And on top of that, I’m very aware that I’m a role model for these three little rascals that are helping raise my stress levels higher than I’d like. Pregnancy was tough the first time, but this time with two little ones to run around after I found I was so tired that bad little habits started creeping in.
Convenience food, sitting in front of the TV or the iPad instead of heading to the park, and stuffing my face with chocolate because that’s what I felt like eating.
All those things are fine every once in a while. But not pretty much every day…
I want to change things so that we are all eating more healthily, having a healthier and more active lifestyle and getting stressed less about things. I know that when I’m stressed it has an impact on the kids – the worse I’m feeling the worse they feel too – and it becomes a vicious cycle of bad behaviour from everyone including me leading to even more bad behaviour. I’m pretty sure that the additives and processed nature of the food we are eating and the lack of sunshine and energy being burnt off isn’t helping either!
So what can we do? I’m a bit short on time, money and ideas myself.
Then I saw that Aviva were offering (along with Mumsnet) the opportunity to take part in their Stress Less challenge. Yes please!
The Stress Less Challenge is aimed at achieving a ‘healthier and less stressed you’ – achieved by making ‘a small change for a big health benefit’.
A small change sounds doable. I’m keeping everything small at the moment.
So I sent the Aviva team of experts (including doctors, nutritionists, rugby coaches – eek, no rugby for me please!) a list of my woes and they’ve got back to me with a personalised list of a few small ideas to try:
1. Work-life balance from Dr Doug (Aviva’s friendly GP):
“3 children rather than 2 is a big change and it’s still very early days with 3. Getting into a manageable routine can feel daunting especially trying to stick to the household chores as well. Plan the chores into manageable tasks. Allocate specific days to do things and stick to it for example Monday – washing and ironing, Tuesday – hoovering and so on. Did you know that hoovering for 12 mins burns 50 calories, whilst ironing for 33 minutes burns 100 calories? By setting a routine means that you’ll feel more organised (and fitter)!”
2. Wellbeing from Dr Doug:
“Planning is key to a clearer head. Prioritise what you need to do the next day, the night before so you’re prepared . Plan what you’re having to eat to keep you from picking unhealthy foods when you’re hungry. Schedule in some time to do the things you love. Sticking to a plan will help to ensure you do it”.
3. Diet from Paddy (Head of Strength and Conditioning at Gloucester Rugby):
“Allocate a day in the week/every other week to cook in bulk so you can freeze the food to use up at other times. Always add 1 or 2 portions of vegetables (frozen is just as good) to your meal to help you reach your 5 a day”.
So…I kind of feel like I’m going back to living in a student accommodation with the first suggestion! Setting up a ‘rota’, in effect seems like a bit of a weird idea but actually now I’ve thought about it a bit more, it feels quite positive and I’m quite keen to give it a go. I’m not sure how it’ll work if I don’t have time to get something done – will that stress me out? – but I’m willing to give it a try and see.
Planning and preparation is definitely a good idea. We went to Legoland yesterday and I stayed up a bit later the night before to get everything ready – picnic, changes of clothes, swimming gear, suncream… – and it really, really helped the next morning. Instead of a crazy stressful panic we got out of the house on time and happy. I think trying to make that concept a part of our daily routine will seriously help.
And having a bulk cooking day? That’s fine in theory – but in reality we only have a limited amount of freezer space (currently none!) and so freezing meals is not going to work right now. So my first task is to plan according to idea number two what we are having to eat, using all the random stuff from the freezer, so that I can make space for idea number three!
Wish me luck
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