5 Tips to Improve Your Family’s Well-being
Contributing Author: Lauren Veckranges
Well-being forms a strong core for happiness. For any parent, keeping your family happy and healthy in today’s fast-paced world can be daunting. With so much information out there, it’s difficult to know what opinions to trust. When it comes to well-being, it’s quite self-explanatory, but sometimes we need a reminder on how to look out for ourselves.
Here are five tips to improve your family’s well-being.
1. Stop Infection Before It Starts
While we can’t prevent every illness that’s making the rounds at schools and offices, we can take steps to protect ourselves and our families. Keeping up-to-date with vaccines is your family’s first defence against infection. The CDC reports that receiving the flu vaccine can reduce your chances of infection by 40% – 60%.
Practising good hygiene is vital to prevent the spread of disease. Teaching your children to wash their hands properly from an early age will lay the foundation for a longer, healthier life. Scientists have estimated that if everyone washed their hands regularly and correctly, 1 million deaths could be prevented in London alone!
Supporting the immune system during times of infection is important to cut down the duration of colds and flu. While antibiotics remain a popular treatment, often times the infection is viral or antibiotic resistant, rendering antibiotics ineffective. Using natural products that prevent colds and flu, helps your body to fight off infection.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential to keeping your family performing at their peak. While sleep is important for concentration and alertness, lack of sleep can be downright deadly.
Limiting intake of caffeinated substances, getting enough sunlight during the day and having a strict bedtime is essential to establishing a sleep schedule. Creating a routine around bedtime for the entire family that excludes the use of any screens and includes relaxing activities such as reading will help your family wind down and improve their quality of sleep.
However, not every family member will have the same sleep needs. Because of the surge of hormones experienced during adolescence, teenagers’ internal sleep clocks experience a radical shift. Whereas older children and adults will feel tired around 9pm, teenagers internal clocks signal them to sleep at around 11pm. They also need more sleep than adults – requiring at least 9 hours of sleep to function well.
3. Keep Your Mind Healthy
An often overlooked aspect of familial wellbeing is maintaining a healthy mind.
Strong relationships with those closest to you are important for their mental wellbeing. In fact, a 65-year-long study conducted by Harvard University revealed that the strength of our relationships is the single biggest predictor of happiness, beating out wealth, fame and success.
Setting aside “family time” where the entire family is able to gather without the distractions of technology to discuss the highs and lows of their day in a supportive environment is a great way to connect with your partner and children.
While socialising is important for mental health, giving your family members alone time is equally important. Solo activities such as reading, meditation and listening to music are all great ways to reduce stress, increase empathy, and improve your mental health.
4. Encourage Healthful Eating
Eating well lays the foundation for good health and wellbeing. Focusing on diets and healthy versus unhealthy foods can lead to confusion and a negative relationship with food. Instead, focus the conversation your family has around food in terms of “healthfulness”.
By framing potato chips as not as healthful as yoghurt rather than being bad for you, your loved ones are less likely to feel guilty when they do occasionally indulge and more likely to have a healthy relationship with food.
Meal times provide an excellent opportunity to build a positive environment around food. Focusing on cooking as a family makes every meal time a celebration rather than a chore. Using wholesome ingredients that are from a farm and not a factory is the easiest way to ensure your family is getting the nutrition they need. Setting rules for eating, such as eating a vegetable for every meal, or only drinking sugary drinks on special occasions, will also help your family stay healthy.
A Stanford study found that when teenagers have guidelines for eating they are more likely to pick nutritionally dense foods on their own.
5. Keep Moving
Keeping an active lifestyle has a multitude of benefits including improved mood and increased lifespan. Regular exercise lowers your risk of early death by 30% and reduces your risk of developing breast cancer and chronic disease. Staying active doesn’t have to mean carting your family off to the gym. Instead, engaging in fun games like soccer, dancing or even walking are easy ways to keep your family moving.
With children now spending six and a half hours a day in front of the screen, limiting screen time to particular times during the day will encourage everyone to go outside and get moving.
Author Bio: Lauren Veckranges is a South African academic and philanthropist with a penchant for writing content that moves her. She currently writes article content for local companies such as Linctagon, a natural cold and flu remedy, and Archetype Copywriting, an SA-based digital content company.