Moms and dads, as we all roll into this new school year, our hope is to gain a healthy lifestyle for our entire family. With each new school year, and no matter how young or old your kids are, the desire to start fresh is also an opportunity to break old habits. I have two teenage daughters who keep me on my toes. Even though they’re typical teens who think they know everything (and I know they mean well), they attempt to tell me the importance of moving my body and putting healthy food into it. Pretty darn smart. So, just as much as I teach them in my parenting, they’re teaching me too.
If August has got you like “I’m so not ready yet for back-to-school mode”, here’s some helpful tips for cultivating a fresh, new mental and physical healthy school year:
Do an activity that you like, and not one that someone else likes. I have a gym membership, but I personally like to dance, so I opt to take classes that keep me motivated. The teachers inspire me and I sometimes get to meet other friends who take similar classes. My teenage daughters have joined me in some Zumba classes! It becomes some cool mom-daughter time (even though they laugh when my face gets tomato red and I’m out of breath after 20 minutes!).
Work hard. Play hard. I love this life motto. The most inspiring people I’ve met in my life all have that same mantra in common. It’s amazing when you suddenly can find your life balance. I used to be a workaholic. I couldn’t comprehend the meaning of leaving some work and obligations for the next day because I told myself everything had to be done the same day. I neglected myself until I became mentally and physically broken down. It wasn’t until a lot of self-reflection and mindshift that I knew I needed to embrace another way of thinking in order to feel happier. The concept I live by and teach now is to accept the work obligations and parent responsibilities, but also find that balance where I also create and allow that personal time for myself and time with friends.
Create healthy boundaries. Once you make that decision to blend the important elements of your life, in both mind and body, realizing the choices you make are what makes YOU happy, rather than others, you suddenly create space for being a happy parent, spouse and friend. If you constantly find yourself doing for others and not setting up boundaries, you become negative and angry – sometimes without even realizing it.
Erase those self-inflicting negative messages. What we think, we make manifest. We can’t beat ourselves up just because we feel we’re not at the ideal weight or see ourselves aging. As I get older, I see the crow’s feet, more wrinkles, sun spots and looser skin. I used to question how much more of this can I possibly take, and will it get worse? Now I talk about the things I like about myself. I have good skin, I don’t smoke, rarely drink, and I’m eating more vegetables and fruits. My daughters and I wake up looking forward to making these amazing protein shakes filled with greens and berries and other nutrients that make us all feel good.
Make small, realistic changes this year. You cannot possibly do everything and be everything to everybody. Whether single or married, you need to take small steps. Too much change at one given time can cause you to feel overwhelmed and mentally and physically exhausted. Whatever it is you want to change, make a list for yourself, keep it close by. Don’t feel like you have to get to everything on that list and done in one day or week or month. We all have setbacks and make mistakes. Showing our kids that it’s okay to make mistakes or have to change something is a good thing. Change is uncomfortable for many people. It is for me. I’m a creature of habit. Maybe you had to change your child’s school, or perhaps start a new job. Take it one day at a time. Bravo for taking that leap. And if you haven’t yet, maybe it’s time.
Wishing you and your families a healthy, balanced, self-accepting new school year!