Three Easy Ways to Make Time for YOU

Joelle Sevio RDH BS CPT is the former Health and Wellness Chair for the Wake County PTA Council and an ironman athlete and you can find more of her work at www.wellnessspecialist.net.

As parents, we make sure our kids are active, eat healthy foods, and don’t skip breakfast. So why don’t we hold ourselves to the same standards? Probably because our to-do lists are long: after work, kids, taking care of the house, and walking the dog, self-care is the thing that usually comes in last.

You’re thinking: yes, I know. As soon as we get through the holidays and January gets here I’ll do things differently. But what if you could get started NOW and start the year off feeling great?

It seems daunting, but like most major changes, taking it in steps is key. In my 15 plus years as a competitive athlete, as a mom, and working in the health and fitness industry, I have learned a strategy or two, and I’d like to share a few of them with you here. Your task is to implement ONE of these a week until they stick. Once you have a good handle on the first strategy, then move to the next.

1. Find the time for movement in your life. If your child has a sporting practice, use that time for physical activity and a digital detox. Use sidewalks or walk/run around their field where they are practicing (as long as you don’t embarrass them!) You may think 15-30 minutes isn’t enough but you will be surprised at the physical and psychological benefit you get from even a short amount of exertion. If you already have a good fitness base, don’t discount a short workout as opposed to no workout. Add intensity if you can’t go the distance. Other ideas include bike rides as a family, running while your child rides their bike or walking/running/riding your bike to the school to volunteer. If you are a working parent, use your lunchtime to fit a workout in.

My favorite way to hold yourself accountable is to make an appointment on your calendar.

2. Move towards a less-processed whole foods life. Look at what is in the food you are buying. If you have older kids, have then help you investigate the labels. How about this week switch out the chips and make baked potatoes? Buy one less processed item and one more item from the produce. Don’t feel guilty over the holidays when you have treats, because you are already making steps in the right direction. Focus on the fact that you are making progress! After all, you are on strategy #2 so that means you have conquered #1! It helps to have a mantra to repeat to yourself when you are in situations where you will tend to make food choices that aren’t the best. What will your mantra be?

3. Get your entire family involved in the kitchen. No one needs to be a gourmet cook. And let’s face it, what 3-6 year old doesn’t love cutting soft fruit with a dull spreading knife? If you have older kids, let them pick a night to cook or for you to cook together. Remember: think less processed and choose foods that grow from the Earth. Let’s get back to cooking and family time—family dinners should be a priority but most of us are over committed so you should feel like you have conquered #3 when family dinners are 2-3 times a week! I love using a crock pot or cooking in bulk. How about homemade pancakes for dinner and freeze some for breakfast on the weekend?

Change takes time and effort but since you are reading this, I know you are ready to get started on strategy #1. I have added a nutrient dense delicious recipe to help you start your journey. This is a great one for kids to make on their own or with a little help if they are under 8.

Oatmeal Bites

1 cup Oatmeal (organic if possible; oatmeal is naturally gluten free for those with a gluten allergy, but many brands of oatmeal are processed at facilities with gluten, so read the label)
½ cup nut butter (I like cashew for the extra iron or try organic peanut butter)
⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
½ cup ground flax seed (organic if possible)
¼-½ cup low sugar dark chocolate chips (55%or more chocolate for more nutrients)

Combine ingredients and mix together in a bowl. Roll mixture into bite size balls. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and enjoy! Store these in the refrigerator. These are great for lunches and for holiday parties without the guilt! These do have allergens including nut, so be mindful of what is safe for your family and what is allowed at your school!