Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: health and well being

Recovering From the Indulgence of the Holiday Season

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Christmas can often be a time of indulgence. We all know this. We’ve all felt the after-dinner food coma, sleeping on the couch with a drink in our hand. We’ve all looked in the mirror and at the scales afterwards and wondered how so much weight came on so quickly. Celebrating with family we don’t see often except during the holidays can make us feel this way, so don’t worry about having a good time and indulging. Of course, we all need to get back on track after the holidays.

Here are some of the best tips  you can use to get back on track for the new year:

Diet

After eating all the turkey, goose, duck, or ham, plus other holiday dinner sides and desserts, you can put on some serious pounds. Drinking beers or cocktails can do the same. You might eat more than you usually do in a week because of special Christmas get-togethers and parties; sugary foods or other such calorific items can make you feel a little bloated. For this reason, going on a diet or making a commitment to eat healthy in the new year is your best bet. Which diet should you go on? Well, there are many things you can try. We’d argue sticking to some basics.

First of all, no fad diet will ever help you as much as watching the calories in/calories out method. Calculating the caloric maintenance you need to stay at the same weight, and subtracting 500 from that a day, on top of a little exercise will always help you lose weight and be healthy, unless you have a health condition. This is as complicated as you need to get.

You can also try intermittent fasting. After all, leftovers from the winter feasts might last a long time, and you might desire them more than anything. Try only eating within an eight-hour window, and fast for sixteen. This sounds quite intense, but remember you sleep eight hours a day on average. That means an eating schedule of 12pm to 8pm is all you need to keep to. There are many health benefits to intermittent fasting, including losing weight and reducing the risk of disease.

It also helps you burn more fat because of the period of time that your body goes without digesting a meal. The process is more complicated than that, but that’s it in a nutshell. Better yet? Intermittent fasting is easier to adapt to out of all the diets you could do, because with many diets, eating a limited amount of food can be dreadfully challenging in the first few weeks.

Detox

Many people consume plenty of alcohol during Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, and of course, this is not healthy. Reducing the damage from an over-indulgent Christmas means limiting your drinking or completely ending it for a time. Think of going on a full body detox because it can truly help your body gain good ground in your pursuits of health.

A detox means preventing any intoxicants from entering your body. No booze, no smoking, no caffeine. Just water, healthy meals and maybe dietary supplements. This, coupled with getting plenty of sleep, walking in nature a few times a week, and exercising can help you skyrocket back to your old self and rewind the damage caused through indulgence.

Pets

That’s right, pets can indulge during Christmas too. You might not have realized how many little strips of meat you might have fed them under the table, or how many extra treats you have given them. Your lack of exercise outside might have resulted in fewer walks per week for them as well, meaning that assessing their health is important.

Consider giving them a different type of food that is more healthy for them. If you have been giving them too much for the size of the animal, consider lessening it a little. You can also try giving them fresh veggies for treats instead of the store bought kind. Check out topdogvitamins.com for some of the best supplements you can provide your dog with, in order to make sure their nutritional needs are being taken care of. Sure, your pet loves the holiday leftovers, too, but an overweight dog can have way too many health problems.

Get Active

Getting active helps to lose weight and feel more energetic. You’ve probably spent many days watching Christmas films and playing on your new electronics over the Christmas period, and now is the time to get outside. Consider going on long walks with your family around your surrounding town or village, and walk your pets more frequently, too. Some people will have to bundle up, but once you start walking, the weather won’t bother you so much.

Connect with family you haven’t spoken to in a while, and plan active outings instead of sitting in their homes to visit. Consider picking up a new habit in the new year. Starting martial arts, yoga or simply heading to the gym more often can do you all the good in the world and are all great ways to get out outside the house.

