Revolutionize Your Family For Health

Do you feel happy and joyful most of the time?  Or consistently exhausted and overwhelmed?

Are you in good enough shape to bike, run and chase your children around?

I have spoken with so many families this month who are in the position of having too many things to do, too little time…and what frequently suffers is the basic need of the body and soul for health.  Sleep, cooking from scratch, having time to relax and rest, time to exercise, time to just BE can all be really difficult to come by when you have small children, (and I think especially when one is homeschooling and has small children about all the time).  There is no turning a walk into an aerobic exercise with a small child in tow who wants to stop and examine every cute little ant on the ground.  That is just the reality!

But, the other reality is that one cannot neglect one’s health for years on end either.  Some mothers seem to have this idea that if they can just wait until their youngest child is “X” age, then this is when their family will be getting into shape and will take better care of their health then.

My husband and I are working on revolutionizing our family life this year toward even better health.  We have always been fairly health conscious in terms of our food, using alternative health care, getting outside daily, not watching media (which is time you could spend in getting outside!), but this year we really wanted to put some specific things into place.  And sometimes that is hard, because we are apart most of the week, every week, all year long due to my husband’s work.  It is harder to urge each other on to do healthy things, like exercising without the children,  when you are not even together to support each other in person!  So, here are some things we are trying:

Playing more for fun!  We have been playing a lot of soccer in our backyard with the kids and the dog, and we all love it.  This is also great family bonding after we have been apart all week.  We also enjoy walking to our local park and on trails.  We love hiking in our state’s forests, but since that usually involves getting in a car to drive somewhere, we are carefully looking at how much we want to actually be in a car.

Exercising alone if possible.  Before I went to physical therapy school, I was heavily into bodybuilding and running gyms.  I don’t get a chance to work out like that anymore, but finding some time to exercise alone each week is important.

Putting limits on our computer time.  Always a given, but sometimes more difficult to do at different times depending upon what is going on at my husband’s work or in my volunteer life.  People think if you blog that must mean you are on the computer all the time, but that to me, is simple to control:  most of my posts are written in my head and I can type them in very quickly when I get on the computer.  And, I can set blog posts to send out automatically.  Blog posts are generally the least of my worries in terms of computer time.

Saying NO to things that are infringing on our family time; really doing a better job guarding our family time and keeping us all together…sometimes this can be harder with children who have large age gaps between them with outside activities, so really being able to evaluate those activities is important.  Are they activities that are just SO beneficial for the one child and because it is so needed it really has to happen for right now, or can we look to see what we can let go, or can we look to see if there is something the children could all do together at the same place or at least in the same vicinity?    Family is still the best practice ground for learning ethics, learning to work, learning to get along.

Planning our meals, and making and keeping our doctor, dentist and alternative health care provider appointments for our own health.

Learning more about herbs that can be beneficial for immunity.  Combining bone broths with herbs has been really helpful to us this winter season.

A huge part of our health centers around our religious home; our place of worship is like a big, warm, loving family.  Many studies have shown that folks who have a place of worship and who are connected into the Divine and to other people in community live longer. I see many families who go around and around about the food and what they should and shouldn’t be eating, but with no thought of spiritual community at all, and I find that very odd.

Schedule vacations!  So important to look at the time you can garner together throughout the entire year.

Stop being fearful.  I see so many people who are fearful of everything for their children, and their children are fearful and anxious.  I think counseling can be so important for dealing with fears, and also to stop carrying around your past.  If you continually are parading your past around, you can’t move forward. Find someone to talk to that can help you.  That is an important aspect of health!

Setting boundaries around people that are negative and not supportive.  Some women I have observed can only seem to do this by physically separating themselves and their families from others, and I agree there are some people that are so toxic that this is really the only solution.  However, another aspect to think of with people that you are just having a more challenging road with is that maybe you and this person were brought together to influence each other and to learn from each other.  Honest, adult conversation with a lot of “I” statements about what you need in the relationship, what you do and don’t want, would help both of you grow.  Learning how to set boundaries in a kind way, a loving way, with love for others and not just running away is so important.. Again, here a good mental health counselor or your rabbi, priest, spiritual leader can sometimes really help you figure this out.  What an amazing skill to be able to model for your children!

Lastly, give back.  It is a fine line between taking care of yourself so you have something to give to others, and to become so “health conscious” that everything is centered around that, and around you.  Is life really all about you?  Your children?  There has to be a balance between you, your family, and hopefully a community you are involved in.  How are you helping and reaching out to others outside of your own children?  That, to me, is another facet of life.

I would love to hear how you are revolutionizing your health and your family’s health this year!

Many blessings,

Carrie

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7 thoughts on “Revolutionize Your Family For Health

  1. Hi Carrie !
    I also started the year with more outdoors time particularly snow related activities, or skating.
    I cook only from scratch but I am not aware of homeopatic herbs that go well with bone soup.What do you use, in what combination please?

