Archive for the ‘Exercise and Fitness’ Category

Stressed? Top 10 Self-Care Tips

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

My daughter and I have been studying high school health this year as part of our homeschooling. (The link to the Apologia health book we are using is at the bottom of this post, in case you’re interested. The self-care tips that my daughter humorously dramatized in this post come straight out of her book.) We have learned a lot of interesting things about physical, mental, and emotional health. We have also been reminded of some basics of how to take care of our bodies. As a result, we’ve been exercising a lot more and drinking fruit smoothies.

In order to not be emotionally stressed out, here are some self-care tips to keep in mind:

Self-Care Tip #1: Eat regular, healthful meals.

Don’t eat mindlessly. Plan your meals and choose healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, and whole grains. If you have a test or need to think, eat some protein, raw vegetables, or orange juice. These have helped me personally to have a surge of energy to think more clearly.

Self-Care Tip #2: Avoid junk food.

If you have a healthy meal, you can have a small amount of dessert without having your body feel yucky, because the nutrients of the meal counteract the empty calories that would make your energy crash if you ate them on their own. Pay attention to how sluggish you feel after eating potato chips on an empty stomach, and compare that to how you feel after eating raw broccoli on an empty stomach. Your body feels WAY better with the raw vegetable.

Self-Care Tip #3: Be sure your diet includes enough protein with all the essential amino acids.

If you are deficient in protein, you may feel depressed, moody, or anxious. Your brain needs amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Like I said earlier, eat some protein before a test to think more clearly. One of my sons is taking the SAT this year, so he will be eating eggs and ham for breakfast before he takes the test.

Self-Care Tip #4: Get enough sleep.

If you get no sleep for many days in a row, you go insane. Literally, when you are sleepy and drive a car, you act similar to a drunk driver. Even with a small amount of sleep, you are more likely to get sick, make mistakes in judgment, and not be able to enjoy your life. Most people need 8 hours of sleep. I’ve done a lot of research to find out how to get better sleep, which you can read about here: Getting Better Sleep (Part 1) & Getting Better Sleep (Part 2)

Self-Care Tip #5: Drink enough water.

Most people don’t drink nearly enough water. Your body doesn’t function properly when it is dehydrated, leading to headaches, dry skin, etc. Optimally you need about one gallon of water (or other liquids) a day.

Self-Care Tip #6: Get appropriate exercise, not too much or too little.

Exercise helps to improve mood, boost energy, and improve sleep, among other things. Twenty minutes of aerobic exercise 3-5 days a week is good. If you overdo exercise, lactic acid build-up can cause muscle pain. You are more likely to sustain injuries as well.

Self-Care Tip #7: Limit grief and rumination. If you find yourself trapped in them, decide to find something better to do with your time and energy.

There is a chapter on emotional stability in this health book (see link at the bottom of this post). Apparently we have four main negative emotions: sadness, fear, guilt, and anger. It is important not to dwell on any of these negative emotions, but to rest and be refreshed and take your mind off your problems. Dwelling on the negative will not help you rise above your circumstances and have peace and joy in your life.

Self-Care Tip #8: Create a regular schedule for yourself.

You can accomplish so much more in your day with much less effort if you have a consistent schedule. If your mind is used to focusing on a specific task at a certain time of day, your body adjusts to that rhythm. You get on a roll: by accomplishing tasks, you are empowered and get adrenaline to accomplish more tasks. Don’t forget to schedule down-time into your day as well.

Self-Care Tip #9: Focus on one task at a time.

When your mind is scattered on different tasks at the same time, you don’t do as well as if you give your full attention to the task at hand. For a more full explanation with examples from my life, read Multitasking Burns Your Dinner.

Self-Care Tip #10: You cannot avoid all stress, but do not add unnecessary stress to your life. Limit your commitments to what is manageable.

Don’t add anything to your schedule without praying about it. Many times we crowd our schedules with so much that we have stress and can’t enjoy life.

Parrooom…Ch… (That’s a drum roll, if you didn’t hear it.) Those are the top 10 self-care tips that we chose to include in this post. There are 21 self-care tips altogether in the health book (affiliate link) Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Apologia. We hope you enjoyed my daughter’s crazy antics in the goofy video depicting how to overcome stress and live a more healthy life.

Wii Fit Plus

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Wii-Fit-Plus-2“Oh, come on… Do you really burn calories doing this?” I thought to myself as I stepped onto the Wii Fit Plus balance board. I recently read an article in a magazine that stated that yes, you burn calories, that it’s mild to moderate exercise (read non-aerobic), and that you need to spend less than twice as long to burn the same calories that you would, for example, by playing real tennis.

You might want everyone to get out of the room when you first get weighed, because it tells you if you are overweight, and by how much. Then your Mii (I have mine with a glamorous red-headed hairstyle) adjusts its shape accordingly. I heard of an overweight child crying when his Mii looked blimpy after he was weighed.

