When I get sick, I am a bit of a baby (or so I have been told). Admittedly, all I do is whine about it and ruminate on whatever it is that is ailing me. It is annoying to everyone around me; I am certain. Compared to others, my behavior is probably a bit more on the extreme side; I am trying to work on improving how I react to getting sick. When I’m ill, I tend to let responsibilities lag behind as all of my attention is focused on getting better. When I don’t physically feel well, everything seems worse than it is. I am less resilient emotionally and mentally.
You may not have the same extreme reaction to physical ailments that I do, but not feeling your best likely has some negative impact to you mentally and emotionally. Right now, you need a healthy body and mind. There is a balance that exists between your physical and mental health; each impacts the other. Let’s review some of the key aspects of maintaining our physical health.
A Proper Diet
Avoid a diet of booze and Twinkies. When you are on your own and your children are with your ex, it’s very easy to slip into poor eating habits. Fast-food meals are a too-easy and readily accessible option when you are in bachelor/bachelorette mode. You likely won’t want to make the effort to prepare elaborate meals for yourself, but with some preparation and forethought, you don’t have to go down the path to packing on the extra pounds eating meals from crappy fast-food restaurants.
Try to plan ahead. Using cookbooks and the internet, find some recipes that fit the following criteria, they are: nutritious, tasty, and kid-friendly. Plan to prepare enough servings for your children and yourself eat the first night, and include an extra serving that you will freeze. The meals you freeze will make quick and easy future meals; these meals will keep your from eating poorly during the times you’re in single-person mode. With your recipes chosen, get to the grocery store to buy all the necessary ingredients.
Some weeks, usually when I was alone on Sunday with little to do, I would prepare and freeze all of the recipes for the upcoming week with my children (using additional, separate containers for my single-serving leftovers). I found that doing this made for less rushing around after work, and more quality time spent with my children when they were with me. Other times, I would try to find recipes for meals that were fun to prepare with children. It’s up to you; your choice may depend on your schedule and the time you have available.
The following are a few recipes that my children and I really enjoy:
Basic Crepes (from JENNYC819 – Allrecipes.com)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
- Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.
Try substituting the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat or your favorite gluten-free flour. We will generally spoon low-fat vanilla yogurt onto our crepes along with a fresh fruit, then top with whipped cream. Some of the variations we have enjoyed in the past include:
- Apple Pie Crepes (diced apples cooked with brown sugar and cinnamon)
- Banana Walnut Crepes (cut banana slices with sprinkled walnut pieces)
- Peach Crepes (fresh, warmed peach slices)
Basic Crepes Recipe – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2016 Allrecipes.com
Grands!® Mini Chicken Pot Pies (from Pillsbury.com)
- 2 cups Green Giant™ frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
- 1 cup diced cooked chicken
- 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ refrigerated biscuits
- Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, combine vegetables, chicken and soup; mix well.
- Press each biscuit into 5 1/2-inch round. Place 1 round in each of 8 greased regular-size muffin cups. Firmly press in bottom and up side, forming 3/4-inch rim. Spoon a generous 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each. Pull edges of dough over filling toward center; pleat and pinch dough gently to hold in place.
- Bake at 375°F 20 to 22 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from pan.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2016 Pillsbury.com
All-Purpose Pork Shoulder (from FoodNetwork.com)
- 1 3 -to-4-pound boneless pork shoulder (or 4 1/2-pound bone-in pork shoulder)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Rinse the pork, place on a cutting board, pat dry with paper towels and rub in the salt and pepper. Set the pork in the bowl of a slow cooker, scatter the onion over the pork, sprinkle in the garlic and add the wine. Cook until the meat easily pulls apart with a fork, about 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Turn off the slow cooker and transfer the pork to a platter. Use two forks to shred the meat.
- If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can braise the pork shoulder in a 325 degrees F oven for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
What I love about this recipe is that there are always leftovers, and there are so many ways to prepare the pork once it’s cooked. You could add your favorite barbecue sauce and make pulled-pork sandwiches. Sprinkle with dried thyme and serve. For an Asian-style meal, toss the pork into a wok with some soy sauce and vegetables.
Recipe courtesy of Ten Dollar Dinners from Melissa d’Arabian for Food Network Magazine
I’m not an exercise nut. In fact, my favorite part of exercising is when I’m done. When the timer on the elliptical machine or treadmill reaches the endpoint for the workout, I’m done. There’s no way I’m continuing on one second longer than necessary. Screw you two minute “cool-down” timer; it’s not going to happen. If I can make the time to exercise, you can too (you know that you have to make the time, as you certainly won’t find the time).
All hate aside, in addition to an extra 30 pounds, exercise has probably thwarted off numerous illnesses, depression, and one-hundred panic attacks over the past seven years. It’s good for you. It makes you feel better. You need to feel good and be strong, especially during this time. Exercise will give you that.
Make the time to go take a walk, a jog, a dance class, or head to the gym. Whatever or wherever you prefer will work, just do it on a regular basis and track it against your calorie intake. Try to find something you like and get moving. There are new experiences and people out there waiting for you. Make a plan and do your best to stick with it. Regular exercise will benefit you far more ways than you can imagine.
Get Enough Sleep
The amount of sleep a person needs varies from one person to the next, but we all know that most adults require somewhere between six and eight hours of sleep each day. A good night of sleep can improve your mood, health, and restore your resiliency.
During and immediately after my divorce, a full night’s rest was a rarity. There were many nights when I would wake in the early morning hours stuck in thoughts, memories, and uncertainty. Too often, the thoughts, memories, and uncertainty would greet me again as soon as my head hit the pillow. Under the circumstances, intermittent bouts of insomnia and restlessness are to be expected. However, it’s not normal for it to continue for an extended period, so contact your doctor if your sleeplessness becomes troubling.