Ooh, I love receiving contributed posts like these! Here are some really easy healthy lifestyle changes you can make today that will make a real difference to your mood. Instantly. And if you make these lifestyle changes stick, they’ll be life-changing.
4 Lifestyle Changes to Relieve Stress, Improve Your Health and Be More Successful
We all get stressed from time to time, and it’s not surprising. Life just has a way of being tough now and then, as our obligations to work, family, and our health, amusement, and well being all too often collide catastrophically.
Of course, it’s fairly common as well that we’ll make things worse ourselves through bad habits and unproductive approaches to resolving our problems.
In the worst of instances, you could find yourself on holiday in the best and most beautiful resort, only to find yourself chronically unable to relax and enjoy the moment. Conversely, if you’re able to manage your stress response when back at home, even the most mind-numbing work concerns can seem like small and manageable things.
As stress affects the quality of our lives to such a great degree, here are some suggestions for lifestyle changes that can help to radically reduce your stress.
1. Read on topics that uplift and intrigue you
You may have an enduring interest in technical subjects such as science or engineering, or your passion might be reading the literature of the past and getting lost in the incredible worlds that people managed to create over the span of human history.
Regardless of what your particular area of fascination is, reading has the ability to transport us away from the preoccupations and worries of ordinary life and to carry us off to an eternal world of images and concepts – whether those take the form of mathematical formulae, or the metaphors and wordplay of William Shakespeare.
Distracting yourself from your concerns and preoccupations – even if only for a brief time – can have a tremendously positive effect on your overall sense of wellness. It can calm the mind and reduce stress, and as we know stress is not just a matter of “feeling uncomfortable”, but can have tremendously negative consequences for health when it’s allowed to become chronic.
Reading is a great and productive form of distraction which you can turn to no matter where you are.
2. Quit the caffeine and alcohol
This tip is often difficult for people to stomach (excuse the pun), for the obvious reason that caffeine and alcohol are so incredibly rife and common in the world. The vast majority of adults in the Western world consume both alcohol and caffeine, and many consume them on a daily basis.
But caffeine is a drug known to directly boost the production of the body’s stress hormones, and to tire out the various receptors and organs associated with those, and other, hormones.
That daily cup of coffee may be contributing quite dramatically to your chronic sense of stress and anxiety.
Likewise, alcohol causes damage to the brain and other organs of the body, and there is evidence that even in small amounts, it may make people less healthy, less resilient, and less capable of facing the world head-on. A bitter irony, considering people so often get drunk to drown out their stress and anxiety.
By quitting these two substances and shouldering through the few weeks or months of irritability and withdrawal (yes, really, they are actually drugs) you may find your stress vastly diminished.
3. Be sure to fuel yourself properly
A large number of people are constantly fighting to attain the perfect physique. Bellies are never flat enough, biceps never toned enough, and so on, and so on.
One of the side-effects of this obsession is that many people live in a state of chronic yo-yo dieting and caloric deprivation.
The bottom line is that when you don’t eat enough food, your body doesn’t work properly, you are less resilient, less healthy, and your stress hormone level are through the roof.
Make sure to fuel yourself properly. Eat whole, nourishing foods, comprising carbs, protein and fats. Yes, low carb diets may also boost stress hormones.
4. Get away somewhere scenic every once in a while
If your home environment becomes too stressful, you need to take steps to address the causes of that stress, and make it more bearable.
If your home is not excessively stressful, but you’re just chronically stressed anyway, getting away and visiting somewhere scenic once in a while can really help to alleviate the bad feelings.
Go somewhere where you don’t have to worry about work. Somewhere you can be inspired by the beauty of nature, and just relax for a while.
Aren’t these the easiest lifestyle changes to make? And can you see how effective they can be? Are you doing this stuff?
Are you drinking your 8 glasses of water every day?
I’m not. It’s something that’s been on my mind lately. I’m drinking far too much coffee (which actually dehydrates you) and far too little water. I even touched on the subject in my recent post on Self Care.
However, I haven’t been heeding my own advice. And then this excellent contributed post popped into my inbox.
4 Unexpected Health Problems Caused By Dehydration
Everybody has heard that you should drink about 8 glasses of water a day but if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking, does it really make that much difference?