Now call everyone back in if you don’t mind them screaming at you that you’re doing everything wrong. If they voluntarily put tape over their own mouths, this might have gone more smoothly.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the games and what I thought about them:

  • Island Cycling: Ride an imaginary bicycle through beautiful scenery. Unfortunately there is a cat that you feel you are about to run over at any moment. My kids kept telling me you can’t run over the cat, and to get rid of it, you have to fall into the river. It worked.
  • Chicken Flapping Its Wings: I can’t remember what this one was called, but you have to flap your arms around, looking like a huge, fat chicken as you fly through the air. The kids laughed hysterically when I kept asking what the point was. You have to land on the circles on the water.
  • Obstacle Course: Run forward on the obstacle course, making sure not to get hit with huge black swinging pendulums in the shape of one of those ball and chains that you get when you’re in prison.
  • Table Tilt: Tilt the table to make sure the balls go into the holes in the table. There are lots of variations on this theme for balancing games, including making sure that certain colored balls go down ramps and get into the right colored baskets.
  • Soccer Ball Head Butt: For some unfathomable reason, people start kicking lots and lots of soccer balls at you, and you have to head butt them. Then they get mean and throw spikey shoes and other objects that you’re supposed to avoid. I can’t help but scream, “Oww!” when I’ve been slammed in the head with a spikey shoe.
  • Wii-1Running: You run in place, past lots of beautiful scenery. There are many variations of this. You can definitely break a sweat and burn calories when you are doing the more highly aerobic exercises like running, cycling, or step aerobics.
  • Step Aerobics: My youngest son is really good at this, and you’re fine at the beginning until you have to start stepping to the side and whatnot. It just seems impossible to keep up once you mess up your footwork.
  • Hoola Hoop: Swirl your hips around to keep the hoola hoop going around. For some reason people keep throwing more hoola hoops at you, and you’re supposed to catch them and keep them going around simultaneously.
  • Balance Bubble: Float down a river in a bubble, making sure not to crash against the sides of the river, bursting your bubble. I actually did really well on this one.
  • Penguin Slide: Eat fish that come onto your piece of ice, keeping balanced on the ice so you don’t fall off into the icy water. No problem if you fall into the water, though, because they let you get back up again. The huge red fish is hard to get. “You have to flip the ice, Mom, so you can jump up and get it!”

Overall, I noticed my heart pounding for many of the exercises. There were strength training and yoga exercises that burn. So yes, they work your muscles. Overall, my kids seem to love it. Of course, when Mom plays it, everyone whoops with laughter and screaming for some reason. Maybe I’m just a fun person…

The Sin of Gluttony

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

gluttonyGluttony is defined as overeating or indulging yourself in the area of food, not just to survive, but to the point that it’s actually bad for your body. Since the Middle Ages, it has been considered one of the seven deadly sins. (The others are anger, sloth, greed, pride, lust, and envy.)

Having grown up as a missionary kid in a land of poverty, I am shocked when I see Americans demanding all of their food to taste wonderful, or they won’t eat it. They criticize their wives for making normal food because they have grown accustomed to eating at restaurants all the time before they got married. Restaurants have food prepared by professional chefs. Even fast food places have perfected the taste of their foods. But Americans consider this the norm. They will not eat anything that is not up to the standard of chefs. The taste buds of Americans demand satisfaction, and they grumble that they deserve more expensive food, as if God hadn’t already provided their needs.

Or they are too lazy to make their own food, as if frying an egg and putting it on toast won’t fill their stomach and take less than five minutes to prepare.

A lust for food is just as much of a sin as a lust for any other object, and we are told in Scripture not to live to excess. Often we know of needy people in our church who are hard-working, but their children don’t have enough to eat. Meanwhile we stuff down a few more potato chips into our bodies that are becoming blobs.

Yes, when we don’t take care of our bodies, we become sluggish and cannot do as much for the kingdom of God because we feel foggy and blah. If we honestly have excessive food in our homes, we can give it to people right here in our country whose stomachs are hurting because they are hungry.

I’m not saying that it’s sin to feast once in a while, like at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Jesus feasted, and God the Father commanded the Israelites to observe sacred feasts. During wedding celebrations, you were expected to feast. What I’m talking about is the habitual overeating that we do in this country, or worse, the habitual over snacking. We cram more and more worthless calories down our throats until we feel sick.

Lots of people are experiencing depression because the chemicals in their bodies need nutrients. We need vegetables and fruits mostly, with some protein. I can’t tell you how much better I feel in the afternoon when I grab some raw broccoli, rinse it off, and stuff it in my mouth instead of junk food. Suddenly my brain fog clears, and I’m more highly productive. I wonder how many people are on Prozac, when all they needed was to eat a salad.

Let’s stop wallowing in food that is bad for us. Let’s stop being greedy when it comes to food. People in other countries stop eating when they’re full. They don’t keep eating and eating and eating after they are full. It wouldn’t even make sense to them.

I remember once my husband and I decided to share a salad at a restaurant, and then we shared a meal. For the first time eating out, our stomachs felt good instead of feeling so tight that they would rupture our pants. I mean, really? Do we have to feel so stuffed that we are hurting before we stop eating?

Top 10 Reasons to Rest

Monday, October 15th, 2012

reasons-to-restToday I will be sharing the top 10 reasons to rest. In our modern society, rest has fallen by the wayside as productivity seems to be all-important. But if we don’t take the time to rest, our bodies will suffer in many ways. In order to avoid these negative effects, we must remind ourselves daily to actually rest!

Top 10 Reasons to Rest:

  1. Rest makes you more productive. If you feel refreshed, you can get more accomplished than if you are tired.
  2. You get sick more easily if you don’t rest.
  3. Rest helps you to think rationally.
  4. You eventually get burnout if you don’t rest, and it takes longer to recuperate from burnout.
  5. Rest helps you to deal with your emotions in relationships.
  6. You have better conversations when you are rested.
  7. Rest helps you to not be as stressed.
  8. Rest helps you feel more optimistic about life.
  9. God invites us to rest (Matthew 11:28), gives us an example of rest in the week of creation, and includes Sabbath rest in the Ten Commandments.
  10. Rest gives you an opportunity to reconnect to God.