Living a Balanced Life

“Everything in moderation”

Have you ever been overwhelmed with choices?

With food, school, and activities, things can be stressful!

That is why is it SO important to keep things balanced.

 

Food 

If you’re having trouble deciding what to eat, look to this daily checklist for inspiration.

  • Protein (can be lean meat, eggs, beans, peas, nuts)
  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains (can be whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice)
  • Dairy (fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • Water

Have you checked off all the items on this list today?

If you don't like the examples, look online for more options!

 

School

School can be tiring, so it is especially important to find a good balance.

You can do this by getting enough sleep (9-11 hours!) and figuring out a system with your homework.

Here are a few tips:

  • Have a study routine—stick to the same time every day!
  • Work with your teacher—don't be afraid to ask for help
  • Take breaks every 10 to 20 minutes (eat a snack, drink some water, shake it out, and get back to it!)
  • Make a list of what needs to get done

 

Activities

While you may want to relax after a long school day, it actually benefits you to keep moving.

Exercising helps clear your mind and makes it easier to think and focus.

If you want to hang out with friends, you can all join something together! Ask your parents about signing up for something that interests you.

In addition, feel free to fill your schedule with non-athletic activities! Sing in a choir, act in a school play, take an art class—stretching your brain creatively is also important.

 

Start Living a Balanced Life Today!

See if any of these tricks help!

It may take a little while, but I promise you’ll find what works best for you.

 

We would love to hear from you. Share your stories on how you live a balanced life.

My Foggy Brain

“It’s clouding my brain”

Do you often feel confused or forgetful?

Do you usually have a lack of focus or clarity?

You may have brain fog.

 

What is brain fog?

People with brain fog usually experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Low energy
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Forgetfulness or trouble remembering information
  • Low motivation, feeling hopeless or depressed
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty exercising

Don't worry—if you are experiencing these symptoms, there are things you can do. But, although brain fog is common, it is not normal.  

So, when you’re feeling foggy or unfocused and are unable to think, you need to address the issue.

 

Possible Causes & Solutions

While the specific cause is unknown, there are many contributing factors associated with brain fog, such as:

Lack of sleep

o  Do your best to get 9-11 hours of sleep each night! If you exercise regularly, eat healthy, and limit electronics before bed, you should have an easier time falling asleep. A helpful tip is to go to sleep at the same time each night so that your body knows when it’s bedtime.

Too much sugar

o  Eating a lot of sugar sends your blood pressure up fast, and then crashing down. Stay away from sugary foods (every once in a while and for a special occasion is okay—everything in moderation!) and you will feel much better.

Poor diet

o  Be aware of what you eat throughout the day and how it can affect you. Eat enough protein (meat, dairy, fish, eggs, etc.) and healthy fats (avocados, butter, etc.)

o  Check my blog on healthy eating called, “Change Your Diet, Change Your World” for more information.

Lack of nutrition

o  To make sure you get the nutrition you need, take a multivitamin!

o  For more information, refer to my previous blog, “Change Your Diet, Change Your World”

Celiac Disease (when you eat gluten!)

o  Brain fog is actually a symptom people with Celiac Disease experience after they’ve eaten gluten. For those of you who don't know, Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease and those who have it cannot eat gluten.

Dehydration

Not enough exercise

o  If you don’t like athletics, you don't have to do any tiring activities to improve. Just get moving by taking a walk and recognize when you’ve been sitting for too long.

Chronic Stress

o  Meditate! It may sound silly, but it’ll have you feeling happier, smarter, and stronger throughout the day. A great app for meditation (I use it all the time!) is called Insight Timer. Find it on the app store!

o  If that doesn't work for you, look up Mind Body Relaxation Techniques. There are plenty online and maybe you’ll find one that helps you relax J

o  You can also exercise, write in a journal, read, spend time in nature, or do anything you love!

Allergies

o  If you have seasonal allergies, you know the toll they can take on your body. Because your body is working so hard to protect itself, it makes sense that it may not be as strong in other areas, like thinking. To cope with this, take allergy medication, stay clean, and do your best to stay away from things you’re allergic to.

o  It could also be any unknown allergy or sensitivity. For example, if you don't know you are lactose intolerant and eat dairy, you are likely to experience brain fog.

 

Takeaway

Just living a little healthier can make a huge difference on the way your brain functions. When you’re faced with difficult decisions, like having to choose between a treat or a healthy snack, going to sleep early or late, exercising or relaxing, or anything really, think about how your body will react.

You will feel better. We promise!

 

We would love to hear from you. Share your brain fog stories.

Starting the Day Off Strong: Take a Break for Breakfast

“The most important meal of the day”

Do you ever feel tired in the morning (even if you’ve gotten enough sleep)?

Do you ever find it almost impossible to engage in school?

