I’m an active person who exercises five to six days a week. I irritate my kids by parking at the furthest parking spot when we go shopping, and we often work out together as a family. Yet I still spend about five hours a day in front of a computer screen. Add that to the time I spend sitting in an arena, sitting while I shuttle kids to activities, and sitting to watch television or read in the evening and I was turning into someone who had a greater risk of an early death.
Dear Parents: Sitting Still Is Killing Our Kids
I can’t not sit in front of a computer because it’s my bread and butter….Mmmmm…..butter. So I did some research on ditching my office chair for an exercise ball. While the experts are still undecided about the benefits, I decided to give it a go. More core engagement can’t be a bad thing, right?
It’s now been a month and here’s what I learned:
I had my husband take my office chair down to the basement so I couldn’t switch back when the going got tough because I know myself and if that chair had been there my ball would have been bounced out the door. This brings me to point #2:
By about day 3 this was me:
After years of slouching in my very comfortable chair, my mid-upper back was a knot of pain–Tylenol and Icy Heat were my best friends. Had my very, very heavy and awkward to carry chair not been in the basement I would have switched back to my old slouchy habits in a nano-second.
My sore back made me get up and move around more. I began to take more breaks throughout the day and started walking back and forth in my living room and kitchen during my weekly Skype meetings. Yo! More movement = less death.
Sitting on a rubber ball was good for my posture but terrible for my ass, as in my bum was quite sore at the end of the day. Now I sit on a pillow balanced on the ball. It’s all very Cirque Du Soleil around here.
Also, a foot stool helps keep your knees level with your hips which promotes good posture. My foot stool is actually a box, so don’t feel the need to go out and buy something fancy.
You’re going to need to adjust your keyboard to accommodate your new ball – DO THIS. It took me about five days to get my keyboard in the right place but it made all the difference.
It took about two weeks–two very sore weeks–for my back to adjust to, you know, using muscles again. But it did eventually go away, you just have to tough it out.
Oh, and bonus points for the three pounds I dropped since making the switch.
My mom passed away less than a month before Mother’s Day making that Mother's Day the second worst day of my life. That first year with my mom gone was like a punch to the stomach on every holiday and celebration she missed. But there are a few things I learned and I hope it helps those of you who are grieving this holiday season.
Things I Wish I Had Known When My Mother Died
You might not feel like celebrating the holidays at all, and that’s okay. When you’re overcome by sadness, celebrating is the last thing on your mind. Give yourself the space and time you need but also don’t cut yourself off completely. This is a time when you’ll need the support of your friends and family the most, so please take it. It helps, a lot.
“Don’t stay home by yourself.”
“Come to the party, you’ll feel better.”
Your friends and loved ones will inevitably tell you to get out of the house and try to enjoy yourself. They aren’t saying this because they are insensitive, they are saying it because they love you and want you to feel better.
When someone you love dies, the grief is unbearable. The tears are never ending, the pain in your heart almost unendurable and there’s a sickness in your stomach that never goes away. But it’s impossible to maintain this level of grief for long periods of time and your body needs a break, a release. If you can surround yourself with friends and family who will help comfort you and take your mind off your grief, even for short periods of time, that release is a godsend.
You decide to leave the house and go to a holiday party and suddenly you’re overcome with guilt.
Why am I out celebrating when I should be home feeling bad?
Whoever it is in your life who is now gone would have wanted you to enjoy yourself. Because that’s what we want for the people we love, happiness. While you may not be able to overcome the guilt, please know there is nothing wrong experiencing moments of happiness.
Keeping your memories and stories to yourself is like trying to grow a flower in a dark box. Even though it can be painful and will most likely make you cry, when you share stories you’re keeping the memory of your loved one alive. The more you share, the more they are with you - the day you stop talking about them is when they truly die.
Every year my boys take turns putting my mom’s Christmas angel atop our tree. I like to think it’s her watching over us throughout the holidays. Create your own tradition that involves your loved one. It helps, I swear.
I know it feels like your entire world has been turned upside down. When my mom passed away I felt like I was in a nightmare from which I couldn’t wake up. But I promise you your holidays won’t always feel this way. Let me be clear, they will never be the same again but you’ll find new and different ways to celebrate and there will come a time when you think of your loved one with a smile on your face instead of tears in your eyes.
I got a lot of problems with you people!
Festivus began in 1997 after it was featured in a Seinfeld episode and is celebrated on December 23rd each year. What started as a television show lark has now become a tradition for many families around the world because really….WHO DOESN’T HAVE GREIVANCES TO AIR?
Festivus is a simple holiday. It begins with the Festivus dinner, followed by The Airing Of Greivances but this anti-Christmas holiday isn’t over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned. That’s you, parents! And it’s you – the head of the household – who gets to choose who will participate in the Feats of Strength.
Only every good parent knows that even though young kids have the magical ability to turn into a human ironing board when you attempt to put them into a car seat, they don’t make very good wrestlers.
So leave the wrestling for your bedroom antics on Christmas Eve while you’re waiting for Santa to come and do these family friendly feats of strength instead.
The 10 Easiest Ways To Get Active With Your Kids
The hardest part of arm wrestling with kids is trying to pretend you’re making an effort. Not so with thumb wars. Kids have deceptively strong, fast thumbs. I believe it’s an evolutionary characteristic that allows them to open a can or Cream Soda and chug half of it before you even realize the tab has been popped.
Mercy is when two partners stand facing each other and hold hands, palms facing towards each other. At the sound of the bell, each partner tries to bend the other’s wrist until someone calls Mercy.
Parents, be warned:
(a) Kids will use their entire body weight and you will be bowed down on your knees like a nun in church in less time than it takes to say help me.
(b) Some kids won’t call mercy because they are stubborn. Please use common sense and break up the game if you sense this is happening. Festivus Fun shouldn’t land you in the Emergency Room-ious.
Take advantage of wet and sticky snow. Strap on your snow gear and get outside for this kids vs adults event. Each team starts with a snowball and rolls it into the snow, then you keep rolling it until it can’t be moved. Whoever has the biggest ball wins.
This is guaranteed to be a hit simply because you’re using the phrase big balls about 72 times a minute.
Bonus points if you turn the balls into a snowman.
Line up against the wall. No, not like that time you got arrested. This time you want your back up against the wall and you don’t have to spread ‘em. Then squat down until your legs are at a 90 degree angle and hold. The person who hold that position the longest wins.
Parents: Telling jokes and throwing marshmallows at your fellow squatters is perfectly acceptable.
Trust me. It’s the only way you’re going to win.