Maria’s Mom Squad : The Habits
I believe in moderation. I believe in balance. I like to eat healthy. But I also like wine and chocolate. And I really enjoy good food. Life is way too short to worry about counting calories and restricting certain foods.
There's so much information out there about what you should be eating, what's unhealthy, what omegas you're not getting, and so on and so on. It seems to be a constant evolution and it can be frustrating to keep up. If you're stressed about what to eat and what to feed your family, don't be. Do what you can to be healthy. Make one change. Choose an apple instead of chocolate covered granola bar. Go for a walk instead of turning on the tv. Make a meal instead of hitting the drive thru. Get your kids to eat a new vegetable. Become aware of the labels on your food. We don't have to all go gluten free, dairy free, KETO, or whatever the current trend may be. Do what works for you, and don't try to do it all today. I will help you develop sustainable foundational habits that are realistic, and not overwhelming. We will be working on ONE HABIT per month!
It's a buzz word these days. But what does it really mean?
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Well, it can meet something different to everyone.
It could mean a workout, absolutely. That absolutely benefits my physical health. But for me, it is so much more than that. I can feel it when I don't exercise. Not just in my body. But in so much more. My mental and emotional health benefits from exercise.
But that's why we're here..... so I want to focus on other forms of self care.
It could be a bath, a walk, journalling, practicing gratitude, a massage, wine with your bestie, reading a book by the fire, a phone call with your sister, a day to yourself, WHATEVER that looks like.
But there's some self care that is necessary but we don't always talk about it.
Dentist. Mammogram. Therapist. Pap. Flu shot. Pelvic floor physio therapist. These things are necessary but not always deemed as self-care. But we gotta get this shit done you guys. For your mental health, your physical health.
SO this month, I challenge you to do TWO things that you deem as self care.
And I want to hear about it! Whether you send me an email or post in our facebook page.... let me know!!
I know I know. We all breathe. Every day. A lot. But I’m talking about the deep diaphragmatic breath that can change your whole day around. It can relax you. Put you in a different frame of mind. And it can also help you with your pelvic floor dysfunction.
Put your hand on your belly and and on your chest. Breathe in. Fill your whole core canister with air. Feel the air fill up your chest, belly and back. AND RELAX your pelvic floor.
Now exhale. Squeeze the air out of your core canister. Bring your hip bones together squeezing all the air out. Slightly LIFT your pelvic floor.
Now try it again.
I want you to do 20 of these breaths EVERY DAY. Can you do it? In bed. In the shower. In the car. In the grocery store lineup. Waiting at your kids sports activities. No one will even know you’re doing it.
For most of us the relaxation of the pelvic floor is the hard part. Can you feel that you’re relaxing it? Do you know what that feels like? Next time you go to the bathroom, tune into the feeling of your pelvic floor after you’ve finished. That is when you are relaxed. Try to achieve that sensation with your breath.
Maybe you have trouble with the lifting. Maybe your pelvic floor is weak. Maybe you don’t know.
Guess what? You know how to find out? Make an appointment with a pelvic floor physio therapist. They can assess you. Determine if you need to strengthen, release, or BOTH!
Do you leak when you jump? sneeze? cough? How about when you walk up to your front door? All types of incontinence that you do NOT have to live with.
I HIGHLY recommend you see a pelvic floor PT, but these breathing exercises can also help.
Let’s start off September with some BREATHING work!
Remember sitting at the kitchen table until your brussel sprouts or peas and carrots were finished? I do.
Sometimes I used to pretend to go to the bathroom and put stuff in the toilet. Or hide it in the shoes at the back door. Or feed it to our dog. Or hide it under the ledge of the kitchen table. ICK.
I'm not joking. Ok, typically it was for things like the LIVER AND ONIONS my parents used to make us eat, but I did hide food. And I hated BOILED brussel sprouts. YUCK.
My challenge for you is to add more veg than what you are currently eating.
Typically we're good for dinner right? Or maybe it's lunch.
Breakfast? maybe not.
Ok, so here's some tips:
Add spinach to your smoothie in the morning! You can not even taste that stuff in there, and if you have it with blue or black berries, you can't even see it.
Carrots and Beets also make a good addition to smoothies.
Add some veg to your scrambled eggs. Tomatoes, peppers, spinach, zucchini.
Or try this recipe for yummy egg bites. Just be sure to line the bottom of the tin with something... silicone cups work great!
