19 January 2010

Love without burden

Many of us grew up with parents who sacrificed every essence of their being to in an effort to prove their love to their significant others.  Our mothers would work like crazy, keeping a beautiful home, tending to us around the clock if we were sick, and our fathers would leave for work before the sun came up and not reach back home before the sun went down.   Both would work so hard, they would be tired, possibly ailing with headaches, stomach aches, high blood pressure, weight issues, stress, you name it. 

I remember watching my mother laying on the floor for days and weeks at a time, agonizing with back pains because she... well, at that time, we all just thought she was unfairly afflicted with back pains, perhaps brought on by her pregnancy when she carried full sized twin babies, or perhaps brought on by her profession as a nurse, having to handle very sickly patients.   Today, we have learned how to combat back pains with diet and exercise, but regardless if it were her fault or not, I remember that the entire family pretty much stalled when my mother would be "out for the count."

Luckily today, we have so much fantastic, helpful information at our fingertips, enabling us to take great care of our bodies so that we can avoid many of these types of debilitating, time wasting ailments.  The problem with many folks, particularly mothers/wives, is that they don't feel that their well-being should be treated as priority NUMBER ONE.   Many still possess that old-fashioned attitude of, "take care of everyone else first, and then if there is some time left, do a little something for yourself too."  We see it a lot with women who settle down and become wives and mothers, they have hectic lifestyles that consume them and rob them of their ability to pamper themselves effectively.

Women and all people in general need to feel and understand that they have a legitmate and necessary right to take care of themselves.  There is no need to punish one's self because he or she has a false belief that they are to take care of others first.   It is necessary to find time to pamper and nurture yourself in significant ways. 

Guess what?  The best way to love someone, anyone, a spouse, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, your own children is to NOT be a burden to them!  The best way to show your deepest, truest love is to take care of YOURSELF first, so no one else has to!!   This care includes the care of your mind, body and soul. 

When you are truly well and together, you are better able to LOVE to the fullest! 

16 January 2010

Keep track of the good things!

It's easy to get consumed with negative thoughts or occurrences and miss out on what really matters in life.  Life should not be about focusing on what goes wrong, but just trying to quickly fix (if possible) what is wrong and move ahead.  If it is truly not fixable, then put whatever it is aside, and go on to something new and interesting.

Each day we should stop and acknowledge all those special moments, big and small, and realize that they are all blessings.  Anything that makes you smile and brings joy to you should be noted.  If you are a forgetful person, perhaps it would be a good idea to write them down.  Often times, people will go through a busy day or week, feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, under-appreciated and think there was nothing positive in between it all which can hardly be the truth.  

Perhaps there is so much negative going on around you that you believe there is no positive good anywhere for you, but that is not the truth.  You have it in your control to seek some positive so go and get it!  Claim it and keep track of it!  Let that "good" consume you for a change.

The more positive experiences you have in life, the more hopeful and happier you will be.  The more you can remember these experiences, is the more energetic you will be and the more you will seek to have these opportunities and appreciate them for all that they are worth.  They can occur anywhere, at work, at home, a new hobby, a new wellness program, time spent with the children... anything! 

Take the focus off of worry and sadness and go grab some happiness from anywhere!


11 January 2010

If it's yours, take good care of it!

We want to be loved, and we want someone who will take good care of us, but what about how we care for ourselves?  How can we expect someone else to love and treat us right, if we don't love and treat ourselves right? 

We try to teach our children to care for their belongings, put things where they belong, clean up after themselves, good hygiene, but it seems some of us forget these lessons for ourselves.  Why? 

God gave each of us a body to house the wonderful mind and soul that lives within it, and for this reason, I wholeheartedly believe he/she intended for us to take good care of it!  Over the weekend I was telling my children that when Adam and Eve were the first humans on this great earth, the only foods that they had to consume were ALL natural.  There was no processed anything!  No chemicals, no additives!   There were no cars, only human feet to get them around, so they stayed active. 

