Healthy Mom

Finding Your Identity

When All You Know is Home, Husband and Kids….

Reality Sucks Sometimes

I have been in many “valleys” in my 11 years of marriage and motherhood. I have also been on an abundance of “mountain tops”.

The ebb and flow of marriage, being a stay-at-home mom, having babies, changing diapers, doing home school (or not), cooking, house chores and a myriad of other things, can literally cause you to lose yourself.

Don’t get me wrong…those are all admirable and honorable things! I think that our jobs as wives and moms is so incredibly important! We will never know, this side of heaven.

But, those mundane things, that often last almost 2 decades or more, cause you to lose yourself. Your true self. The things you used to love, and the things that you used to look forward to, often “drift away”. And eventually, you get to your 30’s (maybe earlier, maybe later) and realize that you don’t know who you are anymore! You realize that reality is so much more “suckier” than those amazing wife and mothers who seem have it all together. That’s just not the true reality. Reality sucks sometimes!

Here’s a question that I often ask friends of mine…If you were to have a week off, and had your children watched and taken care of for that whole week, and you could do anything you wanted to…what would you do? Truly. Have you ever thought about it? Some women that I have talked to about this just stare blankly at me. No answer.

So many women have this issue. I know I did. They don’t know who they are anymore. They wouldn’t even know that to do with themselves (with no responsibilities to have) for one day, let alone a week!

Why is this?

How Do I find Myself?

You may be reading this and nodding your head and saying, “omg! That’s so me!” Well, I am here to tell you that you are normal, and YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

—–Let me just share with you MY story—-

We got married in a fever (we dated for under a month when my husband asked me to marry him). We got pregnant a year after we got married. Of course, the first pregnancy (unfortunately) was a miscarriage (Check out the story of my miscarriage on my Healthy Mom page). Then I got pregnant maybe 6 months after that. I had my first baby, and then 6 months after I had him, I got pregnant again!

You can see how crazy my life was at that time. Not to mention so many other things happening as well. Two more babies followed, and in that same season, my husband and I struggled with our marriage as well. My Husband also decided to take on a completely different career path where he had to be gone for training for 6 whole months! I was pretty much a single mom for 6 months, and had two toddlers to take care of, as well as being pregnant yet again. I was struggling to survive at that point, and had completely and utterly lost myself.

 

There were some mornings in that season, where I literally did not want to get out of bed. I was just too exhausted. Too spent. I don’t tend to be a “depressed person”, so I didn’t really struggle with “depressed kinds of thinking”, but I was so over everything! I Just wanted to “check out”, and maybe skip that whole season of life.

Obviously, I knew I couldn’t do that, and of course, I trudged on. I got to such a low point of failure after failure and utter exhaustion that I asked myself, “How do I find myself, when I don’t even remember who I used to be?”

I really feel that God was holding me together. Barely together, but together. I think He allowed me to go through those hard times, and to see that I literally could not do anything on my own.

It wasn’t until I had that realization that I just couldn’t do it in my own power anymore, that God gave me His power.

I obviously made it out of that hard time, but I also learned a lot. I learned what not to do, and what worked. How to rely on His strength. How to trust that He had a plan. All glory to Him!

Do Something!

I know it sounds weird, but I really believe that when you “do something”, you begin to find yourself.  When you do things for others especially (preferably things that you love to do), you can find out things about yourself that you never knew. At least I did.

I started helping people.

You see, I began really using my gifts in music, decorating, leading, managing, creating, etc, and that is when I began finding myself. I believe that when you take the focus off of YOU, and put it on others, that is when you really start living. That’s what Jesus did, if you think about it.

I started leading worship, decorating and coordinating weddings, painting with acrylics, working on my truck, planning future vacations and just overall, putting my energy and gifts into serving others and

having fun!

Now, mind you, I definitely had to find a balance and get my priorities straight, but using my gifts for others became part of my life. I believe that your priorities should be your relationship with God FIRST, your relationship with your husband SECOND and then your relationship with your kids THIRD. After that…the sky is the limit!!!

Maybe I just have more energy than most, but I find it so much easier to serve others and do fun things for myself, after my “home in order”. It allows me the freedom to be who I am. I used to love working on my trucks, painting, adventuring and using my spiritual gifts (music, leadership etc) to bless others. My hobbies and loves are no different then they used to be, I just had to FIND THEM again!

 

Find Yourself

I challenge you to sit down and write out the things that you used to love. Write down the things that you have always wanted to do. Get your priorities straight, and THEN…GO DO THAT STUFF!!!

It’s liberating and it’s wonderful!

