I love the start of a new year. Actually, I look forward each day to the start of a new day! Part of what I offer as a Group Fitness Instructor is motivation. I like to not only push my class physically but mentally as well. Over the next two blog posts, I am going to share products, life style habits and tips that help me stay focused mentally and that push me physically.

If you are still reading, please consider joining myself about 30 other families committed to take on the 31 Day Family Fun Challenge. Each day I will post a new activity on my Facebook page and my Instagram feed. They will be relatively FREE and brief activities that can be done IN YOUR HOME! The purpose of the challenge is to help families strengthen their relationships with those in their home and to remind families that time spent together can be simple but that those moments are very meaningful and can be memorable!

Reading: Reading helps me relax before bed. I mainly read fiction but from time to time I will read about health and wellness too. Here are a few suggestions:

My list of fiction books posted on my “bookshelf” on Shelfari here.

The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin

  • I have read both books by this author and highly recommend them. I love that the focus isn’t on making ONE new year’s resolution but by cleaning up your act month by month. You set realistic and attainable goals each month. It’s so much more DOABLE and less daunting when you look at the overall picture.

It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig.

  • This is the most recent book I read (I actually listened to the audio). It makes so much sense to hear why we crave certain foods and how much we are affected by the changes in the food iindustry over the last 20 years. The Whole30 is a food challenge I have taken on twice now and continue to follow the simple CLEAN food standards 85-90% of the time in my diet. I love that the Whole30 is not looked at as a diet but as making healthy changes to your food choices. There is no counting calories or points. It is simple and straight forward.

Baths: I take a bath 1-2x a week. I use Epsom salts for a detoxing effect. You can read more about the benefits of Epsom salts here.

Fitness: I work out 4-5x a week on average. I do this for both the physical and mental benefits. I will go into detail about the physical components next week but mentally, working out balances me, provides me with patience and makes me feel like I can conquer the world (okay maybe not so much but I do have a positive outlook after a good workout!)

Essential Oils: This may be the new trend out there but our family is on board. We use Young Living Essential Oils. We diffuse them through out our home and make healing blends, applying them topically using a carrier oil like coconut oil. I find balance and serentiy in their scents! Find out more here at Young Living.

Tea: That time after dinner and before bed is my time for a nice hot cup of tea. My friend has given me some sweet suggestions for teas that can fill my sweet tooth so that I am not reaching for a late night snack (not part of the Whole30 clean eating people!) My favorites are the seasonal blends from Trader Joes. I am currently drinking the Harvest Blend as I write this.

Alone Time: Finding time to be by yourself can give you mental clarity. I find relief in driving alone when I work away from the house. I love this time to listen to podcasts, sing aloud to my favorite songs, catch up with a friend or to just have time to THINK. Finding some time each day to be alone helps me stay focused and have patience for my little ones. It could be 5 minutes to drink a cup of coffee before they all wake up or an hour trip to the gym. Remember what I mentioned before? Sometimes finding time to yourself takes some creative thinking 🙂

Date Nights: Once a month, at the very least. We swap with my friend who babysits our kids one night a month and I sit for her once a month. I am proud of Dave and I to sticking with this. It’s so important to make time for your marriage. I will never forget the advice of a therapist who said always have a family, personal and goal for your marriage. If getting out is not an option for you and your husband, check out all the fun and FREE date night ideas to do IN YOUR HOME over at the website Dating Divas.

Hobbies: Making time for my hobbies can be tricky. I fit my hobbies into my life not because I want to stay busy and seem like I do it all (because I totally DO NOT) but because they make me happy. Photography, digital scrapbooking and crafting are just a few hobbies I’ve picked up along the way.

Sleep: In bed by 10 pm at least 5 days a week. That’s no less than 8 hours of sleep. Again, with sleep I feel healthy and have patience. Lack of sleep does crazy things to me like headaches and canker sores! How do I sleep with three children? We value sleep and have made it a routine in our household and stick to early bedtimes and naps/quiet time as much as we can because I also believe in being flexible.

Spirituality: Whether it’s meditation in yoga practice, time spent in services or volunteering at our church or simply reflecting at home (usually by reading great articles or quotes) I find my faith brings me mental peace and clarity.

Acceptance: I practice loving and accepting myself for who I am, finding happiness in what I have and not in what I don’t have.

What are some ways that you find mental clarity and practice mental strength?


Maria shares the following information from personal experiences and always suggest you to consult your primary care physician before starting a new exercise routine or before taking any sort of dietary supplements.