It’s a fact; we moms are always looking for ways to better ourselves and live a healthy lifestyle. For you, this could mean eating better, getting more sleep, exercise, stressing less or all of the above!
Whichever category you fall into, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean drastic changes, taking small steps can make the biggest impacts. To get you started, I’m sharing tips that I practised to help me eat right, move more, and enjoy time with my family.
How to Start A Healthy Lifestyle
What does a healthy lifestyle mean to you? Perhaps it looks like eating better and working out more or maybe getting an adequate amount of rest and learning to decompress from the daily load.
In truth, health is a state at which our physical and mental health are in balance. Since I’m focusing on us moms, I like to break it down into four main areas: eating habits, activity, stress, and family interaction.
Perhaps, your eating habits and fitness are up to par; but is your sleep equally as important in your priority list?
Wait, WHAT? “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” I used to say. But the thing is, that day might come sooner if you don’t plan to sleep more now.
I find it best to set goals in each area of life and break it down into smaller bits that I can work on each day. I promise this isn’t a science project or motivational speech, just a real-life approach, here is a better picture of what I mean by goal setting:
- If you want to eat healthier start with the goal of preparing X amount of meals at home each week. This is where many families have found our meal plans to come in handy.
- If you want to start incorporating more exercise, make a goal of X amounts of workouts per week.
- More quality sleep? Establish a bedtime as well as a time to wake up. Then work on getting to bed and rising on time, it’ll take a few weeks, but your body will adjust.
- Spend more time with the family? Set aside a few evenings or days for your family to do something together.
You and I both know this list looks easy to do on screen but real life? Well, in real mom-life, no two days are the same but holding yourself accountable will help keep you motivated. After a while, these goals will become a way of life, and isn’t that what we’re aiming for?
How to Sleep Properly
“Sleep cures everything”, these are words I live by, and they are no exaggeration. Sleep is so much more than a passed out face plant on your pillow, while you’re at rest, the body is working to repair damage from stress, digest food, and regulate hormones.
A lack of sleep only saps your energy, productivity, and throws your emotions off whack, all of this coupled with loads of stress, and it can reap havoc on the immune and thyroid system.
To skip that nightmare, make sure you get enough sleep — bottom line. For women 18 years of age and above this means 7 to 9 hours each night.
Let me warn you if you’re not used to going to bed before 10 pm; it will take some adjusting. The good news is it eventually becomes a way of life, one that you look forward to most.
This is true because many nights I lay in bed and I’m like… “aaaaahhhhh. Finally! I’m horizontal.” And I can’t help it but smile.
Here’s how to create a system that works best for you:
1. Create a Sleep Schedule
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day is the most effective way to get your body in a new rhythm. Also, avoid sleeping in, even on weekends. No, I’m not mean, but it helps your body to adjust more quickly.
2. Exercise During the Day
Exercise is known as an energy booster for the day and helps you sleep better at night. That being said, the stimulatory effects can keep you alert for hours, so if you’re aiming to sleep better, it’s best practice to avoid high-intensity activities such as cardio, circuit training, and HIIT late in the evening.
3. Power Down
Ever felt alert after reading a work email or scrolling through social media on an iPhone, tablet, or computer? Yeah me too, and it’s no mystery that electronics delays your body’s internal clock and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Keeping a digital curfew a couple of hours before is the best way to ensure that both kids and adults develop healthy sleep schedules.
4. Chill Out
In place of electronics find an activity that clears your mind, this could be a hot bath, reading a book (like the paper and print ones), listening to music, or whatever puts you at ease.
How to Start Eating Healthy
I get asked the question A LOT -A LOT. And I mean… A.LOT! LOL. And my answer is always the same: if you want to know how to start eating healthy, you have to start making your own meals.
With the business of caring for a family and keeping the house in order, it can be so easy to swing through the drive-thru after practice or order in and call it a night. However, preparing homemade meals gives you more control over what goes into each meal and the convenience to swap recipe ingredients for healthier options.
If going cold turkey on take-out and drive through meals is too much, start with a small goal of preparing 3 dinners and lunches a week. From there work your way up week by week.
It also helps to prep breakfasts, lunches, and dinners ahead of time with a meal plan. You can create one yourself or bring in some outside help from one of our family meal plans. They helped me go from 2+ hours in the kitchen each night, to 3 hours once a week with a few 10-minute prep sessions in between. It’s a one-stop shop with recipes, prep guide, and complete shopping list, if you want to learn more, get the full scoop and a free sample plan over here.
And while we’re talking meals, check out these easy dinner ideas for tonight that both adults and kids will agree on. That Beef Goulash though!!!!
Best Food to Add to Your Diet
You’ve probably guessed things like processed, convenience foods are a no-go so let’s focus on everything you CAN have!
- Vegetables – all of them, no discrimination here!
- Fruits- Same as above
- Lean proteins- See #1
- Seafood- Hello fish tacos!
- Whole grains- Quinoa, rice, oats, whole grain bread, pasta, and wraps.
- Healthy Fats- I wrote an entire post about why women NEED more fats!
