Archives for August 2016

Running With Kids

Jeff Galloway is back sharing his running wisdom, and I am passing it on to you today. I was excited to read this article since I now have a toddler to LOVES to run (in particular… away from me.) She is even entered to run in her very first runDisney kids race next April, and currently loves when we go for walks around the block—she runs a lot of the way! Check out this research Jeff shares about kids and running, and his tips for making it an enjoyable experience for everyone.

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Kids think and learn better when they exercise regularly, according to research.  Whether you run with your child, a  niece/nephew/grandchild, or a neighborhood kid, you can make a positive impact  on a young life.
Why  is running with kids such a great thing to do? Most kids like to do things with an adult.  By running comfortably with a child you can positively imprint exercise as a natural and expected part of the daily routine, that is fun.
What does  running do for kids–better than other sports? Kids who run tend to have better self esteem, better grades, and are happier.  Unlike other sports, that require specific skills, any kid can run and walk.  When running, you have one of the best opportunity for quality time.  The most powerful reward for most kids is the special attention an adult gives to a child during and after a run.

How do I know  when a child is ready to run?  Running is a natural activity.  Unfortunately, many kids have have had bad experiences because they have run until they were exhaused.  Tell the child that you really want to go on a walk/run with him or her.  Offer a simple reward (a special snack such as juice, a toy).  Insert walk breaks every minute, before the child huffs and puffs, and stop before the child is tired.

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For kids ages 6 and under:
How long should I let a  kid this age run? Usually between 10 and 20 seconds at first.
How much of our ‘run’ should be spent  walking? Walk for a minute or two between run segments.
What should I be careful of?  Most kids can run farther and faster than they should at this age.  Make sure the segments are short so that there is no huffing and puffing.  Make each session playful and stop before the child is really tired.
Ages 7 to 9:
How long should I  let a kid run?  Start with about a quarter of a mile(one lap around a track).  Increase by 1-2 tenths of a mile each run until you reach one mile.  For kids that really enjoy running, you could gradually increase the distance to 3.5 miles (one day a week) and enter a 5K.  Be sure to keep the pace slow during the first mile of the first race, with walk breaks every 1-2 minutes.
What is a good run/walk ratio for a kid this  age? Jog for 10-20 seconds/walk for 40-50 seconds.  After two weeks, if this seems “too easy”, increase the amount of running each week by 5 seconds and decrease the walking by 5 seconds until you are using 30 seconds/30 seconds.  For the kids that want more, gradually increase to one min/one min, then 2 min run while inserting 1 min walk.  As kids want to run more, you can increase the running but walk when the child starts to huff and puff.
What should I be careful of (are they prone to going to hard and  crashing and burning?) If you sense that the kid is struggling, walk more.  This usually improves attitude and conserves energy for a strong finish.  It’s OK to run a little faster at the end but don’t run all-out.  It is OK to let the child “win” each run.
Ages 10 to 12:
How long? Beginner kids that are out of shape should follow the suggestion for ages 7-9 at first.  For moderately active 10-12 year olds (soccer players, etc.) start with about half a mile.  Increase by about a quarter of a mile on each run until you reach 1.5 to 2 miles—or whatever distance seems to feel comfortable but satisfying.
What’s a good run/walk ratio for this age  group?  Kids that are just starting, should follow the suggestion for  ages 7-9.  Kids that have been running (soccer, etc) can jog for 10-20 seconds each minute during a 10 minute warmup and find the ratio that avoids huffing and puffing: 1-1, 2 min  run/1min walk, then 3-1, and only 4-1 if a kid has no problem with this.
What should I be aware of (are they actually likely to kick my  butt?)  Many 10 to 12 year olds can run very fast at the beginning, and burn out later.  Keep the pace slow for the first third of the run.
Is this age child old enough to run a 10-K?  Most kids who gradually build mileage to 6.5 miles, once a week, will have no problem with a 10K if you help them start slowly, with walk breaks every2- 3 minutes or so.
How is  it possible to get a real workout in when running with a  kid? Don’t worry about your workout, try to make the child’s experience a good one.  Many adult mentors run their workouts before or after running with the child athlete.
What’s the best way to  bring a child along on my runs—even if she can’t keep up on her own  two feet?  Slow down and walk more.  Playing games allows for the distance to go by quickly.  If the child is laughing and running you have been a successful coach.

