Maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a parent can seem like an insurmountable hill to climb. Between our work and school, restarting the kids’ activities, and our other day-to-day family commitments, ensuring a healthy meal is always eaten—or that we are walking 10,000 steps like that other mom at the parent council meeting who’s always talking about her fitness tracker—seems impossible.
It’s not the size of the healthy choice that should be measured, however; it’s the consistency and the frequency. Small, easy-to-do changes can be made daily to begin to lead a healthier life, even when the laundry is piled too high and the kids have thrown their juice on the floor (again).
5 Easy Hacks for a Healthier Lifestyle
1. Prioritize breakfast (and ditch coffee as a meal)
We’ve heard over and over again how important breakfast is, and we work hard to make sure our kids are eating something filling and (usually) nutritious before they head off to school. So why is it that we often ignore this message ourselves and instead have a coffee and grab a muffin once the work day starts. Start your day with breakfast. To save time in the morning when you are likely in a rush, prepare dry ingredients the night before like granola or oatmeal mixed with cinnamon and your favourite crunch.
2. Walk and talk with a friend
It’s easy as parents to get caught up in activities that involve our spouses and kids and push our own fitness routine down to the bottom of the to-do list. To help avoid skipping out on exercise altogether, plan a walk-and-talk date where you are not only getting active, but spending time with someone special in your life. Here’s the key: set it up like a club. Pick consistent dates and put them in your calendar. Commit to going! Having an accountability partner who is also devoted to getting active can help because rather than going it alone, you can be each other’s cheerleaders. Plus there’s the added bonus of spending time with a friend. Walk outside when the weather permits or find an indoor venue if it doesn’t cooperate. The point is simply to get moving more often.
Another idea for those still working from home is to schedule walking “meetings” or calls to get you away from your desk (or dining room table) as well as focused on your conversation.
3. Make time for mindful moments
Overall health is about more than just the physical stuff. It is important to nourish our minds as well. This may mean carving out what many refer to as “me-time” or “self care.” Most moms will argue that finding that time between driving the kids to ballet and soccer practice, meal planning, and grocery shopping is impossible, but it’s a crucial element of our healthy lifestyle habits. Take the time to pour a hot cup of tea in the afternoon and read a few chapters of your favourite book or magazine, or draw yourself a bubble bath after the kids have gone to sleep. Force yourself to take this time by scheduling it like you would any other meeting.
4. Easily increase your meal’s nutrition with one step
Making small changes to the meals you prepare can make a big difference to your health. From time to time you can swap out another night of red meat for a fish dish, or try a new recipe that uses vegetables that you haven’t tried cooking with before. You can also increase the health value of every bite by adding some omega-3 and vitamin D to your smoothies or salads by including a supplement like OmegaSea. One teaspoon per day of OmegaSea provides a dose of omega-3s and vitamin D without having to consume a pill.
5. Change how you go to bed
On average, moms don’t get enough sleep. If your to-do list is swirling in your mind at bedtime or you are skipping sleep to check Facebook for a few more minutes, and are waking up feeling completely exhausted, it’s time to make sleep a priority. It matters what time you go to bed, but we think you already know that. Instead, change how you go to bed. Make it a welcoming ritual. To help prepare yourself for a restful night of sleep, start with a calming bedtime routine. Put away your phone, apply your favourite smelling lotion to your hands and feet (now’s the time to put on night cream too!), crawl into bed with a book or a journal and spend a few moments in quiet solitude before blissfully falling asleep. By pampering yourself at bedtime, you’ll come to see it as a positive part of your day, rather than something to delay or as a time for your mind to race.
Not every healthy lifestyle change has to be a daunting task or a major shift. Small steps and small changes will make a big impact. Begin with these five hacks and you’ll see the difference.
This post is brought to you by OmegaSea but the opinions are our own.