Category Archives: Just For Today

Just For Today: Fit Some Play In Your Day!

photo: Anirudh Koul

 

I’ve had a busy six weeks and blogging got away from me! I’m back now, though, and hopefully I won’t be away that long again. You know how it is when there’s something you want to get to, but there always seems to be one more thing you need to do before you can get there? That has been me. I kept meaning to get back to the blog, but one more thing kept arising that kept me from it.

But while I was away, I still thought about the blog a lot, and I thought about some topics I wanted to cover. One topic that I think I haven’t touched on much that definitely adds to your quality of life is PLAY!

We all know the importance of physical activity, and there are efforts like the NFL’s Play 60, which is a campaign to encourage kids to be active for at least 60 minutes per day. But what about play activities that aren’t necessarily active, but simply give you pure joy? They’re just as important.

When you spend time doing things you enjoy, it improves your quality of life. Engaging in play activities also lowers your stress level, increases your ability to deal with stress, boosts your optimism and immune system, and makes you happier!

So what can you do for play if you want some down time and don’t necessarily want to spend your playtime doing high-energy physical activity? The possibilities are endless. Think back to what you enjoyed doing as a kid. What was your thing? A musical instrument? Board games? Playing with dolls? Having a tea party?

Or maybe you have cultivated new interests as an adult – you might enjoy crossword puzzles, video gaming, or making funny videos of your pets. There are all sorts of things you can do to play. Brainstorm ideas by taking just a minute to think about what relaxes you and what gives you joy. Where those two things intersect is probably where you will find some great play ideas.

 

You may want to integrate your play time with your family time. This is a great way to spend some time together, learn what interests your kids, and maybe even let them teach you something new.

But if your idea of a good time is playing by yourself, that’s good too. Here’s how I’ve been spending my play time lately:

I bought this puzzle on a whim after seeing a gorgeous wood puzzle at an art fair. My husband has joined in the puzzling too, and there have been a couple of occasions where we were on our way out the door, got sidetracked by the puzzle, and missed out completely on getting to our destination! It’s time well spent together, though, so I don’t mind. πŸ™‚

My Just For Today challenge for you is to spend a little time playing. That might be something active or not, it might be with someone else or alone, it might be for 15 minutes or an hour. Maybe even replace those couple hours you usually spend in front of the TV and use it for something that is truly enjoyable to you instead.

Regardless of what you choose to do, spend a little time playing and pay attention to how you feel when you’re doing it. That feeling alone will probably be enough to make sure your Just For Today becomes a regular habit. Have fun!

 

Just For Today: Swap One Drink For A Glass Of Water

photo: Jau Kay

 

Coffee has a lot of caffeine, juice has a lot of calories, soda has a lot of sugar. But they’re all fine to consume – in moderation. The important thing to remember is that you also want to make sure you’re getting enough water.

The Institute of Medicine determined that men should drink about 100 ounces of water per day, and women should drink about 75 ounces each day. To picture that, think of a two-liter bottle of soda. One two-liter bottle is about 75 ounces, so women need one of those, and men need about one and a half.

How much water do you think you drink in an average day? Is it enough? If not, my Just For Today challenge for you is to swap out just one of your drinks in the course of the day for a glass of water. If you usually have orange juice for breakfast, have a glass of water instead. If you normally like a diet coke with lunch, switch it – just once – with a glass of water.

I know it’s not as sweet or maybe even as satisfying as what you normally drink, but water is important. Every system in your body depends on water – to flush toxins, carry nutrients, to build muscle, to digest food, lubricate your joints, and on and on and on!

photo: TalayehS

Will just one glass of water on one day make a huge impact on your overall health? Probably not – but it’s a good place to start! After you try this Just For Today, you might start to see other times in your day when water is the better choice for you.

I keep a 32 ounce refillable water bottle on my desk and sip from it all day long. Actually, I carry it with me everywhere – around the house, when I’m out running errands, even at the movies. The other day I asked my husband if he could wash it for me while he did dishes, and he said, “Sure, if I can just get it away from you long enough!” I started out just trying to increase my intake, and now it’s a habit.

So switch out your drink Just For Today! You’ll save some calories, nourish your body, and probably feel better too!

Just For Today: Sign Up For A Healthy Newsletter

photo: Thomas Hawk

 

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that simple email reminders to choose healthier habits actually has an impact on the health choices a person makes each day. It may sound crazy, but the short emails that made easy suggestions to eat more healthfully or boost physical activity had a significant effect on the recipients’ behavior.

