How Two Physical Therapists Avoid Running on Empty

By Ali Kazim and Courtney Mullen, Physical Therapists, Shriners Hospitals for Children—Philadelphia

You can’t pour from an empty pot. But that’s what many of us as working mothers, wives and daughters are trying to do as we go about our hectic lives. As a result, we feel inadequate, frustrated—and yes, exhausted.

The solution is counterintuitive: take care of yourself first. You need to keep yourself healthy in mind and body in order to take care of everyone else. These tips have worked for us:

#1 Plan meals ahead of time. That way, you can avoid the drive-through and its greasy or sugary foods that actually zap your energy in the long run. Don’t think you have the time? When packing your kids’ lunches, make one more sandwich for you (we like turkey or peanut butter on whole-grain bread).

#2. Drink a healthy breakfast. Prepare an energy-packed smoothie with just yogurt and some fruit. You can drink it while you get ready—or even on your commute!

#3. Stock your bag, car and desk with nutritious snacks. When you get the munchies, you’ll have good options within reach. We recommend: raw almonds, granola bars, peanut butter and popcorn.

#4. Make sure you take a break for lunch. Forget about working while you eat. Research shows that taking a break for lunch actually makes you more productive. Better yet, take your lunch outside and get some fresh air—and vitamin D.

#5. Schedule your workout in the morning. Quit hitting the snooze button, and get that workout in before the rest of your household is out of bed. Working out in the morning packs a ton of benefits. It will boost your metabolism and get your energy up for the rest of the day.

#6. Don’t forget the water. Grab yourself a trendy water bottle and keep refilling it all day. Physicians recommend 91 ounces (or 2.7 liters) of water a day.


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