Prep a whole bunch of salads for lunches at one time! You're already chopping. You might as well keep on chopping and prep more than one salad.
Check out this Greek Quinoa Salad I make frequently.
I love this Mexican Power Bowl too.
ROAST your veg. I LOVE roasting a whole bunch of veg at once. Carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes,zucchini, beets. Really anything goes, Even Brussel Sprouts. ;) All you need to do is chop, toss with olive oil and roast for 20-30 minutes pending on the veg.
IT’S BBQ SEASON! All you need to do is toss some veg in olive oil and throw them on the bbq! Think zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, beets, sweet potatoes, onions, asparagus. Anything goes!
BUY a vegetable tray! Superstore usually has theirs on for $14. And sometimes that's cheaper than a cauliflower. ;) Might be a bit more expensive than you doing it yourself. But if it's going to get you to eat veg more regularly, don't you think it's worth it?
Once you've got the tray, keep filling it up. I chop up veg for my kids and that's their after school snack.
If you like dip, eat your veg with DIP!
When you get home from the grocery store, start chopping! Sometimes if it's hidden in the bottom of the crisper, we forget about. When it's ready to eat, you're more likely to grab the veg over searching the pantry.
At the parties, fill your plate up with the vegetables FIRST! Add some other goodies and then walk away from the table.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? CAN YOU ADD MORE VEG INTO YOUR ROUTINE?
LET’S DO IT!!
Are you getting enough?
We generally need 7-9 hours of sleep. Is that what you're getting? I know, it's so hard when we have babies and young children who wake us up in the night. I'm not talking about that sleep. I'm talking about the things that you can do for yourself to get more sleep.
With children, we do not have the luxury of sleeping in. So you're going to have to get that sleep on the other end. In the evening. What are you doing at night when you could be sleeping? Netflix? Scrolling social media? Household chores that haven't been done all day? Working? Or are you staying up because that's the only time you have with your partner all day, after the kids are asleep? I get it! But instead of going to bed at midnight, what about going to bed at 11? I'm not saying you have to give up ALL of that time well deserved, precious time after the kids are in bed. But what about giving up some of it?
I do a bit of all of the above. My kids are older, so they fall asleep later. My 12 year old son goes to bed at 9, but sometimes doesn't fall asleep until 1030 or 1100. I would find myself waiting for him to fall asleep before I go to bed... and that meant mindless scrolling, netflix and sometimes eating out of boredom. So recently I've said goodbye to that late night couch time. I've been going to bed around 10, whether he is awake or not, and wow, what a difference it makes in my energy.
Sleep affects SOOO much in our life. When we are well rested, we tend to be more positive and productive. We have energy to prep foods, exercise and do things that feel good for our body. And we have more patience for our children.... which can make a world of difference in how our day plays out. When we are tired, sometimes we tend to throw in the all or nothing towel. Well, I didn't sleep, so I might as well eat food item A for breakfast (even though we know that food item A makes us feel sluggish and bleh). Then we are going to scroll social media because we are too tired to exercise, and well since we had food item A for breakfast we might as well have food item B for lunch (another thing that makes us feel bleh).
You get the point!
THERE ARE DAYS when REST is BETTER THAN EXERCISE. ABSOLUTELY. I'm not talking about that sort of rest. I'm talking about your daily habit of what you do before bed, and what time you go to bed. Can you make that a more positive thing in your life?
Can you try shifting your bedtime 15 minutes earlier?
Do you have a routine? Perhaps a skincare routine that you can do earlier, so you're all set when you start to feel tired?
How about a cup of calming tea?
Put the screens down! I know I know... sometimes that's the only time we have to catch up. But can you try to put it down a half hour before bed? And please, please don't put the phone right beside your bed.
Do you like to read? A couple chapters at bedtime is a great way to end your day.
Meditiation! We've recently started using CALM and HEADSPACE in our family. My kids have started too. They've been listening for 5-10 minutes right at bedtime and they love it. AND.... it's helped my son fall asleep a little quicker
Gratitude. This is an amazing thing to do before bed. It sets the tone for a more positive, peaceful bedtime.
My challenge to you is to try to do something that would help your sleep routine.... 3 times a week. Can you do it? I think you can!
Gratitude makes us feel more gratitude.
Gratitude can significantly increase our well-being and life satisfaction. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and have a deeper sense of fulfillment.
When we start to think about why we are grateful, we are happier, more content and calm. Makes us realize that life is good. Even through the hard times, there is still so much to be grateful for.
