7 Ways to Live a Long, Healthy Life

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We all want to live a long, vibrant, and energetic life, right? Right. So the question is how do we do that? With the stresses of motherhood, careers, PTA meetings, extracurriculars, volunteer work, music lessons, and soccer practice – how do we keep ourselves healthy and happy while balancing the chaos that encompasses our every day?

Let’s first understand that health is not a guarantee. It is almost certainly a result of the choices we make. The choices we make not only for ourselves, but for our children as well. It is very important we lay a strong foundation of wellness within our families.

Here are some tips to get us engaged and active in creating and maintaining a livelier, healthier life:

1. Keep moving. Stay physically active. Walk, run, or cycle. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba. Whatever your preferred method of working out is (assuming you have one), continue doing it. And if you don’t have one, find one. Exercise not only improves mood, it also increases energy levels and boosts immunity.

2. Eat well. Know your food. Know your farmer. Eat the rainbow. When possible, choose local and organic. Organic fruits and vegetables are less likely to contain pesticide residues. Avoid industrialized meats and dairy. Instead opt for pastured/organic meats and dairy which are raised without the use of antibiotics and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which is a synthetic hormone used to increase milk production. Avoid empty calories, processed foods, and boxed junk. These foods contain many ingredients that contribute to weight gain and other diseases.

3. Surround yourself with positive people. It’s natural for human beings to feed off of each other’s energy. It only seems logical then that in order to be happy, you need to surround yourself with upbeat, optimistic, and encouraging people. There is no room in your life for the Debbie-downers of the world. Learn how to develop strong, intimate relationships with those closest to you.

4. Enjoy living in the moment. Live for today with what you already have. The grass is always greener on your side of the fence if you are willing to see it that way. What is the saying – Live. Laugh. Love.? Well there’s no better time to start doing those three things then right NOW.

5. Challenge yourself mentally. Never stop learning. For when we stop learning, we essentially stop living. Keep yourself involved in new things. Pick up an instrument, read something, take up writing or painting. Your passion and zest for life will stay alive and well if you remain open to new experiences and ideas.

6. Meditate. This is a great way to let go of stress, rest, and reconnect with yourself. It’s also a great way to relieve tension, anxiety, frustration, and fear. Mediation can be done anywhere at anytime. You can do it on the go with just the act of taking a few deep breaths or you can dedicate a specific time of day/night for a more intimate session.

7. Be thankful. Write down a list of things you a thankful for. And then? Be thankful for them. :)

Bunny Love: Ideas for a Healthier Easter Basket

I went shopping for my kids Easter baskets this week.  They are beyond thrilled that the hoppity hoppity bunny is on his way!  There is much bunny love going on at our house right now.  Except for the fact that neither of them wants to actually go see the Easter bunny.  Cracks me up!  I get so excited living vicariously through them.  Remember how fun holidays were when we were kids?  I do.  Easter was especially fun with all that yummy goodness I found in my basket!

Instead of mounds of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, or marshmallow Peeps, I aim to live out a healthier Easter tradition with my kiddos.  A bit different from the way we celebrated Easter as a kid.  I try to be creative and avoid putting tons of candy in their baskets.  They each get one chocolate bunny sucker and that’s pretty much it for sweets.  Instead of sugary treats, I might bag up some healthy snacks or throw some organic fruit gummies in there.  My kids love when they get little ‘gifts’ for Easter and they don’t even notice the amount of candy in their baskets is practically zilch.

Ideas for healthier Easter basket treats:

  • Organic Granola
  • Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies*
  • Organic Trail Mix
  • Homemade oatmeal cookies
  • Organic Raisins*
  • Annie’s Gummy Bunnies*
  • Dark chocolate covered pretzels or raisins
  • Yummy Earth* lollipops, gummy bears, sour worms

Ideas for themed Easter baskets or Easter bags or Easter pails:

  • Garden Basket- Fill the basket with all things gardening!  Gloves, garden tools, seeds, small pots, sun hat, garden mat.
  • Dress-up Basket- Fill it with a tu-tu and wings, superman shirt, batman mask, lady bug costume, etc.
  • Outside Play Basket- Jump rope, chalk, jacks, beach gear, sunglasses, shovel and pal, sunscreen, etc.
  • Arts and Crafts Basket- Paints, crayons, coloring books, art pads, markers.
  • Doll Basket: You can buy a small doll or fill the basket with accessories for a doll your child already has. There are so many doll clothes, shoes, hats, bottles, and bags to choose from.  If you have a daughter, you already know this.
  • My Favorite Color Basket- Use your child’s favorite color for inspiration and fill, fill, fill!
  • Sports/Hobby Basket- Chess lover, make-up artist, dancer, singer…endless possibilities.
  • Book Basket- Your child’s favorite author and an array of new books to read.

There are countless ideas to make this Easter happy and healthy for your family!  All you have to do is think outside the box!

What are you putting in your kids Easter baskets this year?

*A little FYI:
  • Yummy Earth is certified organic, gluten-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, and has no chemical colors, artificial flavors, or high fructose corn syrup.
  • Annie’s Gummy Bunnies are certified organic and made with no added preservatives, vegan, gelatin-free, gluten-free, and absolutely NO artificial colorings.
  • Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies are non-gmo and no sugar added.
  • Newman’s Own Organic Raisins are USDA certified organic  and high in antioxidants.

“Bunny Love” was originally published in April 2012 by Mommy OM.

