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Parenting When Exhausted

Moms and Dads frequently come into my office, complaining of many life-disrupting symptoms, most of which involve fatigue.  One of their greatest fears is losing their children.  Not to death, kidnapping or worse tragedy, but to the lack of their ability to parent because of their health, most often fatigue.

As parents, we all want our kids to have the best life has to offer for them.  There are so many things to experience.  We enroll them in sports, dance, music, martial arts and the like, hoping to give them vital life skills.  We have the greatest of intentions for them.  Then as parents we have to be able to keep up with all that.  The financial costs and toting kids around from one activity to the other is enough to take a toll on the best of us.  When you get ill, all your best intentions of the fun activities for your kids gets put on the back burner because “mom doesn’t feel well”, or “dad is too tired”.  They come into my office, many times in tears because their health is interfering with what they want for their kids.  They feel inadequate as parents.

When parents get too busy – trying to keep up with the demands of parenting, working harder or longer hours to keep up with the financial burden of having a family, trying to acquire the wealth they think is essential – they get worn out.  The things they need the most during this time, such as quality nutrition and exercise get dropped out.

They get too busy to cook a healthy meal.  Instead they opt for the quick and easy pre-packaged foods, microwaveable foods or a fast food restaurant.  The times they need the nutrients the most – during stressful times – is when they opt for nutritionally devoid foods.  Yes, these foods have “nutrients” in them, but they have been “enriched” with synthetic counterfeits, masquerading as nutritionally superior.  However, they are not life-giving, cell building, functional nutrients.  They are just marketed to quell you into believing they are, so you are less stressed about food.

When you are stressed or ill, or symptomatic in any way, you need super nutrition.  You need a greater density of nutrients in your food because not only are you providing nutrients for that day’s functions and cell building, but you need the extra to counteract the effects of stress.

Because healthy foods seem to be the first sacrifice as we get busy, we also sacrifice our mental wellbeing.  We no longer have the mental reserves to cope with our kids and our tolerance tanks.  We become grouchy and tempers fly more easily.  Not just at the kids, but at our spouses too.  The pressures of responsibility mount and we become more agitated at work as well.

In an effort to provide a quick fix, we run to drugs.  We feel desperate.  Desperate to feel well, overwhelmed with the responsibilities, disappointed in what we aren’t doing, that we “should” be doing as a parent (or as a spouse), fearful of the things kids could get into (drugs, weapons, pornography, etc.), and the emotions mount.  Soon we call it “depression” and run for the drugs.  We reach for a medication to placate this barrage of emotions we don’t know what to do with.  We reach for substances such as coffee, energy drinks and sugar to give us an energy boost so we feel we can cope with life. 

When that no longer works we reach for “health in a bottle” – something more natural to force our body into feeling better.  The problems is, we grab for something cheap and in as few of pills as possible.  The only way to accomplish that is by chemicals.  So now we’ve added a chemical stressor to the pile of other stressors.  Now we’ve created internal stresses to parallel the external stresses.

What we really need is a support system.  We need the nutrients to support function.  We need exercise to provide an outlet for stress.  We need a method of relaxing and de-stressing on a daily basis.  We need balance in our lives.  We need energy and good health.  Even though what is needed is nutrients, and it can be found in a bottle (only if it is concentrated whole foods) as well as in quality of foods eaten on a daily basis, we can’t find the solution in any other type of bottle.

We also need someone to help us feel well.  Acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, naturopathy, nutritional counseling are some of the best tools to help get you well.  Disease came on slowly over time, accelerated by stress.  Putting in some time to remedy it is essential.  Re-evaluate the costs to your health to run around trying to do life, versus staying home and creating a quality life.  Quality of time with your kids and spouse – not because disease has left you no choice, but because you’ve decided to slow down and do what’s needed to get well – in of itself is healing. Relax, eat a well-balanced diet of whole foods, cooked fresh, and spend time with your family.  You will find that your energy will get restored, your health will improve, and the quality of your life will be what you envision it could be.  And if that’s not doing the trick, visit a natural health care provider that can assist you in achieving vital health!

© 2008 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Dr. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Dr. Carling considers herself a “professional student” – she has attended more than 600 post-secondary education courses related to health and healing. Dr. Carling gives lectures here in the U.S. and internationally and has been noted as the “Doctor’s Doctor”. When other healthcare practitioners hit a roadblock when treating their patients nutritionally, Dr. Carling is who they call. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’ Alene clinic.

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Medical/Health Disclaimer:

The information provided in this article should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this article. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the author, but readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

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