4 Healthy Habits to Help Manage Stress and Maintain Calm

Photo credit: Public Domain

Stress, especially chronic stress, is an unhealthy disadvantage of living in this fast-paced, 24/7 world. We get so caught up in work, family, children’s activities, grocery store runs, and keeping the household running smoothly that we end up creating a daily routine of unhealthy habits. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. We have the ability to make better choices, beat the stress, and a live a life that allows us to breath and enjoy each minute. What are some healthy habits we can pick up that will help maintain a sense of calm and keep stress levels in check?

Get more sleep – This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s surprising how many people don’t allow themselves a good night’s sleep. If you deprive yourself of this time of rest, you will begin to let stress creep in and issues that come along will seem bigger than they really are. Remember to let yourself unwind a little bit before going to sleep. This will prevent you from lying in bed thinking about the events of the day, and, in turn, not being able to fall asleep easily.

Meditation – Begin the day with a meditation session. It doesn’t have to be extremely long, but even 10 minutes of quiet and calm will make a world of difference on how the day unfolds. Wake up a half hour earlier and make time to get in touch with your goals for the day and what you hope to accomplish. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be bothered, and take advantage of that time to focus on breathing and just being in the moment.

Write it down – Writing down your thoughts for the day can help to rid your mind and body of unwanted stressors that bog you down. Getting it all out of your head and down on paper has a calming effect that makes any situation seem better. You can do this in the morning or when you are winding down during the evening hours. Just pick a time that feels comfortable for you and make it a daily routine.

Read a good book – Read one of your favorite, uplifting books to help calm your mind from a long, demanding day and to prepare you for a restful nights sleep. If you’re not into reading that much, you can always choose the audio version of the book and listen while you relax. You can also get up early in the morning and choose this time to read, if that is what fits your schedule.

There are numerous ways to maintain a set of healthy habits in your daily routine. If you can find a way to carve out a little quiet, relaxing “you” time on a daily basis, not only will you make daily stresses more manageable, but also improve your productivity, concentration and overall health. You just need to plan ahead and take action to make your life as calm and stress free as you want it to be. Find out what activities fit your family life and schedule, and then set some goals for everyone involved. Your whole family can benefit from this, and you will see a noticeable difference in the stress level all around.

Beachbody

 

5 Healthy Snacks to Fire Up Your Creative Juices

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Choosing the right kinds of snacks to eat during the day can be tricky. We are bombarded with the unhealthy, caffeine induced, sugary items each and every day, which makes them hard to avoid. It’s important to choose the right kinds of foods and snacks in order to maintain our health. Certain foods can help boost our brain power and get those creative juices flowing, especially when you need to rely on creativity and sharp thinking skills to get the job done. Here are a few snack ideas that will give your brain the fuel necessary to fire up your creative process.

Oatmeal – This healthy snack is an ideal way to start the day. Oatmeal is a superfood that gives your brain power a boost and promotes cardiovascular health. The soluble fiber, protein and healthy carbohydrates contained in oatmeal will sustain you and help you avoid snacking in between meals. Oatmeal also helps to fight cholesterol, and it’s a quick and easy snack that is perfect for any time of the day.

Blueberries – This is a powerful snack that can help protect the brain against oxidative stress, which in turn will enhance your brain activity and get those innovative juices flowing. Blueberries are extremely rich in antioxidants, which help to support the immune system and overall health. You can consume them by the handful or mix them in with other fruits and make a smoothie. Either way, you are getting the benefits of one of the best brain foods out there. It’s also been said that blueberries are one of the best anti-stress foods that you can eat.

Walnuts – One of the best snacks containing Omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts. Omega 3’s are excellent for boosting brain power and also promote optimal cardiovascular health. You can eat walnuts by themselves, put them in a smoothie, or eat them on a salad. This is definitely one snack you can make a part of your daily routine.

Sunflower Seeds – This tiny snack is full of the nutrients necessary for high-level brain power. These seeds are packed with Vitamin E and have been known to lower cholesterol. As with walnuts, you can eat these on a salad or simply by the handful. The Vitamin E contained in sunflower seeds can also help reduce the anti-inflammatory symptoms that come along with asthma, joint pain, ulcers, etc.