If you aren’t drinking that much water, I’ve got bad news for you, it really does.
There are all sorts of different health problems caused by dehydration, some of them pretty surprising.
It can be a bit of a struggle to drink that much water each day but if you add a bit of flavor and drink something like lime water instead of plain old tap water, it’s a little easier. You can also get some great apps that help you track how much water you’re drinking and give you a little reminder if you haven’t had enough that day.
If you’re still not convinced, check out this list of the most unusual ways that a lack of water affects your body.
Bad breath is caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth or smelly foods in some cases.
Your saliva has good antibacterial properties and it breaks down a lot of that bacteria, stopping you from having bad breath. But when you aren’t drinking enough water and you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t produce anywhere near as much saliva.
That means all of that bacteria in your mouth will start to build up and nobody will want to get close to you when you talk to them.
Eek! UGH! Who wants THAT?
Your skin gets a lot of its moisture from the water you drink, which means it’ll start to dry out if you’re dehydrated.
Dry skin will crack and flake, but lack of water can also cause spots.
When your skin is dry, it will try to compensate for the lack of water by producing more oils. Those oils will get into the pores and clog them up, causing breakouts of acne.
Oops… my skin is both dry and spotty right now. Signs and symptoms are definitely there.
Eating too much is the main reason that people gain weight and if you’re dehydrated, you’re far more likely to overeat. A lot of the time, people think they have hunger pains when in reality, they’re just thirsty.
Most people reach for painkillers straight away when they’ve got a headache but if you’re taking them all the time, your body will build up a tolerance and they won’t work anymore. Before you start taking anything for it, just drink a glass of water and you might find that it’ll go away.
The advice on drinking water is there for a reason, dehydration can cause you all sorts of problems so make sure you’re always drinking plenty of water.
That’s it. I’m going on a cleanse. I had a whopper of a migraine the other day and have a few headaches recently.
Point taken. Self care starts right here, right now. Bring on the water.
Over to You
How are you doing on this one Moms? Please tell me you’re doing better than I am.
One of the job hazards of being a Digital Entrepreneur is that it’s far too easy to be working ALL THE TIME. Combine immense job satisfaction with workaholic tendencies, throw a smartphone into the mix and you could have a recipe set for family disaster. Because it’s your family that suffers when you’re permanently online answering this person or tweaking that post.
Or is this just me? Is it just my family who’s missing me even though I’m here? Well physically here. I’m at home with my family but with a vacant look on my face as I stare into the screen.
I have no doubt I have a smartphone addiction and my husband calls me on it often. His complaint rings out a few times a day and even my son’s started chiming into the refrain:
“Mommy’s always on the phone”.
I’m not proud of this.
I know how absent I am when I am in my creative process. I can feel myself glazing over.
I am also painfully aware of the dangers.
If I continue to focus on my online empire to the detriment of my family circle, I could lose years of my child’s life. He’s already four year’s old. Next time I look up from my phone he might be 8 or 12 or 16. He will be 20 and leaving home. I know just how quickly the years fly by with children and I don’t want to miss out on them. I only have this one chance.
I could lose my marriage. My husband may get tired of being alone in this marriage and may leave me, which would be disastrous not just for me but for both children.
Turning it Around
So I’ve been working on being more present, as a parent and a wife. Somedays are better than others.
Yesterday was one of my best days. We enjoyed the most gorgeous lazy Sunday morning. I really connected with my son, it was wonderful. My hubby was listening to us play and he congratulated me for being such a great Mom when he came downstairs to join in the fun.
Without further ado, here are my tips on how to be a better Mom even when you have other stuff to do.
How to Switch Off and Be a Better Mom
Do a Digital Detox
So how did I have one of my best days as a parent? Well, it all started with me shutting down my laptop and ignoring my phone once my son was awake so that I could focus all my attention on him.
No, let’s go back a day or two because actually, it started by me easing away from my digital life.
Going cold turkey when you have a digital addiction is not easy so I’ve found I have to do in stages. I find I have to switch off from “work-mode” before I can switch into parenting mode.
Here’s what helped me to do this:
I worked late on Friday night so that I could complete all business tasks I had planned for the week. In an online business, there’s always more stuff you could be doing but I got to a point where enough tasks were done that work wasn’t crowding my mind.
