Category Archives: Health

Activities for children during the winter months

There are many things that we are required to do as the clocks go back, the nights draw in, and cooler temperatures move in. This varies across the country depending on the microclimate you reside within, but here in Kansas City we have to winterize irrigation systems, take plants inside to protect them for the winter months, and complete the painful task of leaf removal. Those of you with large, old oak trees will know exactly autumn-212733_960_720what I am talking about here…

Despite making all of these adjustments for “things” leading into the winter months, there is something much more important that we need to prioritize: what to do with our kids! This applies to children of all ages, as here in KC it’s typically too cold to go outside during the day with toddlers, and it’s already dark by the time older students get done with school activities. As I am a mother of 2 young boys, with a third child due next month, here are 10 activities that you can do to keep your young children active during the not so nice part of the year. Enjoy!

  1. Create space in your garage for them to kick a ball, and ride a bike around.
  2. Set up an obstacle course in your basement
  3. Visit a museum – there are so many small children’s museums, many that you may
    Wonderscope, Kansas City

    not even know about!  Search your area and check reviews for good ones that are close by.

  4. If you still have indoor malls close by, these are typically quiet during the day and provide your little ones with plenty of space to run around and get some energy out of their systems.
  5. Indoor games with modified equipment to prevent damage to valuable antiques and decorations – play with small wiffle balls, foam soccer balls, and this Hover ball is a great indoor toy as well!
  6. Take an inflatable pool and fill it with balls to turn it into your very own ball pit
  7. Trips to your local community center, swimming pool, YMCA etc.
  8. Buy a simple trampoline that will keep them entertained for hours at a time – just be prepared for some serious fistfights when multiple children want to bounce at the same time.
  9. Have them help you with cleaning and laundry where they will be on their feet for son-helping-dad-with-laundryan extended period of time. You can time them cleaning up from multiple rooms, turning a chore into a game!
  10. In Kansas City, we have a place called Rainbow Play Systems, which is a place that sells playground equipment but has their product line set up inside to “test out.”  For just a few dollars, your kids can have a playground/park experience in a temperature-controlled environment!  Look around your area to see if there are any places similar to this, I would highly recommend it!

These are all great for your children but be sure to plan some physical activity for yourself. Here are just a handful of ideas to get you started:

  1. Join a gym – this way you have no excuse for not working out when it is 3 degrees outside.
  2. Stationary bike/elliptical, or another piece of equipment that you can store in your garage or basement where it isn’t going to get in the way.
  3. Join a team where you will play weekly games – Indoor soccer and basketball are just two options that you could get involved with.
  4. Exercise during your lunch break if you are fortunate enough to have on-site fitness equipment, or a nearby gym.
  5. Use the fitness programs of your fitness tracker, activities from an app on your smartphone, or a fitness DVD from someone like Jillian Michaels to give you simple and easy to follow workouts during the short days of winter.

What are some ways that you keep your children and yourself entertained and physically active during the short days of winter? What works and what doesn’t work? Please share your thoughts so that we can all be prepared for this crazy time of year! Thanks for reading, and until next time, Expect The Exceptional in everything that you do.

Advertisements

The # 1 Trait of successful people is…

It seems that everywhere you look these days, there are self-help guides, self improvement books, seminars, and podcasts all designed to help people take their lives to the next level. The list of ideas to focus on varies drastically depending on the background of the author and what they deem to be successful, but there are several characteristics that can be found across the majority of these publications:

An ability to think differently and go against the grain – Without the courage and belief of people such as Steve Jobs, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King Jr., the world would be a very different place to what it is today. It takes a special person to put their reputation on the line and do the complete opposite of what everyone else is doing.

A willingness to fail – Some of the most successful people in the world failed on numerous occasions to get the success that they are now famous for. One of the most famous examples of this is Michael Jordan whose commitment to failure quote is known around the world:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

The ability to set and pursue goals – Successful people have to be excellent multitaskers and must possess the ability to prioritize their tasks. Each will have different methods of doing this, but the majority of successful people will discuss the way in which they set out their goals at the start of the day and work through them in priority order.

