It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.Mahatma Gandhi
In our busy schedules, the one thing that ends up taking a back-seat is our health. Simply because its usually not urgent. The problem is that, that unlike a project deadline, when health becomes ‘urgent’ it is scary. It is therefore extremely important that we take care of our physical and mental health, each day, every day. If we do that, there is hope that our children will get into healthy habits early on and will carry it forward in their adult lives.
Here are some simple healthy habits that can easily be incorporated into our lives. Habits that will take care of us and our family’s mental and physical well-being.
Let’s start with the no-brainer. Exercise. You’ve heard it multiple times, read it in hundreds of places. It is everywhere, because it is important. The good thing is that you don’t need to go to the gym or even take out hours to exercise. Start with basic ones. There are many 7-minute-exercise schedules that are available on YouTube. There are many 10-minute-workouts.
If you like dancing, just dance with your family for 10-15 minutes (apps like cult-fit have dance based workouts as well). It’s a great exercise and is an amazing time that you spend together as a family.
2. Manage Portions
We talk of nutritious food, which undoubtedly is important. But managing portions is equally important. For most of us, especially if we are mostly eating home-cooked food, we gain weight because we can’t control our portion size. If we like something, we stuff ourselves with it like there is no tomorrow. Always manage your portions.
There are many apps that help you understand how many calories you need and what is your current intake. Healthify me, Samsung Health and many more. If you can use it every day, great. If not, try to track what you eat for at least a week. It will give you an idea of how much you are eating, how much of it is carbs, proteins, vitamins etc and how you should change your habits.
I personally found it very useful. Tracking it for a week every few months helps me be more aware of what I eat.
3. Talk About Your Feelings
Mental health is as important as physical health. In a family, it’s important that each one talks about how they feel, starting with you. Talk openly about your feelings with your partner and your children and encourage them to do the same. Speaking up, rather than bottling your emotions ensures better mental health and a lot more happiness.
4. Quality Sleep
Good quality sleep is essential for good health. For children, ensure that they have a proper bedtime routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day ensures better health.
Even for adults, having a similar routine each day helps in better quality sleep. Not using phones or laptops at least half an hour before you sleep is great way to prepare for bed. Read or plan your next day or meditate before you sleep.
Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.Thomas Dekker
5. Divide Household Chores
Depending on their age, children can help around the house. Give them daily chores that they must do to contribute in their household duties. This not only reduces the workload on parents, but also helps make children more empathetic and responsible as they grow older.
6. Spend Time Together
For a healthy and happy family, spending quality time together is a must. Have some daily or weekly rituals that you don’t miss unless something very urgent comes up.
For example, we ensure that we have dinner together every day. We try not to keep any meetings or calls during that half an hour. On the weekend, we have a ritual of playing board games together as family. These activities have helped us all bond together and come closer to each other.
7. Explore New Things
Variety is the spice of life. Learn new things – a new language, a new instrument, a new skill. Travel to new places. Try out a new activity – trekking, running, painting. Learning new things and having different experiences helps keep us happier, makes our brains stronger and more agile and thus keeps us mentally healthy. Doing them together with the entire family or friends, also ensures greater bonding and more fun.
For example, all of us in the family are learning French through Duolingo. We speak with each other and have fun comparing our scores. Our pronunciations are still way off, but we are having fun.
So, start today!
Admitting to our mistakes, seeking forgiveness and forgiving others is an essential ingredient to a baggage free mind. Even with our children, in fact more so, we must admit to our mistakes. It is okay for them to see us as humans. We make mistakes, we learn from them and we move on. Children learn that it is a natural part of life and in their adulthood, have lower chances of going into depression because of mistakes or failures.
Happiness lies first of all in health.George William Curtis