I also worked hard on Saturday with my son getting his School project done (which co-incidentally was called “My Family”) and everything packed for school on Monday. For once we were uber prepared. Early.
Tip 1: Reach a point where you declare your work is done and it’s now family time.
I did loads of house cleaning on Saturday. This ensured that I wasn’t distracted by a dirty house on Sunday plus something about housework actually helps me switch off from my website work.
I think it’s got something to do with it being physical rather than mental and perhaps also because it involves organising, tidying and cleaning. It’s very satisfying in its own way.
I even roped my son in to help me polish my car so actually, Saturday was also one of my better days as a parent.
Tip 2: Do something that takes your mind off your work. Weirdly, housework does the trick for me.
While we’re on the subject of doing something physical, this is one of the best ways to enjoy time with your children.
On Sunday morning my son asked us to have a party with him. So we switched on the radio and there we were in our pyjamas, dancing in the lounge. And even jumped on the couch. What fun! And quite a workout I must tell you.
Later on that morning, we jumped on the trampoline together, which is one of my son’s favourite pastimes. And again, great exercise for both of us. Especially as I land up being his rodeo horse for some of the time.
Often we go for walks. Or kick a ball around. Or play mini golf. Or swim. My hubby and son often wrestle together.
The point is to find something both you and your little one love doing and do it TOGETHER.
Tip 3: Do something fun and physical with your child(ren).
I’ve noticed lately that my son increasingly wants to stay home and play on the weekends rather than go out. Our lives are often so full and busy. We arrange school extramurals, play dates and outings.
Where is the time for free play?
We pack so much into their little lives when really all they want is home. Us. Meaningful connection.
And I find the moment I spend quality time with my child, I just want to hug and hold him close all the time. He is so adorable, I just can’t help myself. Of course, he’s 4 now, so he’s not always into hugs as much as I am but when you’re playing and dancing together it’s quite easy to slip in a few fun hugs.
If your child is really past the hugging phase, meaningful connection could just be that magical moment, mid-play, when you look into your child’s eyes and tell them how much you love them.
We had so much meaningful interaction yesterday that it kind of back-fired on me this morning when I had to get my son to school. He did not want to go, he just wanted to stay home and play with me all day again.
Tip 4: Find a way to connect deeply either through touch or eye contact (or both).
Be a Playmate
On the days I give myself over fully to just being a parent, I’m actually more of a playmate.
I always allow my child to lead the play. I actually let him completely boss me around, tell me what to do and how to do it. Here’s why:
It gives him a bit of power.
It helps him get really creative.
And it also makes a lot easier than having to think up stuff myself.
You will be amazed at what they come up with, especially if you really allow yourself to get in their head space.
Yesterday this meant throwing a dancing party in the lounge, jumping on the couch, playing lego together, playing inside his little castle tent and jumping on the trampoline.
Kids also love it when their parents allow them to be a little bit naughty and even do naughty stuff with them – hence the jumping on the couch with him. It sounds counter-intuitive but I’ve heard from a really good source (Hand in Hand Parenting) that this can prevent real naughtiness later.
Tip 5: Let your children lead the play and be their playmate.
Give Your Undivided Attention
If you got the first step right, the digital detox, it should be pretty easy to set aside some time in your weekend or in your day when you give your child all of your attention.
And when you do that, the magic happens. The effect on your child is amazing.
For example, we hardly watched any TV yesterday. Usually, TV is the first thing he asks for in the morning. It wasn’t even a thought in my son’s mind until we had been playing for hours and we all needed a rest.
Tip 6: Be there with mind, body and soul, be fully present.
Shower Them With Love and Praise
I find when I’m giving my son my full attention I also notice myself also giving him a lot of Praise. On days like these, I tell him:
how great he is
how well he’s doing
how much he’s learned
how proud we are of him
how lucky we are to have him in our lives
how much we love him
These words make a child glow inside. It makes them feel special and loved and supported and safe. I know because my parents gave me the same gift and it’s these words that come to mind and their love that sustains me in tough times.
Tip 7: Be your child’s biggest fan
Over to You
What methods work best for you when you want to switch off from work and be a better Mom? Are you able to just have fun whenever, wherever? Or do you also need a digital detox before you can give yourself over to play?