5 Mommy Stress Busters

Let’s face it, as moms we are always on the go, go, go. From laundry to diapers and car pools to dinner. We are everything to everybody. We are the master chef, boo-boo kisser, healer, driver, doctor, baker, comforter, lover, finger painter, book reader, game player, fort builder, the list goes on and on. Oh, did I forget to mention dog walker and pooper-scooperer?

It’s inevitable that every one of us will have to face and address the stresses of motherhood at some point and time. Often we may feel as though we are drowning in a sea of dirty dishes, messy bedrooms, and Hello Kitty Band Aids. To survive as a mother, it turns out there are probably a million things we can wish for to make life easier for ourselves (cue – housekeeper, personal cook, and nanny). But to combat stress and help bring balance to our day, I’ve counted five important ways:

1. Breathe In.  Take a couple of deep breaths throughout the day particularly when feeling overwhelmed. Practice releasing them slowly and evenly. This will help calm our anger or frustration and teach our children that how we handle a situation almost always stems from how we react to the situation. Very often as mothers, we tend to overreact to even the smallest of things. Starting now, let’s rely on those few breaths to help us focus on what’s going on in front of us.

2. Let Go. Yes, there are things around us that drive us bananas on daily basis (or an hourly basis?) Let’s try to let those things go. After all, is it really necessary to skyrocket our cortisol levels just because Elmo is singing the same damn song over and over again and we think our ears are going to bleed? No. Well, maybe.

3. Eat Well. What we feed our bodies determines our physical and emotional health. It also determines how we respond to our surroundings. We all know that a proper diet is essential to our own body’s nourishment. Why would we not want to advocate for that? I can’t think of any reason not to.

4. Move. Let’s make a pact that we will do something physical for ourselves every day. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes. I’m not just talking about going up and down and up and down the stairs at home (unless we repeat that about a bazillion times in a day, oh wait we already do!). I’m asking every single one of us to get our butts outside or to the gym or to the garage or basement or living room. And once we get there? MOVE IT! S-H-A-K-E it! Go! Take that quick run or do some hiking with the family. Practice yoga in the backyard or ask a friend to join you for a circuit training session. The point being – Movement is Life.

5. Love. Oh love. Love. Love. Love: Give it. Take it. Make it. Feel it. Need it. Nurture it. Keep it. Let it go. REPEAT.

fear and loving in motherhood

 

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
John Lennon

We want to know how we should live. We look for guidance from our elders, signs from the world around us. We find comfort in the familiar and challenge in the unknown. We mindlessly tramp through life almost as if robotic. We tend to forget to focus our teachings inwards. There’s a lot we can take away from the inside out.  We can find our fears, anxieties, visions, and happiness by reflecting on our true selves from within.

As day dips into night, I am sitting at the table sipping tea with a friend. She is telling me about her busy life and the stress that accompanies it. She is mumbled and jumbled and even seems a bit sad. Her mind is running rampant with thoughts. Her face is distraught with the weight of the world lying solely upon her. She shifts uncomfortably on the wooden chair as her bulging belly overpowers her body. She is hunched over and exhausted. She is afraid of the morning. For in the morning her floating ship begins to sink, again. Her husband will leave for work and her two-year-old will triumphantly rule her day. Every minute. Every second. She will wonder what she is doing wrong. How she can possibly handle all of the things being thoughtlessly thrown at her. She is drowning in her own life. Is there a way to make it easier?

I tell her to take a deep breath. I inhale and exhale with her. We do it together, again. And again and again. I ask her if she would have it any other way.

I see a smile suddenly take hold of her. Her eyes brighten and her body perks up. She gently embraces her belly and twitches in delight as she runs her hands over the blossoming life growing inside her. She glimpses down in reflection for a moment and returns with resilient honesty.

Thank you, she says. Maybe this sounds sort of crazy, but my answer is no.

 

in the moment

Be in the moment.

Be in the moment.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Hold on to it.

Mommeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Hold on to it.

Mommeeeeeeeeeee!!!

and….done.

Oh yes! A record ten seconds to clear my head!

Live in the moment.  We hear this saying all the time in some form or another.  Whether it be in a yoga class, philosophy book, or from the older lady at Target who is keen on observing our primo mommying adventures.  But what does it really mean to us as mothers?  Frankly, I find it extremely hard to “be” in the moment as a mom.  I am constantly on the go, go, go.  With housework and work work  and play dates and nap time and bedtime and lunch time and freak-out time (the kids, not me—OK, me too!), there never seems like enough time in the day to actually exist in the moment.  As a mother to small children, I feel like I am constantly battling.  I’m battling laundry and dishes and dirty floors and messy bedrooms and scraped knees and melt-downs.  All the while leaving me exhausted and short-tempered, craving a piece of chocolate cake and a shower.

To revel in a clear mind and a calm body, it feels foreign to most.  And it shouldn’t.  Maybe the definition of living in the moment has everything to do with the jumbled and discombobulated life I do live and nothing to do with the life I perceive it to represent.  Not yearning for the past when I was flying solo or a future that holds the next best thing to make my life easier.  The clean house that I strive for or the live-in nanny that I will never have, but dream about often.  Maybe if I stopped fighting the daily chores and the sleepless nights, my mind would awaken to the revelation that, YES! this is my moment.  Every day with my children and my husband.  The good, the bad, the pee all over the bathroom, they all lead me to me.