A Mom's Guide to Family Wellness

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One of my New Year's resolutions was to work on keeping my family well with a few new things that I could implement as the Mom of the family.  I have been cooking more and working on breaking some bad habits like eating out too much.  All has been going OK, but then two weeks ago my son came down with pneumonia and I had to launch into my Mama nurse mode to get him healed and back into his very busy teenage world.  So read on to see a couple of illness remedies that really worked well with my son.  He was back in action after six days and pneumonia can really drag on, so we were happy when the doctor listened to his lungs and gave us the all clear. 

Plus I've got overall wellness ideas for everyone in the family, including Mom who really has to work to stay healthy because when the mother goes down, it affects the entire family! 

When Illness Strikes -- Ideas for a Quicker Recovery

*Family friendly herbal tea -- I finally found one herbal tea that my kids will stomach and it also doesn't contain caffeine.  It is called Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea.  I added a little bit of raw organic honey and my son drank several cups each day as he recovered from the pneumonia.  Warm liquids can soothe a sore throat and alleviate congestion.  I also tried to add some lemon, but he didn't like that, so I was happy that he would at least drink this tea with a little honey. 

*Spoonful of honey -- One of my mom pals told me to give him a spoonful of honey to help calm a cough and it worked.  Honey is sweet, so kids will take this home remedy.  I read several studies that back up this theory, however never ever give honey to a child under one year of age because according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in rare cases it can cause infantile botulism.

*Walgreens Compact Personal Humidifier Ultrasonic Technology -- This small compact humidifier worked great in my son's room because it was small enough to stay out of his way and off of his crowded floor and it could be placed on his desk bedside, so I knew that it was really helping him as he slept.  He doesn't want the big bulky character humidifier he had as a younger kid.  So this works perfect for a teenager and is compact enough for travel as well.  I highly recommend this one that sells for $28.99 at Walgreens. 

*Good ol homemade chicken noodle soup.  It is so easy to pop open a can of chicken noodle soup, but take the time if you can to make a homemade one because using the broth from boiling the chicken is healing and you are making your family a fresh soup made with whole foods that didn't come canned with preservatives.  I recently read in a health article on AOL that the chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which helps to thin the mucus in the lungs, and the hot broth helps to keep nasal passages moist to prevent dehydration and fight inflammation in the throat. 

*It is also important to feed your child yogurt when they have to take antibiotics.  I tried to be sneaky and add fresh fruit and berries to plain nonfat yogurt.  My son couldn't be fooled, so I had to go back to giving him a sugary flavored brand, unfortunately, but it worked for my daughter.  It is worth trying, but either way give them yogurt to replace the healthy bacteria that the antibiotic also kills off. 

*Don't be afraid of missing school when needed -- Sometimes your kid has to stop everything to fully recover.  Our kids today are insanely busy with schoolwork and the many after school activities that today's children are involved in.  With my boy, we made a decision that everything had to come to a halt.  No school, hockey or golf for a week.  I called the school to discuss this so they knew why he would be out an entire week.  They were understanding and my son was able to complete a lot of his work online.  I really believe that keeping him home and canceling everything is the reason why the pneumonia was 100% cleared up within one week. 

Some Favorite Wellness Products for the Family 

Now that my family is well (knock on wood) here are a few favorite products that I recently found for other ailments that affect your people...

*For bruises - Boiron Arnicare Gel is an unscented non greasy paraben free ointment that works naturally with the body to relieve pain.  I like the homeopathic ingredient called arnica montana, which is made from a mountain daisy and helps to reduce the swelling, soreness and bruising that comes with having a busy family who sometimes get injured through sports, household injuries and more.  I always keep a tube on hand in my family first aid kit.  Boiron Arnica Gel is sold at Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Market locations for $6.99. 

*For dry skin -- Organic Doctor Manuka Honey Rescue Cream -- I like this cream because it is made with manuka healing honey and does not contain parabens, harsh preservatives or artificial colors.  Instead this cream boasts organic and natural ingredients that include aloe vera juice, rose oil, vitamin E, shea butter, beeswax and more.  Since we live in such a dry climate, one of us usually has a dry skin ailment like dry hands or itchy skin, so this has been working great and my daughter and I have super sensitive skin and it has worked well for us.  This sells for $15.99 at Vitamin World and Vitaminworld.com.

Wellness for Women

It is so easy to forget ourselves when we are busy moms caring for the rest of the family.  Here are a few things that I have done for myself that has resulted in a healthier me.  I am a much better mother (and wife) when I'm at my best.  Take a look at these ideas and try them for yourself and remember this simple acronym that spells out well woman to keep your overall health in check.  It seems so obvious, but it is words to live by....


Wine or whatever you like for fun with gal pals, in other words take time out for social time.

Open that water bottle and drink!  I keep water in my garage fridge for easy on the go access. 

Move....as in exercise.  Figure out what moves you to move and make that your exercise. 

Eat well.  I recently kicked my peanut M&M habit and replaced it with raw almonds. 

Night routine...floss and get to bed on time so you get your sleep.

When I follow those five guidelines for myself; relaxing time with friends, drinking lots of water daily, exercising, eating right and getting my sleep with a good bedtime routine, I feel better and people tell me that I look better, too.  If I cheat in one of those areas, it shows.  

Of the five ideas listed, I think exercising is the hardest one to start.  However after about a week of starting to work out, you starting wanting to go because you feel better, sleep better, notice improved skin and usually less illness, too.  Working out beefs up your immune system. 

For me, I found a gym that offers unique and healthy workouts with a super nice trainer who makes me do the work, but is very relaxed about it and I respond well to that.  The gym that I love is called Method 19 and is located in the Tempe/Chandler area at 9845 S. Priest Drive.  Part of what I love about this workout is that I do some of the stretching and exercises on the Vibe machine, which helps to evenly distribute the tension that the muscles experience so I'm not as sore the next day.  I like doing my planks on the Vibe instead of the floor.  My trainer, Bret Al-Imari gives me unique workouts like the Vertimax which is a lower body exercise that has me strapped to a weighted belt so that when I jump, I am increasing my lower body strength and my core at the same time.  Instead of the typical boring running on a treadmill, Bret has me skip, which is great and healthy cardio.  See the segment to see a couple of pictures that show some of these unique exercises.  For more information about Method 19 call Bret at 480-686-7047 or visit www.method19.com

Get better sleep -- Put yourself on a sleep schedule, like you do with your kids.  Assign yourself a bedtime and stick to it and try to wake at the same time on most days.  I have found that I need about 7 hours of sleep to have a good alert day.  I also found a pillow that has helped me to sleep better and reduced the instances of neck pain that I used to get from a bad night's sleep.  It is called the Proper Pillow and it was invented by a chiropractor, so maybe that is why I have noticed such an improvement in my neck comfort all day long after switching to this pillow.  The Proper Pillow is sold at www.properpillow.com. 

I hope I shared some ideas that can help you be well and feel great.  If you have any wellness suggestions, tell us about them in the comments section and be sure to check my blog at www.managedmoms.com for more health articles, family matters, recipes and more.  Here is to feeling well and being well as we move into Spring.