Self Care – Why We Need To Focus On It More & How To Practice It

Self Care – Why We Need To Focus On It More & How To Practice It

Self care is more than a face mask and a tub of ice cream.

There, I said it.

Mental health has been a hot topic (for good reasons) throughout COVID. Everyone has suffered in some form or another.

October 1st brings the start of a new month. It’s a good time to sit down and evaluate how the previous month went. Even if the month did not play out how you wanted it to, it’s helpful to see how it DID play out as you plan for the next one.

As you look through your month, how did your self care look? Let’s be honest, things are stressful. Life is stressful. The world is stressful. Instead of waiting until we have a mental breakdown, self care needs to make its way up on the priority list.

Why Is It Important?

Self care is a piece of your overall health. You can’t be taking care of yourself without taking care of your mental health, even on the busiest of days. Not only does self care actually lower your stress levels but it can boost your confidence, help in weight loss and increase your energy.

Think of it this way… How often do you find yourself stuck when trying to lose weight? You’re doing everything right (eating and working out) but the weight is stuck. Your stress levels are through the roof… and suddenly when things calm down the weight seems to drop. The only thing that changed was your stress levels. (There are no guarantees, this just an example of how it fits into your journey)

Making time to lower your stress each day will make a long term difference.

It doesn’t have to be a bubble bath, there are so many different types of self care you can treat your body to.

Self Care Is…

  • A 30 minute walk
  • Turning off your phone
  • A dance party in your kitchen
  • Unfollowing accounts that don’t bring you joy on social media
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Doing yoga
  • Taking a nap
  • Drinking more water
  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Declutter your space
  • Turning off the TV/News
  • A tub of ice cream (you know I wouldn’t leave that out)
  • Treating yourself to a coffee you love
  • Calling a friend to chat for 20 minutes
  • Asking for help
  • Wear a cute outfit
  • Waking up earlier to have time for yourself
  • Cooking dinner
  • Watch the sunrise/sunset
  • Make a bucket list
  • Turn on your favorite scent in a diffuser
  • Write a letter to a friend
  • Saying no
  • Meditate
  • Play a board game
  • Plan a trip
  • Do your hair
  • Curling up with a good book
  • Spending time at a place you love
  • Exercise
  • Writing in a journal
  • Turning off social media

I challenge you to set a goal for the month of October. For 10 minutes a day, tune the world out and focus on caring for yourself.

What is your favorite form of self care?

Pumpkin Recipes For The First Day of Fall

Pumpkin Recipes For The First Day of Fall

You may now proceed to drink your Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Just kidding, we need to have a quick conversation first. I know the PSL came out early (as usual) this year but I have refused to even think about Fall foods until today. While I’m not spending the day baking, I did round up a number of healthy pumpkin recipes we plan to dig into this Fall.

Happy First Day of Fall!

It’s Okay To Get On The Pumpkin Recipes Bandwagon

There, I said it. I never thought that would come out of my mouth. Truth be told, I’m not a pumpkin fan. A few weeks ago @OneUponAPumpkin shared this graphic on Instagram highlighting the benefits of pumpkin in your diet.

To break down the nutrition benefits she shared…pumpkin has:

  • Pumpkin has anti-oxidant content that helps protect from disease
  • High in vitamin C
  • Also high in potassium
  • AND high in vitamin A

Since I typically don’t just trust a single instagram post (you shouldn’t either). I dug into things further. It turns out, we really do need more pumpkin in our lives.

One cup of pumpkin not only is high in the nutrients above but also has:

  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 11% of your recommended daily B12 intake
  • 8% of your recommended daily iron intake
  • 2 grams of protein

Do you see now why I feel like I need to add more pumpkin into my life?

Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

Watch The Sugar When You Bake With Pumpkin

Now, I don’t expect you to eat a full cup of cooked pumpkin every day. However, something like pumpkin muffins can be a good source of vitamins and nutrients if baked properly.

Many pumpkin recipes I have come across are extremely high in sugar. This is where I caution the pumpkin baking.I’m sure by now you’ve seen memes or images shared around social media about the amount of sugar in a pumpkin spice latte. (Not to mention, a pumpkin spice latte doesn’t ACTUALLY contain pumpkin) Unfortunately that seems to be the case for most pumpkin recipes I come across most days.

