Creative Napping (Part 2)

google nap podIf the Google Corporation has nap pods and Japanese businessmen are paying to take naps in special nap stores, then napping is certainly worth a try for you and me. Here are a few more ideas to work those energy boosting minutes of down time into your day:

  1. The Lunch Nap. If you work outside the home, use your lunch hour wisely. Pack a lunch so you can eat quickly and then close your eyes for a few minutes. If your work space lacks privacy, sleep in your car and set an alarm. I repeat, set an alarm.
  2. The Carpool Nap. Arrive twenty minutes early to pick up the kids, put on sunglasses, and lean your seat back. If you’re worried about oversleeping, hold your keys in your hand and rest your hand on the steering wheel. When you drop your keys, the sound wakes you up and your nap is over. That or the sound of the honking horns when the pick up line is moving and you’re not.
  3. The Coffee Nap. Caffeine takes about twenty minutes to affect the body, so that instant alertness you feel with your first sip of coffee in the morning is all in your head. That bean-brain delay is perfect for a Coffee Nap. Simply drink coffee and close your eyes for twenty minutes. The benefits of the coffee and the benefits of the nap will kick in together and leave you tap dancing through the rest of your day.

japanese nap storeIf you don’t like naps, there is another way to boost your energy: exercise. If you’re at home, clean a bathroom or carry things upstairs to put away or do some jumping jacks. If you’re at work, get yourself moving over your lunch or coffee break. Go for a walk, climb some stairs, or do a squat every time one coworker complains about another. (Unfortunately for some of you, that will equal about three hundred squats an hour.) Any kind of exercise will get your blood flowing, wake up your brain, and make you feel more energetic.

Whether you prefer napping or exercise, your body will be reset and ready to finish your day.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest in hope. Acts 2:26 (NIV)

Creative Napping (Part 1)

Naps are controversial. Some people love naps because naps boost your energy and creativity and make you feel refreshed and ready to finish the day. Some people hate naps because naps can sap what’s left of your motivation, leave you dragging, and make it hard to get to sleep at night. We’re going to define the energy boosting kind of naps as Sexy Naps. Sexy Naps are 10-30 minutes in length and therefore only involve light brain sleep, not REM sleep. If your 7-8 hours of sleep at night is your beauty sleep, a Sexy Nap is you “freshening up”.

nap.jpgBut how, Katie? How do I take a Sexy Nap amidst my busy schedule and my unrelentingly present and needy children? Like all great problem solvers of history—such as Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Winston Churchill, who were habitual nap takers—we’re going to get creative. We should probably nap first, but we’ll press on.

  1. The Play Nap. Little kids really like it when Mommy plays with them, so get down on the floor and play. Drive some cars, dress some dolls, do a puzzle, and work yourself into a horizontal position on the floor. After ten or fifteen minutes of play, inform your child that your car or doll or yourself is tired and is going to sleep for a few minutes, but they should win the race or meet the prince or finish the puzzle while your character self is sleeping. Close your eyes and hope for the best. Even if you’re drooling, most kids are happy that your body is next to theirs and they will play over and around you while you snooze. As for keeping your nap short, that’s a no brainer: they’re your kids. When have they ever left you alone for more than ten minutes.
  2. The Episode Nap. Snuggle up on the sofa with your kids and put on an episode of a show they like. Lay your head back and close your eyes. The kids might wiggle and comment during the show, but you are resting and rest is good. Most kids will wake you up when it’s over to ask if they can watch another one. My husband has the Episode Nap perfected for Saturday afternoons. He lies on the floor with a pillow over his groin and falls asleep watching with our boys. When the show ends, he is invariably jumped upon (hence the pillow protection) and gets up ready for the rest of the day.

It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. Exodus 31:17 (NIV)

 

http://michaelhyatt.com/videos/the-value-of-naps-from-a-scientific-perspective?utm_source=Michael+Hyatt+Newsletter&utm_campaign=1cc5b87675-rssdaily2&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d1fa5823d7-1cc5b87675-251202785 The Value of Naps

 

Sing a Song With Saint Patrick

To the tune of Oh Danny Boy, lift your fork and belt this out with me:

image

 

Oh eat your greens, the greens, the greens are calling

From head to toe they do a body good.

The vitamins and nutrients are flowing.

Tis you, tis you, must eat and I must too.

 

But come ye back for more greens on your plate.

Some mustard greens, spinach, kale, and chard.

Cholesterol goes down, they help my arteries.

Oh leafy greens, Oh leafy greens, I love you so.

 

And if you eat your greens with all that fiber,

They help your colon clean out all the junk.

Greens help your bones because they’re full of calcium,

So kneel and thank our God for making greens.

 

And I shall eat my greens for their B vitamins

That turn to glucose; gives me energy.

Greens boost my vision health. Oh, greens are wonderful.

I’ll simply eat my greens until you come to me.

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)

Strengthen Your Core in the Kitchen

core-is-cookinWomen spend a lot of time in the kitchen. If we did core exercises every time we entered the kitchen, we’d be able to use our iron hard abs to tenderize meat. Whether you’re deciding what to cook for dinner, waiting for water to boil, or unloading groceries, a minute or two of core exercises here and there add up to better fitting pants.

Women’s Health has a good (and short) video showing four ab exercises we can do standing up. Replace those dumbbells with cans of beans, gallons of milk, or sacks of flour, and we’ll be cookin’ in the kitchen in more ways than one. 

March Ab-ness has begun, but it’s not too late to join in! Pick a goal and start today!

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

March Ab-ness 2017

It’s that time of year again! Trees are budding, basketball tournaments dominate sports news, and the multiple clothing layers that have hidden bodies from sunlight since mid-October are being stripped away one at a time as the temperature rises. We do not sweat t-shirt weather because we are participating in March Ab-ness and by the time we’re down to one layer, our core will be strong.