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Register now –www.jeffgalloway131.com

QOTD: Do your kids like to run? have they ever done a race before?

Southwestern Egg Muffins

Hey friends! Today I wanted to share something a little different. I haven’t done a recipe in awhile, but this one I really wanted to share. I have been counting macros, and realized I have a hard time getting in protein. I don’t like to eat eggs by themselves, so I finally found an easy way to get in a little more protein by making egg muffins.

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They are super simple to make, here are the ingredients:

– 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese (shredded)

– One carton of egg whites

-One bag of Birds Eye protein southwest blend from the freezer aisle

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DIRECTIONS:

-spray bottom of a 12 cup muffin tin

-preheat oven to 350

-warm up protein blend in the microwave for 4 minutes

– spoon the blend into the cups evenly

-distribute cheese evenly into the 12 cups

-fill the cups with a carton of egg whites, use the whole carton

-Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

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You could really use any veggie blend from the freezer aisle at the grocery store with this recipe, but I prefer the southwest blend because it has more protein, and it has a little kick to it which makes the muffin not taste to much like eggs.

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I can eat two or three egg muffins at a time, so it’s a great protein source! Also, you can put them in a bag and freeze them, and pop in the microwave for a minute or so for an on the go breakfast with staying power. Here are the nutrition facts per muffin:

Calories: 83

Protein: 7.1 grams

Fat: 1.5 grams

Carbs: 9.5 grams

Enjoy! I would love to hear if you decide to make these, or what other blends/veggies you use instead.

QOTD: Are you a big egg eater? What is your go to breakfast food?

5 Tips for Working Out Without Breaking the Bank

When you think of getting fit and healthy, you don’t have to also see lots of dollar signs. There are ways to be healthy, get fit, and reach your goals without breaking the bank. Check out my 5 tips below:
5 tips for working out without breaking the bank

1.) Really do some thinking about your gym membership.

If you go to your gym 4 times a week and use multiple pieces of equipment, the pool, the childcare, etc. then you should probably stick with it. But, if you go to the gym 3 times a month, or only use it for the treadmill, then maybe you should consider alternative means of exercise. If you only go to the gym for a treadmill, consider buying one for your home. You can find used ones on craigslist, or at a second hand fitness equipment store. If  you lift lighter hand weights, maybe buy a set or two of lighter and heavier weights and a resistance band. If you love yoga but cringe at the thought of forking over a high amount for a month at a studio, maybe buy a mat and download some free yoga videos from the internet.

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2.) Set a budget for races and make finding good/cheaper ones a game.

Let’s face it, racing, especially destination racing, can be pricey! One option is to set a yearly or quarterly racing budget that includes not just entry fees but also what you would spend at a hotel or on transportation, food etc. as well. A lot of times, you can find fun races that aren’t publicized on the big race websites if you do a little digging (hello Google!)  Trying to fit races into your budget is like putting together a puzzle, and can be fun if you are a planner like me. Also, try to find things to help your budget, like run a destination race close to where your aunt lives, and ask if you can spend the night at her house to save money on a hotel. Yes, you may end up sleeping on her couch with a cat on your face, but better than forking out 150+ dollars for a hotel room. Maybe you can find a friend online running the same race as you and share a hotel, or a cab from the airport. Every little bit helps!

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3.) Think of things around your house that could be considered cross training

Look around you, there are plenty of things you could probably do or that NEED to be done that would work up a sweat and be considered cross training. Some things to do are work in the flowerbeds pulling weeds, scrubbing wood floors on your hands and knees, raking leaves, wiping down baseboards, painting your dining room, scrubbing the shelves in your refrigerator (no…I am not listing all the things I need to do…yeah…of course not). Not only will you work up a sweat, but your house will look awesome! Put on some music and maybe add in some lunges or squats as you go.