The key to cooking with pumpkin is making sure you have REAL pumpkin to use in the recipe. Pumpkin purée is a good way to start. However, if your pumpkin purée is from a can, just make sure nothing has been added to preserve it. You can also make your own pumpkin purée at home.

Healthier Pumpkin Recipes

In order to help get more pumpkin into your diet this Fall, I rounded up a few pumpkin recipes that are made from pumpkin puree and do not have added sugar. I may even try to work my way through a few of these this Fall. As someone who doesn’t necessarily love pumpkin, these actually all sound delicious!

Do you have a go to pumpkin recipe? Where should I start?

3 Ways To Boost Immunity For The Start of School

3 Ways To Boost Immunity For The Start of School

As my husband said last week, Spring Break is finally over. Disclaimer, we completely acknowledge that eLearning last Spring was NOT Spring Break for teachers and kids. However, after being home for five months together right as Spring Break started, it felt like Spring Break never really ended. Getting ready for this change was big for me (and my anxiety) but most of all I needed to find a few ways for all of us to boost immunity as they headed back to school.

Little Man is rocking second grade in person with all of his friends. My husband is in his seventh year of teaching remotely from his classroom. Both are in unique situations and have different levels of social distancing available. One thing I’ve had to accept is that I cannot control what happens once they leave the house. We’re always concerned about ways to boost immunity after Summer break, but this year has been a little bit different with so many unknowns.

Outside of hand sanitizers, washing hands, masks, etc to prevent receiving germs, we have added in three additional steps to our routine to boost immunity for everyone in the house.

Boost Immunity With Multi-Vitamins

By far the easiest addition to our routine is adding multi-vitamins back in. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been bad about making the boys take their vitamins each day since we’ve been home.

We’ve been on the same jar of Flintstone Vitamins since early June and it was time to get everyone back on track.

They used to take a fish oil gummy with their Flintstones, however it was recently recalled. I did a little bit of research and found the Smarty Pants Vitamins had the most nutrients for them including everything from the Flintstones Vitamins AND the Fish Oil Gummy.

Boost Immunity

Turmeric in Smoothies

You know I’m all about loading up the smoothies with as many extra nutrients as possible. We always have spinach stuffed in there for some extra vitamins, but this week I started sneaking in something else…Turmeric.

Chances are if you’ve read a health blog in the last year you’ve seen Turmeric thrown out there. I had NO idea what it was but upon researching it, I found out it’s a form of ginger and it has some incredible benefits for your health.

1 tbsp of Turmeric contains:

  • 26 percent of daily manganese needs
  • 16 percent of daily iron
  • 5 percent of daily potassium
  • 3 percent of daily vitamin C

(Thank you Medical News Today for the specifics)

It is also anti-inflammatory and helps your body fight foreign invaders while repairing damage they’ve done. As we are fighting all kinds of sicknesses, it cannot hurt to fight off foreign invaders. Bonus, the taste isn’t nearly as strong as ginger!

An Apple a Day

Sure, maybe it’s an old wives tale but we are running with whatever extra help we can these days. Both of them take an apple with their lunch every single day.

Little Man is a fairly picky eater and is not a huge fan of eating anything but cheesy noodles, PB&J and pizza. I don’t feel nearly as guilty sending junk food for his lunch when an apple is there too. Little wins, right? Luckily it’s one of the fruits he will eat!

One medium sized apple has 14% of your daily Vitamin C and 5% of your daily Vitamin K. It’s an easy fruit to pack and no containers need to come home to be washed!

Overall, I’m a firm believer in any extra steps you can take to boost your immune system is worth it.

How are you handling back to school? What tips do you have to boost immunity?

 

How To Stay In Shape When You Are Injured & Can’t Run

How To Stay In Shape When You Are Injured & Can’t Run

Let’s talk about injuries and running. It’s one of those dreaded situations that no one likes to think about, however is part of the sport (or in my case, life).

A few weeks ago my 3-year-old left his duplo blocks out on the porch. This is a common occurrence and usually something I’m more mindful of. As I was chasing him out the door I forgot…and I rolled my ankle. Ultimately it was diagnosed as a sprain so I’ve been pretty quiet on any form of movement for just over a month.

For the last few weeks I’ve taken this time to slow down (literally and figuratively) and try some different exercises. Injuries suck, there is no doubt about it. Luckily this week I have been able to ease my way back into running, slowly.

