It’s Time to Re-Prioritize Your Health

by Nikky Manausa on January 24, 2010

A Star is Born

We enter this world as our parents’ number one priority.  Our whimpers and pleas are met.  We grow into toddlers and young children that believe the world revolves completely around us. 

The Star Falls… A Little Bit

When a sibling is born or school starts, immediately we are hit with a reality stick.  Contrary to what we previously thought, we are not the center of the universe. Some of us take this better than others.  Some of us try to build an empire, a fan club, or make “friends” just so that we look popular and important on social networking sites.

Then we become involved in a relationship and think that the universe has actually expanded so that the rest of the world revolves around us as a couple  (hence all the lavish weddings!  Hey, I had one!). 

“We’re Pregnant”

The cycle starts again, except this time we are the parent who is now making our child the number one priority.  Somewhere in the parenting rulebook it says, “Good parents give up everything for their child.” No more late night parties, the once extravagant vacations are now replaced with trips to grandma’s house, gone are the days of uninterrupted sleep, and just forget about ever watching any TV shows unless they are rated G (PG if you lead the risqué life).  At first you graciously accept this profound change in your life.  You want to be the best parent possible for this innocent being, and sacrifice is almost something that is worn like a badge of honor.

How Priorities Change

Throughout our life, our priorities change.  I have sketched a portrait of how I view priorities throughout the life-cycle.

Infant Priorities:

  1. Food
  2. Cuddle with parents
  3. Poop
  4. Sleep
  5. Play

Toddler Priorities:

  1. Food
  2. Cuddle with parents
  3. Play
  4. Poop
  5. Throw tantrums
  6. Sleep

Childhood Priorities:

  1. Food
  2. Prove parents wrong
  3. TV/Books
  4. Play
  5. Friends
  6. Sleep

Adolescent Priorities:

  1. Food
  2. Friends (including girl/boy friends)
  3. Argue with parents
  4. Sleep
  5. Extracurricular activities (the idea of a healthy life is introduced)
  6. School

Young Adult Priorities:

  1. Friends (including girl/boy friends)
  2. Alcohol
  3. Food
  4. School
  5. Job
  6. Health
  7. Parents

 Spousal Priorities:

  1. Spouse
  2. Money/Job
  3. Food
  4. Sleep
  5. Health
  6. Family
  7. Friends

Parental Priorities:

  1. Child
  2. Sleep
  3. Spouse
  4. Money
  5. Food
  6. Family
  7. Friends
  8. Health

Senior Priorities:

  1. Health/Recreation
  2. Spouse
  3. Money/Retirement
  4. Grandchildren/Family
  5. Sleep
  6. Friends
  7. Food

It’s Time to Make YOUR Health Your Number 1 Priority

As parents we struggle with our life’s priority list.  I know I feel guilty about the hours I spend working and thus feel any free time I have should certainly be designated to my children.  The problem is, our “me” time starts to diminish, and the more me time that escapes, the more we crave it.  The more we crave it, the more resentful we become.  The more resentful we become, the more unhappy our life feels.  The more unhappy we feel, the more unhappy our children are. 

I challenge you to re-prioritize your life and put your health first.  Don’t wait until you’re a “senior” and it is too late to reverse the effects of a life full of unhealthy choices.  The benefits of adapting a healthy lifestyle are endless.  This does not mean you ignore your child(ren) or spouse, or that you miss out on something important.  What it does mean is that you will enjoy the time you have with your family more because you will actually mentally BE with them.  If you are happy, your family will be happier.

Why Exercise Should Be #1

As I mentioned, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are endless.  However, there are some specific truths about people who exercise.  According to The Mayo Clinic, here are the 7 top reasons to become active:

  1. Exercising puts you in a better mood
  2. Exercise helps prevent some illnesses, including heart disease and certain cancers
  3. Exercise helps you to reach, and keep, a healthy weight
  4. Exercise actually gives you more energy
  5. Exercise helps you sleep sounder
  6. Exercise can improve your sex life
  7. Exercise can be fun (seriously!)

Reason #3 is vital in my opinion.  A healthy weight boils down to how you feel about yourself.   Your own self-image and esteem are important factors in raising a confident child(ren).  Your child will look for cues from you about how to feel about his or her own self.  If you are constantly talking  about how “fat” you are, what opinions do you think your child will have of you, of himself, or of other people?  A child is a product of his environment.  You are the one responsible for providing a healthy environment.

Take My One Month Challenge

Come on, I dare you!  Try to re-prioritize your health by making exercise #1 for 30 days. I promise you, and your family, will feel better for it. 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Darleen Tanita January 24, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I totally agree with you that health and exercise should should be a priority, especially because the opposite not only shorten your life, it also has the ability to significantly lessen your quality of life. Today the kids were running around outside and I was reading a book watching them. I put my book down and started racing with around the yard and playing tag, we had such a blast and we had a great blast of exercise. I figured I need to do this stuff now bc when I’m old I might not be able too ;)

Nikky Manausa January 24, 2010 at 9:57 pm

That’s exactly what I’m talking about Darleen! Keep it up!

Heather January 25, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I hear that it takes 28 days to form a habit….I’ll take the challenge and hopefully it will become a habit :)

Melissa Thibodeaux January 25, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Okay, I’m gonna figure out a way to get back with the program! If you can do it I certainly can…I have a lot more time than you. And I know your are right about how much better you feel when you exercise. Thanks for being such a great encourager!!!

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