Being a mom is the best job. It can also be an exhausting and draining job at times. As mom’s, we’re called to present our best selves to our children, to be active, attentive and authentic, this requires us to make the time to nourish and realize our best selves, so we can rise to the challenge. Spring is a season of renewal, change and energy. It’s the perfect time to rise to the challenge and establish new routines and habits.
When it comes to health and wellness, dedicating yourself to a few simple routines can set you on the path to success. This is not a post about dieting or about establishing an intense fitness routine, instead, this is a post about adapting a healthy lifestyle through subtle changes that over time will lead to improved health and vitality. These are adjustments all moms can make that don’t require an abundance of time, because let’s face it- with kids, you don’t have a whole lot of time. Here are 10 simple, inexpensive and easy adjustments every mom can employ to improve their health and vitality!
10 Simple Routines to Improve Health:
1) Warm Water and Lemon First Thing in the Morning:
This ancient Ayurvedic practice is a powerful addition to any morning routine. Warm lemon water will leave you not only hydrated and refreshed first thing in the morning, but creates an alkaline internal environment (an alkaline internal environment makes it almost impossible for disease to manifest), boosts the immune system, stimulates digestion and encourages morning elimination. Your morning glass of lemon water is a quick, simple detoxifying mini-cleanse that you can rely on each morning.
2) Using a Tongue Scraper
Use a tongue scraper in the morning and evening before you brush your teeth. Another beneficial Ayurvedic practice, tongue scraping is believed to remove mucus and toxins that build up on the tongue; that whitish or yellowish coating many people have. Three to five, gentle scrapes will do the trick. This is an easy way to detoxify and freshen the breath and aid your body in the elimination of toxins.
3) Meditate for Five Minutes a day:
Whether simply sitting or laying in perfect stillness, or chanting your favorite mantra, scripture or motivational quote, taking even just five short minutes a day to check in with ourselves is crucial. Daily meditation strengthens the nervous system, lowers the blood pressure, increases brain function and concentration, improves sleep and leaves you feeling calm and rejuvenated. Try squeezing five minutes in when you wake up in the morning, during your morning commute (if you rely on public transportation), during your lunch break, or before bed. Five minutes can make a world of difference.
4) Walk for Fifteen Minutes after Eating:
This may seem counterintuitive, as most of us grew up with the idea that you have to wait 30 minutes after eating before engaging in activity but studies now show that 15 minutes of gentle walking after a meal aids in digestion, elimination and signals the metabolism to burn the meal since our metabolic rate tends to decrease later in the day. Taking a gentle stroll is a common practice in the East; the West is just now catching on. Walking is fantastic after a heavy lunch as well, especially if you want to avoid that energetic slump that occurs around 2 and 3pm.
5) Have a Daily Cup of Tea
Make room in your day for a tea break! Green tea, herbal tea, black tea, matcha tea, rooibos tea, chai tea, whatever your please, tea is full of free radical fighting anti-oxidants and depending on the type you choose it can contain many other curative properties. There is a tea out there for everyone. Find your perfect match and drink to your health. Tea is soothing and balancing, and if taken a few hours after lunch, may just be the answer to the late afternoon energetic slump most people experience.
6) End your Day with Basic Yoga/ Stretching
Engage in at least 10 minutes a day of movement (yoga or stretching). Whether you prefer to go through several rounds of yoga inspired sun salutations or prefer to channel your inner ballerina at barre, simple stretching daily will increase circulation, improve flexibility, lubricate joints and lower the blood pressure. It’s never too late to start a gentle yoga or movement practice.
7) Use More Spices and Less Salt:
When it comes to flavoring your food, go heavy on spices and herbs and lighten your use of salt. Iodized table salt, if used at all, should be used in moderation. Salt contributes to high blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease and strokes. A little salt, and I always prefer Himalayan rock salt or sea salt because of the presence of minerals, is not terrible, but a little bit goes a long way. Many people confuse a little with a lot because they use salt as a primary source of seasoning. There are so many healthy spices and herbs that can be used in lieu of salt. Explore the full range of peppers (black, cayenne, white, red). Turmeric, cumin, ginger, dill, rosemary, clarissa, sage, basil, garlic, cardamom, and thyme are wonderfully aromatic herbs and spices with known healing properties. Spicing first and salting last, can really help cut your sodium intake and reduce your chances of hypertension and it’s many related maladies.
8) Substitute Sugar with Maple Syrup
Processed sugar is more damaging than most people realize. Not only does it contribute to diabetes, it can damage the heart, liver and brain function. Sugar is tied directly to obesity and pre-mature aging. Skip the processed sugar when you can and choose pure maple syrup. Pure maple syrup is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and its glycemic index is low, meaning it won’t cause a quick spike in your blood sugar. Pure maple syrup can be used to substitute sugar in baking and is a delicious addition to coffee and tea. Note, pure maple syrup is quite different from corn syrupy table syrup. Look for Grade A or Grade B pure maple syrup.
9) Add Ground Chia and Flax to your Food:
Chia and Flax are super foods that are packed with heart healthy omega 3’s, anti-oxidants and fiber. With a very subtle and slightly nutty taste, they sprinkle easily and unobtrusively over salads, yogurt, cereal, soup, pasta and bake easily into breads, muffins, cookies, etc.
10) Snack often:
Now, when I say snack often, I don’t mean on just anything, but studies show that snacking regularly throughout the day, curbs the appetite, raises the metabolism, improves stamina and mental function and can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Snacking on whole, clean foods is best, Try raw nuts, dried fruit, vegetables and hummus, fresh fruit and nut butter or even lean cold cuts.
Too often, we’re conditioned to think that it requires a massive overhaul to become healthier. These ten steps are examples of small adjustments that can be made over time to increase your overall health and well being. Good health is about so much more than dieting. Health is holistic, it’s about lifestyle and it’s about the choices we make every day.