Whole Grains – When you choose to make whole grains a part of your daily snacking routine, you’ve already put yourself on a path to a healthier lifestyle. Whole grains are packed with nutrients including fiber, protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, and trace minerals (e.g. zinc, copper, magnesium and iron). Brown cereals, rice, pasta, and bread are all on the list of smart whole grain brain boosters. These foods have been linked in preventing certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer, and allow us the steady supply of energy we need to get through the day.

With all the unhealthy choices we face each day, it’s hard to pick those snacks that will give us the steady energy we need to get through the day. Find a way to get in the routine of making better and healthier choices when it comes to the fuel we give our bodies. The right kinds of foods will jump-start our brain activity and give us the creative spark we need to accomplish our goals and be one step closer to the success we desire.

Beachbody

Not Consuming Enough Fruits and Veggies? Try Drinking Them!

Photo credit: Kari Sullivan CC-BY-2.0

If you are looking for a way to add more fruits and veggies to your diet, smoothies are one of the quickest and easiest ways to do it. And the great thing about them is that you can get as creative as you want – adding this and that – coming up with unique tastes to suit you and your family. But if you don’t feel comfortable just ‘winging’ it and creating your own, look online for recipes – you’ll find lots to choose from.

Using smoothies as a way to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet is also great because some people don’t like the texture or taste of certain vegetables, such as spinach or kale, but they find that mixing it in a smoothie is delicious.

Another benefit of smoothies is that if you have picky kids who make faces at just the mention of fruits and veggies, you can ensure that they’re getting more of them by ‘sneaking’ them into a smoothie. Because the flavors all blend together, they’ll never even know they drank something they didn’t like.

Now that we’ve touched on the benefits, let’s take a look at some of the fruits and vegetables you can use in a smoothie.

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries
  • Swiss Chard

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of the fruits and vegetables you can use in smoothies. It’s just some of the basic ones to give you an idea of what you can use. You should also get creative and experiment with some exotic fruits and vegetables such as papaya, mango, and beets.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when creating smoothies. Let’s take a look at those now.

  1. Avoid fruit juices – instead use things like water, milk, coconut water, etc. for your liquid. Fruit juices add a lot of unwanted calories.
  2. Preparation of fruits and vegetables – if you want your smoothie to be a smoother consistency, chop/dice them as small as possible.
  3. Choose organic fruits and veggies whenever possible to reduce exposure to toxins, such as pesticides.

And in case you need a recipe to help get you started, the one below is a nice combination of a fruit and vegetable combination smoothie.

Mixed Berry & Kale Smoothie Recipe

Couple handfuls of frozen or fresh mixed berries (such as strawberries, blueberry, raspberries, pomegranate & cherries)
1-2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup soy (or almond) milk
1 tablespoon flax seeds

*Not a fan of kale? Try spinach instead.

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until desired consistency is reached.

There you have it, an overview of how quickly and easily you can add more fruits and vegetables into your diet simply by adding them to a smoothie. Try drinking a smoothie every morning for breakfast or replace one snack a day with a smoothie to help guarantee you’ll get more of the fruits and vegetables you need in your daily diet.

Beachbody

3 Fitness Tips for Getting Your Kids Off the Couch

Photo credit: Vastateparksstaff (Family bike ride Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Our world today revolves around the latest technology in the form of smartphones, tablets, and video game systems. Big name companies compete to bring us the latest and greatest technology and it not only has an affect on adults, but children as well.

Children today are growing up in a completely different world than it was 20 years ago. There are first graders with cell phones, teens who would rather text than talk, and video games with such lifelike graphics it’s scary. The lure of these video games is especially strong in children and teens and brings with it the problem of little or no outside activity in this age group. As parents, it’s important to know how to get your children involved in something other than staring at a TV screen or holding a game controller all day long.

Be the example – Parents can set an excellent example for their children if they are active in their daily routine. If your child sees you exercising or spending more time outside than in front of the television, they will most likely follow your example as they grow older. It may take a little bit of nudging to get them to put the cell phone down, but it will happen. Likewise, if you are a couch potato, or have your nose stuck in the computer all day, they will be more apt to follow in your footsteps. Be the person that you would want your child to be. If you keep that in mind, it won’t be hard to set good habits in motion for the whole family.