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Painting a fence counts, too!

4.) Be Social and know your city.

If you did a little research, you may find a hiking trail you didn’t know about, or a walking club for moms that meets every Tuesday morning. Being in the know will help you to make decisions that are right for you and your family. Do you know an elderly lady with a big dog that needs some exercise? Volunteer your time to get to know her and her dog and then take it (the dog, not the old lady) for a run. Introduce yourself to the neighbor who just moved in and ask if they want to go on a walk around downtown with you and you can point out things like the best stores, restaurants, etc. as you go to help them learn their new town. Getting exercise but also helping out someone else makes you feel good. Bonus points!

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I found a trail!

5.) Don’t spend a fortune on fitness gear.

This one is hard for me because I love cute running gear! Wait for sales, or free shipping for online products. Sometimes you can find affiliates who are offering discounts on products you love online. Buy the model that is not in production anymore and they are usually cheaper (for shoes). I also take good care of my fitness gear. I wash it every time I sweat in it (totally can’t imagine re wearing sweaty workout gear. ew.) I hang dry everything, and it lasts a long time. Also, when people ask what to get me for Christmas/Birthday, I tell them running gear,  or a running store gift card.

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QOTD: What is your best fitness on a budget tip?

5 Things Friday XXII

We made it to Friday! I know my blogging has been a little erratic the last few weeks and I apologize. I have a good reason, hopefully I will be able to tell you all soon! For now, enjoy my 5 things for Friday.

1.) Hair Help: Confession. I haven’t gotten my hair cut in about a year. I was determined to not “give in” to the frustrating and oppressive heat that usually causes me to chop my hair off in the summer. While I am happy to say I made it through the worst of it, my hair has seen better days. It is so thick, that on my first day back at boot camp on Monday, even with two ponytail holders in my hair, my ponytail kept sliding down the side of my head due to the weight. I had had enough. Even though I was sweaty and disgusting, I drove straight to the salon, got a trim, and asked her to thin the heck out of my hair. When she was done, it looked like a small dog was laying on the mat. I wish I would have taken a picture. Anyway, I feel much lighter and better now that I got some hair help. Anyone else have to get their hair thinned?

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2.) Macros: My trainer at the gym convinced me to try out counting macros. I am usually NOT a fan of counting calories etc, it’s way too restrictive and time consuming for me and I would rather just go by how I feel, but after my last weigh in/body fat test last week I left feeling frustrated. I have lost 3 pounds since May, but my muscle mass has somehow gone done and my body fat is slightly elevated. I’m going to start lifting heavier, and she suggested I just try out counting macros for a bit so I’m giving it a whirl. What I have learned in two days is that I need to eat less fats and carbs but more protein, which I am finding difficult!

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3.) Olympic Emotions: Wow. This week was such a heart breaker for my USA volleyball girls April and Kerri. I really thought they would get that gold. It’s so tough to lose any game, but I can’t imagine losing such a huge match that you have worked so hard for. However, I’m super happy for my gymnastics girls, and proud of how our marathon girls represented last weekend. So inspiring!

4.) Flood Relief: The national news media has done a TERRIBLE job of covering the flooding and devastation in south Louisiana just 45 minutes from where I grew up. Y’all, it’s bad. Over 40,000 homes destroyed, 11 people have died, over 10,000 people in shelters. So many have lost everything. I have had a couple people ask how they can help. If you are local, there are so many places taking up items. Tomorrow, our local Lowe’s is having a “fill a truck” drive all day, and our gym is collecting things like diapers, toiletries, and wipes. My church is also collecting every day, and sending out several relief teams on day trips if anyone is interested in going. Samaritan’s Purse (they do the Christmas child shoeboxes that I love), are sending disaster relief teams and supplies, and you can donate to them online here. Do a google search or go to nola.com to see pictures and other ways you can help.

