I love the relaxed days of summer. My family looks forward to the break in the school routine, the slower pace of our mornings and endless days of sunshine. Although life tends to be easy-going during this time of year, I emphasize sharing some healthy habits with my family too. As a mom of four daughters, I understand what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and even frustrated with a perceived lack of time for self-care. I have seen in my life as well as the lives of hundreds of moms that I’ve supported, when we don’t prioritize time to invest in our health it has a ripple effect on our kids.
There was a time in my life when I barked orders at my girls more often than I spoke with encouragement and love…when I reacted to small everyday inconveniences as if they were major catastrophes…when normal human habits caused my tolerance to crack!
Rather than nurturing my family members, I took it upon myself to manage them until we were all unhappy.
The surprising thing was I didn’t realize I needed to change for a long time. I was living as "Appears to Have-It-All Together Amanda" for years.
On the outside I looked the same as I do today…same brown hair, same body shape, same smile to greet you. I appeared to have it all together as the Parent Teacher Council President, the gymnastics team volunteer and the mom who hosted Halloween parties.
BUT on the inside I was feeling more and more frustrated, irritated, exhausted and starting to feel resentful that there was no time left for me.
It wasn’t until the external circumstances in my life starting reflecting my internal turmoil that I paid attention. My family’s life became very stressful when my daughter’s and husband’s health were dramatically impacted.
I woke up worried and anxious, bracing myself for another day of managing the unmanageable. Forget about living. Forget about smiling. Forget about counting blessings. And everyone in my family starting living the same way.
Finally, I realized all of my efforts to “do the right things” and take care of my family weren’t having the impact I wanted. Something needed to change.
I needed to invest in my own health and happiness. Once I shifted and started to feel energized, optimistic and patient this had a dramatic impact on my family. My daughter’s health transformed, she went from being on 4 different seizure medications to manage her anxiety to none, and my husband’s anxiety and lifelong allergies cleared up as well.
A large part of my journey to reconnect with myself and role model for my family how to live a truly Vibrant Life, included connecting to nature. Here are 3 ways to utilize nature and help support your family’s health this summer.
1. Walk barefoot as often as possible.
Walking barefoot is often called grounding or Earthing. It is one of the simplest ways to re-establish connection with nature. By placing our body in contact with the Earth’s natural surface charge, we absorb electrons with a negative charge, which provide tremendous balancing effects on our body. All human beings are bio-electrical beings, we are literally bundles of energy. Throughout our normal daily lives, we are constantly exposed to things that cause inflammation in our bodies such as diet, stress, exposure to chemicals, toxins in water, etc. By connecting physically to the Earth, we allow our body’s electrical balance to be restored and minimize inflammation. Some fun ways to connect with the Earth this summer are to walk through the grass barefoot, dig your feet in the sand at the beach, plant a garden, and climb in the trees with your kids.
2. Eat foods that contain folic acid.
Have you ever heard someone say they must have sweet blood, because Mosquitos love them? Mosquitos are attracted to carbon-dioxide, so when a person has a lower blood oxygen level, they typically are more attractive to mosquitos and other bugs. One way to improve your families’ health this summer, (and become less attractive to mosquitos) is to eat plenty of foods that contain folic acid. Foods with folic acid contain high levels of oxygen, so they help boost blood oxygen levels, which improves health and makes a person less attractive to bugs. When you think of Folic acid, think of foliage, or foods that are green in color. Dark Leafy greens such as spinach, swiss chard, kale, or romaine contain high amounts of folic acid. As well as other foods such as asparagus, celery, cucumbers, and lentils. Consider adding extra servings in smoothies, salads or as snacks to support your families’ health and stay clear of bugs!
3. Use Aloe Vera for hydration.
In addition to walking on the ground and eating healthy foods loaded with folic acid, the third strategy for connecting with nature as a way to boost your families’ health this summer is to take advantage of the hydrating effects of Aloe Vera. One of the most common uses of Aloe Vera is to apply it topically to your skin, especially after sun exposure. Aloe Vera is a wonderful preventative strategy for dry skin too. From trips to the pool and time spent outside in the sun, many of us experience dehydration during summer, so it’s helpful to start early. In addition, to applying it topically, it can be eaten as a great way to hydrate and cool your body internally. I like to purchase a large Aloe leaf from a local grocery store and filet the leaf. Next scoop out all of the clear, sticky liquid and save it in a container for future use. I add about 1 tablespoon of Aloe to my morning smoothie. The remaining leaves make a great skin moisturizer. Simply cut them into smaller pieces and save in the refrigerator for later. After your shower gently rub on your arms, legs or face for added moisture. [Editor's Note: We enjoy the refreshing Aloe H2O from Lily of the Desert.]
It took me a long time to prioritize slowing down to go for a barefoot stroll through the grass with my girls, prepare homemade fresh meals and take care of my body from the inside out, but once I did it transformed my family’s life. When you are a mom who values yourself, and lives by example, you are providing the best gift to your children so that they may learn how to live a Vibrant Life. This is your greatest source of strength and power as a woman and a mom or a wife too.
Amanda Hinman is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, author and Founder of Hinman Holistic Health Institute. She understands what it is like to feel frustrated, overwhelmed and guilty as a mom trying to raise happy and healthy kids. She’s supported hundreds of moms with her proven process to transform from frustrated and overwhelmed to confident and empowered moms with the tools and strategies to get their family in a good place so they can have the freedom to live their passion.
For more info visit www.hinmans.com and receive your free Vibrant Life Starter Kit today!