I saw a news report the other day that talked about a survey that found that summertime is a more stressful time for families than any other time of the year. I am fortunate to have flexibility with my business in the summer to pick my own hours. It makes sense that parents have a hard time juggling all of their kids activities and time off when they have to work full time. Add on to that, planning vacations and the extra money involved with having kids home, it does sound like major stress. I am on a stress busting mission this summer. I ended my school year very burnt out - to the point where I was struggling with focusing on a book long enough to read a couple of paragraphs. I also understand how people in their adult years begin to wonder if they have attention deficit disorder! A benefit of summertime is the ability to eat healthy local foods from gardens and the farmer's market. It you find yourself overstressed, there are natural options that can make a difference. For some people, they may be lacking in a certain nutrient, such as magnesium. Others need to find time to exercise in order to burn off the cortisol in the system that the stress causes. In Minnesota, we want to be able to enjoy our fleeting summers, so take the time to take care of yourself!
I am excited to start a new year. I have a good feeling about 2014--if you live in Minnesota, we are starting the new year with frigid temperatures, so it is a great day to hunker in and make a plan for the year. I was going to have my first blog about food sensitivities, because I believe that we aren't going to improve our energy, health, and weight issues without addressing foods that don't agree with us. I came up with a different idea to get an idea of how foods make us feel, and to document how we are currently eating. Here is the idea: Throughout the day, anytime that you eat or drink something, take a picture of it with your phone. On the notepad of your phone, document how you are feeling throughout the day - when you get hungry, if the foods you eat make you tired, energized, or overly full. Make notes on exercise that you do, and activities that make you happy. Write down anything that may play a role in the food choices that make you feel good or bad. At the end of the day, text or email the pictures and notes to yourself, so you have documentation of what your day looked like. Do this for a week, and then evaluate what choices are the best for you. If foods make you tired or crabby, it may be worth eliminating them from your diet, and see if you find your energy level improving. Also, weigh yourself each morning when you wake up. Document your weight each day. If you find that you have days that you gain weight, even though you were eating healthy, there is probably a food in your diet that you are sensitive to. Other reasons for weight gain might be not drinking enough water, not eating enough, or having too much salt. For this first week, try to pack in vegetables - make them the main part of your meals, but also include good proteins and healthy fats - and don't forget the fiber! Hopefully this first week of documenting will help develop the perfect plan for you. Everyone has their own specific needs - whether it be more protein, smaller meals, eating frequently, or eating only a few times a day. Also, if you have a pedometer, wear it this week and get a baseline of how much activity you are Find out what works for you! Happy 2014!
Shanna Seguin is a wife and mother of two. She is currently an Electrodermal Screening Technician with a background in Classical Naturopathy. She also is a high school special education teacher, and a nature enthusiast.