Create a routine – A daily routine can help your child get rid of bad habits and instill some discipline in the whole family. Talk to your child about getting on a schedule and let them be involved in creating a routine that works for all of you. Limit the amount of time your child is in front of the television, on the Internet, or on his/her cell phone and stick to it. Make a trip to the park or a walk outside part of your daily routine. If it’s too cold outside, play a game of tag or hide and seek just to get yourself and your child moving. Small daily steps can help to break some bad habits and lead you into a new way of life.

Find activities your child will enjoy – This can be anything from organized sports at school to a daily trip to the local gym. Talk to your child about getting involved in school activities that will keep them moving. If he/she isn’t much of a sports fanatic, there are a ton of other ways to keep them active. Going on a family hike, swimming, or simply blasting some music and dancing around the living room are some fun ways to keep in shape and have fun while doing it.

It may take some time to establish a routine that works for you and your family, but don’t give up. Make small changes on a daily basis to get your child used to any form of daily activity. Pretty soon, a trip to the park or playing ball outside will be the new normal instead of coming home to play video games or surf the Internet. Making small daily changes not only forms better habits in your child, but in your whole family.

Beachbody

Is Your Mindset Holding You Back?

 Your mindset is either your greatest strength… or your biggest weakness. It determines how you view life, your attitude towards what happens, and how you will react. Those who have a positive, growth mindset are much more likely to succeed at what they set out to accomplish. The mindset we have can hold us back or take us to our highest level. It all depends on how we think, what we think, and the actions we take thereafter. What are some ways you can ensure your mindset is geared for success? What are some characteristics that sets one person apart from another?

No Limitations – A person with a growth mindset doesn’t allow themselves to have limitations. They believe they deserve to succeed in life and will do what it takes to get there. They don’t go moping around, claiming to be a victim of the economy believing that they are stuck where they are at. They prepare, they plan, and they take action. They don’t believe the naysayers and follow through with what they start. These people see their potential and don’t limit themselves based on the fear that they are not good enough or smart enough. They make things happen.

Facing Fear – Just because someone has a mindset that is geared for success doesn’t mean they never feel fear. It just means they face it head on. They don’t let the “what if’s” stand in their way and they use obstacles as stepping-stones on their journey. Fear is the biggest thing that holds people back from their best potential. Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of being laughed at, or fear of success itself there are an endless amount of reasons they can use to stay where they are at in life. It’s the ones who don’t let that mounting fear stop them that become the most successful, best versions of themselves. They make it a goal to step out of their comfort zone and do things that most people do not.

Focused Purpose – Those that understand why they do what they do and have an idea of where they are going in life have the strongest mindset. Having a focused purpose in life makes it so much simpler to overcome obstacles because you know what you are ultimately working for. This is the starting point to success. You must figure out what you want to work towards. This can only be done through a growth mindset and someone who thinks outside the box. Finding your purpose in life will not only allow you to focus on what’s important but it will be much easier to follow through and truly go for what you want.

Your mindset can be your greatest tool for a successful life. It will hold you down for a lifetime if you let it. Having a growth mindset allows the world to be at your fingertips because you don’t close your mind to anything. Everyday there is a new possibility for success for someone with this type of mindset. Don’t hold yourself back with senseless limitations and fear just because you don’t know what the future holds. Taking that first step outside your comfort zone could be the breath of fresh air you need in your life.

Beachbody

Health Benefits of Breakfast: 3 Reasons Not To Skip Your Morning Meal

Photo credit: Matt @ PEK from Taipei, Taiwan [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

How many times have you woke up in a hurry, got ready, and rushed out the door without a second thought to eating breakfast? We’ve all been there and have suffered the consequences when mid-morning hits and we are starving and ready to eat the first unhealthy thing we come across. Avoiding this trap and making breakfast a part of your daily routine can not only add to the success and productivity of your day, but also begin your path to a healthier lifestyle. Here are just a few benefits of this important daily meal.

