How I’m Doing It: Practicing Healthy Living to Enjoy the Gifts of Parenthood

The following post first appeared in the How I’m Doing It blog for Experience Life magazine. Read my original April 2014 magazine article here, in the How I’m Doing It column.

My How I’m Doing It article and series of blogs and podcast focus on the trifecta themes of celebrating health as a pregnant and new mom, approaches to raising healthy children, and refocusing on health in our nation’s schools.

As parents, it’s hard to do any of this if we are too distracted and overscheduled to take care of our own health.

Lately, I’ve been reading how “busy” is a nasty term — that busy is a state of mind, that we control how busy we make ourselves in reality, and how run ragged we feel.

There is some truth to that, but the truth is that parents today are doing so many things to keep our families going — working, taking care of the household, cooking, scheduling — it’s hard to know what to cut back on when it pretty much all seems essential.

Meren Bio Pic April 2014I did an experiment a week ago in the nation’s capital — I took the morning off to bring my 4-year-old daughter to see the iconic cherry blossoms. Read more about the excursion, on my own blog, here.

It’s odd that, for many of us, we have to fight against systems and culture to take a morning off to truly have leisure, enjoy nature, and enjoy our children. Yet research shows that taking time off from the daily grind is what will energize us to get through said grind every day.

If we as parents can remember to keep our eyes on the prize — that there is joy in being with children and partners, that there is a good life to live when accompanied with good health — perhaps that can help us focus less on the noise and more on the joy. As the title of this column states, this is very much about how we are doing it. It is a journey, not a static state, and it’s certainly an imperfect one.

I’ve been grateful to have a resource like Experience Life in my life to share strategies and reminders of how to make healthy living a revolutionary act. I hope we as individuals and communities can make time for health so we can enjoy the gifts we have.

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