Pagers, cell phones, prescriptions, diapers, bottles and college applications litter the family desk as you walk into the Henriksen household. Time pressures are typical for working parents in 2012, but imagine being full time physicians with four daughters ranging from college age to under a year. Chaos is a given, but how do these MD’s make life work in a busy society and try to remain healthy and happy?
Tim and Angela Henriksen met as medical students at the IU School of Medicine and proceeded to marry their intern year as residents at St. Vincent Hospital on the north side of Indianapolis. Four children later with demanding careers they began encounter many of the dilemmas that working couples endure as they try to raise happy, healthy children in this age.
Tim works as an anesthesiologist working with critically ill patients. Many days require working through lunch, staying up all night on call, and spending hours in tense rigorous surgeries. This makes coming home to household chores, homework demands and crying babies rather difficult. Angela is an internist at IU West hospital caring for adult patients with multiple comorbities. She spends days in the clinic managing multiple diseases and encouraging patients with preventative care. In the evenings, they are the proud parents of Alexis (22), Ciara (18), Sidney (12),and Emma (4), four beautiful daughters actively involved in school activities. So what recommendations do they have for making life work and staying healthy in today’s frantic lifestyle?
1. The family dinner— whether they eat soup, take out, or a terrific healthy meal, they all sit down at the same time to eat. Activities can make that challenging so just planning a snack or lunch together sometimes must suffice. The Henriksen’s try to use whole foods in cooking and avoid processed or packaged foods. Children use their parents as role models for healthy eating and habits. Studies indicate that eating and exercise habits are directly related to their parent’s (Golan, Weizman, Apter, and Fainaru, 1998). Therefore, including them in the preparation of the meal as well as using it for time together. “Spending time together seems to be an antidote to stress” Barbara Schneider, a co-director of the Sloan Center on Parents, Children, and Work, also states that people’s senses of well-being are elevated when they spend time together as a family.
2. Whole food supplements— they take a gold standard studied juice supplement, Juice Plus, that is proven in the Children’s Health Study to decrease doctor’s visits, prescription drug use, soft drink consumption and improve children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.
3. Take adult times after the kid’s go to bed. Try not to discuss the daily necessities, instead try to talk about opinions on current events or recent activities and stimulate each other’s intellect. Making time to do household projects together and getting out in nature on the weekends helps them relax and unwind from the hectic week’s schedule.
Jobs have changed over the last twenty years and the average worker spends 6 extra forty hour weeks on the job. Balancing work and family is no longer primarily a woman’s issue. They struggle daily to make their lives work as any working parent would. These small changes may really help your family as they have the Henriksen’s. For more information, feel free to contact Katie Haun, a local breast cancer survivor and motivational speaker who serves as Dr. Angela’s wellness coordinator. She can give you more information on The Children’s Health Study and about whole food supplementation with Juice Plus.
Katie Haun 502-5807 or visit www.drhenriksen.com