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Selfcare PSA for Moms

16 Aug

Warning, this is a #self care PSA. So far this week, I’ve been diagnosed with a sinus infection for the third time this year and bonus – a STAPH infection. Oh, and both kids have runny noses and are transitioning their naps for one fewer than they’d been doing. For the love of sweet baby Jesus, can we just be done already with all the sickness? It’s almost mid-August and I want to start thinking about fall decor and pumpkin spice lattes as we enjoy these last weeks of official summer. I don’t want to be mired in sickness. I can be sick in the winter when being relegated inside is part of the “being a New England resident” bylaws.

PLEASE do me a solid and just take a second to GOOGLE “staph infection” and educate yourself because I wrongly always assumed this was only something you got accidentally after being in a hospital and not scrubbing your hands. 

I’ve been so fortunately healthy for so many years of my life that this endless sickness since we had kids is totally new territory. Growing up and even into my twenties, a salt water gargle for the occasional canker or sore throat was the extent of my woes. Maybe throw some homemade chicken stock soup at a cold if one cropped up. The end. I only started getting a flu shot with my second baby!

But back to the staph infection. I thought I just had a bunch of very itchy mosquito bites from being out in the garden so much. They may have started out that way, but thanks to a lot of time at the local pool and a lot of humid walks with the kids, those bites got irritated and itched to death and apparently became infected. I’m just grateful I blurted it out to my doctor as the door almost hit him on the ass after he handed me my prescription when I went in about my sinus issue because I’d thought absolutely nothing of the non-stop itchiness for weeks; meanwhile, I’d actually caused an infection on my own body without realizing.

I know self-care is an eye-rolling-worthy buzzword lately, but really, I’ve started to feel like I’m completely falling apart healthwise. Please take the time to check some doctors appointments off your list and stop delaying all the proactive measures you know you should be taking in order to stay healthy that have fallen to the wayside. You can’t take your health for granted; don’t make my mistake and only appreciate it once it takes a leave of absence.

And the sinus infection thing… well. For years, I rolled my eyes too anytime someone used the word sinus infection. Like, GET OVER YOURSELF. Your nose is congested. Then after I had kids, my body just wasn’t as cared for and attended to as it once was. I used to eat vegetables. I used to go to yoga and manage my stress levels. I USED TO SLEEP! That sort of thing.

But honestly, after kids, I suddenly became severely affected by seasonal allergies and what I’ve now come to realize is that my intense denial that my health isn’t as steady and reliable as I’d once enjoyed has resulted in some INTENSE suffering.

It is my personal understanding that a sinus infection is basically a head cold that was never dealt with that goes on to infect your whole face, centralizing around your T-Zone. Imagine a circle right through your eyes with your nose as the central point. A sinus “infection” centralizes right there and feels like the most impossible pressure and pain. The only relief I feel is when I pinch my nose and blow out, popping my ears the way you might on an airplane when the pressure became too much. Or by standing in the shower inhaling steam. Or sipping tea. All things you just don’t have the luxury of doing when you’re a busy parent. I find that I toss and turn all night trying to find a comfortable position to sleep and only alight on it as the sun rises. Then, I begin to settle in, finally comfortable. Then the kids wake!

Based on my experience, attention, and research, I’ve realized that a sinus infection is the price I end up paying when I don’t correctly deal with my allergies (or a simple cold) when they first hit. I drag my feet and claim I just have a touch of a cold because I’m a MOM. I can’t lounge in bed and recover with sleep and soup. I have a non-stop, starring roll to play in the lives of a one and three year old, from the moment my husband leaves for work at 7:30 each morning, until the kids heads hit their pillows each night, usually by 8:30 PM. The days are L-O-N-G.

But now? I have a neti pot. And this spectacularly gross/amazing YouTube video of a father helping his daughter neti pot a sinus infection out. SO GROSS BUT I CAN’T LOOK AWAY. It also just might perfectly demonstrate exactly what being a parent is all about.  I have a stockpile of distilled water and eucalyptus essential oil at the ready for my humidifier which I regularly douse with vinegar to keep mold and germ at bay. I have an air purifier that travels with me through the house and will slowly add to our collection until we have them throughout the house. (*I’ll share details below – I LOVE ours.) I also will take the time to keep chicken stock at the ready in the freezer so making soup isn’t an impossible feat and I have it when sickness strikes. And finally, I will keep regular appointments with my primary care doctor and work on being more proactive about my health, instead of waiting for disaster to strike and then just trying to keep my little ship from capsizing.