I like to “take off” every now and again and just be alone. I get energy by being alone. Wether it is going to a coffee shop and reading or writing, exploring a new area or store, antiquing (I love that), Just driving to nowhere in particular or getting a pedicure every now and then. If you get your energy by being around people, maybe you can plan a day with one of your best girlfriends. The reason why I think it is so important for you to hang with a girlfriend and NOT your husband, is because sometimes you just need talk. Just need to vent. Your husband is great for that, and I highly encourage date nights on a regular basis, but there is just something so important about having accountability and a deep friendship with a female. God made it that way.

Also, if you are in the “busy mom season” too, maybe asking your husband or a friend to watch the kids for a couple of hours, and just go grocery shopping alone! Those times of being alone or going alone with a girlfriend are SO important! They truly are so beneficial to you as a women! Those times allow you to be YOU. With no distractions. No responsibilities (except maybe grocery shopping..but that’s not the point), and no one to take care of but YOU!

Here are some ways you can make time TO FIND YOURSELF…

  1. Start every morning with Jesus and coffee (time in the Word is the most important way to Find yourself-don’t forget the coffee!).
  2. Schedule a day alone (or with a girlfriend). Even if it is once every other month. 
  3. Find someone to watch the kids for a couple of hours a week to go grocery shopping or run errands alone. Trust me…there are lonely grandmas in your church or community that would LOVE to help you! Don’t be afraid to ask! 
  4. Go to a Women’s Retreat through your church.
  5. Find a hobby that you love, and take a few hours a week to work on it. 
  6. Write down a list of the things you used to want to do (before you got married), and try implementing just one of those things a year.
  7. Start using your spiritual gifts at your church (i.e. music, children, decorating, techy stuff Etc).
  8. Start saving money for a trip by yourself or with a girlfriend. 
  9. Talk to your husband and tell him how important “finding yourself” is, and that you need his help. Most husbands just don’t know that you need that. Talk to them. They will understand. 
  10. Start Praying that God will show you how “fearfully and wonderfully made you are”. Ask Him for His Power, and His leading. He will show you! 

Your Identity

Although I believe everything I just wrote about, with my whole heart, I do believe that you first have to find your IDENTITY in Christ. Without Him, I don’t know how you can have joy, peace or even function for that matter, without Him. When you give your life to Him, He truly does give you your identity…

  • “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10
  • “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[fn]
    Marvelous are Your works,
    And that my soul knows very well.” Psalms 139:14
  • “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, forwhose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” Phil. 3:8
  • “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

So, Today, I just want to encourage you! I want to tell you that you are not alone! We all struggle in this season of life. We all have a story. But, all in all…God is good! And He has a wonderful plan for your life!

Be encouraged! You can find yourself! There is wonderful and amazing person in YOU!!!

God Bless!

-Z

 

 

 

Healthy Mom · Home

Monday Motivation

“In the Trenches…”

Hey y’all! This weekend was a very busy weekend for me. I had three sick kids last week, and I got a smaller version of their cold. It was a very sleepless week, and a busy weekend of nursing kids back to health and trying to stay healthy through it all! I feel all of that sleeplessness and busy-ness catching up to me.

I feel like I am in a “season” of “being in the trenches”. The “trenches” being…having 4 kids under the age of 8 years-old, homeschooling, taking care of my husband and side jobs etc. All that, coupled with eating right, trying to get enough exercise, planning meals, budgeting and overall, trying to stay sane.

It can be daunting at times, but I promise that in the long run…it’s SO WORTH IT! I always say that “consistency pays off”, and I believe that with all my heart!

Never Settle!

Although we all have those crazy kind of weeks from time to time, I just want to encourage you to never settle for less!

When we get stressed or exhausted, sometimes it is easy to “settle” and just “let yourself go”. What I mean by that is, letting ourselves become “ok” with being less-than healthy. Less-than energetic. Less-than motivated to do the important things in life.

Eating right, exercising and getting rest is crucial for these seasons of being “in the trenches”. Without them, it is easy and almost inevitable to become lethargic, depressed and worst of all…unhealthy in every way!

I’ve been there!

It is easy to lose the motivation to be consistent, and to become distracted with things that really don’t matter (I.e. the latest greatest show on tv, the newest fad diet, Etc).

Here are some simple tricks…

Pick a healthy lifestyle, be more active and try to see the blessings all around you. Those are the keys to succeeding in consistency!

Monday Motivation…

So, this is my “short and sweet” Monday Motivation. Here it is in a “nutshell”…

  • Know that you are not alone in this season of “being in the trenches”.
  • Be consistent in a healthy lifestyle (however that looks like for you).
  • Never settle! Even when you feel like giving up…Keep at it!

You can do it! You got this!

Maybe I am weird, but I am my biggest motivational speaker! I always think to myself, “I’ve got this! This season is only a few years long! There is a light at the end of the tunnel!”