My 4-year-old son half woke up this morning at about 4 am and said clearly as if he was completely awake,
“Do you know what I love about you Mom?… Everything.”
And then he snuggled up close to me and went back to sleep. It was the sweetest thing.
My husband says this to me and both our children often so I know exactly who taught our son this wonderful saying. But I thought it was their thing, this is the first time our little boy has bestowed this great honour on me.
I woke up an hour later thinking, “These are the Moments Mom’s live for” and that’s what inspired this post.
Moments Moms Live For
There have been so many precious, beautiful moments since I became a Mom. Far too many to recall and recount, though I wish I had one of those genius memories that could call up every single of one of them at will.
Some of the moments Mom’s Live for are Universal, aren’t they?
Giving birth is one of those moments you both dread and look forward to at the same time. Especially the first time you ever give birth and you have no idea what to expect. You are so scared, so nervous of the birthing process and yet you cannot wait. And then the moment comes and it’s even more awful, more painful, more exhausting than you ever could have imagined and yet at the same time it is the most beautiful, awesome, empowering moment you have ever experienced. And filled with such love.
I remember the immense love I felt for my husband right in the middle of my birth experience (which was made, I believe, infinitely more intense by the fact that I had been induced). If felt like there were no moments between contractions. Except for one moment, that moment when I was just about to give up, when my husband’s face came into view and he said, “You can’t give up now, you’re nearly there.” Or something like that, the words weren’t important at all. It was the fact that we were doing this together, we were bringing this baby into the world together. I wasn’t alone, he was right there with me.
And this for me was one of the moments I live for as a Mom. This crazy, scary, off the Richter scale if there was a Richter scale for pain, the moment when we brought my little boy into the world. Did I ever mention that my hubby pulled my baby out? He did. What a moment.
So although every Mom’s birth experience is completely unique, at some point during labour or right after when we get to hold our precious little one close for the first time, or if we’re lucky enough, get to nurse him, we feel a love for our husband, our child, our union as a family that is off the charts. A love that knows no bounds. A love that stretches across the whole globe and encompasses all humanity and then comes right back into the room, to our little family unit. To envelop this newcomer in unconditional, universal love.
This is a Moment Moms Live For.
And though we’re exhausted and depleted after our birth experience, somehow we’re also on high alert, waiting for the moment when our little spawn will want to suckle. I understand not everyone gets to experience the joy of nursing, but every Mom gets to experience the magic of nourishing their newborn one way or another – whether they are lovingly warming up a bottle for them in the middle of the night or pulling them close to nurse.
Knowing our child needs us for both their survival and comfort, is another Moment Moms Live For.
And then as our babies start to develop, we live for their first smile, their first gurgle, the first time they sit, crawl and then their amazing first steps which look more like teetering. Their first words start coming and we are in awe of them.
These are Moments Moms Live For.
I Love You, Mom,
And then comes that special day when your child looks deeply into your eyes and says, “I love you”.
This is a Moment Mom’s Live For. And you hope, you pray, that when they are 21 they will still be looking at you this way, with so much genuine love and adoration and saying these words.
And there are so many other cute and wonderful things children say to us as they get older. I remember a good friend remarking how her son who was 5-years-old at the time would say how beautiful she is.
These are Moment’s Mom’s Live For.
This is for You Mom
The same friend said that her son also picks flowers and gives them to her, almost every day. My son has done that too from time and time and he often wants to buy me a bunch of flowers when he says them in the grocery store. Such a sweet thought.
I also find it amazing when he makes me something special and brings it to me. A Lego car or a play dough pancake. His favourite toy. When he shares his chocolate with me.
When he comes up to give me a huge hug, just because.
These are moments Moms’s Live For.
I Appreciate You
I’m just as touched when my gorgeous bonus daughter (who’s nearly 14-years-old) bakes a cake for me, gluten free so I can enjoy it guilt-free. Or offers to lend me one of her T-shirts (because we’re about the same size these days, in fact, she might be slightly taller than me now).
When she Thanks me for making her Dad so happy.
When she surprises me or her little brother a present she bought with her own pocket money.
When the two of them are sharing their own special moment together. When our little guy runs up to his big sister and hugs her. When I see how he looks up to her and how lovingly she looks down at him. How proud they are of each other.
