Creative Ways to be Busy and Healthy at the same time
Are you creative? Personally, I have never considered myself to be a creative person. I guess I thought creative people were artists or writers, etc. But over the past few years, I have broadened my definition of what being creative is all about. Coordinating individual family member’s schedules, getting everyone fed, managing household responsibilities, meeting work commitments – that takes a whole lot of creativity right? And I have to give myself a little pat on the back when I think about how creative I can be when it comes to getting my kids to eat their vegetables! So creativity is and can be applied in all areas of our lives.
One comment that I hear a lot in my business is that the person is just too busy to eat healthy or exercise. So I started thinking we need to get our creative juices flowing and inject some creativity into this area of our lives. Are you with me? GREAT! Let’s start by focusing on four areas where we need to be more creative – eating healthy, exercising, sleeping and having fun.
Whether you are trying to get your kids to school and you to work or you are trying to get to a kid’s play date, swim lesson or doctor’s appointment, eating healthy can feel near impossible. However, with a little creative planning, you’ll be eating more healthy meals and snacks in no time.
1) DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST! Skipping breaking is an easy trap that busy people fall into repeatedly. When you do this, you allow yourself to go hungry and you will find yourself overeating later in the day and eventually you will add on the pounds. It is more beneficial for you to eat several smaller meals during the day than to eat one or two large meals. Some healthy breakfast suggestions are scrambled eggs and two pieces of turkey bacon, a boiled egg and a bowl of fruit, a fruit smoothie with low fat yogurt, or cottage cheese with fresh fruit.
2) Keep your house and your purse stocked with fruits and vegetables. If they are around, you are more likely to eat them! When you are on the go, have fruits and vegetables that can be eaten by hand such as apples, bananas, carrot or celery sticks.
3) Go NUTS! Keep a zip lock bag full of raw nuts such as almonds with you at all times. They are full of the good Omega 3 fats our bodies need and don’t get enough of. (This is my personal favorite.)
4) Cut back on high processed carbohydrates in your meals and snacks – pasta, breads made with white or wheat flour, rice, salty and sugary snacks. These foods spike your blood sugar and leave you craving more a few hours later. Over time, these foods will add inches to your waistline and bog down your metabolism. Make a switch to whole wheat pasta, stone ground or seeded breads, brown or wild rice for your meals. For snacks, try an apple with string cheese or peanut butter, an apple or ½ a banana with almond butter, vegetables topped with hummus.
5) Stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Challenge yourself to drink 2 – 3 bottles a day (schedule a reminder in your iPhone or Blackberry).
You can get really creative with exercise. The main thing is to MOVE your body every day. There are the oldies but goodies such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking your car at the far end of the car park so that you have farther distance to walk to the entrance. But check out some of these suggestions I received from friends and family.
1) Pushups or crunches while watching TV or during every commercial break.
2) Wall presses in the shower and lunges while blow drying your hair (I love this one!)
3) Stretch major muscle groups in a hot shower.
4) Walk part of your way to work, school or home. If you take a subway or bus, get off one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
5) Dance with your kids. (My kids love watching mom boogie!)
6) Yoga poses and stretches with your kids.
You don’t have to be a gym rat in order to exercise or be in shape. Incorporating one or two of these creative moves add up.
If you are like me, this area probably gets the least of your attention and suffers the most. Who needs sleep when you have Starbucks right? Wrong! Eating healthy and exercising are important steps for obtaining and maintaining health, but you will not experience your best health without ensuring you are getting regular and adequate rest. Continually depriving your body of its needed sleep can lead to significant health issues – weight gain due to altering levels of hormones that increase appetite and suppress your ability to feel full, changes in moods (you become grumpy and too tired to do the things you like to do) and a decline in your cardiovascular health as well as your immune system. Your body heals at night, and you actually get the most immune-boosting repairs after 7 hours of sleep.
Finding creative ways to get better quantity and quality sleep is certainly a challenge. Even if you get in bed at a decent hour, you might find that you cannot get your mind and/or body to wind down. Here are a few tips that may help.
1) Attempt to go to bed at the same time every night. This will take some practice because you might not feel tired or ready to go to sleep. But over time, your body will get use to the routine and will know it is time to wind down. You probably expect your kids to be in bed at a certain time – why not do the same for yourself?
2) Don’t fall asleep to the TV. Your mind cannot shut down properly with that background noise.
3) If you have trouble shutting down your mind, try some lavender aromatherapy – spray mist for your pillow, body lotion, essential oils to massage on your temples.
4) If you have trouble shutting down your body, try taking a warm bath before hopping into bed, drinking a glass of warm milk or a cup of chamomile tea.
Are you having fun? Are you doing the things that give you joy? If not, you need to find a way (and fast) to get that back into your life. A happy mom produces a happy family. So grab yourself some “ME” time and see how it rejuvenates you and your family. This is an area where you can get really creative.
1) Take a class – cooking, photography, decorating, dancing.
2) Book a spa appointment or change your hair style or color.
3) Have lunch with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
4) Plan a date night with your hubby or partner.
5) Be close to nature – go for a hike, walk on the beach, go to a park and read a book.
6) Buy yourself some flowers.
7) Take tennis lessons (I started taking lessons last year and I LOVE it!)
Start small if having fun seems like it’s at the bottom of your list. What is ONE thing you can do each day to give yourself more pleasure?
I hope this article inspires you to refocus on your health. These are not drastic changes and can for the most part be incorporated into your daily routine. If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your overall health, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information on upcoming nutrition webinars.
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