I also shared that great quote with them, "You are what you eat," which made them giggle so hard as they chomped on some lovely fresh pears that I bought, and my daughter chimed in, "last night I was a banana, and now I am a pear!"  My son added, "I don't want to be a fatty hot dog!"  I wish I could believe that they would remember this humorous exchange when they are on their own and faced with nutritional decisions, but as a normal human being myself, I know that will be a serious challenge that many of us fail at on a daily basis throughout our lives. 

No, we don't have to be a fanatic, as my father would say, about health, but I do believe we should be disciplined and eer on the side of "good health."  There is truth in being good to your body because you will feel better if you take care of it.  If you take good care of your body, it will take good care of you.  

No one should let the care of their body and mind get so neglected that they end up disliking themselves, and this is what happens.  So many people who are not well, perhaps overweight, stressed out, unhappy, struggling with "issues" tend to NOT like themselves because of how they feel.   When the body is not healthy, and the mind is not relaxed, that is when "DIS - EASE" sets in which ends up causing DISEASE! 

There is much to learn about good health, and it can be overwhelming, but making the effort to learn something is better than nothing.  It does not have to be all or nothing, just build on the effort on a daily basis!  The prevalence of illness (mind, body and soul)  in our society is NOT a reason to think you should just accept it -- it's a reason to work against it! 

You can't trade your body in for another like a car or a house --- it's your one and only dwelling, so get in there and do some effective REMODELING, IMPROVEMENTS, MAINTENANCE!  Whatever it takes!

Here's to good health! 

08 January 2010

The driver's seat

You are behind the wheel in this game called life, and you should steer your car where you want it to go and this all depends on your attitude.  How you start your day, everyday, does indeed matter and it can be the deciding factor in how your day will play out and eventually end.

Many people get up daily, unhappy, frustrated about not getting enough sleep in the first place, and then having to go to work, to a job they hate.  Some statistics came out recently that said that the percentage of Americans that don't like their jobs/careers has increased, and that figure is currently about 54% of the population.  Understandably so, most of us work to survive and end up doing whatever is necessary to have a home, a family and possibly some "extras."  It would be great if we could all live out our dreams, not have to worry about money and achieve that ultimate state of happiness, but it's not so easily done.   Even the so-called "lucky" folks who live the luxurious life have their share of woes and discontent. 

In the interim, it's important to amass a healthier survival technique so that you can indeed feel like you are living in this life, and not just surviving.  It all starts with your attitude, and as corny as it sounds, you have to try your best to have a positive one.   You have to make a conscious effort every day to choose POSITIVE over negative.

Yesterday I came across a great quote that said, "Five minutes of negative thinking can discourage your body for at least 24 hours or more," and this is so true.  Consider when you get out of bed, if you are angry or upset about your existence before your day has even started, what type of day will you have?  Not a good one for sure.  Take note of your thoughts, actions, reactions, when you focus on something negative, or someone negative.  It consumes you completely, to the point that your existence is solely one of tension.

It's important to embrace the reality of your existence, it is what it is, but perhaps you can make some small changes to improve the situation, first in your mind, and then in your actions.  If you can get up and first be thankful that you did wake up, take a moment to smile, and reflect on why you are living, and who matters to you.   That first 5 minutes alone should enable you to be positive and optimistic.   From there, you have to make a choice to keep those positive thoughts in mind throughout the day. 

There may be someone that you "wait" to interact with, expecting them to either "lift your spirits," or "darken your mood," because that is how it always is, right?  These expectations, for better or worse, can tend to have an adverse affect on our thoughts.  Some of us have a friend, or a lover, that we expect to make us happy, and when they fall short, we hold them accountable, and then we blame them for our unhappiness.  This is not fair.  You can expect someone else to be responsible for your happiness.  Some of us also have people in our lives that just anger us to the point that we wish them harm and we focus on what "they do to us."  We think about it constantly.  We wait for that confrontation, arming ourselves for combat, all the while allowing the quality of our valuable lives to be diminshed by another person.  Again, this is not fair. 