People that were receiving emails about physical activity increased their exercise by one hour per week, and those who were reminded to eat more fruits and vegetables increased their intake by about 1/3 of a cup per day. One of the senior research scientists from the study, Barbara Sternfeld, suggested that the emails serve as “quick alerts [that] remind your brain of the goals you’ve set for yourself. So instead of standing around talking to a co-worker for 10 minutes, you may decide to take a lap around the parking lot and back.”

So my Just For Today challenge for you is to sign up for a healthy newsletter that will serve as a little reminder about your health-related goals!

photo: striatic

 

If you want to learn more about healthy eating and choosing the best foods, Shape magazine has a great newsletter called “SHAPE Your Diet” that I highly recommend. The weekly newsletter has a variety of articles about eating well, healthy recipes, and food news.

If you’re looking for some exercise and fitness motivation, Jillian Michaels has an awesome newsletter with fitness tips and new workout ideas that’s delivered five days per week. You also might like Men’s Health magazine’s “Exercise of the Week” newsletter, especially if you tend to get in exercise ruts or get easily bored with the same routines.

I think the same theory – that daily reminders really make a difference – could also apply to other areas of your life besides physical fitness. If you want to get better at being financially fit, you might like stretcher.com’s Dollar Stretcher Tips newsletter that’s delivered twice each week and contains tips on saving money and time on a variety of expenses.

Email newsletters are really just gentle reminders. When you get reminded each day of your goals – and get new ideas on how you can achieve them – you’re more likely to keep thinking about them and also act on them. So Just For Today, sign up for one – or two! If you have some favorite newsletters, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Just For Today: Do One Thing You’ve Been Putting Off

 

What’s the one thing you’ve been putting off that you really need to cross off your To Do list? Making a doctor appointment? Getting the oil changed? Registering for a class?

As you know, the more things that crowd your brain, the more “clutter” you have, and the less clearly you are able to see the things that are really important.

So my Just For Today challenge for you is to do one thing on your To Do list that you’ve been putting off too long. Just one thing! It doesn’t have to be anything major. It might be something you can do in a minute or in one phone call. Whatever it is, use today’s Just For Today challenge as your motivation to finally get it done!

 

Just last weekend I FINALLY put all my flowers in planters on my deck. It’s almost the end of June! And I bought those flowers Memorial Day weekend! I’d had a pretty busy couple of weeks, both at work and after hours, but every time I walked by those darn flowers, I kept thinking, “I have got to get those planted,” as they looked back at me all wilty and begging for new soil.

When I finally did plant the flowers, I’m not sure if I got more satisfaction out of knowing how pretty the deck was going to look, or just knowing I wouldn’t have to look at the flowers waiting to be planted anymore. Believe me, once those things were in their new pots, I definitely felt some emotional clutter clear out of my brain! For two weeks it felt like something was nagging me, and now I was free of the nag.

So think about something that you have been needing to get done, something that you keep ignoring in the hopes it will go away, and get it done today! You’ll be glad you did!

Just For Today: Compliment Yourself!

 

How you talk to yourself is very important, and it can be the key to your self-esteem. Regardless of the messages you received from others while growing up, and regardless of what you hear from others in your life now, what’s most important is how you feel about yourself.

You can insulate yourself from the criticism of others by taking good care of your own self-image.

So my Just For Today challenge for you is to Compliment Yourself! And not just once! πŸ™‚ You can set an alert on your phone for every hour, and when it goes off – compliment yourself! Or you can plan to compliment yourself every time you go by a mirror, or before and after each meal, or whatever intervals you think you can remember.

What You’ll Accomplish

It may sound too simple to work, but the reality is that the more you crowd your brain with positive thoughts about yourself, the more you push out negative ones. And, the more you bolster yourself, the more resistant you are to self-doubt and also to the criticisms of others.

It doesn’t matter what the compliment is. It’s the act itself that matters. When you give yourself a compliment, you are actively examining your strengths, which can increase both your self-esteem and self-confidence. Over the course of the day, you’ll realize your focus is on your strengths and positive traits, and you won’t be spending time dwelling on the things you like less about yourself.

You’ll get other benefits from self-complimenting too. For one thing, your day will be punctuated with little self-confidence boosts, you will find yourself complimenting other people more (making them feel good about themselves), and you will probably become more positive because you have shifted your center of attention to noticing positive things.

You might even find that you stand up a little straighter, become more confident, and attract more positive energy your way. Those are a lot of benefits from a few acts requiring little effort, wouldn’t you say? Give it a try. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Self-Compliments – Where To Start

Your self-compliments can be big or small, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to say something momentous each time.

Big Compliments

I love my eyes/smile/freckles – or anything else you love about physical yourself.

