It’s that time of the year where I can feel myself running out of the fuel that runs my engine. I find myself needing an extra cup (or two) of coffee during the day, not being able to focus on the task at hand as long as I want, and feeling a little sluggish.
Every year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my body decides it’s had enough of the mental and physical stress I so often put it though; and, it all comes crashing down right around New Years -last year I spent three days in bed with tonsillitis and 103 fever -not fun!
So this year, I’m on a mission to be more aware of how I feel and give my body exactly what it needs way before it begins to go downhill.
1. Sleep More
I know it’s easy to suggest this to others, that we should sleep more, but the truth is that I often go to bed right after I tuck in my kids. I’m usually up between 5 and 6 am to work out before my kids wake up so allowing my body to sleep is crucial. I often joke with my husband that sleep is the cure to everything in my world. If I’m stressed enough, I sleep. Not feeling well? I sleep. Ok, maybe you are thinking that you can’t get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night. I get that. Perhaps you can assign a weekend morning where you get to sleep in? That often does it for me.
Do I need a good cup of coffee in the morning when I wake up? Absolutely!
2. Drink a lot of water
I hear from a lot of people that they don’t like the taste of water, or that they get “tired” of drinking water throughout the day. You can brew iced green tea and drink that instead, although I’m pretty sure that would get old too!
My biggest piece of advice is to buy a large cup (24-30oz of liquid) with a straw. I’ve found that by having a straw to drink from, it speeds up the water intake process for me.
3. Eat more fresh foods
One of the reasons we sometimes feel more sluggish than normal during this time of the year is because our sugar and processed food intake are often higher than normal.
Give your body a break by adding more veggies into your day and not by the smoothie or carrots and dip route, but my making more veggie-centric meals like some of these salads, this meat and veggie chili, or even with these taco recipes! You don’t have to wait until the new year to eat better; the time is now!
4. Stay Active
Regardless of your profession, how busy you are, or your ability to get to exercise, doing some physical activity is essential to keep our minds and bodies healthy.
For me, exercise isn’t something I do to loose weight or stay small; I have to exercise to prevent back surgery. However, the benefits of exercising have been great for me physically and mentally. In addition, regular exercise can help you control your weight, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, reduce the risk of some cancers, strengthen your bones and muscles, and improve your mental health and mood.
I have to admit that I’ve become addicted to the endorphins my body releases through regular exercise. They are essential to keep my stress levels at bay, reduce whole-body inflammation and control chronic pain, as well as improve my mood and self-esteem.
Most importantly, I feel that staying active is a way to show my family that I care enough about my body to keep it healthy to be able to enjoy life with them more. I know that by exercising regularly in front of my family and getting the kids involved, whenever I can, sets a good example for them as well.
5. Do MORE of what makes you happy
I made it a goal this year to spend more uninterrupted time with my kids in the morning before I head to the office and upon my return. Thankfully, with homeschool and having a no-work-from-home policy when the kids are home, finding time to be with the kids has gotten a lot easier than ever.
I’m also fortunate that I get to travel frequently both for my job and with my family, so my happiness travel-tank happens to get the opportunity to refuel often.
If I had to assess what makes me happy without other human beings around; it would be to lay in bed and cozy up to a good book with a cup of coffee. That time alone, with a good story and unplugged from electronic devices and social media is priceless.
For me, finding ways to stay healthy physically and mentally is about being aware of what my body and mind need and finding ways to supply that. I know it’s not always easy to put ourselves first as parents since we are often taking care of everyone else; but I urge you to find ways to do so, if not for your health, for your family.
What are some of your tips to stay healthy?