There really is only few years where we have the full attention of our kids. That is sometimes hard for me to remember. I get frustrated very easily, and lose patience. But, when it all comes down to it…this season is short! Our kids are only kids for a short while. They are only under our influence for a little bit of time!

Let this be an encouragement to you, if you are in the “trenches”. Be motivated! Keep at it! Never Settle!

God Bless!

-Z

 

Healthy Mama · Healthy Mom

Sleep-The Most Important Exercise

Yes, I just said most “IMPORTANT” exercise. That’s because it is.

sleep

 

Unfortunately, people do not talk about the importance of sleep very much. But, you can bet your “bottom dollar” that it is a very important factor to having a healthy life.

I was just talking the other day with a women who was telling me about how awful her sleep was. She then began to tell me that she was working out all the time, trying to eat healthy and doing “everything she was supposed to be doing”, but still suffered from insomnia. I told her, “all that stuff is great, but if you don’t sleep and are always exhausted, what’s the point of all that other stuff?”

More people than you think suffer from sleep disorders, whether as a permanent disorder, or a seasonal thing.

Sleep Disorder Statistics:

50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder.

48.0% report snoring.

37.9% reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month.

4.7% reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month.

Drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States.

Insomnia is the most common specific sleep disorder,  with short-term issues reported by about 30% of adults and chronic insomnia by 10%

3–5% of the overall proportion of obesity in adults could be attributable to short sleep

(https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep/sleep-statistics/)

How does lack of sleep affect you?

My third born son, Josiah I don’t know about you, but if I don’t get enough sleep, I am a pretty cranky person. I aint gonna lie. Sleep not only affects my mood, but obviously my energy during the day. With 4 kids and a myriad of responsibilities…that just won’t work for me! Sleep is a treasure to me, and it should be to you too!

“Those who report poor quality sleep also report poor quality health.

Overall health was highly associated with sleep quality.  Sixty-seven percent of those with less than good sleep quality also report “poor” or “only fair” health, with 27 percent reporting otherwise “good” health. Low life satisfaction and high stress were also related to sleep quality. Groups that reported poorer sleep quality were those with an annual income of less than $20,000, those with education levels of high school or less, and Americans between 30 and 64 years old compared to younger American adults ages 18-29.

Women are more likely to report insomnia symptoms; men are more likely to say they snore, supporting previous data that have shown women are more commonly diagnosed with insomnia and men with sleep apnea.”

(https://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/lack-sleep-affecting-americans-finds-the-national-sleep-foundation)

Why is sleep THE MOST IMPORTANT EXERCISE?

bicep
Me getting my “sweat” on

In my opinion, exercise and sleep go hand in hand. Yes, exercise is very important, but if you don’t have the proper amount of sleep, then it doesn’t work; you just don’t have the energy for it. You could work out and eat healthy, but if you don’t sleep enough….it’s defeating the purpose. The only thing you’ll end up doing for yourself, is wear yourself out!

I think as mama’s especially, we need to get our health priorities in check first. Before we start a new diet, or go on a new workout plan, we need to get our sleep down first.

Nevertheless, Sleep and exercise go hand in hand.

“People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, a new study concludes.

A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity.” (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/study-physical-activity-impacts-overall-quality-sleep)

If you don’t sleep well, you don’t exercise well. If you don’t exercise well, you don’t sleep well.

Yes, there needs to be a balance, but like I said before…you need to make sleep a very important priority! Especially when you have a husband and or kids to tend to. When I’m sleep deprived, I am cranky, short, easily agitated etc. That just doesn’t work If I am trying to be loving, kind, patient…

Now, before children, I was able to take naps. Does anyone here remember NAPS???? I do….vaguely. Nowadays, I would be lucky to get 5 minutes! I guess that’s just the mom-life.

But, back to the subject…

Sleep is so very important.

Some Practical Tips…

If you are like me, I get a “to do list” going round in circles in my mind, right about bed time.  My husband always says, “ok…lets go to sleep now”, turns over and is literally asleep! It drives me nuts, because usually, I have to “wind down”. I need to slowly turn my brain off. I usually read a book, watch a show (usually for about 15 minutes before I pass out), read emails etc. before actually falling asleep.

Even with my exercise and eating right, I still struggle with falling asleep sometimes. Maybe this is you too. With all that being said, here are some tips for falling asleep AND having a healthy nights sleep…

  1. Limit your “screen time” before bed. Studies show that “The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially disruptive.” (Helpguide.org) It is generally a bad idea to watch a show (like I do sometimes), read articles, scroll Facebook etc. It does nothing but stimulate your brain, not relax you.
  2. Exercise during the day. Exercise is a great way to achieve weight loss and to give you that “burst of energy” during the day, but most importantly, it allows you to sleep better at night!
  3. Control your exposure to light at night. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark—making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more alert.
  4. Watch what you eat. Watch the caffeine intake mamas! Caffeine, sugar and carbs can be a bad thing in excess. “Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs. Eating lots of sugar and refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, and pasta during the day can trigger wakefulness at night and pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Also, don’t eat a heavy meal at night.” -(help guide.org)
  5. Clear your mind before bed. Stress can be a huge factor in lack-of-sleep too. God tells us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” Phil 4:6. Praying as you are falling asleep is awesome. It is one of my favorite ways to fall asleep.