When she asks me how my blogs are going and likes one of my Instagram posts. Such a caring young girl, not your “typical teenager” by a long shot.
These are the moments a Mom Lives for.
I Love You, Dad
When I’m cooking a meal and I can hear my son and his Dad playing and giggling and making jokes.
When my hubby hoists my son up on his shoulders and carries him home from the beach.
When the kids are both climbing all over their Dad or one on each side of their Dad, holding his hand, walking into a busy shopping centre. When they are outside in the garden playing cricket, basketball, jumping on the trampoline or feeding the tortoises.
When my hubby is reading a bedtime story and one of the kids is snuggled up close or sitting on his lap. I watched him do this for years with his daughter and now it’s our son’s turn.
These are the Moment’s a Mom Lives for.
I love You, Gran and Grandpa
My Mom has been coming to stay with us every Wednesday night for a while so we can work on our blogs together. My Mom has a very special relationship with our little boy. He absolutely adores her.
When he talks about family, it’s not just our smaller family unit, his parents and his big sister, he always includes his Granny and Grandpa (even though Grandpa is in Frail Care now and can’t come visit us anymore).
One day my Mom came over to babysit so my hubby and I could go somewhere and so my little guy and my Mom co-slept like we usually do. My Mom said, before they went to sleep, he kissed her from head to toe.
These are the Moments a Mom Lives for.
I look forward to many, many more of these of sacred moments to cherish and hold dear as the years fly by. And because I am short on this kind of life experience right now, I have asked a friend who has a child who has just left for University to write a sequel to this post.
I’ve mentioned before that as a Mom to a busy little man, taking care of myself has been pretty low on my priority list for a while and that this year I’m planning to change that.
Mama… When last did you take care of you?
There was a time in my life that I was much better at taking care of myself, so I’m going to give you some tips today based on what I used to do when this was my focus. Because I learned a lot of great tips and tricks about Self Care back in my Twenties when I was an Aerobics Instructor and a Massage Therapist.
I learnt even more about Self Care when I burnt out as a Massage Therapist and found myself struggling with exhaustion, depression, Sciatica (lower back pain and aching down the legs), Spastic Colon and the most hideous, debilitating migraines. My road to recovery was long but eventually I found answers.
I never want to suffer from burnout or any of these horrible symptoms again. If you’ve ever suffered from burnout or any of these symptoms, you’ll know exactly what I mean. As the year progresses, I plan to incorporate more and more of these Tips back into my own life as well.
Simple Lifestyle Changes
Just a proviso to mention upfront: None of this is intended as Medical Advice or to replace the advice you may be getting from your Doctor.
What I’m going to share with you is really just simple lifestyle changes that I made in my life that helped me enormously. Nothing too radical. I can’t promise you will get the same results that I had, as I don’t know your Medical History and I am not trained to diagnose or treat Medical conditions. I can only speak from my own experience.
Okay? All good with that? Here we go.
Self Care Tip 1: Eat Nutritious Foods
It’s no secret that we are what we eat. And when I was feeling my worst, I was consuming a lot of chocolate and drinking a lot of coffee. These are not poisonous substances by any stretch of the imagination but they became poisonous to my system because of the quantity I consumed over time. And probably some other health factors coming in to play at the same time.
So, for a while, I had to cut anything that contained caffeine out of my diet altogether.
How did I find out I had become intolerant of anything containing caffeine? I consulted a Kinesiologist and a Naturopath. I highly recommend veering off the path of Allopathic Medicine and finding some Alternative Healers if you have a bunch of symptoms that won’t seem to go away and you’d like to find out the root cause rather than just treat each symptom.
At the time, I also did a 2-week fast and a few fruit and veg cleanses and discovered that my body likes fruits and vegetables more than any other food. I felt absolutely fantastic after a few weeks of eating only fruit and veg. Here were the 5 main benefits in a nutshell.
Free of pain
Here are my…
5 Ways to Eat Nutritiously
1: An Apple a Day…
Eat 90% what God Made and 10% what man-made (or tampered with). So if it’s in a box, bottle or packet rather than in a basket needing to be weighed, if you can’t grow your own in your garden, it’s probably man-made or tampered with.
