My April Health Month Plan

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So. After many of you seemed to enjoy my blog post on (essentially) how to suck at decluttering, I thought I’d follow it up with a another potentially useless-to-you-but-hopefully-entertaining post on how to semi, kind of, half-heartedly diet. Ha.

In all seriousness, I’ve been feeling like it’s time for me to move my health up a few notches on my priority list. After a year at home with my son with no childcare (which was absolutely wonderful, but also grueling, especially during a period when I grappled with pretty serious postpartum anxiety/insomnia and didn’t sleep for four months), I finally started working with an amazing babysitter…but then took on a ton of work at the companies that my husband and I own. By all means, I have an amazing life. I am so incredibly privileged to have been able to be home with my son for the first year of his life. I am so incredibly grateful to be able to work for my family’s businesses (the HQ for which is two blocks from my home). I’m getting close to turning 30 and honestly feel like my life is WAY better than I could have ever imagined. And yet.

And yet, working part-time at a job that should be full-time while also being the primary caretaker and homemaker with a husband that works far too many jobs is a LOT of work. It’s definitely an insane juggle that never quite feels balanced. It has been so amazing to start work again and get my brain involved in stuff that’s not baby or home-related, and yet I constantly feel like I ten steps behind, in every area of my life. So, as you can probably gather, taking care of myself was not really a high priority. Work felt like self-care time for awhile (listen, getting dressed in real clothes and sitting at a computer to write e-mails uninterrupted while sipping a coffee feels like serious luxury when you’ve been home with a super-high-energy kiddo for a year), but in reality, it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t working out. I wasn’t getting enough sleep. My eating habits were ok, but not fantastic. I was drinking too much wine. I was drinking too much coffee (the downside of being a co-owner of a store/coffee shop that makes delicious coffee stronger than rocket fuel). Too much of the bad stuff, not enough of the good stuff. And I was starting to feel the effects.

Two weekends ago, my husband went to LA for a work trip and was gone Friday-Monday. I’ve solo parented for much longer before, but this time was different. Parenting my son becomes more physically and emotionally exhausting all the time as we get deeper into toddlerhood (even though he’s by all means a fantastic and easy kid), and coming out of a long momming/working week into a loooong weekend of solo parenting was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back. By Monday, I had a little bit of a breakdown. I was too stressed, too exhausted, achy and tense and just…not in a good place. That night, we got some bad work news. In the morning, I woke up to see that my entire face had broken out into some kind of rosacea/hive rash. It was time to stop messing around and take responsibility for my health. I figured that a new month was as good a time as any for a fresh start—so, after No-Shopping March, I’m doing April Health Month.

So, what does a Health Month consist of, you ask? Well, here’s the thing. I don’t really have rules. That’s why this post is kind of ridiculous. I’ll tell you the very loose guidelines that I’m working with, but I don’t want that to be seen as any kind of a prescription for how YOU might want to live. Instead, I’d just like to encourage you to think about what you can and want to do for your health, and encourage you to let this month be the time where you give it a try. And—duh—tell me all about it. Here, on Instagram, whatever. I started the too-long hashtag #TRaprilhealthmonth which I’ll be using for my updates, but you don’t have to use it. It’s really, honestly too long. 🙂

Here’s my rough plan:

Food, etc.

  • So, I love food. I hate diets. I’m not about to restrict myself. Rather than doing some kind of extreme paleo-vegan-keto whatever plan, I’m trying to simply go more plant-based whenever I can. (No judgment if any kind of diet works well for you; I’m just not into extremes.) Now that my son is weaning from breastfeeding, I’m realizing that I no longer have to eat like a bodybuilder. So, I’m trying to eat more meals that are vegetarian or vegan. Like, if I’m planning a meal like enchiladas and butternut squash and black beans sounds as yummy for the filling as chicken, I’ll go ahead and choose the veg. If I’m making pasta with tomato sauce, eggplant and basil, I’ll leave out the mozzarella that I usually add. But then again, if I’m really freakin’ hungry and I need eggs or a turkey sandwich or whatever, I’ll have it. I don’t think my body is meant to be fully vegetarian or vegan, but I can certainly feel fine (and maybe much better) with fewer animal products and more fruits, veggies, and plant-based fats like avocado, coconut, olive oil, and almond butter. Neil and I are planning on one meat-based dinner per week, one seafood dinner per week, and the rest vegetarian/vegan. I’m doing almost entirely vegan breakfasts and letting lunch be a bit of a wild card. Sometimes it’ll be delicious quinoa bowls, sometimes it’ll be leftovers, sometimes it’ll be a freaking turkey sandwich. I’ll do what I can.
  • Trying to mostly cook at home. I allow myself 2 or 3 nights of takeout and/or eating out per week, but I’m really trying to cook and use up ingredients and leftovers on a consistent basis.
  • Aiming for less coffee. Goal is one cup in the morning, and then switching to tea, but sometimes (like today!) I might really need an extra boost, and that’s fine. My one hard rule is no coffee after 4:30 or 5 or I literally won’t sleep.
  • Aiming for less booze. Trying for at least two booze-free days per week. When I do drink, trying to have less, earlier in the evening (like one small glass of wine), and then switching to water or La Croix and tea.

Fitness

  • I’m going to try to do two yoga classes and one run per week. This sounds like nothing, but it’s going to take some serious schedule jenga and sheer will to make this happen. Especially with the weather we’re having. GET IT TOGETHER, spring.

Self-Care

  • I am normally someone who goes months without a mani-pedi or a massage. I am going to try to not be that person anymore. I’m going to try to stretch at home regularly, ask my in-house masseuse aka husband to give me massages more often, and take the time for mani-pedis and pro massages every couple weeks or so (upside of having a friend with her own massage therapy practice!).
  • I’m going to try to invest in my spiritual life. I’m planning on reading the book Present Over Perfect as a devotional, and I’m going to try to get to church, my prayer group, and playdates/visits with my church friends as often as I can.

Social Media/Screens

  • I’m going to try to be off social media and away from screens in general after 9 pm unless I truly have to work. I love social media but it’s that awful combination of stimulating and draining that really does not jibe well with sleep.

Sleep

  • Re: the above, I’m going to try to head to bed as close to 9 pm as I can, to read an actual book. No scrolling in bed.

And…that’s it! It’s kind of a lot of things, but really it’s all about just trying to be kinder to myself, give my body what it needs, and be mindful about how I’m spending my time and energy. Which is a lot harder than it seems, right? Let me know what you think.

Up next, my go-to healthy recipes lately! A two for one deal! Thanks for reading, friends.

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