Increased energy level – You will find that by eating a healthy breakfast your energy level is much higher throughout the day. You will be more productive and less inclined to eat that unhealthy bag of chips calling your name. Breakfast provides the right kind of nutrients our body needs to get through the day and be the best version of ourselves. We will be much more likely to focus on productivity when we routinely give our bodies the fuel it needs to carry on.

Weight Control – It’s been said that those who tend to eat breakfast in the mornings are more likely to lose weight or simply not weigh as much. That being said, it makes sense because we don’t find ourselves bogged down with those nasty cravings that come with not eating anything in the morning. We tend to make healthier choices throughout the day when we aren’t starving and looking for anything to satisfy us. You need breakfast to get give your metabolism a boost so you can burn more calories throughout the day.

Happier and Healthier – Eating breakfast routinely every morning will not only start you on the path to a healthier life but also cause you to have a better, happier attitude. We are mentally and physically able to focus on things that matter when we give our bodies the right kind of nutrition. This means staying away from sugar and caffeine and consuming more whole grains, dairy, and fruit. Studies have shown that people who skip breakfast tend to be grouchier throughout the day. When you deprive your body of the fuel it needs, it affects all aspects of your life.

There are huge benefits to getting into a routine each morning and eating a healthy breakfast. This one meal sets the tone for the entire day and our mood and physical well-being is affected by it. You will not only be more productive but your overall health will improve by just making a few changes to your daily routine. Rather than rushing through those early morning hours give yourself a little more time in the morning to plan a healthy meal. The success of your day depends on how you start it out.

Beachbody

 

How to Make Fitness A Permanent Part of Your Life

Photo credit: Linda Bartlett (Photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In order for a fitness routine to become part of daily life, you have to make certain changes in the way you live, the foods you eat, and the activities you are involved in. It’s necessary for the whole family to commit themselves to living healthier and making individual fitness goals that they can both meet and exceed. The majority of people make resolutions to do this every single year, and most of them fall short of meeting this goal. If that’s you, there are a few things you can do to make this transition easier and view fitness as the new normal in your life.

Change your Schedule – make time to workout during the morning hours rather than waiting until after work. Getting in the habit of doing this may be tough at first, especially if you are used to sleeping in. You will find, however, that this routine is easier to stick to because you have no distractions to sway you from working out. Not only will your metabolism get a huge boost, but also, you will have more energy to start the workday. Take a look at your current schedule and see what can be changed. It may be as simple as going to bed a little earlier in order to get a jump-start on the day.

Plan your meals – a true fitness plan would not be complete without eliminating bad eating habits and making healthier choices for you and your family. Working out is a huge component of fitness, but eating the right foods is just as important. One without the other doesn’t work and your plan will most likely fail.

Busy families are tempted to eat out on a regular occurrence mostly because of convenience and ease. Planning your meals a week or two in advance will take away the temptation to do this and will save you some money in the long run. A meal plan should be a compilation of suggestions from the whole family. It’s important to get everyone involved and on the same page in order to ensure success.

Set Goals – Anytime you want to change your life and eliminate bad habits from your daily routine, it’s important to set goals. Have a family meeting and go over what everyone wants and needs to achieve from a new fitness plan. Create some goals that are reachable and some that truly push your limits. Write them down and refer to your goals often. Keep track of your daily activity in a journal or notebook so you are able to see how far you’ve come and how much closer you are to reaching your fitness goals.

The important thing to making fitness a normal part of your life is that you have a plan. You can’t just hope to live healthier and expect it to happen. You must take control of the situation and take small daily steps in the right direction. Refer often to the goals you hope to achieve as a family and be consistent with your actions. Pretty soon a fitness routine and healthier way of life will be second nature.

Having a family, a career, and a hectic schedule leaves little time for a fitness routine. However, the benefits to being physically fit are numerous and should be a priority in any family. Choosing to make fitness a permanent part of your life takes a good amount of willpower, determination, and hard work from everyone. There are many ways you can incorporate fitness to fit your busy schedule. It may take some planning and you might have to be creative at times, just remember to stay active. Making small, positive changes to your daily routine can help rid your family of bad habits and have you on your way to a physically fit life.

Beachbody

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