Guest Post by Leah

When my children wake up in the morning, I sometimes chuckle to myself as I’m reminded of some old horse races I used to watch as a child. The whistle blows, the announcer proclaims, “And she’s OFF!”, and the remainder of the race is spent simply trying to keep up with what’s going on, and preparing for what’s to come around the next bend.

While doing my best to nourish precious little bodies, minds, and spirits each day, there are occasions when I can’t help but feel like I’m in a race of my own: a race to check off my to-do’s and compile my will-do’s before the day ends.

It is easy to become so absorbed by the responsibilities of being a joyful wife, mother, and homemaker that we neglect to adequately tend to our own personal health and well being. Often times, we may just dismiss the warning signs of stress as they appear, or even allow them to go unrecognized until physical symptoms begin to develop.

Did you know that too much stress can lead to digestive issues, depression, insomnia, and even skin conditions such as eczema? The list goes on and on, and let’s not forget the ill-effects it has on our family as well!

Photo credit

I will be the first to admit that I have frequently failed in the “cheerful disposition” department, especially after receiving an unpleasant health diagnosis last fall. Since this time, I have been on a mission to intentionally rebuild my body as the temple God created it to be, and renew my spirit within.

It has been a process requiring time and considerable effort, but the results have been well worth it. Most days, I can honestly say that I am feeling healthier, more joyful, and more at peace than ever before. Each step towards your own good health is a blessing, both to you and your entire family as well, and it’s much easier than you may think!

Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

Start by making a list of goals for yourself.

Divide these goals into 3 groups: physical, personal, and spiritual. Write down everything that comes to mind, and then start to number each category in the order of importance. Once you have everything laid out in front of you, you can begin to make a workable plan.

The next step is to look at your current routine and search for areas where you can squeeze in some personal time, even if it’s only five minutes. It’s easiest to try to establish one new habit at a time before moving to the next. Be patient, and start with the most important ones first!

Here are a few of the habits that continue to work for me:

Waking up at least an hour or so before my children. This has been the single most effective strategy I’ve found to nurture my craving for personal and spiritual growth. In the quiet morning hours I can journal and read uninterrupted, shower, and gear up for my day. Recently, I’ve also started using a great program called PraiseMoves which incorporates stretching, gentle exercise, and scripture meditation all in one, and I simply adore it. You can read my full review of PraiseMoves and enter a giveaway here.

Dedicating five minutes or so to myself in between my daily activities. This has been a simple way to focus on a few basic recurring needs, such as having a glass of water, or taking my vitamins.

Playing “copycat” when spending time with the kids. This is a great way to fit in some exercise. If they are running and jumping around, why not join them for a few minutes of fun? When they get thirsty, join them for a drink!

Designating a home spa time for myself once a week during my children’s nap time. This consists of taking a nice, relaxing bath, reading a good book, and then fussing over my hair and skin a bit more than usual. I find this regular time of self-pampering works wonders in my mood and disposition. I highly recommend that you try it!

Work on eliminating stress.

Besides exercise, another very helpful stress-reducing technique is called diaphragmatic breathing. The name may sound a bit daunting, but with a bit of practice, you will be filling your lungs with more oxygen than you have since you were a child, and letting go of loads of tension in the process! Here is a video tutorial to help you get started.

Meditating on God’s word is an extremely valuable tool in maintaining a more peaceful spirit as well. Find verses that are most helpful to you, especially ones that focus on His wonderful qualities. After all, our true identity is based on Him alone!

Enlist a few helpful allies.

If you don’t have a set schedule to follow each day, consider setting a timer to go off periodically as a reminder to stop and take a short break. Pray, have a cup of tea, and get refreshed! You may benefit from asking a friend to check with you weekly and hold you accountable. I personally do much better when I have someone else helping to keep me straight.

Another thing that I find helpful is to post little reminder notes throughout the house, and place scripture verses to meditate in practical locations such as beside the toilet or above the kitchen sink.

Above all, don’t forget that we can do ALL things through Him who gives us strength.

The important thing to remember is to trust him for the timing. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, so neither should we expect it of ourselves! Take the time to relax and care for your body and spirit today. Your family will thank you for it, and you’ll be on your way to feeling better than ever!

What are some of your ideas for putting better health into action?

Leah enjoys a simple life as wife and home schooling mama to 4- ages 9,3,2, and 1! Through the Lord’s strength and amazing grace she has overcome a past of drug addiction, approval addiction, and atheism, and now knows her true identity as a child of the King! Challenged by personal hardship, Leah started her blog, Dance And Be Glad, to share her heart and testimony of the power of God to bring joy, health, and healing back into our homes.

Top image by TriggerHappyDave