Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions to ‘be healthier’? Do you feel like better health is an impossible task or find yourself overwhelmed with all the information available? Perhaps you have developed a certain ‘comfort’ with some unhealthy habits? You are not alone. As a busy parent of multiples, you may feel you don’t have time to be healthier. But healthier choices for you will help you be a better parent. By setting realistic goals and taking baby steps toward accomplishing them, you will find great satisfaction in the new found healthier you! Here are some simple steps to take to be healthier in the new year. Focus on one step each week, and by the end of two months, you’ll have made significant progress!
Week 1: Prepare Mentally – Making a change in lifestyle and moving your family toward naturally improved health takes a committed effort. Take time this week to mentally prepare for the focus, effort and commitment needed to be successful. Find a friend to join you! Accountability raises your chance for success and a partner makes it a whole lot more fun.
Week 2: Get Your Beauty Sleep – Studies repeatedly show getting 7-9 hours of sleep gives you the start you need to conquer all things healthy. Biggest benefits: More energy, clearer mind, fewer sick days, and even a better metabolism. Plus, you will be more suitably equipped to handle life better when you are well rested. Most kids are not getting enough sleep these days either. Take a look at some sleep guidelines and tips by age at the Center for Disease Control. Chances are that your precious kiddos are also a little sleep deprived!
Week 3: Get into the Exercise Groove – We all know how important exercise is for our well-being but are we finding the time and energy to fit it in? When exercising just 30 minutes a day you require about 30 minutes less sleep per night to have the same level of function. We just need to DO IT. Do whatever it takes to help you get your groove on! If it’s simply taking a walk each morning or night after dinner, then make that your routine. If you need a friend to stay committed, look up local exercise classes, gym schedules, or plan your walking or jogging time together. Consider a lunch break work-out or push those kids in a stroller outing! Only a few minutes? Try running the stairs, doing some calisthenics or hitting the floor for a few stretches.
Week 4: Simplify and Squash out Stress – Sound impossible? Perhaps we won’t realize significant strides in this area immediately, but we can take action to make improvements. This week why not focus on just a few simple steps to reduce stress. First, plan ahead. Have a family calendar available in plain view and be sure to record the family happenings. Last minute ‘stressors’ create a sense of anxiety and panic whereas a plan can bring peace and efficiency to the day. Next, don’t dwell on what is out of your control. Worrying wrecks the adrenal glands and all that stress pumps out more cortisol than any of us want effecting our bodies long term. Focus on today, evaluate your time wasters and work to reduce or eliminate them!
Week 5: Take Time to be Pampered – Go out to dinner with a friend, hit the day spa or claim a few hours of solace right in your own home! You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you are and how much more efficient you are afterwards, not to mention the improved mood!
Week 6: Find Freedom not Fights in Your Finances – Financial woes hit hard all year long, but especially after the Holiday spending and traveling. If you don’t have a budget, this is a great time to make a plan and dive in! You will indeed live a HEALTHIER life when you are not stressed or worried over finances or excess debt. There are plenty of resources online, at churches, or local financial counselors. If you don’t have a plan, get one. If you have one but haven’t been working it, give yourself permission to start over with a fresh slate and find someone to help keep you accountable. Our family enjoys Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey and you are free to check out his resources online.
Week 7: Get a Grocery Cart Makeover – Now it’s time to get serious about your physical health! When you grab that cart, focus on shopping the PERIMETER of the store. Fresh fruits, veggies, meats and dairy for the bulk of your meal planning and snacks. Avoid products with preservatives, high sodium, higher fat and sugar content – those in the middle of the store. Lose the soda, chips, crackers, cookies and donuts. A healthy diet will give your body the edge on fighting disease and infection as well as maintaining the energy and stamina you need to survive each day! Choose purified water over soda and juice. Avoid diet foods. Choose fruit or raw veggies for snacks. Don’t expect yourself to master this day 1, but make a DECISION to keep moving forward in your quest for a healthier life and start over as often as is necessary.
Week 8: Out with the Old & In with the New – If the ‘Old’ is bad products, toxic overload, lack of nutritional support, etc., then it’s time you looked at the ‘New’. Where might you start? First, get rid of the toxic products that are harmful and instead used ‘Green’ cleaning and laundry products and safe personal care products like soap and shampoo. Add nutritional supplements to cover for imperfect diets and nutritional gaps is next in priority. Peace of mind and fewer trips to the doctor with less prescriptions will be the result of this change! Take a look at the wonderful alternative health options available today. Check out your local chiropractor or massage therapist to help you maintain good health physically and mentally. Take needed steps to repair some of the damage of past poor choices as well as start preventing future problems. Look for high quality natural products you can trust and supplements that are whole food rather than synthetic varieties.
Once You Put it All Together – Start enjoying better health. Remember to give yourself permission to start each day fresh – even if you made poor choices the day before. Pretty soon, you will find yourself in the midst of great habits for a healthier life!