5.) Happy Birthday: Emma Kate’s birthday is September 24th, but we have decided to have her party early, on Labor Day weekend. We will be having a Frozen themed party at our yogurt shop (get it, frozen yogurt? haha). We are going to keep it fairly simple, just a fun time to hang out and eat some snacks and yogurt with friends. Emma Kate loves princess Elsa so this should be fun!

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QOTD: Any frozen party ideas? Thoughts on the Olympics so far? Do you count macros?

Disney Trip Itinerary

As I have mentioned here before, we are taking a family trip to WDW at the end of October. My parents recently bought DVC, and the contract finally went through in the spring, so we planned our first trip for when the weather cools off just a touch. Having never been to Disney with a toddler, I am very aware that my “plans” may not end up happening, but I still wanted to (loosely) plan things so we at least have some sort of structure. As far as rides etc. at the parks, there is nothing that I just HAVE to do, except for the new Frozen ride and Soarin. This trip is about Emma Kate and what she wants to do. With that being said, here are our tentative plans.

Tuesday Oct. 25:

Depart Louisiana at nap time/after lunch/ Drive halfway, stop for the night in Tallahassee.

Wednesday Oct 26:

Drive the other four or so hours to Disney, arrive at Saratoga Springs around lunch. Check into 2 bedroom villa. Either go to the pool or Disney Springs after nap. Dinner at Rainforest Café at Disney Springs.

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Thursday Oct 27:

Magic Kingdom in the morning. Back to Saratoga for lunch and nap. Back to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon for early Crystal Palace dinner (3:30 was the only reservation open). We will stay until around 6:30, then back to the resort for bedtime.

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Friday Oct 28:

Hollywood Studios in the morning. Animal Kingdom in the afternoon after nap. Mom and dad go to dinner alone at Narcoossees, Bobby and I watch Emma Kate. Not sure yet what we are going to do. Maybe Disney Springs to play in the water fountains and eat at Earl of Sandwich.

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Saturday Oct 29:

Magic Kingdom in the morning. After nap, come back to that area for Chef Mickey’s brunch, then more Magic Kingdom in the afternoon if Emma Kate is hanging in there. Bobby and I go to dinner alone that night, and my mom and dad watch Emma Kate. We will probably just go to EPCOT and eat around the Food and Wine festival.

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Sunday Oct 30:

EPCOT in the morning, nap at the resort then pool/grill/playground in the afternoon. We have some local friends coming over to BBQ. Disney Springs in the evening for ice cream.

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Monday Oct 31:

Get up and drive back to Louisiana. womp womp.

Thoughts on my plan? A lot of the afternoons are kind of open planning. We may end up back at parks certain days, and others we may not. We will just have to see what EK ends up enjoying the most. I am getting excited! We can make out fastpass+ reservations at the end of he month!

QOTD: Thoughts on my plan? What am I leaving out?

5 Ways to Tame Your Kid Clutter, While Teaching Them Valuable Lessons

I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest areas of clutter to tame in my house has to do with the tiny dictator that runs our house. Our almost two year old somehow has more stuff than my husband and I combined! Her birthday is coming up soon, so I know that will bring even more stuff. I decided to do a major overhaul of her things recently, and here are some tips that not only helped me, but I’m hoping are teaching her some valuable life lessons as well.

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1.) Get rid of a toy before bringing a new one in: We have a rule where if we buy our daughter a bigger toy (not talking about Happy Meal toys here), that she has to get rid of something before the new toy comes in the house. Right now she is too young to understand, so I just pick something for her. Luckily since she is changing so quickly right now, she “outgrows” a lot of her toys so it’s easy to choose something that needs to go. As she gets older I plan to let her do the picking.

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2.) Don’t buy toys every time you go in the store: I know a lot of parents use toys as a reward for good behavior while shopping, or to keep a kid quiet in the cart for a few minutes. However, in my opinion, this is a bad habit that leads to an expectation every time you go into a store. Sure, there are times Emma Kate gets a special toy or treat, but certainly not every time. We avoid the toy aisle, and I make sure she has things that she already owns to keep her occupied while I shop. Not only does this teach a good lesson, but it keeps random toys you weren’t expecting on having from popping up all over your house from impulse buys.