In other words: Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruit and Veggies (this includes Berries and Nuts) to limit consumption of bread, biscuits, muffins etc.)
2: Find Out What’s Poisoning Your System
Find out if you are allergic or intolerant to anything and if you are:
eliminate it for a good few weeks or until all nasty symptoms disappear
then re-introduce, slowly
and never in the same quantity as before.
3: Eat Frequent Smaller Meals
Eat Frequently and never until you’re overly full (5 to 7 Small Snacks rather than 3 Big Meals) to keep blood sugar and therefore energy levels up. Maintaining even blood sugar levels can mean the difference between whether you are happy and relaxed or depressed and nervous.
4: Drink Plenty of Water
Drink lots of water or herbal tea and eliminate sodas or soft drinks – even fruit juice and diet drinks as they still contain some form of sugar.
5: Eat More Fish
Choose Fish or Poultry over Red Meat or Pork. I find my body works best when I eat plenty of fish rather than heavier, usually fattier steaks. I know this is very controversial advice nowadays with the popular diets that centre around fat, juicy steaks. However, fish oil is incredibly important for the brain.
If you’re not eating fish at least 3 times a week, I would recommend supplementing with Omega 3 Oils. If you’re vegan or vegetarian I’d imagine you already know which foods are richest in Omega 3, but in case you don’t, there’s a great article here.
A Note on Supplementation:
I believe 100% in supplementation, simply because I know most of us don’t have the time or inclination to eat as nutritiously as we should. The supplement that helped me most when I was burning out was a little colloidal liquid called Cellfood by Nu Science Corporation. I got it here in South Africa from a company called Oxygen for Life.
Why it worked for me was because it:
was readily absorbed by the body
available at the cellular level
contains 78 elements and minerals, 34 digestives, 17 amino acids
contains Deuterium Sulphate which splits water molecules to release Oxygen at the cellular level
I must just mention here that this product is extremely detoxifying. I had a severe headache every day for the first 10 days of taking it but after that, I never suffered from a migraine ever again. Ever. And my spastic colon disappeared too. Along with the lower back pain, depression and exhaustion. After about two weeks on the product, I felt better than I had felt in years. It was life-changing for me.
Self Care Tip 2: Be More Active
I’ve read a number of articles proclaiming that our sedentary lives are becoming the new BIG HEALTH ISSUE. i.e. More life-threatening (and more fattening) than either fat or sugar.
We sit on our bums to get to work and then sit at a desk all day and then come home to sit on the couch and watch the TV, eating our TV-dinner, which we popped into the microwave. I know that sounds like an extreme example, but these are the kind of lifestyle habits that sneak into our everyday life.
And I can see how, as a blogger, sitting at my laptop for hours a day is not doing me any favours. I am fortunate that I’m also a Mom which sometimes requires me to be active, either doing housework or playing with my son. So I’ve started saying YES more often when he asks me to come jump on the trampoline with him. We also go for walks together and now that he’s a bit older we can pick up the pace a bit (sometimes).
Regular Exercise is Key
What I learned when I was training to be an Aerobics Instructor, back in the day, is that for exercise to make a difference to your health and well-being, it needs to be regular (at least 3 times a week to maintain fitness, 4 or 5 times to increase fitness).
Along the way I discovered that the drop-off rate is really high is people aren’t enjoying themselves.
5 Ways to Being More Active
1: Find Exercise that You Enjoy
In modern society, we tend to get stuck on the idea of the Gym as the only place to go to be active and the Gym may not be your cup of tea. But don’t let that stop you exercising.
There are many different activities to do other than working out. And some of them may be more appealing to you than doing a workout indoors along with a bunch of other sweaty bods.
Here are some fun ideas you might want to try that may keep your interest:
Dancing (e.g. Ballroom, Salsa, Scottish Dancing, Line Dancing)
Martial Arts (e.g. Karate, Judo, Kung Fu, Tai Chi)
2: Shorten the Duration of Exercise
People often avoid exercise because they think it’s going to take too much time out of their day.
All you need to find is 20 to 30 minutes a day.
And it’s been proven that short bursts of exercise where you get your heart rate up can make a difference – even 5 minutes four times a day makes a difference.
You could try these tips to be more active.
Climb stairs instead of taking the lift whenever you can.