They are ambitious – They are hungry, driven, and want to succeed. This fuels their fire and makes them a relentless competitor with the desire to grow and thrive.

They are responsible – They take ownership of what they do, and do not push blame and failure onto those around them.

The ability to network and connect – There is no possible way for people to accomplish all of their goals without support from the people around them. They have an ability to surround themselves with successful people and are able to leverage their network to help them achieve their goals.

They don’t procrastinate and wait for “the right time” – with many things in life there are typically no perfect times to do something, apart from when it comes to crossing a road, where poor timing can be deadly… Fear of failure is what holds most people back, but successful people will see the reward rather than the risk.

They are focused – They understand that there are a lot of distractions around them, but there is the need to focus on what truly matters and what is important. How good are you at prioritizing and how does this help you to achieve your goals?

There are many other qualities that people discuss when it comes to the characteristics of successful people, but in my opinion, one of the most underrated traits is that of resilience and refusing to give up, no matter how difficult things become.

All of the above strengths are pointless if you don’t have purpose and passion to fuel your fire. One of the best examples of resilience that has inspired so many people over the years is the “Tyson Is Back” fight from 1990. 42-1 outsider Buster Douglas managed to overcome the then undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson, in one of the biggest upsets in sporting history. What allowed Buster to experience this success? Resiliency and purpose. Watch the video below to find out more about this incredible story.

 

How resilient are you? How do you react to those punches that make you feel like you just can’t carry on? What keeps you going when you almost reach the point of no return? The resiliency and drive that successful people have is something that motivational speaker and life coach Tony Robbins has spent his life exploring. It’s a fascinating trait and one that would make you a fortune if you were able to bottle it and replicate it.

We are keen to get your thoughts on what makes people successful. Do you disagree with any of the items listed here? What did we miss? What “superpower” do you possess that makes you successful? Looking forward to reading your responses! Until next time, Expect the Exceptional in everything that you do, and be resilient!

Tips for maintaining a clean home

Our third child is due in mid-November, and I have officially entered “nesting mode.” Image result for pregnant nesting With the other two, I was going strong up until right before they were born; I shampooed the carpets in the week before my second was born, and even attended a concert on the day of!  However, this one feels a little different and I am losing steam much more quickly.  Therefore, I felt it was important to start the cleaning early so I don’t have to worry about being unable to do it later on.  The problem with this is the chance of the house being destroyed between now and my due date, so I have to focus on maintenance, which is not my strong suit so I have come up with a few rules to follow to help me out.  If it isn’t yours either, maybe you will be able to use these tips as you are working to maintain a tidy home!

  1. Laundry – start a load every morning.  If you go to work and don’t want to leave wet clothes sitting in the wash all day, look for a delay start function on your washer and set it for about an hour before you get home.  Also, try to have a basket for each person, as well as towels so you can separate straight out of the dryer instead of creating an additional task for yourself.
  2. Batch toilets – I hate toilet brushes, and have gotten rid of all of ours.  Clorox wands have disposable brush heads with cleaner built inside.  This is a convenient and sanitary way to keep your toilets clean; however, it’s not as cost-effective as a reusable brush.  So to cut down on use, I try to clean all toilets at the same time and reuse the brush head a few times to get more out of each one.  Even if you use brushes, cleaning all toilets at the same time is a great way to stay on track and ensure that toilets are all clean.
  3. Have a drawer for all paperwork and bills so that things don’t get lost – having one specific drawer for these items keeps things organized and minimizes the chance that something will get lost or misplaced.
  4. Straighten up before bed – when I come down in the morning to a tidy house, I am much more likely to keep it that way throughout the day.  On the other hand, if I come down to a mess, it is likely to get worse before better.  This is certainly a mental thing on my part, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who experiences it!
  5. Break up tasks – instead of lying in bed thinking “tomorrow, I’m cleaning the whole house!” and then feeling like a failure the next night when you haven’t done much Broom, Ragpicker, Mop, Picker, Toilet, Cleaningat all, try breaking up your tasks each day.  For my “baby cleaning,” I set a seven day schedule for myself that covered all parts of my house, but was broken up enough that I didn’t feel overwhelmed.  I found a few templates online, but in the end decided to come up with my own schedule, specific to my home and my preferences.  This was for a deep clean, but for maintenance purposes you can use the same list; you will just have less to do after the first time!
  6. Go digital with as many things as you possibly can – this is less about cleaning and more about being prepared, but setting things up online is a great way to stay on top of things and make sure you don’t get behind.  This includes utilizing auto-payments whenever you can, as well as automatic shipping on household items, such as toilet paper, diapers, laundry detergent, etc. to make sure you don’t run out.
  7. Remotes for lights – this saves both time and money and is something that we have found extremely useful.  I prefer lamps to overhead lighting, so I have a lot aroundLight, Lamp, Bedside Lamp, Illumination, Lampshade the house in various places.  We had some remotes for our Christmas lights and this year instead of packing them away, we have continued using them for the lights in our house.  When the sun goes down, I simply have to press a few buttons to turn the lights on, and at the end of the night do the same to turn them off.  Rather than walking around flipping a ton of switches multiple times a day, this simple tool saves so much time and also prevents leaving lamps on, leading to a spike in the electric bill.