So I'm challenging you to join me NOW to get into the habit of writing in a journal.
Write 5 things that you are grateful for. Three times a week. Over the next 30 days, that’s 60 things. Think it will be difficult? I don't think so.
Only takes a few minutes... and can turn your thoughts, your outlook, your day, your June around.
Helen Keller said it best when she said:
“So much has been given to me, I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied.”
I was never much of a 'walker'. I'm a hiker and an on and off runner. But walking? not really.
Until a year and a half ago, when we got our dog. Now it's part of our daily routine. So many amazing health benefits from walking. It's good during pregnancy, postpartum. For young and old... and everyone in between. It's wonderful to get outside in the middle of the day for some fresh air, sunshine, blue sky. But it's also wonderful to get out after the kids are in bed to have some time to yourself. So good for your mental health too - even a 10 minute walk. A break from the routine, the chaos and the craziness that parenthood sometimes brings.
Just 30 minutes a day delivers multiple benefits, including reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, improving blood pressure and sugar levels, maintaining body weight and reducing the risk of obesity, and many more. Walking has the lowest dropout rate from any other exercises -- because it’s so easy to do, you can do it anywhere, and it requires no special equipment other than a good pair of walking shoes -- and a recent research study showed that walking for an hour or more a day has the greatest impact on increasing lifespan than any other activity.
But more than just being really great for your physical well-being, walking is one of the best things you can do to feel more energized, positive, and well, yes, even happier. A recent study found people who spent some time outside daily had a greater sense of vitality, which led to improved moods and increased resilience against physical illnesses. Other studies have shown that just 20 minutes of being outdoors can help boost how you feel and when combined with exercise, the benefits multiply.
My challenge to you is to walk 2-3 times a week over the next month.
It doesn't have to be for an hour. It can be 10 minutes. Anything. If you're not a walker, it will seem like a big chore. But I challenge you to give it a try.
Meet up with a friend. The accountability will help you get it done. PLUS it's a great way to catch up.
Take your kids out for 15 minutes.
Walk with the baby in the stroller.
Listen to something you really enjoy during your walks -- eventually you might decide to just listen to what’s around you, but it’s a good idea to have something that occupies your mind when you start.
Take some deep breaths. The feeling of the air filling your lungs is magical and will encourage you to keep going.
Sometimes that little break can make your day and your to-do list more manageable.
Or even better, GET OUT AFTER THE KIDS ARE IN BED!
30 minutes. A reset. A break. Will make for a calmer bedtime and a better sleep.
30 min. 20 min. Even 10 min.
Just a break from the fullness of family and kids and homework and dogs and dishes and whatever else.
Just 10 minutes.
You know you need to drink water. Quite a bit of it in fact. Strive for 2-3L every day! Everyone’s body is different and there a quite a few factors that determine how much water your body needs. For example, you’ll need more if you’re in a hot climate, or if you are very active. So how do you gage it?
Your pee. That’s right. Take a look at the toilet after you’re finished. What color is your pee? If it’s dark yellow, time to up the water. If it’s clear, you can back off on the water. If it’s pale yellow, you’re probably good.
Either way, let’s try to make drinking water a HABIT!
Here’s the reasons why:
Increases energy levels
Helps aid digestion
Clears your skin
Helps relieve headaches
So now you’re thinking, how the heck am I going to get all that water in?!!!
YOU CAN DO IT! Start with drinking more than what you are drinking now. If you are only drinking one glass, try for two. If you drink one bottle, try for two. Every week (not every DAY) increase your water intake.
YOU CAN DO IT!
Here’s some tips on how to get the water in:
I start with glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning. It sets the stage for the day.
Try drinking a glass of water before every meal.
Try drinking a glass after each time you use the washroom.
Fill up your water bottles and keep them in the fridge.
Add lemon, cucumber, berries or mint.
Add a splash of cranberry juice.
At a party, DRINK A GLASS OF WATER BETWEEN ALCOHOLIC DRINKS.
Drink herbal tea after dinner. It's a great way to relax, keep your mind from wandering to the pantry and it gets some extra water in.
Drink sparkling water. I LOVE soda. And I drink a lot of it. That's tons of great options these days.
So drop what you're doing and drink a glass of water.
Ok... done? Good.
Now. Set a goal for the week and every time you achieve your water goal for the day. Write it down on your calendar. Give yourself a HABIT check!