- Coffee- can’t leave that one out!
I would also like to mention that an occasional slice of homemade banana bread or your favorite treat is expected and it’s a good thing. Staying healthy = staying balanced and depriving yourself of favorite foods only makes you want them more and we all know how that ends.
How Busy Moms Can Start Exercising
You owe it to yourself and your family to get moving. Exercise is very important for your health and well being. It strengthens your bones, muscles, clears your mind, and enhances self-esteem. If you don’t know where to start or are coming from a hiatus of working out, here are steps to get you on the right track:
1. Choose a Routine
Start with an activity you enjoy doing this could be yoga, running, gym classes, HIIT, weights, or sports. If it’s something you look forward to, it’s easier to stick to and make a habit.
2. Set a Time
You know you’re routine best so block out time where you can fit in a workout. It could be before everyone wakes up, in between nap times, or when your husband returns home. Mark it off on your calendar or phone and set a reminder, this makes it feel more official.
3. Find an Accountability Partner – A Buddy!
This could be your spouse, friend, or fellow gym-mate and having someone else hold you accountable is a whole new level of commitment.
4. Start Slow
Walking, yoga, lighter weights, and classes with certified instructors are great options and will help you build stamina. After a while, your body will get into the swing of things and you can add more intensity as needed.
How to Work Out at Home
At-home workouts are a convenient way to shape up without stepping foot in a gym. No commute, unlimited access to workout videos and at-home fitness programs, it’s not hard to see why home workouts are ideal for anyone short on time, especially moms!
Several online programs offer different bodyweight workouts at any intensity level, so whether you are a yogi or kickboxer, there’s something for you, no equipment needed!
If you do want to commit to home workouts and pick up a few pieces of equipment, I have an entire post dedicated to fitness gear useful for anyone.
How to Reduce stress as a Mom
Us moms are professionals at managing stress; and while specific amounts of stress is normal, you and I both know we are often pushed beyond our limits and tell ourselves that we just need to “push through it.”
Here are a few ways you can take a load off:1. Learn to Say No
You might say you don’t mind turning someone down, but let’s be honest, when it comes to other people’s perception of our role as a mom, wife, and/or friend we often do our best to meet their expectations rather than what is truly best for our family’s.
Saying no to an obligation or things that aren’t vital can be liberating and make you more successful where it truly matters.
2. Create a Routine/Schedule for Yourself
Planning ahead of time is a total game changer, especially for moms. We each have a daily rhythm unique to our family and lifestyle and creating an attentive schedule can help you better manage to’do’s, mealtimes, playdates etc. I can’t promise that accidents won’t happen, but you’ll be better prepared.
3. Take Care of Yourself – #SelfCare
As moms, we spend a lot of time caring and nurturing those around us, but when it comes to taking care of ourselves, it can feel like there’s not much left to give. However, it’s essential to take time for yourself and do the things you enjoy. It helps to keep you refreshed and able to be more open and focused on caring for your family.
Daily Relaxation Techniques and Ideas
Find an activity that helps you let go and do it EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even five minutes, which seems small, can make a significant difference in your outlook and motivation. With little kids making this happen can take more effort and creativity on your part, but it’s well worth. Since it’s you and I, I’ll share the things I’ve found that works for me:
- A hot bath
- A hot cup of tea before bed each night
- Red light therapy
- Spin class
Other relaxation ideas:
Prayer and meditation
- Stretching and Yoga
- Writing or journaling
- Adult coloring books
- Brain games
- Walking the dog
- Light gardening
- You fill in the blank __
How to Create Quality Family Time on the Busiest Days
Sadly, this is one area that often gets brushed over, and it really shouldn’t. Sharing time with loved ones is vital to building healthy relationships, better communication skills, and your children’s self-esteem. Need I say more?
Activities such as pizza night, a bonfire, board games before bed, and walking the dog are things that require no extra costs and can be done at home.
Other examples would be going to the park, a movie, museum, signing up for an activity together, etc. My family and I do karate together 2 to 3 nights a week, and it’s a great opportunity for us to learn something new and encourage one another. Let me say; there’s nothing more bonding than having my 11-year-old school me in karate.
Connecting at the Dinner Table
Coming from the mom who creates meal plans for families, you know I’m all about meal time! These days, family meals have transformed into thoughtless chewing in front of a screen or everyone eating at different times. I’m guilty of both, and it wasn’t until we began eating dinner together at our dining room table did meal time become less chaotic and more meaningful.
There’s something powerful about enjoying a meal with loved ones, and it doesn’t need to be a formal dinner to be meaningful. Sometimes a pizza night or my personal favorite, breakfast for dinner, does the trick.
If getting dinner on the table is a battle in itself, try our family meal plans. Knowing how to meal plan and prep cuts the headache out of making fresh meals, giving you more time for the important things.
As a mom, you owe it to yourself to live your best and healthiest lifestyle, and this will be different with each new season of life. Always be sure you are taking care of you so you can be the mom, wife, and friend your family deserves. See you soon!