Hopefully these tips help you as much as they have helped me!  Do you have anything else you like to do that I have forgotten?  Please put it in the comments below, and as usual, Expect the Exceptional in everything you do!

Ways to become WELLthier

My current city of Overland Park, Kansas, was recently named in the top America’s WELLthiest cities.

This list was compiled by looking at data from across a variety of aspects including health and fitness businesses and amenities, healthy eating establishments, and activities around town that promote healthy living.  The article also included reviews of these places and their popularity among residents.  Overland Park was recognized namely because of their expansive arboretum and botanical gardens, availability of fresh produce at the farmer’s market, as well as the outdoor  walking and educational activities available at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.

Even if your city wasn’t recognized on this list, there are so many ways you can ensure a “wellthy” lifestyle on your own.  Here are a few ideas to get you started!

(1) Walk daily: walking trails are everywhere.  Even if there isn’t one connected to your pexels-photo-504881neighborhood, it’s nice to drive to new places and explore the area.  This is especially true if you live near a busy road, as most trails are a safe place to take your kids and let them run!

(2) Visit your local farmer’s market: you wouldn’t believe the great deals you can get on produce at a farmer’s market vs. a grocery store.  Not to mention the other fun things they have, like honey and jam and beautiful flower bouquets!

(3) Participate in physical activities: going for a run or to the gym may not be your cup of tea, but maybe you love to play basketball when you get the chance.  This is a great way to get exercise and have fun at the same time, so find a league and join up!

(4) Work-life balance: it’s important to take a break every now and again to clear your mind and enjoy time with family.  Be sure you have a healthy balance between work and home life so you can get the most out of every day!

(5) Annual medical check ups: this is a great way to make sure your health is on track.  doctor-medical-medicine-health-42273Don’t forget about the dentist, dermatologist and optometrist when you are making your appointments!

(6) Stay hydrated: when I notice my energy levels are low, I can usually pinpoint the cause as dehydration.  If constantly drinking water feels like a chore to you, try adding some flavor or even eating watermelon!  This is a great way to stay hydrated and get some vitamins as well.

(7) Sun screen: don’t leave home without it.  We all know the risks associated with sun exposure, but many of us will only apply if we are spending the day at the pool or beach.  Even if you are just out running errands, it’s a good idea to lather up before you go as you will be in the sun more than you think!

(8) Get a good nights sleep – this means a good night’s sleep, not lying in bed for several out of bedhours looking at your phone.  The light on your phone can cause insomnia, so turn the blue light filter on if you do have a habit of playing games or browsing Facebook before you sleep.

(9) Sign up for an event so that you have something to work towards – signing up for a 5k or Tough Mudder “forces” you to create a fitness regime so that the day of the event isn’t a complete disaster!

(10) Family time – spend time with friends and loved ones. Workout together when possible so that everyone is involved and something that typically isn’t enjoyable becomes something that the whole family looks forward to!