Catch Up On Professional Responsibilities

Your career has likely been on hold for some time over the Christmas period. This break can be well needed, and it might have completely refreshed your outlook. If you can, however, stay in touch with your business using your home office and catch up with your responsibilities one or two times during the holiday break. Maybe, you have some professional development you’ve been putting off. You might need to catch up with a few old clients or rectify a troubling situation. You might simply need to resolve your taxes before the new year. Make sure you schedule some professional time, too, and take care of anything you most need to. This can give you the best start to the new year, happy that you have nothing left pending or threatening to turn into a bigger issue. This can also refocus your mind in a much more positive way than working on a cold Monday morning when you return to work.

With these tips, your Christmas period should be bookended with positivity to make the entire indulgent period vindicated. We hope you had a blast and an even happier New Year.

Do you have any tips for recovering from the holiday season? 

 

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Keeping Track of Your Natural Cycles and Their Importance

Sometimes it can seem like our lives run like clockwork. We get up at a similar time each day, head to work, take breaks, come home, meet friends, and catch up with family. Every now and then, we might have a holiday thrown in. But when it comes to our bodies, things aren’t always so reliable or written in stone. This can be relatively inconvenient. But not to worry. Here are a few simple ways to track your natural cycles, giving you peace of mind and improving your overall health, well being, and understanding of your body.

Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation

Most women will generally have a menstrual cycle that lasts around 28 days. This process sees natural changes occurring in your body to allow for the chance to procreate. However, unfortunately for us, we all have different cycles, and these can vary not only from woman to woman but for an individual from one month to another. Now, there are several reasons that you may want to keep track of your menstrual cycle. Firstly, it allows you to prepare yourself for your period. It’s always beneficial to know when you are due to start, as this allows you to keep your mooncup or other sanitary items with you around the time that you may need them. If you are trying to have children, charting your menstrual cycle can also allow you to work out which days you are most fertile. Try out the Flo app. This is a simple way to keep a record of your cycle and helps to make relatively accurate predictions regarding menstruation and ovulation through its use of machine learning (or artificial intelligence).

Pregnancy

When you’re bringing a new life into the world, chances are that you’ll want to know exactly what is going on within your body and how this lines up to medical expectations and others’ experiences. You’re going to be experiencing some pretty big changes over the next few months, so it’s not all too surprising that you’ll want to feel in control every step of the way. Many newly pregnant women are unsure of when exactly they conceived. So they may feel a little lost when it comes to knowing when to expect their little one’s arrival into the world. Know your due date from early on by using a simple online calculator. It will use information regarding your last menstrual period (or LMP) to identify your last ovulation date. This can give you a little peace of mind until your next doctor’s appointment.

Sleep Cycle

Many of us are sleep deprived without even knowing it! We’re just so used to being tired and getting on with things. But new wearable technology means that we can get a better and more comprehensive insight into our sleep patterns from the comfort of our very own homes. Devices such as Fitbit can monitor your heart rate while you sleep, allowing you to track how many hours you get, how many times you’re disturbed or woken and how much time you spend in REM. This can help you to make changes if necessary.

As you can see, having a deeper and more thorough understanding of your body and its cycles is much more simple than ever before!

(contributed article)

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Why Gardening Is Good For Your Health

Okay, I will be honest, I don’t garden. But I know a lot of parents like to do this with their children, and I just posted that article the other day about how to get kids eating healthy. One of the suggestions was letting kids grow their own vegetables and fruits. So sticking with that theme, check out this cool infographic from WhatShed? 

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Which Toys Can Help With Physical Development?

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photo above: Fun with friends. Image source

Living in a digital age puts a lot of pressure on parents to help their children develop safe and effective online skills. Coding is the new hot subject at many schools. Kids seem to know more about the world thanks to the explosion of easy-to-access information out there. But aren’t we forgetting something? All that time spent in front of a screen used to be the time we spent out in the backyard when we were kids. Will the children of today struggle with physical development?

There are plenty of great (better than when we were kids) toys out there that can be used to help your little one physically develop. Most children are naturally active; so if you have something they can ride or kick or throw, they’ll be keen to use it. In fact, many of these toys can help them develop mentally and emotionally as well. For example, a fast-moving ball is heading in a particular direction. Your child has to recognize that and predict where it will end up to reach it in time. In many activities, teamwork plays a big part here, too, helping to develop friendships and cooperation.

