Walk/Run for a Cause #bebetter52

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It’s that time of year again to celebrate all the wonderful women who brought life into the world. Whether you are a mother or just appreciate the strong women in your life, Mother’s Day is an important and special time. It is especially significant for us at the Be Better Movement because of our passion for maternal health. Fostering a world where all pregnant women have access to the healthcare they need for a safe pregnancy and delivery is our vision and the reason for our organization’s inception. This is why we raise money for Every Mother Counts, a non-profit that aims to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother around the world. This week’s challenge serves as a reminder that all your hard work and determination pays off, not only in your own lives, but in the lives of mothers who desperately need access to adequate care. After all, what better week to refocus on our mission and to share the love with mothers everywhere?

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to walk for a cause and there are three ways to do this. Each option can be done independently or better yet, together.

First option: Walk with the app Charity Miles.

The app is totally free to download and enables you to raise money for a variety of causes through simply bringing your phone on a walk. The longer you walk, the more the program donates. Once the app is downloaded, simply scroll down until you see Every Mother Counts, select it, and start moving! This is not only a great way to up our exercise for the week and to increase support for an incredible organization, but also to give us an opportunity to reflect on the amazing mothers in our lives, our memories with them, and the attributes and qualities we most appreciate about them. We acknowledge that some of our 52ers may not have the capabilities to download an app with a smartphone, and that is totally okay!

A picture of my own mother at my baby shower. Three generations of women present in this photo (one just still in the belly).

A picture of my own mother at my baby shower. Three generations of women present in this photo (one just still in the belly).

Second option: Join the Run to Believe Virtual Run on May 11th.

On May 11th, women around the nation will come together virtually to walk or run in the 2nd Annual Run to Believe virtual run. This race is donating 100% of proceeds to Every Mother Counts. All you have to do is register at More Miles Race and then grab your running shoes and head out anytime and anywhere on May 11th. Next, post a photo on social media in your virtual race bib using #RunToBelieveKNT, #RunTeamEMC and #bebetter52. These hashtags will allow you to connect to other runners and walkers nationwide.

Third option: Report your completed #bebetter52 challenge.

By reporting your completed challenge, extra money will be donated. Imagine all the promised donations for Every Mother Counts if you join the virtual race while using Charity Apps and reporting the challenge complete after the race.

We hope that this week, while running and walking, you take time to reflect on the power of mothers.  We encourage everyone to express gratitude to the mothers you know and love, even if that mother is yourself. We are excited to see what we can raise for a cause about which we feel such tremendous passion.

Meal Planning #bebetter52

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Sometimes the hardest thing to do after getting home from a long day is convincing yourself to make a thoughtful, healthy dinner. Instead, the temptation might be to order take-out or throw something in the microwave. Even though these options might be faster and easier, over time take-out is expensive and microwave meals are not as healthy. But don’t fear, if you are willing to put in the leg work up front, another way to make sure you’re receiving the nutrients during your busy days is available. That is why this #bebetter52 challenge is meal planning!

This week’s challenge impacts your health and your budget. Spending time to plan your meals once for the week makes grocery shopping thoughtful and efficient. This week’s challenge is to find a time to sit down and select your dinners for the week. Next, write down all the needed ingredients and go shopping. We promise it will help you manage your time better, save you money, avoid unhealthy options, and make shopping easier.

Although this might seem like an overwhelming #bebetter52 challenge, we want you to DO your best. Don’t worry if one day you spontaneously decide to go out to eat or simply do not feel like tackling dinner. We want you to enjoy this process.  Meal planning is based around you and your needs, so do whatever works for your lifestyle. Ultimately, we want meal planning to positively impact your daily routine so that you don’t have to worry about the infamous “what am I going to make for dinner?”

Meal Planning Steps:

Decide on your meals: Keep them simple and choose meals that share similar ingredients. It can help to use a guide or a planner to stay organized. If you are a subscriber to the Be Better Box, this is the perfect opportunity to use your Ruff House meal planner to list your meals!

Go grocery shopping: When going to the grocery store with weekly meal planning in mind, you can write out exactly what you need to make the meals. This may lessen your time in the store when you know what you’re looking for. You won’t buy those extra items that sit forgotten in the fridge and then end up rotten.  When you buy tomatoes, you know on Thursday you are going to have time to make that marinara sauce, and then on Friday when you won’t be home until late, you can heat up the leftovers.

