You DO Have The Time...
September 05, 2017
You DO Have The Time...
Take these 7 healthy behaviors, make 'em your own, & stick with 'em.
They say, “Be healthy, lose weight, exercise more, be happy, be mindful and don’t forget to breathe deeply…”
You say, “I have a baby, I’m tired, I’m sore, I don’t have the time…”
I say, “I am going to give you 7 new behaviors that you can start right now, and they won’t take away from you very precious time, especially since the first two involve sleeping more!”
You can choose them in any order you wish. Start a new one each morning – with a commitment to stick with ‘em. At the end of 7 days you will have acquired a week’s work of health habits… well, they’ll be habits, your personal routine – if you stil with ‘em.
#1. White a to-do list for better night time sleep
Every night before bed put all your thoughts down on paper. Keep a pen and notebook beside your bed. Get into bed, under the blankets, and write down the things that you need to do tomorrow. Then take 1 minute to jot down any thoughts or worries that float into your head. Turn off the light, sink back into your pillows and, here comes the deep breathing part. Sleep experts agree that it’s far easier to relax and drift off if you can let go of your thoughts without worrying that you’ll forget anything important.
#2. Take a daily nap.
I’m talking about a so-called “power nap”, 30-60 minutes. Decide on a time and place to take a nap and write it into your schedule… here’s where – sleep when baby sleeps – comes into play. Let people know you won’t be available during these times. Make sure the room you’re in is dark, get undressed, feel the sheets against your skin. At the very least, loosen any tight clothing. Set an alarm to make sure your nap for your chosen amount of time. Research shows that sleeping in the afternoon will give you an energy boost, spark your creativity and increase your ability to remember details.
#3. Make yourself a drink, 8 times a day
Sparkling or still water in a pretty glass… add ice, squeeze in fresh lemon or lime juice. For the next one, try a few fresh berries, a slice or cucumber or a splash or cranberry juice… then the bendy stray. You’ve gotta have the straw… a straw makes the whole thing fun. If you’ve been struggling to drink fewer sodas and other sweetened beverages, drinking more decorated water is the way to make it happen. The more water you drink, the less tempted you’ll be to go for the high sugar, processed products.
#4. Add a vegetable you’ve never eaten this week
Once a week, head to your grocery store, farm stand or ethnic market and choose an interesting vegetable that is new to you. You’ve probably passes them up before because you have never tries them or have no idea how to prepare them. Artichokes, beets, bok choy, kohlrabi, jicama, rainbow chard, Japanese eggplant… go ahead, experiment, take a risk for a reward. You will probably enjoy your newfound fresh vegetable and if you don’t… you’ve learned something. Take 3-5 minutes to look online, decide how you will prepare this new item and put it on your shopping list. We tend to stick with what we know, but the nest nutrition includes variety, lots of color and low starch.
#5. Socialize; add a friend to one movement/exercise plan this week
Making a plan to fit your activity into the week is a start, but sticking to it can be much more challenging. Ask a friend to join you to boost your motivation and make your walk or yoga session a fun part of the day. Make a specific plan for the when, where, and how long of your get together. Research shows that vague goals are much less likely to be followed than those that include a specific goal for a time, place, and duration. By combining socializing with your daily exercise, you will look forward to this weekly workout since you’ll be catching up with your friend.
#6. 5 – 10 minutes of mindful meditation
Start by looking online at simple instructions for how to meditate. There are many choices, go with the one that catches your eye. Tomorrow you can try another. Even if you already know how to meditate, take a refresher. Fro the next 7 days, comment to meditating for 5 to 10 minutes a day, whatever feels honoring, as the Yoga people say. Set a quiet alarm to go off at the end of the allotted time, so you won’t feel the urge to watch the clock. Practicing mindfulness meditation for 5 to 10 minutes a day can: calm and center your body and mind, enhancing your mood and attention, improve how you relates to yourself and others. It can help you to overcome cravings and anxiety triggers. Mindfulness practice helps you relax in the present moment and it also has a positive cumulative effect on stress over time.
#7. Stand up and move during TV commercials
Every time you watch TV this week, get active during commercial breaks. Try cardiovascular exercises like marching, jogging in place, or going up and down the stairs. Even just standing up and stretching is helping your body to be stronger. The average 30-minute TV show has about 8 minutes or commercials. An hour-long show typically has 17 minutes of ads. These built-in breaks are an ideal time to squeeze more activity into your day and evening.
Building new habits takes confidence – you need to believe that you can do something different, even when faced with the same old pressures and temptations. Thinking of your past accomplishments and successes will reveal the strengths that you possess.
Take this 7-day challenge. Make these healthy behaviors part of your life. And remember, you gotta stick with it, stick with it, stick with it.
Paula Zindler RN IBCLC