Step away from your desk every couple of hours or so and skip (with a skipping rope)
Go for a short brisk walk in your lunch hour
Warning: Don’t try do any of these in high heels, you can stay in your work clothes but good shoes or bare feet are a must.
3: Get out in Nature
Being out in nature is good for the soul. Exercising in nature is good for body, mind and soul.
There are so many amazing outdoorsy activities you can enjoy. Here a few examples:
Hiking or Mountain Climbing
Walking on the Beach
Swimming (in the sea)
Windsurfing or Kitesurfing
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Jogging or Running
4: Change it up
If you find your interest in any activity is flagging, then it’s time for a change. Try something new every once in a while.
Or do something different every day. Whatever it takes to keep you active.
5: Change Your Mindset
Don’t let exercise start to feel like a chore. If it feels like something you HAVE to do, it becomes something you do grudgingly. Let it flow. Let it become a natural part of your life. Find enjoyment in movement.
Self Care Tip 3: Take Time Out
When last did you take a bit of R & R (Rest and Relaxation)? Read a good book? Or even flip through a magazine?
Emotional wellbeing is essential when you’re a Mom. Because if you’re an emotional wreck, your kids usually are too. And everyone around you for that matter.
Here are my Top 5 Ways you can bring some much-needed balance back to your life.
1: Play Time
It can be so easy to let go of your friendships when you become a Mom. Especially if you have a number of children and your whole afternoon is spent getting them to all their extramural activities.
Take time to nurture your friendships, even if you have to have the kids in tow while you’re doing it. Find things you can do with your friends and your children.
In the same vein, it’s just as important to find time to play with your children. Get down and dirty with them. Climb into the sandpit sometimes or onto the jungle gym. Lie on the floor with them playing cars or dressing up dolls or building blocks. Let them lead the play and you might find you have a blast.
Oh… and while we’re on the subject of down and dirty, your hubby might appreciate some playtime with you too.
2: Down Time
Never underestimate the rejuvenation power of a good nap. Sleep is generally in short supply for Moms, so take naps whenever you can.
And if napping is not your thing, at least find a way to get in 8 hours a night every now and then.
SLEEP is one of the greatest healers I know.
3: Quiet Time
We live in a very noisy world. There is almost always something on, TV, Radio or just the background noise of traffic and chatter. That’s why it’s essential to find spaces and block out time when you can experience stillness.
Find a way to bring meditation or prayer into your life. Learn Transcendental Meditation if needs be. Or learn a breathing technique. Or just breathe.
If you really find it impossible to slow your mind down to that pace, a Yoga class might provide just enough stillness for you. Or you can lose yourself in a book or some classical music, any music that calms and relaxes you. Whatever it takes to quiet your busy mind.
4: Me Time
While we’re busy slowing things down, it’s a good time to discuss chilling out on your own.
Here are some favourite me-time activities that you can consider incorporating into your life.
Is there any aspect of self-care you think I have left out? Do you see self-care as self-indulgence or a vital part of your health and wellbeing? What do you do to feel your best? What do you do to operate at your peak? Join the conversation below…
What is the Key to Success in Life? Choosing Conscious Balance
That sounds like a mouthful doesn’t it? I mean, after all, we are constantly on the search for the elusive sense of success. Ultimately though, it is ours to choose how we define success, isn’t it?
So what is the key to success in life?
The answer: Choosing Conscious Balance
Huh, let’s look at that. What do we mean by conscious balance? Or for that matter, even our definition of success. Especially in work and life balance.
We know how we feel as worker bees. Constantly on the go, never a moment to just be. And it starts to catch up on us. We feel stressed and disconnected. And perhaps start to feel not quite so energetic or healthy.
Are we willing to explore our lives at this point? That is the proverbial question.
I like to, only half teasingly, say that at some point in my life, I became a Reformed Type A personality.
But it took intense life events to force me to look at how I was not consciously living in my own best interest. For many of us, and I know this was so true of me, I think we are not always ready to see there are other options.
Sometimes we are so caught up in what we think we are expected to be or do, that we lose sight of what we truly need to be healthy or fully engaged in our own life.
So how do we know when we are not in balance?
