The following is a guest blog by The British International School of Houston
Samantha Schlanger is the School Therapist at the British International School of Houston. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, she has some great tips on well-being for moms. She and her husband Graham, who grew up in the Katy area, have a 2-year old son named Max and a furry friend schnauzer-lab rescue named Shadow. They are active members of the Katy/Ft Bend Foodies Group and in addition to trying new foods and restaurants, love to watch movies and have quality family and friend time.
What are some of your well-being tips for mothers?
I want mothers to know that self-care is not selfish and also does not have to be something lavish or expensive. Self-care is whatever works for you, and it can be something small that you add into your daily routine to boost your mood. It can be one extra minute in the shower (which can be difficult when you have young children!). Self-care can be listening to a song that you like while you are driving the kids to school, driving to work, running errands, etc.
Regular, light exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and research has also shown positive effects of being outside in nature. You can set an alarm on your phone and change the title to remind you to do your self-care act. For example, I’ve been trying to drink more water, so I set alarms on my phone and title it “Hydrate!!!!” so that I don’t forget to hydrate during the day.
When it comes to the holidays, it can be a wonderful but hectic time. The best advice I can think of is to try to enjoy the little moments that are peaceful and fun and also try to have a plan in place for the more challenging parts of the holiday time. Who can you talk to if you need to vent or need support? What are your favorite parts of the holidays that you can focus on and enjoy to the fullest? What are some coping strategies that you can utilize during tough moments?
What do you do for your own self-care?
It’s important for me to look after my own wellbeing so that I can support my students and also be in a good headspace when I come home and transition back into Mom mode. I listen to music on the way to work and also in between sessions. I like to plan out fun outfits for work, and I set out my outfit the night before so that my morning is a bit smoother. I try to do lightweights in the mornings or evenings, and I love watching TV shows with my husband once Max is asleep. My parents live on the water in Bayou Vista, and I find it very relaxing to sit on the porch swing and look out at the ducks or other birds while Max plays around outside. I’m grateful for the supportive family and friends to turn to if I need a safe space to vent.
Tell us a bit more about yourself and your background:
My passion is working in schools and I’ve held multiple positions that focus on mental health. I’ve now been at BIS Houston for 5 years and love working here. Our school places a high priority on wellbeing, so it is a very collaborative environment. I am so grateful to have support from our fantastic team of professionals. I am also part of a great network of other school counselors in the Greater Houston area, and we share resources with each other and provide training and support.
As a foodie, what are your favorite restaurants and how do you enjoy them with a toddler in tow?
We try to cook most nights of the week and have regular family dinners with Graham’s parents one night out of the week. We tend to go out or do take out more on the weekends. Dining at a restaurant with a toddler can be a bit tricky at times, so take-out is a lot easier for us. If we do go out, we pack extra snacks for Max and some toys or coloring books to keep him entertained. We love Ginger Thai, Bagel Café, Marini’s Empanadas, Proud Pie, Phat Eatery, Sushi Hana, Daddy Duncan’s BBQ, Ferso’s, and Pearl & Vine for a nice occasion. We also like to meet up with friends at No Label, since there is a nice playground for Max and some good food trucks available.
Hopefully sharing this information has been helpful to you, from one mom to another. I hope you all have a beautiful holiday season!