I knew it was coming, but nothing could prepare me for how suddenly it happened. Just yesterday I received an email informing me that my first son has 3 soccer practices this week, and that games begin next week. I'm waiting with baited breath to see if there were enough coaches for my second son to play this spring too- We can't volunteer for game coaching, because the husband and I take turns going to each game for each boy.
I take the older one to his "away" games, and stay in town to watch the younger at his when the older is "home"- and schedules aren't up yet for me to commit to either team. That's what you get when you wait about 6 years between babies, and I shouldn't be surprised. It also happens that my dance class is on a game night each week, so that will likely further complicate our scheduling. However, I think with a little planning ahead we can make this work for us this spring. I just have to stay on top of things.
Have you noticed that the so-called "shoulder seasons"- spring and fall- seem to snowball towards something? Spring snowballs to summer holidays, and fall snowballs towards Christmas. Or maybe I'm the only one who feels that way.
At any rate, with the melting of the snow comes the first rush of scheduled outdoor activites, end-of-the-year school functions, and the very important summer holiday planning. With my dance competition this past weekend and coming up next weekend, plus all the extra-curricular for the boys, working on my book, taking my diploma in nutrition course, normal life busyness, and other stressors, if I don't plan ahead, I find myself falling behind in a big way. I know by the last day of school at the end of June I am ready to stop scheduling and take a break from it all.
One of the most important things to remember to do when you're busier than not is to plan ahead for quick, healthy meals. Don't assume you'll figure it out when you get there, or you will probably end up taking a lot of unplanned trips to fast food joints. If you have a few hours in a week where you can block out some preparation time in the kitchen you will undoubtedly be able to squeeze in some healthier snacks and meals for the really busy times when you're just passing through.
Here's a few things you can do if you have some time to prepare:
Life always throws curveballs. Sometimes physical or mental health issues strike us or our family members unexpectedly. Sometimes job issues happen, like layoffs or overtime. There are pleasant surprises, like friends coming to visit, and unpleasant ones, such as car accidents, or the loss of loved ones. The important thing to do is to accept your limitations, know what to let go of, and when. Do the best you can with the resources you have, and don't be afraid to ask for help. None of us are completely capable of holding it all together, all the time. There will always be dishes and laundry to wash, places to go and people to see, but if you live on fast food you won't have the energy to keep up with everything on your list and scheduled on your calendar. It does take time and effort to plan your meals in advance, but the health payoff is so worth it in the long run. You don't need to make all your changes at once- start small, make it a habit, and then move on to something else. For example, if you're eating at the golden arches or a similar establishment 5 dinners a week, commit to eating there one less night. If your go-to snack is a bag of chips, try a handful of salted almonds and an apple instead. If you're guzzling a few litres of pop (soda) before bedtime everyday, try filling your empty pop bottle with water to finish before drinking a new bottle.
I'm going to edit this post and add that while I do know unsalted nuts are the best choice, if you're craving a bag of chips I think a handful of unsalted nuts may not quite meet your need. The key here is to, again, set your habit to nuts over chips, and then once that's done you can work on substituting half the salted nuts with unsalted, and so on. Keep moving toward healthier choices.
What substitutions have you made in your life's journey toward a healthier you? Do you have any suggestions to pass along? I know keeping my home and papers organized is my nemesis, so feel free to pass along any advice.
And by the way, we got gold in our adult dance competition last weekend. It was a great night!
Enjoy your week, friends.