Posted in Health

Sh*t gets real when there is real sh*t: Health and perspective as a parent

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I  have spent the better part of three years baby-proofing my small home. I do daily rounds to see if there are any potential dangerous loopholes around my ironclad system. Light sockets, check. Choke hazards, check. Valuables secured, check.

I like to allow my children to play in most areas of our home as they choose. This keeps them entertained and gives me a chance to catch up on cooking, cleaning and (occasionally) text conversations with my family and friends.

Yesterday was a day like any other. I was working in the kitchen. My girls were playing in the house. I did my usual ‘quick check’ to make sure neither had gotten into anything that might bring them bodily harm. This time, however, was a little different.

I peaked around the corner to see that my youngest had removed her diaper and subsequently spread the contents of said diaper all over herself and any visible surface in her reach. She looked up at me with her toothy grin and moved her hand to her mouth as she was preparing to taste the ‘goods’.

Let’s stop right here for a second. I assume all of the parents out there have had this type of moment (at least I hope, it makes me feel better to think I am not alone in this crazy a*s experience called parenting). You know, the one you look around and check to see if anyone is filming your reaction to the situation. The one where you say aloud (or in your head)  “Is this actually my life?”. Parenting is just crazy sometimes, crazier than I would have ever imagined.

Ok. Back to the story. So, instead of totally freaking out, I snapped into mommy-nurse mode and cleaned up that sh*t and my baby like it was my job (because it is). I scrubbed and dried every surface I could see on both my baby and my hallway. Thirty minutes later we were all going about our normal business.

You might be asking yourself at this point- “Ok Mary, what does your sh*t story have to do with health?” Well, I have been working really hard, especially over the past five weeks to notice my response to challenging situations. I am consistently engaging in an effort to be more aware of the present moment and my response to each moment. I notice how I feel and what I think in traffic jams. I allow my emotions about husband’s tendency to leave dirty tissues around the house to soak in before I address it with him. I take a deep breath or twenty when my children spread every toy they own across the house after I have just cleaned them up. This awareness has allowed me to then make a more conscious intentional choices about how I respond. Let me just tell you, it’s been awesome. I feel more relaxed and, well, happy. Now, that’s pretty darn great.

I have had a tendency in the past to place the responsibility of my emotions on other people or situations. I know, however, in doing so, I give away my power.* I forget that I am in charge of this wonderful thing called life. There is a lot of responsibility with this power but also a lot of freedom. That, my friends, is truly a beautiful thing.

So how about you? Do you notice your responses to challenging situations? What happens when you take a moment to become aware of your emotions and thought patterns? What if you took several deep breaths before taking any action?

As always, I would love to hear from you, message me here and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

-I would love to see our health community grow. If you like my posts, please share them with family, friends or anyone you know that might be interested.

-Hey faithful readers, if you haven’t heard already, I am working to become a Health Coach. I am hoping to get certified in the next few months. If you are interested in hearing more about my dream or want to support me, go here.

*Thank you, wilderness therapy for teaching me me to take responsibility and ownership over my emotions and to never give away my ‘power’.

 

 

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Posted in Health, holidays, New years

KonMari for Christmas? Five ways ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ could bring more joy to your holidays (and life)

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I am part-nomad, part-minimalist and (some might say) a bit of a health fanatic. All of these reasons make the KonMari method and book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate link) the perfect resource to help bring order to my life. I have wanted to share my thoughts on this book with you for a while. Right now everyone seems to be shopping for the perfect present. So, I believe this is an ideal time to tell you how this book has impacted my life, and suggest you consider putting it on your shopping list.

Here are the top reasons I believe this book could be the perfect present for your friends, family or co-workers.