Staying Healthy at Home

In today’s economy, more and more people are being asked to go above and beyond the expectation of working 40 hours per week. Kids’ schedules are becoming increasingly complex, family time is being continually squeezed and unfortunately people’s health is frequently one of the first things to be sacrificed. This is rather unfortunate as this makes all of the other responsibilities even more challenging than they already are. Staying physically and mentally healthy are of critical importance for an enjoyable and productive life. Are you taking care of your health or have you let other things take over?

Last week we looked at ways that you can take care of your health in the workplace. Today we are going to look at ways in which you can take care of yourself at home. Hopefully some of these will help you along the way to improving your health, or will give you alternative solutions to what you are currently doing. We would love to hear of any other ways in which you stay healthy, either at home or in the workplace, so please leave your ideas in the comment box below!

The first thing to do is to work on separating work from family.  This is an ever woman on computer in bedincreasing problem where parents and spouses are in the same room as their loved ones, but they aren’t actually present. More and more people are working remotely due to technologies that are now available to us. This is great in many ways, but can also be problematic as your home is now your place of work, and you can get trapped in “the office”.

Try to separate your work from your home life by having a designated room where you go to work. Keep all electronics and other work related items in here so that you truly can separate work from play. Try not to fall into the trap of having your computer or phone with you at all times where you are constantly connected to work, and miss out on the time with your family. We all need downtime to relax, have fun, and keep our stress levels under control. Make sure that you aren’t overdoing it, because it will catch up with you at some point. Here are our 10 most important factors when it comes to all-round health.

NOTE: We are not medical professionals and this list is just a collection of ways in which my family and I try to stay healthy. If you are concerned with your personal health you should set up an appointment with your doctor to discuss solutions.

(1) Diet

  • Eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Limit portion sizes
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay hydrated – take your weight and divide it in two.  That is how many ounces of water you should drink in a day.

(2) Grocery shopping

  • Try to visit your local farmer’s market when possible to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Stock up on healthy snacks
  • Have a refillable water bottle on hand for when you are on the go
  • Limit purchases of high sugar, high fat foods so that they aren’t easily available
  • Try to spend the majority of your time in the store on the edges – protein, dairy and produce – and less time among the dry goods.

(3) Financial health 

  • Budgets – meet with a financial adviser for professional help in this direction. There are also some great financial trackers out there including Mint and EveryDollar.
  • Establish 529 college funds for your children’s future education expenses
  • Pay down credit card balances and avoid interest charges
  • Regularly contribute to retirement funds to take advantage of compound interest
  • If your company provides a 401k match, take advantage of this “free money” at least up to the amount that your employer provides

(4) Exercise

  • Choose activities that you enjoy. Walking, dancing, gardening, and playing in the yard with your children are all great ways to exercise.
  • Try to create a regular schedule so that your exercise becomes a routine
  • Work out with someone else
  • Perform other tasks at this time – for example you can read while on an exercise bike, or listen to a podcast as you complete a run or bike-ride.

(5) Sun

  • Steer clear of direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m when the sun is at it’s most dangerous.
  • Wear hats, long-sleeve shirts and sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher.
  • Don’t use sunlamps or tanning booths. Try self-tanning creams instead.
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent damage caused by exposure to UV rays
    pexels-photo-61129

(6) Minimize vices

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Avoid risky behaviors such as speeding, gambling and dangerous driving

(7) Staying mentally healthy

  • Keep your mind limber – reading, completing puzzles, enrolling in a class
  • Rest and relaxation – take time out of your schedule to pursue your passions, and spend time with your loved ones
  • Sleep – adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep daily

(8) Setting goals

As is the case with many things in life, there is a need to set SMART goals when it comes to your health. This might be a target weight that you want to reach, a size of clothing that you want to be able to fit into, or the number of glasses of water that you want to drink on a daily basis. Whatever your goal there are multiple apps that can help you track them including Fitbit, Samsung Health and My Fitness Pal.

(9) Annual health check ups

These are frequently covered by your health insurance policies and you should definitely take advantage of them. They are great for collecting baseline data, reviewing past medical concerns, and catching potential health issues before they become too problematic.

(10) Prioritize your health

We saved the most important for last: Make sure that your health is always at the top of your priority list!

Until next week, stay healthy, and Expect the Exceptional in everything that you do.