If you’ve found yourself frustrated or injured lately, I have a few ideas for you!

Other Exercise Ideas

The first week I could barely put pressure on my ankle, so I took it extremely easy and stuck to just getting around the house. However, as I felt like I could move more I dove into a few new exercises.

Yoga is something I’ve never been able to commit completely to. This injury has been a wonderful excuse to change that. Between a local yoga in the park (with social distancing measures in place) and Yoga with Adriene, I have managed to start finding my confidence in Yoga. This will for sure stay in my routine as I start running again, it feels wonderful!

However, I felt like I needed something else as well. I wasn’t quite ready for 5 days a week of Yoga. Luckily, one of my favorite gymnasts had just kicked off a daily 15 minute abs. I’m sure they are geared towards young gymnasts (haha, not me) but they have been a humbling 15 minutes with some sore abs afterward.

One thing I’ve read over and over again is that the way your legs turn over while riding a bike is the closest thing to running. I tried going a few times while injured but my ankle had a rough time still.

How to Stay in Shape When You Are Injured & Can't Run

If you are looking for something else to do more long term, Youtube and Pinterest are LOADED with at home workout ideas. I also have loved Beachbody workouts in the past, although they are more high intensity, there were only a handful I would recommend while injured!

It’s not the same as a quiet run but injuries need rest… at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

What is your favorite non-running exercise?

How To Make A Green Smoothie (That Actually Tastes Good)

How To Make A Green Smoothie (That Actually Tastes Good)

For the last 6 years, smoothies have become a staple in our household. It isn’t normal if you don’t hear the blender going as everyone is getting ready to get out the door. However, over the years I’ve had to cater our smoothies to different tastes (picky), diets (low fructose) and need (filling).

One thing I noticed is that my personal green smoothie tastes were changing throughout the year. In the Summer I prefer a more tropical smoothie (vanilla with pineapple, peach, mango, etc) but in the Winter I like going down the chocolate strawberry route.

Throughout many years of testing and trying I’ve come to find that everyone just has their own preference when it comes to smoothies. So instead of sharing with you my perfect smoothie recipe, I built out a guide of all of our different ingredients for making green smoothies.

Why are there so many ingredients?

A common misconception about smoothies is that all smoothies are healthy. Wrong. Many smoothies from restaurants and fast food places (hi, dairy queen) are made with ice cream, sugar filled yogurt and flavored syrups that are basically high fructose corn syrup. In our house, most of that stuff doesn’t fly with anyone’s digestive systems.

However, green smoothies can be healthy, delicious AND filling by including the right ingredients. Let’s break down each category.

How to Make A Green Smoothie

Fruits

The cornerstone of a smoothie. No smoothie is complete without a fruit but be careful how much you add into your smoothie. We keep it to about 1 cup of fruit at the most since fruit is good but also fairly high in sugar.

Fats

I love talking to new smoothie makers about this category of smoothie ingredients. It is actually fairly important usually the most skipped category. Not only are they packed with some good vitamins and minerals, (good) fats will help fill you up and keep you full longer. If you’re going to make a smoothie for breakfast, this is key to staying full until the next meal!

Protein

Another important ingredient when it comes to staying full is protein. Not only will it help keep you full but protein is an important part of building up bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Protein powder is usually the easiest way to get it in, we love Garden of Life as its high in protein and not filled with sugar like some we’ve tried in the past!

Greens

Parents take note, this is BY FAR the easiest way to sneak spinach into your child’s diet. For a long time my kids thought it was AWESOME that their smoothies turned green. The hulk is green so it must be a good thing. Load up all of the vitamins with your favorite greens as you usually can’t taste them!

Liquids

There’s nothing I play around with more in smoothies than liquids. We’ve tried all different kinds of milk, water, yogurt, etc. Truthfully, it comes down to personal taste. My family prefers heavy on the yogurt while I prefer heavy on the almond milk. There is no wrong way to do this category.

Add-Ins

Here’s where the magic happens. This list could go on for pages and pages. There are so many other things you can mix into your smoothies. To me it all depends on the need. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, high in fatty acids and stocked with fiber. Flax seed can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Cocoa can help mood and lessen depression symptoms.

The. list. goes. on.

What are your favorite smoothie ingredients? I can’t wait to hear about them below!