3.) Find a cause and donate: There are some great organizations out there that will take gently used toys, furniture, books, etc. There may be a family in need in your community that would love to have your child’s toys. Check with a local church or daycare, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Again, this is a great way to teach your kids about families less fortunate than yours, and also get rid of some of the toys they no longer play with.

4.) Have a home for everything: This applies for everything in my house and I discuss it in my book, but I have found when I don’t have a specific “home” for something, I end up just throwing it wherever and that leads to clutter. We use lots of bins and baskets as well as shelves for Emma Kate’s toys. If something doesn’t fit or have a home, we either get rid of things to make room, or create another bin/basket so the toy doesn’t just get lumped in with random things.

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5.) Teach you kids to enjoy experiences and not things: Emma Kate is still a little young to understand this concept, but we would much rather do something fun with her than buy her things. She loves simple things like the splash pad and the playground at Chick-fil-A. These things are entertaining for hours and don’t clutter up your house. Our kids really just want our time and attention anyway, so save yourself some money as well as space in your home, and expose your kids to new experiences. Those memories will last forever!

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QOTD: What is your best tip for taming kid clutter?

runDisney Star Wars Runners!

Guess what? Yesterday, I registered myself, Bobby AND Emma Kate for the runDisney Star Wars races! Yes, we haven’t even taken Emma Kate yet to Disney (she is going in October) and we are already planning a trip back in April for Star Wars!

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Bobby and I decided to just run the half marathon (my parents will be there to watch EK) and then she will do the kids race on Saturday. We have had our fill of challenges from Goofy to Dopey and me doing Glass Slipper, that we are fine just doing one race this time so we have more time (an sleep! and money!) on this trip.

I will say, I had quite the scare yesterday when I was trying to register the family. I registered myself just fine, but when I went to register EK and Bobby, it said they were already registered! I panicked, but after being reassured by some folks on Facebook, was told to wait a few minutes and try again in a different browser. I did, and was finally able to get all three conformations.

I have done many, many runDisney races, and offer lots of advice in my runDisney section, but the kids races will be a FIRST for me. So, I need all your best tips to make this the best possible experience for Emma Kate. Fire away, I need your help!

QOTD: Are you doing Star Wars? Any kids races advice for me?

Difference Makers

Everyone wants their life to matter. We all want to think that we are doing some sort of good in the world, and the one day when we are long gone, someone will remember us and think fondly for our achievements.

This summer at church, we have been going through a series called Difference Makers. We have had pastors from all over the world come and speak, and it has been an amazing learning experience. Yesterday was the final day, and the speaker did an amazing job of wrapping up the series and bringing the main points home.

He talked about the mustard seed, and how small but mighty it is. I had never seen a full grown mustard plant/tree, but wow they can be HUGE! When you think about how small a tiny mustard seed is, it is quite a feat that it can grow to be so large. Just like that little seed, if we can make one tiny difference in someone’s life, we may never know the huge impact it can have on others.

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Over the years I have said time and time again that with this blog, I am to inspire, encourage, and motivate. It may seem so small and insignificant, but if it helps someone become a better version of themselves, then it has all been worth it to me. That is also what prompted me to write my book, in hopes that I could spread my message even further.

Don’t ever think that you are too small, too average, to insignificant to matter in someone else’s life. You may never see tangible evidence of your work in this life, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying or that what you are doing doesn’t matter. Some days are harder than others, but what I have is hope. Hope that we can together make the world a better place. Hope that I can somehow make someone’s life easier, more full, or a better place. Hope that leads others to smile, and that it will become contagious. Some days life is just plain hard, but you, me, all of us, we CAN make a difference, but we have to actually START.

