Phase 2: Healthy Parents

As you help your child build healthy habits, now is a perfect time to examine and improve your own lifestyle. Knowing that your toddler learns and copies your own actions can serve as great motivation. Set a good example by making an extra effort to drop your bad habits around your kids.

While time is something every parent needs more of, there is no excuse for neglecting your own needs. It is essential that you find time to relax and take care of your own well-being. Use the recipes provided below and pamper yourself with an inexpensive home spa treatment. Remember, eating well and adding a little exercise will give you more energy and can help clear your head of stress.

Keep Moving – Don’t Give up

  • Do something whenever you can. You may not have a full hour to devote, but you can find at least a few minutes here and there. Take advantage of the time you have; it will add up.
  • Start slow and build up your workouts as you gain endurance and strength. Take short breaks if you get too tired and then begin again. Just starting to exercise again can be the hardest part. The first few times you exercise can be tough, but you will soon find that you feel better and have more energy.
  • Even if you are tired or think you are not in the mood to exercise, push yourself to put on your workout gear. See if you can finish at least 5 minutes or work out at a lower intensity than normal. You will usually find you feel much better once you start and have more energy than you thought.
  • Set a goal and stick to it. Maybe it is running in a local 5K or maybe it is running for 15 minutes straight. Whatever it is, honor the commitment and do not make excuses.
  • Take advantage of free resources like your library’s selection of exercise videos and books or check with your local parks and recreation department, which often offers free or discounted classes.
  • Turn on the music and grab your toddler. Find music you both like, clear the floor of toys and sharp objects, and get moving. You will both have fun while getting a mini workout.
  • Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. Whenever possible, put your baby in her stroller and head outside. You can use the time to plan or clear your head of stress or just enjoy the fresh air.
  • Exercising is easier when you wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
  • Keep a journal of what you eat and how long you exercise. This will help you see patterns and help you make improvements in your diet and exercise.

Take Time to Relax

  • 30 to 45 minutes before your bedtime, stop the chores and unwind. Take a relaxing bath, read a book or watch a TV show. Try to make this a nightly ritual.
  • Remove clutter from your bedroom. Keep children’s toys and clothes in proper places and not the floor of your room. This will make relaxing in the evening easier.
  • Take a few minutes at any point during the day to head to a quiet spot, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and visualize a comforting place for you. It could be a warm sunny day at the ocean, an afternoon on the front porch with a slight breeze tinkling the wind chimes, drifting down a river in a rowboat; anything that brings calming thoughts to mind.
  • Make a list and prioritize what you need to accomplish. Start one task at a time and finish it before moving on to a new task. Praise yourself for completing each one.

Positive Benefits

  • Regular exercise can strengthen muscle, increase flexibility, increase energy, control weight and build strong bones.
  • Exercise relieves stress and improves your energy. Studies have repeatedly shown that exercising improves blood flow, lowers blood pressure, muscle tension and raises endorphins to promote mental well being.

No Excuses

  • Take advantage of your baby’s naptime or a friend’s offer to baby-sit.
  • Go for a walk or a run with baby in the stroller. Walking is effective exercise and a great way to include your baby. Investing in a good stroller makes it easier to include your baby in a walking or running schedule.
  • As your child gets older, involve yourself in your child’s play and engage in more physical activity.
  • Sign up for a fitness class or take a walk with other moms. You will build social relations while toning your body.

Home Spa Treatments

Tomato Face Pack

Tomatoes are especially good for oily skin.

1 ripe Florida tomato

Mash up ripe tomato and leave it on skin for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water and washcloth.

Yield: 1 face pack

Rejuvenating Cucumber Face Mask

Cool cucumbers and yogurt refresh and soothe tired skin.

1/2 Florida cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon yogurt

Puree sliced cucumber in a blender or food processor. Mix in yogurt. Apply to face and let set about 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water and washcloth.

Yield: 1 mask

Avocado and Honey Face Mask

Honey cleanses and moisturizes while avocado soothes skin.

2 tablespoons ripe Florida avocado, mashed (skin and seed removed)
2 tablespoons Florida honey
1 egg yolk

Mix the avocado with the honey and egg yolk, blending thoroughly. Apply to clean face and neck and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and then follow with a toner and moisturizer.

Yield: 1 mask

Sugar Foot Scrub

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1/2 of one lemon or 2 drops essential oil for scent

Mix all ingredients. Gently massage the scrub onto each foot. Leave on for a few minutes, then rinse in warm water. Towel dry.

Yield: 2 Foot Scrubs

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