  2. Hello out there. I thought this might be a good place to start with a few questions/worries I’ve got in my head. As this post is about family health for the most part I thought this might be a good time to be a first time commenter. I am wondering how many of you started this journey (AP, homeschooling, etc) even before getting married or having children. Did you all know this would be your way of life before any of that? So was it discussed with it your future spouse prior to marriage and children? I never discussed any of this with my husband prior to marriage or children. I guess I never thought of it before then. It just wasn’t a topic of conversation for us. And now, 4 children later, it seems as though the children, parenting, homeschooling, homekeeping – all of it – are rather viewed as solely my realm of family life. Now, my husband and I decided to have children while he was in medical school, residency, fellowship – but now that we are done with all of that, he is still not anymore engaged or even sincerely interested it would seem, in what we do all day while he is at work. For example – I certainly do not allow the kids to use any technology – no video games, no ipad/iphone/computer for games or even learning apps. When he takes our toddler to our oldest child’s soccer practice while I take the baby with me to our daughter’s ballet class, he allows the toddler to play on the ipad. Despite the fact that I have no less than 3 ‘activity bags’ as I call them all packed and ready to go on the road at any given time. Packed with crayons, puzzles, beads, etc. The kids want to know why they can’t use the ipad and such since daddy allows them to do so. And it goes on and on. So I wonder if all of your partners are tuned in to what all the mothers are doing. Are they active participants? Do they fully embrace and share your belief system? And, any suggestions for me? I can honestly say I am just at a loss at this point. There is so little time to have private discussions with him and when I try he claims he is very supportive. Thoughts out there?? Thanks. And great post. I figure there are some thoughtful people out there reading this who may be able to share some insight and positive suggestions.

    • I am so happy you posted this comment. This is my families current struggle as well, at least in the realm of different parenting philosophies and ideals. I have been trying to focus some energy on the idea that my daughters chose not only me but also their father to be their parents before coming to this earth. I don’t know what your “beliefs” are regarding this, but this thought helps me to be a little more accepting of parenting differences and difficulties.

    • Thanks for the thought Amber. It’s an odd thing really. My husband is very involved as a father – attends every event enthusiastically. Is always interested in and amazed by what the kids are learning. He’s very encouraging. He is a very loving father. The thing that upsets me is his apparent lack of philosophy on anything! He has no beliefs that he speaks of or passions that he wants to discuss ever. Outside of work and sports, he seems to have no interests. He has no politics, no strong religious feelings. Really, what seems like a lack of motivation. If I let the kids play video games and eat doritos all day I don’t think he would care. And I guess I see things like the kids playing soccer vs. basketball, or an 8pm bedtime vs. 9 pm bedtime as a difference in opinion. I wonder how could someone not see the benefit in limiting media exposure? It’s scientific fact. Feeding the kids whole foods vs frozen TV dinners – scientific evidence as to which is the better choice. Why when there are activities packed to go does he just head out the door with the ipad and let a 3 yr old play angry birds for an hour?? And when he knows that I restrict it (rather, prohibit it) and he knows what I am trying to accomplish here at home with the kids. Rather than a difference in opinion or belief I see it as straight disrespect. He does not feed them fast food when I am not home or let them play video games because he thinks it is a wiser choice and better for their development – he does it b/c he is lazy, quite frankly. I wonder what does he stand for? And certainly we discussed and shared interests and passions prior to marriage and children, but unfortunately never had deep conversations about how we would raise the children. It is very frustrating to feel so deeply about this and to very much feel called to this journey and to then have my life partner not take initiative to get involved and put these philosophies into practice.

  3. We have a 20-minute PE time each morning right after our gathering/circle time. We all take turns being in charge of it. On my day, I generally do kids’ yoga–I purchased some fun cards with ideas for yoga activities we can do . My 10-year-old son, who is very athletic, is really great at coming up with creative and very active games, even in the winter, even indoors. We play his version of indoor basketball most days that he’s in charge, and let me say that after 20 minutes of that, I’m generally sweating up a storm. Outdoors, he usually chooses football. My 6-year-old dd likes to play tag on her day, and 20 straight minutes of tag will also get your heart rate up (and show you just how out of shape you are, lol!)

    I have never been good at exercising, but I’ve decided to commit to yoga in the early mornings before the kids are awake. I’ve barely started, so I can’t say how its going to go. I wanted something that would help my emotional and spiritual health as well as physical.

    To Katherine above–no, my husband does not really share my views on media. After several years of frustration over it, I’ve decided that compromise is in order. My kids use more media than I’d like, but they also use far less than most other children their age. And they love to play outdoors, do active things, etc. We’ve had huge snowstorms here, and my children have been outside building snow forts and sledding for a total of about 8 hours the last two days. I truly believe that it is not OK for one partner to try to make all the decisions for a family or to unilaterally make rules that impact the other spouse. No matter how good the intentions or how good the “rule” might be for our children, I just think they need to see me modeling respect for daddy’s point of view too. My husband is the peacemaker type who will listen and nod “yes” to what I have to say on the issue, but then either silently resent it–and me–or just go and do what he wants anyway. I’ve held my ground on some big things (like, I’m sure my husband would be fine with getting my 10-year-old an Ipod, and I’m definitely NOT). But I’ve relaxed a bit on other things. They watch more TV than I’d like, but I still enforce no-TV rules most days, with a couple of days where limited viewing is allowed, for example. It’s not the ideal life that I picture…but it works for us.

  4. I just wanted to share that my family loves playing disc (frisbee) golf together. It gets us out in the woods and can keep young ones quite motivated to keep hiking since their target keeps moving. There are official disc golf discs, but you can use a regular frisbee and have a fine time. Enjoy!

    And always, thanks Carrie for your wonderful site and perspective. You are a great mentor to me.

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