For those of you who are new to March Ab-ness, here’s how it works. Choose a core-strengthening goal for the month of March, do it, and see how great you feel and how much better your pants fit in April. It can be a certain number of crunches crunched, minutes spent planking, or even second sucking in your belly. (Sucking in is contracting the muscles and technically, that counts as exercise.)

coreMy goal this March is 3 minutes per day of ab exercises for a total of 93 minutes of core building. I find that having a daily goal and a grand monthly total helps keep me on track. If I miss a day here or there, I can make it up and still stay on par for the month. If three minutes sounds like unattainable agony for you, aim for one minute. Let’s be honest: for most of us, even ten seconds a day is an improvement and an ab-worthy goal.

core-fruitA bikini is not in my future, Katie, so why should I participate? March Ab-ness is not all about looks. It’s about strengthening your core. “Think of your core muscles as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Whether you’re hitting a tennis ball or mopping the floor, the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it.” Your ab muscles and back muscles work as a team; if one side weak, the other side will try to compensate which can lead to injury or pain. In fact, core strengthening exercises are often prescribed to relieve lower back pain.

core-snowmenSome more benefits of a strong core are better balance, better posture, and better performance in sports, chores, and the bedroom. That’s right, ladies, a strong core improves your tennis swing, your vacuuming, and your love-making. You can read more about the benefits HERE.

If you’re going to participate, consider leaving a comment below with your goal to encourage others (and me!) to make this March a core-changer.

 

The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. Exodus 15:2 NKJV

 

Images courtesy of: mixtapecomics.com (ab exercises-I love this picture, by the way…finally, someone else who exercises in baggy shorts!), bizarrocomics.com (snowmen), offthemark.com (fruit)

Fear the Hole, Not the Future

parable-talentsIn Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells a parable about three servants whose master entrusts them with a sum of money before going on a trip. When the master returns, one servant has invested the money and made a large profit, one has invested the money and made a small profit, and one servant has buried the money in a field and made no profit. The third servant claims he buried the money out of fear; he knows his master can be harsh, so he takes no chances. Investment, after all, is a risky business. What if he lost the money? What if he tried his best and his best wasn’t good enough?

Believe it or not, this passage reminds me of weight loss and improving our health. No, this passage is NOT, theologically speaking, about taking care of our bodies; it’s about the Kingdom of God. I’m borrowing the idea to make a point of my own. I repeat: this is not a theologically sound argument here; I’m plagiarizing my Savior to encourage you—and me—to get healthy.

There are different ways to go about getting healthy. Some ways promise big rewards and require big investments of time, money, or self control.  Some ways offer moderate return on a moderate investment. The last way is like a savings account in the bank; the profits aren’t dramatic, but when time has passed, you have something to show for your half hearted efforts. The worst thing we can do is be like the third servant: bury ourselves in fear and do nothing.

What if I try and it doesn’t work? What if I can’t do it? What if I never reach my goal? I’m afraid I’m a failure; what if I’m right?

not-excited-exerciseI can answer that for you. If you try and you never reach your goal, you’re still getting interest on your investment and you’re better off than being buried in a hole. The truth is that if you don’t try, if you don’t aim for a goal, if you don’t make an effort, you know exactly where you’ll be one, five, ten, or fifty years from now: in that hole. You won’t be thinner than you are now, and you won’t be healthier.

Every little change you turn into a healthy habit makes a HUGE impact on your health long term. It’s like putting $1,000 in the bank at 5% interest. Doesn’t sound like much, but after ten years you’ll have $1,600 and after fifty years you’ll have $11,000. All because you invested your money and didn’t hide it in a hole. Every glass of water you drink, every full night of sleep you sleep, every minute of exercise you do, and every vegetable you eat is you investing in your future: your future health, your future life, your future you. You can invest big, invest the minimum, or somewhere in the middle, but please, don’t stay buried in a hole.

holeDANGER! DANGER!! This metaphor will only take us so far, so please, please, PLEASE don’t read too much into this and think that God is a harsh master who will put you in jail (or even simply not like you) if you don’t make a “profit” of weight lost or health gained. Romans 5:8 says that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” and “greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Add them together and you get the truth that Christ loved us BEFORE he died for us, when we had nothing to offer him, not even obedience or faith, and certainly not healthy habits. All I’m saying is don’t let fear hold you back from changing your life. Only good can come of taking care of your body. Climb out of the hole and invest in yourself.

 

 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23 (NIV)

 

 

Images courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com (man digging), http://www.sharemyworldshow.com (not excited), http://www.haroldsplanet.com (hole)

Count, Count, Count Your Calories (Song)

Count, Count, Count Your Calories

(To the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

 

singing-womanCalories to count

Every day, each meal.

Calories, calories, calories, calories,

Day one I count with zeal!

 

Seven, eight days go by

Counting every food.

Calories, calories, calories, calories,

No longer in the mood.

 

Some foods’ counts are high.

Noodles, muffins too.

Hoagies and ice cream and peanuts, tortillas.

I didn’t have a clue.

 

Calories to burn

As I exercise.

Calories, calories, calories, calories,

Watch the number rise!

 

If I walk a mile,

Quickly as I please,

Calories, calories, calories, calories,

Burns an ounce of cheese.

 

row-row-row-your-boatCount, count, count your calories

If only for a week.

Teaches you, teaches you, teaches you, teaches you

Weight loss that you seek.

 

Sure have learned a lot

Counting calories.

Let me eat, let me eat, let me eat, let me eat,

Wisely choosing, please.

 

 

Images courtesy of Clipart Kid (woman singing), abcnotation.com (music notes)