Prep Food: When prepping food, make it easier by looking ahead at what you can cook or chop at once. For example, cook the chicken you are going to use for the next two nights. Chop all the vegetables for the next four days. Below are some helpful tips for those just beginning their food prep journey.

Basic Meal Prep Tips:

Don’t think recipes, think food categories. For some reason when I look up recipes and see all the ingredients needed, I feel overwhelmed. Also, I end up buying random spices I’ll probably never use again in other dishes. So it makes sense to think of food categories instead. For example, dinner will include a protein, vegetable, healthy fat, and spices and seasonings you have in your cupboard.

Cook bulk lean meats. I Instant-Pot a whole bunch of chicken to add to eggs in the morning, salads for lunch, entrees for dinner.

Prep Salad dressing for the week. Salad dressing is SOOOOO easy to make. My new favorite salad dressing is ½ a lemon, big spoonful of Trader Joe’s Garlic Spread, and Olive Oil.

Boil Hard Boil Eggs for the week for quick, healthy breakfasts on the go.

Cut up healthy veggies and fruit for snacks. I do about three day’s worth, and around Wednesday do another round. Set aside a sheet pan worth of vegetables to roast in the oven for dinner paired with a protein or to top on lunch salads.

Pre-pack snack bags the night before. This can include healthier snacks to give to your children, instead of grabbing a bag of Goldfish on the way out the door.


In the Box:

Ruff House Art Meal Planner

This weekly meal planner is the perfect way to keep organized and to plan your meals. Each page features a perforated, tear-off shopping list to grab and head to the store! The covers are hand-letterpressed, printed the old fashioned way, one at a time, on their vintage printing press. The meal planners are designed, printed and packaged in the company’s Lawrence, Kansas, studio.

Reduce Plastic Waste #bebetter52

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Happy Earth Day!

Whether environmental issues top your list of concerns for our future or not, we have all heard something about the less-than-satisfactory condition of our planet. If you have ever set out to do research on current environmental issues, you know it can feel like a wormhole of complex problems with limited solutions. Many of us, quite frankly, choose not to look too deeply into these topics because of how powerless we feel about the bleak narrative surrounding the future of our planet. However, the Be Better Movement is all about taking small steps to improve our lives and the world we live in, so why should we treat the environment any differently? This week is all about recognizing the impact we can make as individuals by taking a simple action which can make a huge difference for the planet.

Plastic is everywhere, and nearly 300 million tons of plastic is thrown away annually by Americans, half of which is for single use. This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to reduce your plastic waste by finding ways to eliminate single-use plastic items. Notice all the times you grab for a ziplock bag at home or produce bags from the grocery store and quickly throw them away. Every time you replace a single-use plastic item with a reusable replacement, you are making a difference.

The next time a grocery cashier asks you whether you want paper or plastic, hopefully after this week’s challenge, you will respond “neither” because you have a reusable bag. By keeping a few cloth bags in your car and carrying them with you to the grocery store, you can decrease the number of plastic and paper bags in circulation. Simply using a cloth bag can help keep nature clean and safe for animals.

As mentioned, plastic has negative, long-lasting effects on our environment. The average American goes through six disposable shopping bags a week. Maybe that number sounds miniscule, but if you multiply that by our current U.S. population and the 52 weeks in a year, the number starts to look scary. According to ReuseThisBag.com, lightweight plastic bags often end up flying away from landfills, only to land in trees and oceans. Approximately 1 million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea creatures die each year after ingesting plastic bags which block their digestive tracts. Let’s start this week to lower our plastic and paper bag use and keep the earth and its creatures happy!

In the Box: The Traveling Bee Shop Wax Wrap (Etsy)

Beeswax wraps are an eco-friendly substitution to plastic wrap and baggies! Beeswax is naturally antibacterial and water resistant. Every one of the wraps is made by hand from 100% cotton, organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, and pine tree resin, making them compostable and biodegradable!

