From the head of the household to the tiniest member of the family, it’s important to stay well. A truly healthy family means keeping the mind, body, and soul in good standing. With the stressors of everyday life and unforeseeable twists and turns, this can often be a difficult goal to accomplish. Here are four ways to keep each member of your household happy and healthy.
1. Children of Community
Model a healthy lifestyle for your children — self-care, healthy eating habits, and regular exercise are key. Your kids learn more from example than they do from words. If you actively participate in routines of self-care, physical wellness, and both mental and spiritual health, they’ll follow.
Include your young ones in your daily workouts. Take walks, bicycle rides, or do yoga together. Explain the importance of diet, mental health, and exercise as you partake in these activities. Set apart time in your week where you unplug, disconnect, and simply be together as a family. If you struggle to find a healthy balance, enroll in family therapy. Sometimes you need an unbiased third-party to act as a mediator or to facilitate communication and growth.
2. Teens on Teams
Teenagers are in a unique stage of life that is both formative and full of trials. Schoolwork, relationships with peers, and the pressures of growing up can be overwhelming. Make sure your teen is surrounding themself with the right people to build them up, not tear them down. Be mindful of the friends they make, the company they keep, and the time they spend online.
If you worry about the mental health of your adolescent children, take steps early on. Low self-esteem often leads to depression, anxiety, and even eating disorders in teens. In a world of comparison and social media presence, the impossible strive for perfectionism grows daily. Young people can benefit greatly from attending small group counseling and even joining athletic teams for camaraderie.
3. Patriarch of Peace
There’s a societal pressure on men to be the provider in all aspects of the family. From financial provision to emotional support and protection, there’s a heavyweight put on fathers. With long hours at the office, business travel, and parental roles all in the mix together, there isn’t much time for self-care.
Let’s face it, when it comes to emotions and vulnerability, men are stigmatized. A tough man isn’t vulnerable enough, and an overly emotional man isn’t strong enough. This social construct can make it difficult for men to comfortably express their feelings or ask for help. As a father, look for local groups designed specifically for dads. Start with local community centers, churches, even VFW’s and legion houses. Also, be sure to plan date nights for you and your partner to disconnect from your busy schedule as parents and just be a couple.
4. Matriarch of Me-Time
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working matriarch, you deserve a break. When scheduling yearly exams for your family, make sure you schedule one for mom and dad, too. Find a primary care office that has both general physicians and pediatricians so you can make these visits a one-stop-shop for your entire crew.
When friends and family offer to help with the kids, don’t be too prideful to say yes. Even a trip to the grocery store or a hair appointment alone can recharge your batteries. Find a community to come around you, not just in trying times, but in the mundane, too. The expression “it takes a village” is entirely applicable when it comes to keeping a family afloat. Join a book club, find some bible studies for women, or form a mom-tribe that meets even once a month. It’s not about finding the time, it’s about making the time. You deserve it!