 

From the moment they can walk, you can provide a wealth of different toys to help your little one improve their balance. A good trike for a 3-year-old can help a child develop pedaling skills too. Steering needs to be practiced and can be learned by trial and error. What’s really great about kids moving on wheels is the role play that can go with it. As an example, children can become mailmen and bring you a parcel!

Once your children have mastered the art of pedaling and balancing, they might be ready for a proper bicycle. Cycling together is a fun way for the family to spend time together. It keeps you all fit and develops balance well, too. Best of all, it helps to tone every part of the legs!

Trampolines are excellent for developing strong core muscles and leg strength. Recognizing the relationship between effort and result is important here. Bouncing around is a lot of fun for children, and this activity burns a lot of calories too! Bouncing on a Pogo stick requires balance as well as strength and coordination to bounce. Of course, a space hopper might be an easier place to start!

Have you ever used a swingball set? This is tennis for a small place. It can be played with two people or practiced alone. Either way, it can be lots of fun and a great way to spend more time with the kids. Best of all, it hones the hand-eye coordination and builds strength in the arms. To build strength in both arms, a child can play on some monkey-bars or use a climbing frame in the garden. If you’re nervous about your child climbing, layout some play mats underneath.  Toys in the garden that help your child to increase their physical activity can be great for physical development too. You don’t need a lot of room, although you might need to supervise quite closely!

What do you get up to with your kids in the backyard?

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Packed Lunch Pleasers: Creating a Balanced Lunchbox

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During a day at school, your child has a lot of work to do and concepts to focus on. From the time they spend learning new things and soaking up information, to their fun on the playground with their friends, they’re constantly working and burning energy. This makes the food they eat incredibly important, and it’s something you may want to consider when packing your child’s lunch. To help you out with this, let’s explore some of the elements, which should be included in any balanced lunchbox. 

  • The Main Course

The main course of their lunch is the most important of all. This part of their meal not only needs to satisfy their nutritional requirements, but also has to be good enough for them to eat all of it. Sandwiches are a typical choice here, as they are easy to make healthy, while also including various food groups. Besides sandwiches, though, you could think about some pasta or rice dishes, which can be served cold without causing any complaints. Your child needs protein, fiber, and vitamins to make it through their afternoon, and this course can help with all three.

  • Some Additional Snacks

Of course, you’ll probably want to put more than just one item in their lunchbox. Along with the main course, most parents will also include some snacks in their kids’ meal. Chips are a very common choice, here. But, in reality, these aren’t the best for a child at school. Instead, crackers, vegetables, and other healthy snacks can take their place. It’s best to make sure that nothing in their lunch is too heavy on their stomachs. Otherwise, they could struggle to move around after lunch or stay awake in the classroom.

  • Something Sweet

Most lunchboxes will also include a sweet item or two, giving your children the chance to take on some instant energy. The way that you deliver this sort of treat is incredibly important to consider. Too much of the wrong sugars can lead to hyperactivity in children, and this is not what you want during their school day. To avoid this, fruits, yogurts, and other healthy sweets can be used, replacing chocolate bars and candy. Most kids will be happy to munch down on these kinds of treats. It’s just a matter of making the change, even if you have to think outside of the box to do it.

  • Drinks

Finally, it’s time to think about the drinks you send your child to school with. While they’re learning, they will need to remain hydrated to keep concentration levels up. To make this easier, fruit water and diluted drinks can be used as a healthy alternative to fruit juices and sodas. Not only will this help your children in the quest to stay hydrated, but it will also keep them happy, and they don’t have to cost a fortune.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to try some new things in your children’s lunchboxes. Of course, the food they eat can impact your child’s education if he or she has trouble concentrating because of hunger or lack of nutrition. So, it’s worth creating a healthy lunch for your child! What have you found that works for your child’s lunch? 

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