Moms & Dads – 7 Habits to Finish Spring, Refreshed

Ashley and I have been reading a new book, Mommy Burnout, which has, among other things, gotten us thinking how to stay refreshed. With four kids all under the age of 8, we’ve got our hands full. How do you wake up everyday refreshed and ready to accomplish all the tasks at hand? Here is a good list that Ashley put together both from utilizing the book and doing some research.

1. Have Breakfast

Sounds simple, right? Maybe you already do it. If not – get started. You start your day with a healthy routine and involve your kids. It also makes sure you aren’t freaking out in a hangry rage by noon. If you can, make it healthy and fiber-rich so that you have a long lasting energy.

2. Plan Your Meals

Again – routine. You wake up each day with at least one thing checked off your list. We have found that planning our meals on Sunday for the rest of the week is a good routine. It gives us a chance to try new things and set our grocery list. It also saves money because we can buy batch ingredients to use across different dishes throughout the week.

3. Up Water Intake

Like breakfast, drinking enough water is proven to help reduce stress and increase energy (in addition to a thousand other health benefits). Drinking enough water also keeps your belly happy so you don’t have to fill it with unhealthy snacks and desserts and soda. Your brain also functions much better when you have enough water. Really!

4. Go “Offline”

Sounds impossible. Put down the phone and the iPad. Don’t let the kids use them either. Maybe during family dinner? Maybe after work and before bed – but there have to some set points in your day when you put the devices down and out of sight. Studies show that just the sound of your phone triggers a fight-or-flight response that gets your adrenaline pumping and an unhealthy amount of stress. Just an hour or two a day of no phone will do wonders for your health and peace of mind.

5. Learn/Do Something New

Doing something new, like checking off a to-do list, has been proven to increase serotonin in the brain (makes you happy) and reduce depression. The reasoning is because, in short, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. And it doesn’t have to be something new. Don’t start climbing Mount Everest tomorrow – but, maybe you’ve always wanted to be a little more outdoorsy so you take the kids to a new metro park this weekend. Doesn’t have to be big. Just new.

6. Head Outside

Don’t make excuses. It’s easy to. Commit to going outside a certain number of times for a certain period of time each week. Then pick an activity that works for the weather and time period. I’m hoping most of us already know the whole vitamin D/sunshine thing so – there’s that. Also, the additional psychological benefits of being outside, seeing the sun, and again getting away from the cell phone and Netflix binging. In the summer our family goes for a family walk around the neighborhood every night, and I try to grill out as often as possible. In the winter, we go to a park in our backyard and play.

7. Be Mindful – Slow Down

I think this one applies to Ashley more than me, but still good advice for most everybody. You lan your day out. Don’t rush from one activity to the next just to stay busy. Choose you activities ahead of time and do it intentionally. Make a plan. Follow it. Following a routine is shown to reduce stress & anxiety in adults and even more so in our children.

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