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So, how can you make a difference, today, with something as tiny as a mustard seed. Can you speak a kind word to a bully at your workplace? Can you pray for someone who has wronged you, bring a meal to a single mom and her family, or pay for someone’s lunch? It may seem simple to you, but it could truly mean the world. All you have to do is take a step of faith and get a little uncomfortable, then take the next step and the next. I encourage you today to think of a way you can make a small difference in someone’s life, and then DO IT! I truly believe if it is something you are supposed to do, that God will give you the strength, courage, and words.

The world could use more difference makers, so let’s all join ranks and do it together. Who knows who you will end up helping, touching, or saving.

QOTD: When is the last time you felt called to do something nice for someone? A simple act? What happened after that?

5 Things Friday XXI

1.) runDisney Star Wars: Next Tuesday at noon EST is the official opening of general registration for the Star Wars dark side race weekend in Orlando next April! Bobby is a HUGE Star Wars fan, and we have yet to do this race, so I am excited to say we will be signing up! Anyone else?

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2.) Book Buddies: A LOT of people helped me spread the word about my book, and I just wanted to give some of them a huge shout out today! Be sure to stop by their blog or social media pages! Amy, Melissa, Lindsey, Lisa, Jenny, Amanda, Rachel. (If I forgot you let me know! There were so many helpful people!)

3.) Kids kitchen: I want to get Emma Kate a kids kitchen for her birthday. Thoughts on the best ones? I really don’t want to spend $400 either. Just something simple but fun for her, and I would love your recommendations?

4.) IG giveaway: I am hosting a giveaway on Instagram through tomorrow for some running gear! You can check it out here.

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5.) Olympic Mess?: Have you guys been seeing the news? All the talks of the crazy things going on in Rio? The crime, the Olympic village not being finished, the body parts and human waste in the water, etc? It sounds like a huge nightmare. I’m fascinated by all things Olympics, even the buildings, etc. that are built specifically for the games, the housing, and all the inner workings. Have you heard about any of this? What are your thoughts?

QOTD: Answer one of my questions above!

5 Tips for Unplugging from Social Media

Ah, social media. I have quite the love/hate relationship with it. As a blogger, social media is a part of my job. It’s not realistic for me to never get on it all together, but I do realize that I spend way more time than necessary randomly scrolling, liking, and planning my next photo. I don’t ever want to look back and say I didn’t heed any tips for unplugging, and I missed out on life because I was too busy looking at a screen, so I have decided to put some parameters on my social media usage to help me not get sucked in all the time.

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Check out these tips for unplugging:

1. Turn off notifications: Yall, I have so many notifications on my phone that I have to put it on do not disturb at night. I have slowly been turning off notifications so that I am not constantly checking things every time I hear a notification alert. Also, I have turned off the pop up notifications from Facebook on my laptop. I realized these were really a time suck for me while I was trying to do work on my computer.

2. Move apps away from your home screen: If it’s too tempting to click on your social media apps every time you look at your phone, maybe you need to move them off of your main screen, or put them in a folder so you can’t see the little red notification icons on each one.

3. Set limits: I don’t think it’s necessary to completely rid myself of social media all the time (and I wouldn’t be able to do my job!). I plan to try giving myself breaks during the day where I am allowed to check on things. Maybe while I eat lunch, and a 10 minute break in the afternoon before I get my daughter from daycare, as well as a few minutes in the evening after she goes to bed.

4. Stay busy: I feel that I often find myself defaulting to social media sites when I am bored. It’s not that I don’t have anything to do, it’s when I am procrastinating that I find I am the most likely to get distracted. If I have a list of things I need to do and stay busy, I am less likely to check social media.

5. Keep it out of the bedroom: My biggest downfall with social media is using it endlessly in the evenings, especially when I am laying in bed before going to sleep (c’mon I know some of you do it too!) I always complain I don’t have time to read more books or magazines, etc. but the reality is I just waste a lot of time on social media. I am going to try keeping my phone out of the bedroom in evening when I have time to read or do other things.

I have already started with some of these steps, and plan to implement the rest today. I hope they will help me have a more balanced life. You can still enjoy social media and your online friends while not neglecting your family, home, or job.

RELATED: Download the FREE Social Media Manager Checklist

QOTD: What is another tip you would add?