“Sweater weather” is here, but there’s more to the fall season than overhauling your family’s wardrobe by swapping bathing suits and sandals for warm jackets and boots. Though cleaning is typically associated with the spring, the fall season is synonymous with change and is an opportunity to clear out the excess and the negative from our lives, tune-up our engines and start fresh. As you notice the leaves starting to change color, the sun setting earlier and the days getting cooler, take a look at how your family’s schedules and routines may have transformed since the summer months as well. The fall season is a good time to evaluate, adjust or establish self-care strategies for yourself and your family to help everyone keep an even keel leading into the holiday season.
In the post Being There for Others Starts with Being There for Yourself, self-care is described as “your oxygen mask for everyday life and unpredictable moments alike.” It includes tending to basic needs that may sometimes fall by the wayside during busy times, such as eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. Self-care also includes coping skills and strategies to help you regroup and decompress. Good self-care can be challenge for many and is unique for everyone. Check out these ideas to get your entire family on a path to restoring, revitalizing and recharging your self-care routines this fall:
- Give Your Fitness Routine a Facelift. Exercise is an overlooked but important type of self-care. Our daily lives are often dictated by schedules and sometimes run on auto-pilot. When things pop up and throw us off course, workout time may be the first thing to go. But exercising isn’t merely a tool to promote physical health or just another item on the to-do list. Your workout can also serve as a daily escape from routine and challenges. If you can’t make it to the gym to take your usual run on the treadmill, move your run outdoors to enjoy the fall foliage, cooler temperatures and convenience that nature has to offer. While building your workout into your regular routine is ideal, switching it up will help you meet your goals without causing your fitness gains to plateau or your schedule to spin out of control. Whether you get in 30 minutes of cardio at the gym or on the trail, you’re still caring for your mental and physical strength. Check out other workouts you can try here.
- Make Good Zzz’s a Priority. As we adjust to winding the clocks back an hour, make an effort to help your family build better sleep habits. Creating a sleep-ready environment, following a consistent and relaxing sleep ritual, and avoiding stimulants before bedtime (such as sugar, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine) are all examples of healthy sleep habits that you and your family can incorporate into your self-care practices. A good night’s sleep is so vital, that even slight deprivation beyond the recommended seven to nine hours can negatively affect performance, memory, mood, judgment and healthy stress navigation. In fact, research demonstrates that after only one day without sleep, even young, healthy service members lose 25 percent of their ability to think clearly . For more sleep tips, check out Human Performance Resource Center’s Sleep Optimization section for strategies, apps, assessments and tools.
- Make Time for Play Time. Even though it is sometimes dismissed as unproductive, “recess” is just as essential for adults as it is for kids. Play is important for many aspects of our lives, boosting creativity, improving relationships and connection with others, fostering problem-solving skills, improving brain function and fueling emotional well-being. Rather than adding to your sensory overload from electronic gadgets, find unstructured activities that allow you to unplug while having fun and enjoying yourself. Fall provides the perfect backdrop for investing in some play time. Carve or paint a pumpkin with friends or family, jump in a pile of leaves, go apple-picking, attend a local fall festival, or go hiking.
- Practice Gratitude. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to share what you’re thankful for; start now to cultivate an attitude of gratitude throughout the year. New Small ACT Selfie signs with a seasonal twist are now available, providing you and your family with the opportunity to jot down what you’re grateful for, take a photo with the sign, and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing in the 1 Small ACT Photo Gallery on Flickr and Facebook. To keep the practice going, create a gratitude jar and place it in a high-traffic area in your home with small strips of paper and a pen or pencil nearby. Encourage everyone to write down one or two things for which they’re grateful and take a moment to reflect on what life would look like without those things. Whenever challenges arise or anyone needs a motivational boost, pull a strip from the jar.
The onset of the holiday season often sneaks up on us, placing increased demands on our time, wallets and relationships, as well as our physical and emotional health. This year, don’t let taking care of yourself fall by the wayside; make it a priority for your entire family so that you can each find simple and healthy ways to navigate stress, restore a sense of Controllability and enjoy all that the season has to offer. Practicing healthy self-care habits is one way to be there for yourself, your family and Every Sailor, Every Day.
