Taking care of us, so we can take care of them
The lazy days of summer are behind us, school has begun and with that, a completely new routine and an entire new set of responsibilities. My “babies” are growing up and now that both are in school most days, life at home has become more stressful. There are lunches to make and backpacks to fill, buses to catch, homework and projects to complete and lots extra-curricular activities. Somehow we get it all done and end up with two happy kids (most days) but I have to admit, while I am happy to do it all, I am stressed!
Since being a parent is truly a 24/7 job, I have been trying to take some time off when I can to take care of my needs. Ever hear the phrase “When mama’s not happy – nobody’s happy?” It is as true as it gets and in order for us to take the best care of our families, it is important for us to take care of ourselves (I type this as I am am fighting a nasty head cold my darling children so kindly shared with me)
For me there are three areas of my life that need constant attention in order for me to function well: Mind, Body and Home. If all three of these areas are functioning well, I feel relaxed and happy. If an area or two are off” in some aspect, I don’t feel right and have to do what I can to maintain a comfortable balance in my life.
Everybody deals with stress a little differently but there are ways to clear the mind from the daily chaos that is present in our lives. A daily walk, meditation or even doing yoga are all terrific ways to help de-stress from the comfort of your own home. Some people find they need outside help and might benefit from acupuncture. Some need to talk through their problems and would do best to seek the help of a therapist or spiritual guide. Once you develop the plan that is right for you, make sure you schedule time in your day to do whatever allows you to quiet your mind and de-stress.
Now that we are taking care of our mind, it is time to focus on our bodies. It is a known fact that proper diet and exercise are needed to maintain a healthy body and as a wonderful side effect, reduce stress. What we put in our bodies directly affects our how we feel and our mood. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding too much sugar, caffeine and sodium, will help keep your body in check. Avoiding fast food and cooking more at home can help us eat healthier too because we know what is going into our food. Not sure what to make? Check out my all time favorite recipe site. Found some yummy looking zucchini at the farmer’s market on the way home? Visit a recipe builder site, plug in zucchini and whatever else you have on hand and it will come up with a recipe based on as many ingredients as it can. This is a great tool to make a new meal using leftover grilled chicken, steak, veggies, etc.
Our busy lives often leave little time for exercise so we tend to find excuses to avoid it (at least I do). How many of you went out and bought that expensive treadmill only to bury it under clothes? Have you ever joined a gym only to go a few times? While using the treadmill and joining a gym are great ways to get into shape and stay fit, if you find this type of exercise boring or tedious, you will find an excuse to not do it. The key to fitness is to find a way to move your body in a way that excites you enough to keep doing it. I have problems with my back and knees but find that swimming for 30 mins is gives me a great workout and I don’t even feel sweaty! You might enjoy hiking, biking, walking, playing Just Dance on the X-Box 360, even dancing around as you clean to some favorite tunes. Whatever it might be, find something that you can commit doing on a regular basis. It takes up to a month to form new healthy habits so make sure you give yourself at least a month before you see results.
Now that we have taken care of our bodies, it is time to focus on one of the areas we spend the most time in, our home. One of the easiest ways of improving our environment is to go green and rid our homes of toxic chemicals. All of those toxic cleaning products with names you cannot even pronounce can be substituted with non-toxic alternatives. There is proven study after study supporting the fact that exposure to these chemicals can cause health problems, even cancer. It is believed that 2 in every 10 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year on Long Island. So it is more important than ever to rid your life of unnecessary chemicals. If you choose to let a cleaning service help keep your home sparkling, make sure they only use green sealed certified products and are OSHA compliant. Teresa’s Family Cleaning is a perfect example of this and only uses green cleaning solutions to clean your home, keeping you and your family safe from chemical use.
I hope these tips will inspire you to take some time for yourself to be the person that your family and friends need you to be, a happy healthy one.