their own lives. They will learn that it’s OK to go to the gym and leave the children with a sitter for an hour. They will learn that it’s OK to forego a family member’s famous fatty dish and opt for a salad instead. They will learn that it’s OK to take a break from the craziness of daily life to meditate, do some deep breathing or find some other way to manage the stresses of family life.

This month, I challenge you to do something for yourself. Make that long-overdue doctor’s appointment, take that class at the gym that you’ve been wanting to try, catch up with a friend or schedule a massage. You deserve it—and your family will thank you for it!

What will you do this month to put yourself first?

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