Katie Corbett is a member of the Mt. Gilead board of directors, mom to 8, and CEO of Health, Wellness, and Chocolate where she helps moms lose weight for the last time. She is passionate about raising children in our current day as well as encouraging moms with the balance of parenting and healthy living.
In my previous article, I discussed all the different ways you can bolster your immune system to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to managing your health & wellbeing.
I discussed tips such as getting quality sleep , spending time outside getting fresh air and soaking in vitamin D and eating nourishing, healthy food among other things. You can read that article here.
I realize that having a “How to stay healthy” checklist is a great starting point, but, it’s often easier said than done, especially as a busy parent. I get it, as a busy mom of 8, we make plans and life takes a sideways turn and all our good intentions go out the window.
My oldest is learning how to drive and navigate college and my youngest is learning how to walk & talk.
Life is never dull. There is always something else I could be doing besides investing into my health & wellness. I learned that I need to be intentional, or I will never find time to be healthy. It needs to be a priority so I can show up as my best self and take care of the ones God has entrusted to me.
I wanted to give you practical tips that you can use to implement a healthy lifestyle into your day using what’s currently available to you and adjusted to your unique personality and life circumstance.
There are five key areas of life, that as the mom and keeper of my home, if I implement, my family will naturally benefit from and health & wellness will be a natural byproduct.
I learned that if I manage my: Mind, Time, Body, Soul, and Home, it has a ripple effect into every family member. The best way to manage all five areas, is to plan ahead as much as possible and understand that some days are not going to go as planned, and have a plan for that too!
MANAGE MY TIME:
Every Sunday evening, I do what I call a brain dump. I look at the calendar and see what is coming up this week. I write down all the things that I have to do & buy, all the places I need to go and people who need me to drive them around, etc… I consider when I need to be where, and who else needs to be somewhere. Are there any special occasions, (for example a birthday, do I need to get a card, or present, special treats or dinner?) This is also when I plan all the meals for the week. I consider our schedule, for example, Wednesday evenings are AWANA and Youth Group. So I schedule a crock pot dinner that’s ready early and cleanup is easy. This brain dump is literally writing down every thought so I can see what I need to do, delegate, or drop if it’s not important or going to fit into the schedule.
Then I lump tasks together. For example, Thursday I go food shopping because I need to pack lunches for our homeschool co-op on Friday. SInce I am out on Thursday anyway, I run any other errands, the bank, post office stopping at another store etc… That way I’m not running out every day wasting gas and time by taking several trips into town.
Because I’m planning my schedule I am able to see pockets of time I can plug into my day for cleaning, laundry, dishes, meal prep and cleanup, school with the kids and time to exercise, without it being overwhelming.
Once you do this a few times, you’ll notice there is a natural rhythm to your own week/ days and planning ahead as much as possible will reduce a lot of stress and fatigue that comes with having to make so many decisions.
Planning your meals ahead of time also allows you to make homemade nourishing meals even if your life is busy. When you plan ahead of time, you can make sure you have all the ingredients you need for what you want to make. This reduces the amount of times you need to run out just for a couple ingredients.
Planning ahead also reduces the chance that the day gets away from you and you find yourself on the line for fast food or pizza takeout. When a day comes up that’s particularly insane (emergency ER trip, a stomach bug hits the house etc) I have a frozen meal that I can defrost easily, like soup or chili.
And listen, when I say nutritious, nourishing home cooked meal, I’m not talking labor intensive meals. I use whole nourishing food that can come together in under 30 minutes. One meal I make on busy days is a fruit and cheese platter with raw veggies and ranch dip, and for our grain, I pop some popcorn. Seriously, that’s it.
I created a grocery list printable with 14 meal ideas for you if you want to get some more fast, healthy, nutritious meal ideas that come together in under 30 minutes.
Another tool I use is called E-Meals. It’s an online app that provides new recipes each week based on an eating plan that you get to choose. I pick the meals I want to make and it forms a grocery list. I can transfer the grocery list to the grocery store I shop at and order the food online and schedule a day to pick up my groceries. This saves so much time and effort on my part and the meals offer variety. In this day and age, use technology as your helper.
MANAGE MY BODY & MIND:
Spending hours in the gym is just not feasible for my life or budget. So I learned to be creative about how to exercise. In the winter, I use workout DVD’s to make sure I get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. I notice my mood is better and I generally feel better after I exercise. But one of my most favorite things to do with my kids is to head outside every afternoon and walk around my driveway, while I listen to a podcast.
This simple, free, fun activity is such a game changer for me. I don’t know about your home, but mine at 3:30 things get loud and the energy level of the house is turned up. It’s the perfect time to head outside for fresh air and to let the kids blow off steam before dinner. They ride their bikes, play in the yard, or in the sandbox and I put on a podcast to listen to and walk around. Not only am I moving my body but I’m also investing into my mind. I’m learning about a topic I find interesting. I noticed for my personality, I like to learn new things. Listening to a podcast helps me do that while still caring for my children.
Take a look around, what’s available to you? Are hiking trails nearby where you can all go for a nature walk? Or a creek you can splash about in? Or can you do what I do- walk around your driveway!
Exercise is one of the best ways you can destress and improve health, so get creative.
MANAGE MY SOUL:
Finding a quiet 30 minutes each day for a devotional time is essential for me. I would love to get up before my children each day but my younger kids get up at 5:30 am and I am nursing a baby, so I try to sleep whenever I can, more on that in a minute.
I found that right after lunch each day, there is a natural dip in the energy level of my kids. I use this to my advantage. I love to make a cup of tea and sit with the Bible or a great mom devotional. This helps me to recharge after a busy morning. The kids choose a quiet activity, either reading, an audio book, playing with playdough, coloring, or listening to an Adventure In Odyssey. It gives them some down time and it also gives them a break from each other.
MANAGE MY HOME:
One thing I notice as a mom with lots of kids, is that they thrive with structure and predictably. I’m not very rigid but I’ve learned that if the kids have a general ebb and flow to their days and weeks they are much easier to manage. A regular bedtime is part of that structure. My youngest kids go to bed at 7pm and this allows for us to spend time with the preteens and older kids. It’s a great way to connect with them without the noise of the little kids. My little guys get up at 5:30am so by 7pm, they are exhausted. This is fine with me though because I am a morning person. You might find yourself to be a night owl and of course, your sleep and wake patterns will be different from mine- and that’s fine! The point is, find a routine that works with your personality and go with it.
I have no problem sleeping at night when I have been intentional about managing my health and wellness. When I manage my stress by ordering my week ahead of time and managing my home by staying organized, and I manage my body by feeding it properly and moving it around, and I manage my mind & soul by feasting on great ideas and spending time with God, I sleep well.
No one aspect of a healthy lifestyle exists in a vacuum. All the parts of your life are intertwined. Don’t know where to start?
Choose one area that seems easy to implement and start there, then once you get that down choose another area and so on.
Let me leave you with this thought, God gave you your personality & the children He entrusted to you to raise. How can you use what you have available to you so you can be intentional and incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your busy life?