Experts say self-care benefits not only moms, but families as a whole


COLUMBUS - Chaotic schedules, work demands and long to-do lists at home are common tasks for any parent. But medical experts are warning that not making time for yourself and sacrificing self-care could be harmful.

"It didn't work well. I wasn't taking time for me at all. It was work or the kids," said Dr. Mary DiOrio, local mom and working professional.

From school programs and camps for her kids to extra hours in professional roles, Dr. DiOrio has juggled it all. Those mounting responsibilities left little time to focus on herself and eventually, led to physical side effects.

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"Yes, I ended up getting shingles," DiOrio admitted. "It was a sign to me that 'Oh, maybe I'm not balancing what I need to be doing in my life.' I wasn't exercising, not taking time for me."

Women are not paying attention to their own needs according to experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Dr. Tamar Gur, an OSU Maternal-fetal Psychiatrist offers some questions you can ask yourself to reveal whether or not you need to improve your own self-care:
-Do I feel rested when I wake up?
-Do I have the patience I need to get through my day?
-When I unwind at night, do I feel like my time was well spent?

Dr. Gur says studies show chronic stress leads to a host of health problems. Getting things back on track doesn't require spending money on pricey treatments. Instead, she suggests finding five spare minutes in your day.

Tips on how to use that time:
1. Exercise- even just a little walk around the floor of your office or choosing the stairs or swimming a couple laps when you take your kids to the pool.
2. Practice Mindfulness with an app. She says "Stop breath think" and "Insight timer" are both free.
3. Snack on Protein- she says too many diets lack this important energy boost.
4. Cut screen time - it hampers sleep and gobbles up time.
5. Hobby or friendship- invest in something that is only for you.

Now, whether it's drinking a cup of coffee or taking the dog for a walk, Doctor DiOrio tries to take a quick moment each day to enjoy something for herself. It may seem simple, but the doctor says those little moments can give a big boost to her own health and her family's happiness.

"I've changed how I've mothered my children and also what I need as an individual as life moved along," said DiOrio.

She regularly attends a book club filled with girlfriends who help her recharge. Her family members have seen the positive changes it brings and will encourage her to go.

"Sometimes when I get home from work and I'm tired they'll say 'no you really need to go with your girlfriends.' They're right," said DiOrio. "You can't pour from an empty cup."

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