You have a life that you are entitled to live with joy, peace and love, and you have a choice on whether you will put up with people who want to disrupt that right.

It's important to pamper and nuture yourself, and know that YOU are first responsible for you, your mind, body and soul.  Who is in your life?  Is it a relationship based on love and respect?   Stay away from toxic relationships that drain you and rob you of your happiness.   Make a choice to do healthy things for yourself, nutrition, exercise, reading, or anything that bring you moments of happiness.  

If life is offering you negative challenges, you must find ways in which to deal with them.  Constant arguments, frowns, repeated tensions, should be avoided.  If you are on a rollercoaster ride of endless drama, it's time to get off. 

Whether or not, your life is filled with joy, or filled with constant tension and unhappiness, you should find some outlets to breathe, and renew your spirit.  It may not be so easy to avoid some of these issues (job, home life, children), but how you deal with them can make all the difference in the world.  Some things you definitely can not change, however, you can change your attitude about life. 

Your life is your God given right to live it well! 

04 January 2010

All Aboard!

Happy New Year!  It's great to be back after enjoying a wonderful holiday season with my family and friends.  I am truly thankful for all that I have!  As we embark upon this New Year, many have already boarded a train to a healthier and happier 2010, however, who has company on this trip?

Some of us admit that we need company when we start a health program and others of us, like yours truly, enjoy "journeying" on our own.  Either way, you still need to consider that those closest and dearest to you need to have an understanding and ultimately lend support to what you are doing if you are to be truly successful for the long run!

The healthiest of relationships benefit from moral support and teamwork.   Many times goals are not reached if people have opposing ideas and more time is wasted when there is disagreement.   Distractions set in if we are not sharing the wisdom we believe in.  

In any given family, there may be only one person who needs to make a drastic change in their health routine, but it would benefit the entire family if everyone got on board with similar goals:  TO BE HEALTHY as a WHOLE. 

I cringed some during this past holiday season as I watched my children indulge in many "not-so-healthy" foods and I decided that we would ALL board the "Healthy Habits" Train at the start of the New Year.   My children are 7 and 10 years old, very active and in no way have any weight issues and I am certainly not trying to put them on a diet, however, I realized that I had to put some discipline back into their daily routine.  

Discipline is the key for everyone, children included!  Many parents think that children don't need too much discipline when it comes to nutrition, but that is truly not the case.  If we can educate our children from now about nutrition and it's purpose, we just may save them from a lot of unnecessary emotional problems surrounding their health as they get older.   Teach them about balance, moderation and control so that they can establish good habits from now.  

How can one get through these cold winter months without commiting the same old "not-so-healthy" habits and include the family? 

Sit down together and discuss why it's important to make a plan and a pledge to follow a healthy routine, and decide as a family to jump on board that train TOGETHER!

Here are some tips:

1.  Do not have separate meals for the children that are comprised of fast foods or food that lacks a good balance of nutrition.  Try to eat at least one or two meals together as a family, everyday, around a table, and NOT in front of the TV.  Also consider meal planning as a group.... let the children make some decisions. 

2.  Set examples by exercising daily and making good food choices everyday.  Mix up the workouts so that boredom does not set in (P90X, Rev ABs, Insanity -- great workouts that don't allow for boredom).

3.  Organize from the day before -- activities and meals. Set out the exercise attire and talk about what workout will be done for the next day.   Run your workout program like a family business!

4.  Explain nutrition.  Talk about WHY you (and the family) should eat certain things.  Talk about what health issues need to be addressed and why certain foods are being selected.

5.  Build a strong immune system during these cold months so that colds/flus have very little chance of setting you back.   The healthier and stronger you feel -- is the healthier and stronger you will be!

6.  Keep a family health routine journal!  In time, all of you will surely support one another!

Certainly it's cold outside, but try not to focus on whining about it.   If you are able to enjoy outdoor cold weather activities, go for it, but if not, there are MANY things you can still do indoors to stay fit, healthy, energetic and happy! 

Make being healthy a FAMILY experience! 

Here's to a successful, healthy 2010!