I’ve found that the moments I most enjoy usually take place during a time I’m feeling physically well. I'm healthy, well-nourished, refreshed, and riding on a full tank! However, in the fast-paced society we live in with the types of “convenience foods” that are readily available, I’ve had to dedicate some serious effort to home routines and lifestyle. This keeps not only myself but my entire household healthy so we can feel good more often than not. I’ve learned that “coasting” or playing it by ear isn’t an effective strategy for long-term healthy living. If you want to feel good consistently, you need to put in some extra effort upfront, otherwise in the face of hunger, fatigue, or stress convenience and comfort always prevail. As a busy small business owner working from home with two small children, I’ve faced the challenges all mothers have from trying to manage it all. My worst days are typically a result of not prioritizing my self-care. Imagine this (Scenario #1): The 3-year-old was up in the middle of the night, and as my morning alarm sounds, I hit snooze twice and skip my morning workout. I also had forgotten to plan my meals for the week and end up eating a soggy bowl of cereal the kids hadn’t touched…which results in a sugar crash, grouchy mood, and a desperate search for something more to eat. Fast forward to later that day: I’m on my 3rd cup of coffee and a trail of processed snacks, frustrated at the kids’ bickering. I decide to pick up fast food lunches (because we’re all feeling desperate), and although I chose the salad on the menu, I end up also eating leftover fries and nuggets, and now feel yuckier than before. Imagine this (Scenario #2): The 3-year-old was up in the middle of the night, and as my morning alarm sounds I know I am feeling tired, but I deeply honor my sacred AM routine, so I get up. From there, I take my pre-workout supplement, scan my agenda for the day ahead, and do a quick 30 minute workout in my basement before the kids are awake. Then, I cook a quick healthy breakfast—scrambled eggs with sweet potatoes and coconut oil for me, and toast and butter for the kids! As the kids wake, I set their breakfast out for them, and head to the shower and prepare for the day. I’ve already meal planned and prepped some healthy snacks and meals, so I can look forward to a delicious chicken salad & veggie wrap* for lunch, and stuffed peppers with ground turkey* for dinner. Scenario 1 used to be a way of life for me, but I’ve learned that by establishing consistency and perseverance with healthy household routines, I’ve created a happier life for myself and my kids!
Meal Plan & Prep Whether you want to go “all in” and prep for an entire week (I enjoy this), or some simple batch cooking, washing and chopping veggies, having healthy snacks and meal solutions ready to go is a serious game changer. Think of how great it is to walk into Wegmans and pick up one of those healthy and delicious “ready to eat” meals. Now imagine having this daily, right in your fridge! The key is to schedule TIME to do your meal planning, grocery shop, and meal prepping. Shown are two quick, easy make-ahead lunch and dinner recipes.
Exercise Daily Keeping physically fit will do wonders for your happiness and overall mood! Think about a point in time when you were keeping active and fit—how did you feel? I prioritize my workout session to take place first thing in the AM; disruptions are at a minimal, so it’s the greatest chance I’ll get my time in peace. Determine the time of day you can commit to and create a routine around it! I personally follow at-home workout programs (30-60 minutes/day), but exercise comes in so many forms (running, cycling, Pilates, kickboxing, etc.). Start doing what you enjoy and can commit to, and seek out diversity to incorporate strength training, cardio, stretching & flexibility.
Get Out Humans are made to be in nature, which is why I think we all love getting out on nature trails and having mini-adventures. Our favorites are Mendon Ponds Park, Powder Mills Park, Erie Canal and the New York Trails "Rails to Trails." We have trails right near our house that we walk to almost daily. We also love to discover new trails in the parks nearby and visit different local playgrounds. We get so much from being outdoors and experiencing all the discoveries around us! Not only are we maintaining healthy physical activity, but every nature outing is full of new lessons and can be an unknowingly spiritual experience for each of us.
Rest & Relax Bedtime is key, and not just for the kids! I strive to be in bed by 9:45pm (lights out by 10), so that I am getting at least 7-8 hours of shut eye and can wake up for my early AM routine. We also do our best to practice evening reading time, and sometimes carve out afternoon quiet time with a calming movie or story, some essential oils, and maybe a little catnap. Life gets very busy, and as important as it is to be physically active and productive, we have to prioritize slowing down and finding the calm.