Have you ever been in survival mode?
Maybe when you just had a baby, or there was an illness in the family. Maybe there was a crazy week at work.
I think we all end up in survival mode at some point (several times!) in life.
Survival mode is when it gets easy to eat cereal 3 times a day. We might start buying our bread again instead of making it at home. The laundry piles up. The layer of crumbs on the floor thickens. The kids are stir-crazy from maaaaaaybe a little too much TV.
I've been there a million times, and I'm there right now! I never would have guessed that being away from my house for three days would shake my routine up the way it has. It's certainly not my first time in survival mode and I'm grateful to realize that I've learned a lot about maintaining a healthy lifestyle… even when life is crazy.
It's so easy to slip into eating processed garbage when things get hectic, but it's not worth it! It will only make you and the rest of your family feel like crap and screw things up even more. There are a couple ways you can simplify healthy eating and the one you choose will depend on where you're at right now.
If you are not in survival mode right now, and are just reading this post to stash away the knowledge for the future, you should start stashing meals in your freezer. It's easy. Just make double of whatever you're doing for dinner for a few nights and pop the leftovers in the freezer. When a busy night rolls around, you can pull it out to heat + eat.
If you are in survival mode, don't worry: there are actually a lot of convenience options available now that are completely wholesome and nourishing. These foods are just READY to eat as soon as you buy them! A few favorites:
- Food for Life bread is usually found in the freezer section of the “health” aisle – you'll know how that translates in your grocery store. These breads are EXCELLENT. They have a sprouted version that I love and some awesome tortillas, including a gluten-free version.
- Hemp hearts – these yummy little seeds are so nutritious, and it's really easy to sprinkle them on salads, cereals, and yogurt to upgrade it to superfood status.
- Wild-caught salmon. It's so rich in healthy fats and protein and there's endless ways to build a meal around it. Throw it in a soup to health-it-up, on a salad, or make a sandwich. Easy. Patagonia Provisions salmon is one brand I love – it's sustainably harvested wild-caught salmon that comes in packets perfect for a family of 3. (Yeah, I need two!)
- TeeChia cereals. So if you're going to go with cereal for meals, this is a good brand to go with. It's all natural and has a ton of super grains, with dried berries and nuts or seeds, depending on the flavor you get. So good!
And not everything from scratch is time consuming:
- Yogurt. Probiotics are your friend right now! And it's just so easy – it's already ready to go, or you can add fruit, nuts, seeds, or grains to bulk it up and make it more of a meal.
- Lentils. I loooooove lentils. You can make them with rice super quick – no soaking required.
- Soak oats: Put oats, water, a dollop of yogurt in a covered bowl on your counter before you go to bed. Breakfast is done!
Don't get sucked into eating out every night while this is going on. You'll save money by just buying the healthy “convenience” stuff. And you'll feel so much better when you get through the insane season.
If you're in survival mode, it's safe to say you're probably stressed. Your immune system needs babying right now to keep you well. Good nutrition is the key to that, but supplements can fill in the gaps.
- Nordic naturals has an omega supplement that helps the body respond to stress in a healthy way. Athletes take it – it helps your brain, your heart, and your immune system.
- A good multivitamin. I take Opti-women, which has an antioxidant blend as well as whole-food sources of nutrients. Again – filling in the gaps.
Let Some Things Go
You need to do a certain amount of nothing in order to remain physically and mentally healthy. It really is okay if the dishes pile up a bit or if your child's face goes unwashed for a while after dinner. AT ALL COSTS, find 20 minutes somewhere to just sit and do nothing. Your sanity is at stake!
Clean the Basics
When I don't have time to keep the whole house clean, I try to just keep the living room floor picked up (mostly so I don't go crazy from the visual clutter), the bathroom wiped down, clothes clean (forget folded), and the kitchen straight. The kitchen is the hardest for me, but we haven't gotten food poisoning to date.
The point is, don't go moving the refrigerator around or anything like that right now.
Ask for Help!
Nobody can do it all, all the time! It's okay to ask for help. I am blessed with an awesome mom AND mama-in-law who are always willing to come watch my kids. They usually get really crazy and wash some dishes and fold some clothes while they're here. I'm spoiled rotten! Do you have family nearby that you can reach out to? Another mom with older kids who need service opportunities? 😉 Just ask, and try to return the favor when you can.
Sometimes getting help might even just be hiring someone to come clean your house for a couple hours or mow the lawn. Do what you have to do!
Have you ever been in survival mode? How have you made it through?