There you go! Now you know my “shpeal” on sleep, and how incredibly important it is for your health as a whole. I hope that this post was encouraging!

Be sure to “like” this post, and share it so that others can learn about how important sleep is! Thanks!

God Bless!

-Z

 

 

Fitnessness · Fitnessness

Give yourself a break!

Welcome to Motivation Monday!

“I have a plan!…P-A-L-N”

Ever seen that movie Sgt. Bilko? Hilarious. It is a goofy military spoof. The Sgt. is a guy who goes against the rules and runs an illegal gaming operation in his auto shop on base. He gets the guys together and tells them that he has a plan to make everything work out for them.  He talks about his strategic plans for his platoon and gaming operation, and spells the word “plan” wrong on the drawing board as he is “rallying the troops”. Funny movie….watch it!

Back to the story…

That’s kind of how my morning went when I thought about the word “plan”…totally wrong.

Ever have a plan to be really “good” on a Monday, and to start back on your exercise after a long weekend of gluttony and laziness? Your plan is to wake up early, do an awesome workout and start your day off right. Right?

That was my plan today (although, I didn’t have a weekend of gluttony, and for the most part, didn’t have a weekend of laziness).

I utterly failed.

You see, I was wide awake last night around bed time. I could not go to sleep! I even took a melatonin! When I did eventually fall asleep, I kept waking up…all night! It was rough night for me, and I have no idea why I kept waking up or why I couldn’t fall asleep in the first place. Weird.

Because of my inconvenient night, I could not, for the life of me, wake up this morning! My alarm went off as usual, at 5:30 am. I pushed snooze as I incoherently could hear my husband stomping around in the kitchen throwing pots and pans around as if no one was sleeping in the house, and being extremely loud (he wakes up before me). (Husband! You’re fired!). I’m sure I am over embellishing because of my half-asleep state. But seriously husband…you’re a “bull in a china shop”!

I eventually just turned off my alarm, instead of “snoozing” it, and rested my eyes again. So, I pretty much just went back to sleep. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open!

I eventually woke up to the sound of children playing in their room. If you have ever been woken up this way…it’s horrible! Especially when you are dreaming that you are sleeping in a hotel room, surrounded my big pillows and no children. 😉

I eventually got up and got coffee and went back to bed as the kids ensued in their revelries. I just sat in bed staring at the wall, wondering how I messed up my morning so bad, and why the crap I was so dang tired. OMG.

Why tell this story of my morning? Because….wait for it…Theres a lesson to be learned here.

Exhausted after a night of sleeplessness.

Give yourself a break!

If you are like me and you had a similar morning…Your whole structure and routine just fell apart! Mine did. At first.

You see, I started “beating myself up” because I, “Didn’t work-out”, I, “didn’t do my regular routine of devotions”, “I wasn’t up and ready before the kids”, “I slept in”….ETC ETC. (WA WA WA)

I just to want to use this short post to encourage you ladies who may be in the same “boat” as me. Who may “utterly fail” some mornings. Wether you are a routine and structure kind of person (like me) that fails at it, or just someone who tries to set goals of exercise and structure and fails at them on any given Monday.  Give yourself a break!

I had to. I started to think about how bad I was messing up my day, how “off” my plans were going to be…but in the scheme of things…IT’S OK!!! The world did not end. The kids are not going to die. The house chores aren’t going to be mad at you…

Give yourself a break!

Stuff happens. Things come up. Nights with no sleep happen.

That homeschool will be there all day, those dishes will be there all day (in abundance), that laundry will still be piled up in that corner, and your kids will be ok with you waking up with them. Take this opportunity to read them a story in your pj’s, or have a day off school, or do a deep-cleaning of the house…. You may have to switch stuff around a little bit…but that is ok!

laundry piled high
Dirty laundry for days!

Try, Try Again

All that to say… Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t start your exercise on the day you intended to, or if you can’t seem to wake up early enough, Etc.

Don’t stay there, of course! Do your best to be active and healthy and to set goals for yourself. But, if you failed today, like I did…TRY AGAIN TOMORROW! Give yourself a break!

Have grace on yourself, and know that failing at your goals is not the end of the world! It’s just one of those things that happens a lot in motherhood. It just does.

My mom always said, “If you fail at something, try, try again!”

Happy Monday! have a blessed day!

-Z