Encouraging moms everywhere to do the same and prioritize just this one thing. It doesn’t have to be a grand sweeping thing, just take small steps.

*We have the Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air Purifier/Odor Reducer and I absolutely LOVE it. I wanted something with a reusable (easy to clean) filter. It’s quiet and the air feels so crisp and clean now when I run it regularly. If I could do the Oprah “gifts” thing, I would give every person in my life one of these things because they are fantastic. Seriously. Get one. You’ll become obsessed with clean air in your home.

Eat Like Me: Inspired eats of the week

25 Jul

quick and healthy meals

Chatting about food and restaurants and occasionally exchanging recipes is a given when together with friends, but after spending last weekend on the Cape with some girlfriends, conversation turned to the go-to meals we make after a long workday or when we’re less than inspired. Listening to everyone share their favorites reminded me of a discontinued online series by Self magazine called “Eat Like Me.” Have you heard of it?

The series followed the food travels of registered dietitian (and fellow-Bostonian!), Cristin Dillon-Jones; what she cooked at home and what she ordered at restaurants for every meal and snack, along with photos and brief, but much-appreciated, posts ranging from balancing nutrition to using up whatever was in her fridge before a vacation. It was a simple, practical, source of inspiration I looked to regularly and I miss it. So I had an idea. Although I’m hardly qualified to dish out dietary advice professionally, I do think I can help inspire.

Each week or so, I’ll post some of my favorite eats from the week as a series. A little bit down the road, I can even imagine featuring those of my friends, fellow bloggers, and Instagram buddies for even more inspired eats.

(L-R, top-down)

– Almond butter and jelly on whole wheat, honeydew, carrots and hummus, and an apple. I can’t tell you how often my dinner looks like this in summer!
– Yogurt and blueberries with slivered almonds and coconut
– Spring mix with BBQ chicken, grill-roasted tomatoes, and sunflower seeds
– Tomato soup made with 1% milk
– BBQ chick, grilled peaches, pineapple, tomatoes, and zucchini
– Baked pork chop with steamed broccoli and a cinnamon sweet potato
– Shake Shack burger for a little mid-week lunch splurge
– Giant salad of spring mix, chopped chicken, chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, and sunflower seeds; blueberries and strawberries
– Two eggs scrambled with parsley and chives and two pieces whole grain toast spread with avocado

4 Reasons You Should Try Pilates

11 Jun

I was lucky to have my first experience with Pilates as a college undergrad. I fell hard and fast, taking classes weekly at the “Spo-co,” the Sports Complex at Stonehill College. After graduation I was fortunate to join a gym that happened to offer Pilates mat classes (for free — which seems crazy today) with an incredible Stott-trained instructor named Lisa whom I adored. Largely because she incorporated a Pilates accessory called a “magic circle” into our routines to target thighs and abs, but more honestly, because she told me I should consider teaching.

What an ego-boost, right? It’s what gets me through barre class at Boston Body Pilates (love) when my knees are shaking and I think I’m going to die. I’ve had it on my to-do list to get certified to teach for the last 7 years now, but it’s so expensive and so time-intensive, I haven’t prioritized it. So instead, I’ll try to convince YOU that you should try it, whether it’s a DVD, a matt class, a private session at a studio, or you just try a few moves on your own at home. Here are my 4 reasons why you should try Pilates:

1. Develop often neglected muscle groups.
Some of your muscles, like those that dominate your daily movements, are stronger than others, and a big part of Pilates is focusing on those muscles that don’t typically get a lot of attention.

2.Improve Flexibility
In general, the more muscle mass you have, the less flexible you are. But Pilates’ focus on stretching helps prevent injuries and muscle strains, and increases range of motion.

3. Build Core Strength
Every Pilates exercise focuses on using your core to power movement in your limbs. Pilates also hits your transverse abdominals, the base ab muscle under your six-pack.

4. Live more consciously
Pilates forces you to pay attention-you’ve got to focus on your breath while working through each movement and concentrating on proper form. This is one similarity with yoga that tends to confuse a lot of people. After a Pilates session, you’ll feel refreshed and relaxed, which can even carry over into the next day.

Although I love, yoga, Zumba, and spinning, I think Pilates is my favorite workout because of it’s combined elements of strength and flexibility. Many of my favorite moves require intense concentration, breath control, and balance which makes for an incredibly stimulating workout that feels much more zen than say, doing some burprees or intervals on a treadmill. So I hope you’ll consider giving it a try!

What is your favorite workout? Why do you love it? Have you tried anything new lately and loved it?

Interested in checking out Boston Body Barre? Visit the site here