THE WARNING SIGNALS OF IMBALANCE
Argh, do we even bother to listen to those faint or sometimes blatant warning signals? You know the signs:
loss of joy
not feeling great
no time for anything but work
I, for sure, totally ignored that I was working myself into an unhealthy situation.
After all, as a single parent, working 65 hours a week was not a question.
It was necessary.
Or was it?
Today we have so many other ways to choose our own path. And it comes down to our willingness to choose what is most valuable for us to be living in a state of peaceful, fulfilling balance.
The balance of honoring all that is sacred and valuable to our core truth.
And when we find that balance and live it, we not only change our lives but impact those around us.
OUR CHOICES, CONSCIOUS Success or External Success
I think one of the hardest choices is determining where our true needs and values lay.
Where or how do we really want to use our time?
We have all heard that life is not a dress rehearsal.
So where are our values when it comes to our life’s path?
Do we really want to be chasing our dollar dreams, fulfilling our hearts or …fill in the blank?
And let me make it really clear here. Having wealth does not automatically come with the judgment of hierarchy or good vs. bad. Money is just another energetic exchange. How we choose to classify it or give it meaning, is where we run into a wall. And that is where the choice of consciousness comes into play for me.
If we just want money for the sake of how we will be perceived in our community or family, that chase will ultimately be empty and unfulfilling.
If instead, we see our way of having and accruing our finances as an expression of our own worthiness and creativity, money flows in a very different way. Because then, we are making the conscious choice to jump into our own power.
And that also gives us choice as to how hard we choose to work. And what kind of time investment is balanced for the best interest of our family and our health.
So the question is whether or not we are choosing our daily life as an expression of our true self or what’s defined by society? And it is in the conscious choice of defining our needs that we come to terms with our own sense of success.
And that is a deeply personal place. My sense of success has truly changed. I am no longer seeing success as the McMansion.
How many people have I had the privilege of connecting with and brought some sense of joy or peace to their lives?
How often am I in a position of choosing giving love and compassion?
How am I using my creativity as the venue for self-expression of my own truth?
When we make the choice to be in a state of being, we are acknowledging the peace of this moment. That does not mean we do not take our responsibilities seriously.
It just means that at each moment we can make the very conscious choice to be present. We do not need to hold on to any thoughts or beliefs. We just have to be. We step into the bearing witness to our lives.
In fact, wouldn’t you agree that there is no better gift we can give to each other than being fully present in our interactions?
And promise to be gentle with yourself through this exercise, okay?
Start with a few very easy breaths.
Let your mind rest.
Say this mantra, I am living my peace. I am living my peace. I am living my peace.
Continue saying it until you can feel your body fully relax.
When your body is in full relaxation, notice the sense of presence. It is easy, there are no should’s, and no constructs. No have to’s. No thoughts.
This is the joy of being present and being. Fully bearing witness without having to say anything or hold on to any attachments.
In this state, we radiate peace and compassion. We can call on this state anytime we choose.
We just have to choose.
The more you practice this on a daily basis, the easier your sense of being present will be.
At any moment in our lives, we are constantly faced with the gift of choice. It is in this gift that we enter into a pact of sort that defines how we will be in that choice. Being fully conscious in our choices is the ultimate step to success. For it says we are not willing to be led down a path that is not ours.
Instead, we take the reins of our lives and decide at each moment what will best serve our highest interest of truth. And at that moment we have achieved success and balance in our work and lives.
Do let me know how you are choosing to be fully present in your life. How do you see this working for you? Do you feel ready to examine the choice to be conscious and present?
In peace and gratitude,
Founder of Success-full-living.com
An online community for self-growth and inner peace. Please take a moment and come chat.
About the Author
Hello, I am Ariel. After a long illness, I taught myself how to walk again. So here I am jumping into vibrancy. I am an artist, writer and believer in the positive, and a grandmother. My belief in the Yes We Can mindset, has opened the gates to living in possibility.
I live my life co-creating with the universe, rich in love, compassion, grace and consciousness. Knowing, that we are all connected and willing to be of service, is a source of great peace and joy.
My answer is very close to Ariel’s answer. To me, it’s consciously choosing happiness. In each moment. In each choice we make. Taking full responsibility for our own happiness.
What is the Key to Success in Life to YOU? We would love to know. Please join in the conversation below.
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