  1. Health. Tidying and de-cluttering have actual implications for your health. I started this book (affiliate link) a little over a year ago. I cleaned out many unwanted items from my home while following the directions Marie Kondo lays out in her book. I can tell you that I feel much more calm when I walk into each room after having tidied. My house is easier to clean (even with children running around spilling things everywhere). I find that I have more time to just sit and play with my children or spend time with my husband. This does wonders for my mental and emotional state. (See below for science-based resources about clutter and health).
  2.  Autonomy. The author, Marie Kondo, keeps you in charge. She does not tell you to get rid of all of your prized possessions. People often get a look of concern when I tell them about my experience with the book. They seem afraid that this book will require them give away everything that is important to them. Marie Kondo’s method is quite the opposite. You and (only you) are in charge of what you keep or discard. You have a lot of power, you also have a lot of work to do- work that will be well-worth it in the end.
  3. Ease. The book is easy to read, and has practical, systematic suggestions for tidying.
  4. Freedom. The KonMari method is liberating. She simplifies the criteria for deciding whether to keep an item. No longer do you need to agonize over – Is this item useful? Will I need it in 20 years? Will Aunt Susie Sue be crushed if I give this sweater away that she made me when I was in 7th grade? Nope. Just ‘Does this bring me joy?’ Wow. I love that. We are encouraged to surround ourselves with things that bring us joy – what a wonderful concept.
  5. True joy. I have found the real magic in this book (affiliate link) doesn’t come from the items I have kept or discarded. The real magic has come from my change in perspective over the past year. My focus is on joy. Getting rid of unwanted items has helped me clarify my purpose. Not only do I have a better idea of what I want in my closet, I have a clearer idea of what I want in my life. That is a BIG deal.

Finally, I suggest you consider buying this book (affiliate link) for yourself. If you have been with me a while you know that I believe that some of the best presents we get are ones we buy ourselves. I talk about that in my post Happy birthday month to me. I also love a good New Year’s Resolution and tidying your home and life could be just that. You could get your copy now and start 2017 with an effort and commitment to bring more joy into your life.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Message me here and I will get back to as soon as I can.

**I hope to see our health community here grow. If you like my posts, please share them with friends, family or anyone you know that might be interested.

**Hey faithful readers, if you haven’t heard already, I am working to become a Health Coach. I am hoping to get certified in the next few months. If you are interested in hearing more about my dream or want to support me, go here.

**Please note, although the opinions I have expressed in this post are entirely my own, there are affiliate links included where noted. This means that if you choose to purchase an item through one of my links I will receive a portion of the sale.

Resources about clutter and health

The Mayo Clinic has an article entitled “Memory loss: 7 tips to improve your memory” in which they talk about de-cluttering as part of an effort to improve memory.

WebMD has an article entitled “Clear the Clutter Out of Your Life -Organize and simplify your life for better emotional health“.

Posted in eating, exercise, Health

Do you want to get strong? Workout like a baby

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No really. Look at her plank? Does it get any better than that? Her form is flawless. I think we could learn a lot from this little gal and other babies her age.

Have you ever watched babies move?  They spend all day in some form of training. They have to, their development depends on it.  These tiny beings go from a pile of mush to a walking person in a little over one year. How is that for amazing?

Babies constantly move their bodies in ways that promote their growth and development. They engage in cardiovascular activity by way of standing and crawling. Their strength training routine includes planks, push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. The world is their gym. Also, babies have flexibility down. They obviously have an unfair advantage on this one, they started their life as a human pretzel. Still, you have to admire their skill.

Ultimately, babies are serious about working toward their goal, namely: to become an independent social being. It’s not just how they move, babies engage  in a number of activities to improve their health.

Here are some examples: 1) Babies eat like champions. They know when they need to eat or drink and they will make sure you know as well. They consistently fuel their body to have top training performance.

2) Babies sleep a lot. They pass out all over the place. Your shoulder, their car carrier, a high chair at dinner…wherever and whenever these little guys and gals need a rest, they get to it. (It should be noted that the consistency and timing of baby sleep is a different story. Look at any parent with a baby one or younger and you will know what I mean). Nevertheless, babies need rest and they take their sleep seriously.

Finally, 3) Babies know how to have a good laugh. Unsure about this one? Give a raspberry or two to the next baby you see. Ok., don’t do that, you might arrested. Seriously though, you know what I am talking about, that pure giggle from a little one that will melt your heart right out of your chest. Pure gold.

I know, I know, babies have little else to do but to train for their life and progress in their development, but what if we modeled our health after them? What if we made sleep, exercise (including cardio, flexibility and strength training) and nutrition our top priorities? What if we took every opportunity we could to have a good laugh? I’m guessing we would be a lot healthier in a matter of weeks.

So, what do you think you could move closer to the top of your priority list? How might it impact your health?

As always, I would love to hear from you. Message me here and I will get back to as soon as I can.

**I would love to see our health community here grow. If you like my posts, please share them with friends, family or anyone you know that might be interested.

**A special thanks to the lovely parents of our plank model shown above. Thanks for letting me share this picture of a perfect plank and thanks for being totally awesome in lots of other ways.

**Hey faithful readers, if you haven’t heard already, I am working to become a Health Coach. I am hoping to get certified in the next few months. If you are interested in hearing more about my dream or want to support me, go here.