As any busy mom knows, 24 hours is rarely enough time to get through the tasks of the day, much less find a few minutes of “me time.” Tina Ghia, MD, heart rhythm specialist at the Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Campus, is intimately familiar with this dilemma. Both she and her husband are doctors, and they have 3 children, ages 4, 6, and 10. “Work is very rewarding but also very busy. We try to find balance with the kids by doing lots of weekend activities, like hiking and camping,” says Dr. Ghia. With so many waking hours spoken for, she must be strategic about finding time for her own self-care. “I try to take walks during my lunch hour. I love cooking and spending time in my garden.”
Her hectic schedule helps Dr. Ghia relate with her patients who are also trying strike a balance between jobs, being a parent, and taking care of themselves. “I appreciate advice that my patients have to offer for handling busy schedules with a young family. It’s nice to know that we’re all going through the same things.” Common issues like stress, insomnia, and depression can be especially challenging for moms with full schedules. “I tell them they have to prioritize self-care — for themselves and to be that best person they want their kids to see,” says Dr. Ghia.
How to make the time
Even when moms have self-care on their to-do list, finding time and child care can be a huge obstacle. It’s not always easy to ask for help, but consider that other parents in your community may be delighted to find someone to trade child care favors with. Make a weekly schedule with your spouse so that each of you gets a few hours to yourselves. Arrange a babysitting swap with a friend while you hit a yoga class or visit your doctor. If you have older kids, find parents who are interested in hosting rotating sleepovers.
When you can’t get out of the house
Taking care of your health can be done online or over the phone, when you can’t get away from the house. Care Chat is an online messaging feature that lets you get real-time medical care from a Kaiser Permanente care provider 7 days a week, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. And now there’s a chat option specifically for women’s health and pediatrics. It is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon. You can also call the consulting nurse line 24/7 at 1-800-297-6877.
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