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Saturday, January 20, 2018

10 Year-Long Tips to Boost Health and Relieve Stress for the Whole Family

Photo by jepoycamboy (Flickr)

Like many, my family always strives to be healthier, but we don't always know how to start. After talking with a few friends and my girls, I created a list of 10 tips families can implement as they boost health and relieve stress together all year.

1. Cook and Eat Healthy Meals

To encourage my girls to try a variety of healthy foods and learn to cook, we'll prepare dinner together at least once a week and try to eat together at least four times a week. Eventually, I want my girls to pick out recipes and shop for groceries, too, as we make healthy meals and share quality time in the kitchen and around the table.

2. Cut Soda

The average can of soda contains 150 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar. Yikes! Plus, drink one soda a day, and you could gain five pounds this year, and soda adversely affects dental health. Try drinking one less soda per day, watering down your soda, and replacing soda with fruit-infused water as you cut soda from your diet this year.

3. Go to the Gym

When you exercise together as a family, you all get healthier, and my girls agree that they stay motivated to move and have more fun when we work out together. Find an affordable family fitness plan at your local YMCA, and commit to weekly family workouts. You can also take a water aerobics, cycling, or other family class as your schedule allows.

4. Explore the Outdoors

Spend time in nature, and you'll feel your body and mind relax. Hiking, playing in the park, and other outdoor exploration also helps you reach fitness goals. As a family, you could plan 52 hikes (one for each weekend!), spend long weekends camping, or participate in a litter cleanup crew as you explore the outdoors.

5. Walk and Bike More

While it's easy to jump in the car and drive everywhere, walking and biking can reduce obesity, heart disease, and anxiety. My girls decided to walk or bike to the library, grocery store, and school as much as possible this year as we enjoy the health and wellness benefits active transportation provides.

6. Play More Games

If you don't plan a family game night each week, consider starting one this year. Play active video games or board games together, and you'll teach your kids valuable skills like taking turns and sharing. Game night also helps you relax, unwind, and bond as a family.

7. Implement Better Sleep Hygiene

Lately, I've noticed that my older daughter feels exhausted after school because she stays up late doing homework and talking to friends. If you can relate, join us in improving sleep hygiene. We decided to turn off our screens at least an hour before bed and read, meditate, or take a warm bath. These sleep hygiene strategies will improve our rest and well-being.

8. Prioritize Social Interactions

My girls and I always feel more relaxed after we hang out with friends, so we're prioritizing social interactions this year. I've scheduled a few coffee dates with friends, and my girls planned several playdates and sleepovers so we can recharge and improve our mental health.

9. Improve Self-Care

Many adults I know put their physical and mental health on the back burner. We owe it to ourselves and our kids to improve our self-care, though. Personally, I'm committed to setting better boundaries at work, visiting the doctor for regular checkups, and prioritizing time for hobbies this year, and I'm encouraging my kids to take similar steps. With self-care, we reduce stress and improve our health every day.

10. Turn off the Screens

I love technology, but screens distract me from being present with my girls. Together, my girls and I have agreed to turn off our phones and the TV during meals, and we plan to work up to screen-free weekends as we strive to be present and enjoy life this year.

To boost health and relieve stress this year, I'm following these 10 tips with my family. I encourage you to join us and share other wellness tips could we try!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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