Well… do you eat breakfast?

 

What’s the point?

You may be sick of people telling you to eat breakfast, but there really is a reason.

Think about it. We sleep for several hours at night (hopefully around 9-11 hours). That’s a lot of time to go without eating! That’s why it’s super important to break your fast and make some time for breakfast.

How is your body supposed to function properly without it? Breakfast gives your body energy to start a new day (and has other benefits as well!).

So, even if you don't feel like it or don't think you are hungry, remember that your body needs it.

 

What are the benefits?

Eating breakfast will help you perform better in the classroom and on the playground by helping with these skills:

-      Concentration

-      Problem solving

-      Eye-hand coordination

It will also raise your energy and your mood!

If you think that skipping breakfast is better for your weight: It actually has the opposite effect and will make you gain weight.

 

What should I eat for breakfast?

Eating a balanced breakfast is super important.

Try to include:

-      Carbohydrates

o  Gives immediate energy!

-      Protein

o  Gives energy after the carbs run out

-      Fiber

o  Fills you up, discourages hunger

Suggestions:

-      Whole-grain cereals, bagels and muffins are great options because you can take them to-go if needed.

-      Fruit is also always a good choice and can be added onto anything you choose to eat.

-      Low-fat or nonfat yogurt or milk are an easy, healthy choice.

Choose one thing from each bullet point to put together an awesome breakfast.

If you want to spice is up, fruit smoothies are super fun and healthy. There are tons of healthy recipes online. Check them out!

Or, if you’re in a rush, here are some of my go-to foods:

-      Cereal or fruit in a bag

-      Small bottle of milk

-      Granola bar

 

Takeaway

Be sure to eat breakfast every day—even if it means you need to wake up a few minutes earlier! I promise it’ll be worth it.

Remember to stick to healthy choices to keep your body running throughout the day. You’ll find it’ll be much easier to focus and to be successful in school.

 

We would love to hear from you. Share your stories on how you start off your day.

Tips and Tricks for Paying Attention

“Help I can’t focus!”

Do you have trouble sitting still?

Are you easily distracted?

Do you have a hard time staying focused?

 

We can help! 

Whether you’re a daydreamer, a fidgeter, or all of the above, learning to focus can be difficult.

It may seem impossible now, but it will get easier.

Developing this skill will make a huge difference in your everyday activities and will take you through school and life.

Day by day, you will get better.

So, we have put together a list of tricks to help you stay in focus!

 

You can do it!

1.  Exercise, exercise, exercise!!!

Many people don’t know this, but exercising is a great way to improve focus. Moving your body motivates your brain and helps you think and learn better!

Tip: Join a sports team, take a dance class, go on a walk, go bike riding, or do anything enjoyable to you that gets your body moving!

2.  Don't be afraid to take breaks.

Your brain can get tired after working too long, so make sure to come up for air every once in a while!

Tip: Get up, move around, get a drink, and eat a snack if you need one! No one can focus on an empty stomach. Try not to get distracted during your relaxation time!

3.  Turn off all electronics (unless needed for homework).

It’s really easy to get off track when you’re surrounded by so many distractions! Keep your focus on your current assignment and do your best to cut out all other possible disruptions.

Tip: Stay away from anything that may tempt you to lose focus (computers, phones, televisions, etc.). If someone near you is making noise or being distracting, move away from them!

4.  Change your diet!

Just eating healthy can make a world of difference. Eating the right foods can boost your productivity and make it easier to stay focused. Stick to a balanced diet and stay away from junk food.

Tip: Eat lots of fruit and vegetables! Never skip breakfast. You need to start your day off strong! Remember to drink lots of milk and try oatmeal, whole-grain cereal (like Cheerios!), and eggs!

5.  Get enough sleep.

Getting the right amount of sleep is key to being in focus. If you’re sleep deprived, your brain is too tired to think straight! Give yourself the rest you need to maintain enough energy to focus.

Tip: Try your best to get 9-11 hours of sleep each night. You’ll feel SO much better!

6.  Drink LOTS of water!

Staying hydrated is another important part of maintaining your focus. When you’re dehydrated, you’re likely to get headaches, have poor concentration, and have trouble with your short-term memory.

Tip: Carry a water bottle with you at all times throughout the day. Drink even when you’re not thirsty—you need it! 

 

We would love to hear from you. Share your stories on how you focus best.

 

The Benefits of Listening to Stories...

  • Allows me to practice paying attention, listening carefully, and remembering what was said
  • Helps me focus on the sounds of the words read without interruption
  • Provides me with a model for fluent reading
  • Guides me in the learning of punctuation, enunciation, and emphasis (which all help me understand the meaning of a sentence!)
  • Inspires my imagination as I bring the story to life in my mind

... Helps me become a focused learner