Hello 2016! Already you are flying by. How many of you all made resolutions? How are they going? If you are still holding strong to your goals, congratulations! If you feel like you are having a hard time, don’t beat yourself up. It’s hard to make drastic changes especially when they involve your personal health, and especially, especially when you are a Mama trying to make sure everyone else is healthy and happy.
Something I am personally working on is stress reduction. When I turned 30 in November I felt like I was falling apart. I started having heart “flutter” sensations and racing. I got it all checked out and so far the tests they have run are fine, so I’m attributing it to a new way my body is fighting stress until I hear otherwise. Kind of scary, so it’s time to focus on being healthier and less stressed.
So, this is what I have put together for myself, and maybe you might find it helpful too. I am not going to stress over keeping a resolution, but these ten tips are EASY and can be incorporated into day-to-day life without too much fuss. They can be done right now and made into habits. Worth a shot!
- Drink more water. Yes, you’ve heard this before. Drinking enough water can prevent you from becoming sick, makes your thinking sharper, keep you from eating too much (sometimes when you feel hungry you are actually thirsty), and give you more energy. Also, can I mention more youthful looking skin? I had a scratchy throat a while back and pushed water and hot tea all day. Later that afternoon I looked in the mirror and I was surprised by how good my skin suddenly looked. Better and more immediate than ANY skin cream out there. For every caffeinated beverage you have, drink an extra cup of water to rehydrate (caffeine is dehydrating).
- Add 1, yes just 1 more fruit/vegetable to your day. Let’s face it, for some of us, it is really hard to get that goal of 5 fruits or vegetables a day in. If you are already there, great! If you are not, however, don’t overwhelm yourself. Add just 1 more in as a snack or part of a meal. 1 more doesn’t seem worth much, but it can make a big difference, and you are more likely to stick with it.
- Before you get out of bed every morning, think of at least 1 thing you are blessed with. Seems silly, but it is making a difference for me! Often the first thing that hits me when I wake up is all the overwhelming amount of things I have ahead of me, or I am reminded of a worry that’s been bugging me. I get out of bed and my heart starts racing. By interrupting those thoughts by focusing on 1 positive thing that’s happened, or by remembering all the many wonderful blessing I have in my life, or even remembering something funny my little tot did the other day, I feel so much better.
- Take time for yourself. Ha! Easier said than done. I’m still working on this one. But when you finish a hard day of work, or the little ones go to bed, or your hubby is graciously offering you a night off, take advantage of the time. It may not be a lot of time. You may want to fall on your face (that’s ok too), but do make time to do something YOU enjoy also. If you don’t have a hobby, explore a bit. You will come back a happier, healthier person to your family, who will all also be happier and healthier for it.
- Cut one soda a day. If you are a soda drinker, whether it be diet or regular, consider replacing one soda a day with something else. If soda is a habit for you, cutting cold turkey may not always be a maintainable answer. If you only have 1 soda a day, maybe go without every other day. Soda is packed with empty calories devoid of any nutrition, and as you know, sugar. This is a great visual if you want a better idea of how much sugar you are taking in. Diet soda is not much better, due to potentially harmful sugar substitutes. Did you know sugar substitutes can actually make you crave more sugary foods, thus sabotaging your dieting efforts? Cutting 1 soda a day is making progress towards cutting calories or replacing those calories with some real nutrition, and a good start towards cutting out soda entirely if you wanted.
- Move a little more. Not able to hit the gym every day? Not able to get out for the walk/jog you had planned? Exercise is important, but rather than dreaming of that perfect time to do it, incorporate it into your day and get some endorphins flowing. Park a little further from the store, use the stairs instead of the elevator, stretch on the floor while your little ones are playing. Every little bit counts and makes a difference.
- Smile. Yes, smiling more can make you healthier! Even if you feel like you don’t have much to smile about at the moment (for example, Matthew refusing to take a nap when I really, REALLY need him to nap), try to smile. Not only is it beautiful on your face, it can release some stress, lower your heart rate, and put things in perspective. Easier said than done in the heat of the moment at times…but smile. You may end up just laughing at yourself when you’re trying and it just ends up looking like your half-crazed (guilty).
- Put your phone down for a bit. We are constantly plugged in. Our parents didn’t have this problem like we do now. It’s always with you and it adds stress. Your brain has no downtime to just free-think. I will mindlessly scroll through Facebook and see some terribly sad story about someone dying in a horrific accident or if your baby’s poop looks like this they may have cancer. I find myself getting pulled in, stressing, and thinking of horrific scenarios. Too much. Make a commitment (it can be an extremely hard addiction to break) to put the phone down for an uninterrupted time-span more than 30 minutes straight to just read, be fully present with your family, or just sit and think freely (preferably about positive things).
- Replace one processed food with one homemade one. I think a big problem with our health is the easy access to processed foods. If you want candy, its just a convenience store trip away. If you want French fries, just zip through a drive-through. If you want Oreos, pick up a package and eat them out of your pantry whenever you fancy. Pretend we live in the times of our grandparents or great grandparents, and bake a treat at home whenever we feel like one. You get a delicious treat that probably tastes better anyways, and has a lot less preservatives. You probably won’t eat them as frequently too. Example: Homemade Chocolate Pudding –
10. Reward yourself. If you are succeeding at any one of these tips, or any positive change to your health for that matter, you deserve a reward (in addition to the reward of better health of course). At the end of my counseling sessions I always encourage clients to celebrate their successes–and no success is too small. As silly as it seems, you are psychologically more likely to keep on track. Make your reward a non-food related one, such as tickets to a concert or sporting event, a mani/pedi, a girls night, a guys night, whatever. It doesn’t have to be a big or expensive, just a little pat on the back. Be nice to yourself, you deserve it!
If you have questions on your daily diet and what you should be doing specifically, give me a shout. I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling and have experience in working with many different backgrounds and medical conditions. I also have monthly nutrition classes, the next one coming up on Thursday, February 4 at 6:30pm: What’s Good for Your Heart? Clearing Up the Confusion on Fats. Check out www.food4success.com for more info on my services.
Do you have any easy-to-incorporate health tips? Please feel free to share!