I am beautiful inside and out.

I’m a great conversationalist, even with people I don’t know.

The Little Things Count!

I love my laugh.

I did a great job getting everyone to school and work on time today.

I’m a better golfer than any of my golfing buddies.

I showed interminable patience with that telemarketer today!

That was the best meal I cooked all week!

Fun Compliments

My hair looks so shiny today!

I tell the best jokes.

These shoes make my calves look awesome!

I rock at trivia/horseshoes/darts/poker.

I hope you’ll have fun giving yourself compliments. You don’t need to commit to doing them every day. But, Just For Today, give yourself a bunch of self-compliments and see how you feel!

 

 

Just For Today: Go For A Walk After Dinner

When was the last time you went for a walk? It will come as no surprise to you that walking can help with (among other things) weight loss.

But did you know there was a recent Harvard study that showed that a brisk, one-hour walk daily reduced by half any genetic predisposition to obesity? That means even if your parents gave you the genes that make it more likely you’ll be overweight, you can greatly reduce that risk by going for regular walks.

But even if you’re not predisposed to obesity, and even if you don’t want to commit to a one-hour fast-paced walk every night of the week, that’s okay.

You can reap plenty of benefits from just one walk. Going for a walk can help clear your mind, cause your body to release endorphins (the feel-good hormones), and lower your stress and anxiety – just from one walk!

So my Just For Today challenge for you is to go for a walk after dinner. Get your kids or spouse to go with you too – it’s a great way to reconnect and catch up on the day’s events.

You might even start a new habit, which leads to even more health benefits like reducing your risk for heart disease and cancer, lowering your cholesterol, increasing cardiovascular health, and weight loss.

Have fun, enjoy the spring weather before it gets too hot, andΒ  take in the sights and sounds of your neighborhood – you’ll be healthier for it!

 

Just For Today: Put Flowers On Your Desk To Boost Your Mood

 

I always have fresh flowers on my kitchen table, and when I have a few extra stems, I’ll put them on my desk or nightstand too. I love seeing them when I walk through the room, but what I didn’t know is that there is scientific evidence that shows flowers have the power to boost your mood too!

A study out of Harvard last year confirmed that flowers are a real pick-me-up for people who do not consider themselves “morning people.” The study participants said although they generally feel least positive in the early hours, they reported being happier and more energetic after looking at flowers first thing in the morning!

Flowers will help boost your mood any time of the day – not just in the morning. A recent study from Rutgers showed that the mere presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive manner.

So, your Just For Today health challenge is to get some flowers – even just one stem – and put them in a vase on your desk. You don’t need anything extravagant – bring one in from the yard if you’d like. Put the flowers on your desk or wherever you spend the bulk of the day and see if the mere sight (and smell!) of them will cheer you up. I bet it will!

 

Just For Today: Eat A Balanced Breakfast

 

I’m experimenting with a new blog series called, “Just For Today.” I’m going to use it to suggest one small change you can make, just for one day, that can be a little health boost for you.

I talk a lot about big changes you might make in your lifestyle, or significant changes you can make to help your relationships, and all sorts of other things that might require a bit of commitment. But there’s also something to be said for one small change, even if it’s just for one day. I think it’ll be fun, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

Today I’m going to suggest that, Just For Today, you eat a balanced breakfast.

You’ve undoubtedly heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Here’s why:

Energy – Think about it…you haven’t eaten since dinner last night. A healthy breakfast refuels your body, allowing you to increase your physical activity during the day.

Focus – Studies have shown that regular breakfast increases concentration, attention span, and mental focus.

Mood – Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps you maintain a positive mental state. Skipped meals can cause your serotonin levels to drop, making your mood a little less predictable. If you’re like me and you’ve ever felt grouchy when you were hungry, you know what I mean!

Balancing Your Breakfast

It’s not enough to just grab anything for breakfast, though.

Protein helps you maintain and replace the body’s tissues, and also helps you stay full longer.

Whole grain carbohydrates are a great source of fiber and also provide you with energy.

Fruits and vegetables deliver antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

So when you balance your breakfast (even if it’s Just For Today), here’s what I would suggest:

If you usually just have cereal and milk for breakfast, add some fruit on top.

If you tend to opt for toast and coffee on the run, add a hard-boiled egg for some protein.

If you sometimes just grab a banana, try slicing it instead and putting it on some whole grain toast with a little peanut butter or almond butter.

You get the idea! Just for today, eat a balanced breakfast that includes protein, whole grain carbohydrates, and fruits (or vegetables if you’re making an omelet). And if you’ve already had breakfast today…do it tomorrow! πŸ™‚