Posted in Families, Holidays, Physical Fitness, self-care, Sleep
Tagged Controllability, exercise, family, fitness, gratitude, holidays, military families, military family appreciation month, Nutrition, physical fitness, play time, Principles of Resilience, resilience, self-care, sleep, Thanksgiving
Hey tough guys – you may bask in your ability to thrive under pressure, but are you addressing all the tools needed to help you lead a healthy and productive life? Maintaining mission readiness starts with a solid personal foundation. This June for Men’s Health Month, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Paul R. Ross, is chronicling his adventures as a “typical man” striving to live a completely healthy lifestyle. Even if your hands aren’t well manicured like Ross’s—or you don’t trade in your NWUs for argyle socks and skinny ties on the weekends—you’re sure to find some humor and motivation in his quest to strengthen his physical and psychological health. Proper nutrition and fitness, and paying a visit to your doctor regularly (which men are 24% less likely to do according to the Agency for Research and Healthcare Quality), are all a part of keeping your body in optimal shape. Whether you’re facing a challenging mission, personal stress, or are just trying to stay fit, remember that a healthy mind and a healthy body are your two greatest assets. Follow Mr. Ross’s successes and setbacks (they both build resilience!) to “Get Healthy Like a Man” on Navy Medicine Live. Read more here.
- Paul R. Ross
Get Healthy Like a Man By Paul R. Ross, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs
I’m a typical man. I get a monthly manicure. I lather, rinse and repeat. I even cry every time Patrick Swayze hoists up Jennifer Grey at the end of “Dirty Dancing” … err … I mean “Road House” – when he beats up all those guys. So maybe I’m not John Wayne. I may not even be John Stamos. My dad, who has more blue on his collar than in a clear day’s sky, says I have got writer’s hands – which is his way of letting me know that he still loves me even though I don’t know the difference between a claw hammer and ratchet set. I’m the guy whose wife gets sick and tired of sitting outside of dressing rooms as I parade around in my new skinny tie and plaid shirt combo, asking if these chinos make my thighs look big. But regardless of the lack of calluses on my soft hands and despite my complete lack of knowledge of how to fell a tree or skin a deer, there’s still one aspect of my life that can be as manly as the bearded lumberjack who mocks me from my paper towel packaging – my health. Throughout the month of June, Navy Medicine is celebrating Men’s Health Month by urging our male Sailors, Marines, civilians and family members to Get Healthy Like a Man. (And for our female population, we will be doing a similar campaign during October, which is Women’s Health Month). Over the next 30 days we will be featuring health and fitness tips and guidance on Navy Medicine’s Facebook and Twitter pages as well as our Navy Medicine Live blog. We’ve enlisted the help of some of the enterprise’s finest experts to provide how we should be working out, what we should be fueling our bodies with, and how to maintain our overall physical and mental health. To show that we are practicing what we preach, I will be adopting a completely healthy lifestyle throughout June. For your amusement education, I will be blogging about my experiences and challenges, but it will most likely be me complaining as I realize that Doritos Locos tacos aren’t part of my new diet. So even if you don’t want to Get Healthy Like a Man, you can tune in to our social media sites to find out how many miles it takes me to throw up my protein shake, or to see pictures of a grown man crying from side cramps while wearing designer gym shorts. A large portion of our audience has to perform a yearly Physical Readiness Test (PRT) because they wear a uniform to work every day and fitness is a key to Navy readiness. Although I turned in my Air Force blues a few years ago, I will be put through the Navy PRT at the beginning and the end of the month to track my progress. During the hardest 30 days of my life June, I will be doing a variety of activities including a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program class, a military obstacle course, a wounded warrior yoga class, as well as working out regularly and eating right. So, if you’ve been reluctant to get back to the gym or on a healthy eating plan, then Men’s Health Month is the perfect reason to get fit. My male friends, it’s time. It’s time to put down the remote. It’s time to rise up from your couch cushion crevice and brush the tortilla chip crumbs from your shirt. It’s time to get healthy … like a man.