THE FIRST PRACTICE

The 5 go- to practices to be a happier and better parent:  

THE FIRST PRACTICE 
I was debating about this, and trying to write this more like a suggestion  and be careful about how to say it. But my Colombian background stepped out and said: Just say it. Just do it. It works for me and I am actually confident it will work for you too (if you are disciplined doing it of course) So here we go ...

There are five things you need to do everyday YES you read correctly, every single day to be a happier better parent - period. I will also tell you how to make it happen ... (Everybody is different I know, but this actually works for everybody YES I am confident in telling you this).

1. Exercise

2. Eat healthy

3. Play with your children

4. Invest in your relationship

5. Meditation, prayer or quite time (wherever practice works for you)

  1. Exercise: YES exercise, there is no excuse for it: not your children, not your time, not your work, not the weather… not even a disability or injury, nothing. You don't have to train for the olympics, or do an Ironman or run a full marathon. (Although it would be awesome if you did that, and if you are training for one GO YOU !) It doesn't matter if you are not an “exercise person” or if you don't like it or you if you are not coordinated enough (practicing makes perfect). We read all the time about how important it is to exercise, we all hear about those endorphins that the brain releases to trigger positive feelings, and how exercise gives us more energy…

Well if we know all of that let’s just do it. Plus what a good example of good habits for our children.

There is another important thing about this. When you workout you get more energy, and you also get stronger. When you are a parent, you kind of have to be strong. Or at least everything gets easier if you are. You can carry more stuff around (groceries for example), you can pick up your children better (and play more…), you will perform better at work, you can even sleep better. I can go on and on. So you have to Be strong to Parent strong. When you get in shape literally everything is easier. It is not just training for a triathlon or a marathon, it is training for life.

How to do it: (ideas)

  • Start with something: The easiest way to start is walking.

  • Or choose something that you like to do: Yoga, running, dancing, basketball, volleyball, Zumba, fitness class, anything that will keep you motivated.

  • Wake up in the morning 20 minutes before your normal time and go for a walk. (if you have a baby you can put a walk in your routine, first thing in the morning)

  • Get dressed for work, put on your tennis shoes and go for a 20min walk around the neighborhood before leaving for work.

  • Drop off the kids at school and go for a walk around their school or your workplace.

  • 20 minute walk for lunch?

  • Go to the park with your children and play tag, or basketball or just run around chasing them. They will love that and you will take the exercise benefit of it.

  • Take the whole family for a walk after work (If your children are older they can go on their bikes, that will make you move a little faster).

  • Put your workout clothes on as soon as you come back from work,  get done with the bedtime routine- rush hour… and when the children are in bed do a workout video at home, or use your exercise machine if you own one.

  • Take turns with your partner to go for a quick run after work as soon as you get home (Yes I know you want to get home and see the children but 20 more minutes will really give you more energy to be with them and have an open mind to handle them :))

  • If it is very hard for you to get motivated? Find community… tell a friend to join you at the gym or go for schedule walks.

  • Find community… join a group that makes you do it. There are a lot of free activities out there.

  • The last half marathon I ran. I created a What’s App group with my friends (that run with me) we sent pictures every day after every workout to keep each other motivated and encourage each other to don't miss a workout. It was very fun and helped all of us to be disciplined about it. The race was very fun and I felt accomplished to encourage healthy habits and bonding more with my friends.

What is 20 minutes a day in a 24 hour period? There is no excuse. If it is hard to take the initiative, ask a friend or a family member to join you and put it in your calendar like it is a Dr. appointment that can not be missed. Believe me you will feel better, and will be more present with your family. After you try it, you will love it so much you can try to increase the time to 30 minutes or 40… and then maybe an hour a day. If you are not an “exercise person” I recommend to start very slow. Don't set big expectations that you can not accomplish because you will be disappointed. Just start today. Go for a walk today. Make it happen no matter what or what time. just do it … And do the same thing tomorrow.

If you are a little more advanced on the topic. I recommend this website for free workout videos, you can pick whatever level you are at and wherever time that works for you: www.fitnessblender.com

11 years ago I ran my first half marathon and since then, I could not stop running. It literally changed my life. I feel so much better when I go out for a run. It is like you sweat out all the bad thoughts and have great ideas. :)  I am ready for the second part of the day if a run at lunch time. I feel like I accomplished something in the day, I can also keep up with my two energetic boys, and my crazy outdoor husband.

Here is my training schedule for my half marathon just in case you want to challenge yourself a little. Click Here to open in Mac. Click here to open in hp I leave some space in each day so you can write the number of everyday for your convenience. you can also print it or change it. Whatever works for you, That is the training I always do and I always feel great after running. I recommend reading the book that also talks about your diet while running, clothes and shoes to wear.

I was hoping to write just one post for this topic, but I got so excited about sharing all this information that I ended up writing to much … I hope you enjoy it and really make an effort in trying this. Yes life can be crazy and full, but just think about the healthy habits you can create to live better and happier with yourself and the people around you, and the example of discipline, consistency, and hard work that you are giving to your family. Start today!.

Tomorrow: The second practice to be a happier and better parent…

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This is the book I read when I started running

It is a guide for people that is just starting. I never run that long before, But I followed the schedule until the end and I run my first Half Marathon with a good time and I was well prepared for it.

Marathoning for Mortals: A Regular Person's Guide to the Joy of Running or Walking a Half-Marathon or Marathon Paperback – May 2, 2003. by John Bingham (Author), Jenny Hadfield (Author)