Proper Posture #bebetter52

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Sitting, standing, walking, driving, all actions we do in our daily routine.  But are we thinking about their effects on our body? More specifically, about how we’re positioning our bodies as we go through our day. Back pain isn’t a stranger to anyone after a long day or carrying in big bags of groceries. However, there are a few things we can do to better our wellness while doing everyday activities. That’s why this week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to focus on our posture while sitting and standing. To begin, choose an activity, one that will allow you to focus on your posture: eating, driving, or doing the dishes are ones we recommend. We want you to pay attention to what your body is telling you about how you’re sitting and standing.

You may be asking yourself, “What is the right way to make sure I have good posture?”  Don’t worry, the American Chiropractic Association has a few tips to make sure we are benefitting our bodies the proper way this week.

Sitting Posture:

  1. Keep your feet on the floor (if they don’t reach, then use a footrest).

  2. DO NOT CROSS YOUR LEGS and keep your ankles in front of your knees.

  3. Allow a gap between the back of your knees and your seat.

  4. Check that your knees are at or below the level of your hips.

  5. Relax your shoulders and let your forearms stay parallel to the ground.

  6. Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.

  7. If available, use a backrest support for your mid and lower back.

Standing Posture:

  1. Bear your weight on the balls of your feet.

  2. Keep your knees slightly bent.

  3. See that your feet are shoulder width apart.

  4. Let your arms hang naturally by your side.

  5. Stand straight and tall with shoulders pulled back.

  6. Tuck in your stomach.

  7. Keep your head level with your shoulders; DO NOT push it forward, backward, side to side, etc.

  8. If standing for a long time, try shifting your weight from toes to heel or foot to foot.

Seems pretty simple, right? There are many long term benefits for your back by being aware of the way you are positioning your bodies. Having proper posture makes sure the stress is distributed evenly between your joints and muscles, which means you don’t get sore since nothing is under intense pressure. Over time, the outcome of having continual bad posture is pain, and it may already be affecting your everyday life. Southern California Orthopedic Institute tells us that even the way we adjust the seat in our cars may be causing us trouble without our even knowing it!  Sitting too far away from the steering wheel may actually be causing an imbalance, putting stress on our lower backs. Something so simple may be putting too much strain on our bodies.

That’s why we want to challenge you this week to be aware of your posture and to focus on making sure you’re doing it properly. We suggest picking an activity you know you will do, and paying close attention to how you’re sitting or standing. Maybe watching television or driving your car is a time without too many distractions. You may be surprised once you discover how incorrectly you’ve been sitting or standing all these years. Our bodies are important, and a healthy body is a happy one!

Spring Cleaning #bebetter52

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“Tidy house, tidy mind.” It’s safe to say we all have piles of papers, letters, or general clutter on our desks. What about the “catch-all” drawer in the kitchen were we put things we don’t quite know where to put anywhere else? Although we say we’ll go through that infamous junk drawer one day, somehow it’s on the bottom of our to-do lists, and we never get around to it. This week’s #bebetter52 challenge wants to help you conquer the little messes with a new approach to spring cleaning.

First, we do not want or expect you to do a complete overhaul of your home. Instead, we want you to clean or organize just one portion of the mess that has been bothering you for awhile, the one you keep staring at, promising to tackle tomorrow. These little piles, drawers, whatever it may be, are only a portion of the clutter, but you may be surprised at how great you feel after conquering these smaller battles.

According to Psychology Today, there is a stress that comes along with the messes we create. A few ways it does this are by distracting us from what our attention should be on, telling our brains that our work is never over, thereby causing us to feel guilty.  I’m not organized enough. I can’t clean fast enough. Why can’t I be like so-and-so who seems to be on top of everything? Clutter may be doing more damage to your self-esteem than just making it harder to find your favorite jeans in the middle of the pile.

Here are a few tips to help defeat some of these little messes in our lives:

  • Create designated spaces for frequently used items to make sure they’re easy to find when needed. When you take something from that space, put it back once you’re done using it.

  • While cleaning, if you find something you don’t use or need, consider throwing it out or donating it. You will be pleasantly surprised how much space you’ll have when you start getting rid of things you don’t use anymore.

  • Have fun! Play music or listen to your favorite podcast or audio book. Cleaning is self- care, too, and doesn’t always need to be a chore. Enjoy it!

Again, focus on the little messes instead of the more overwhelming tasks. The impact of cleaning up smaller areas of clutter will add up overtime. We hope you are surprised at how much better you feel after you do!