Keeping healthy is equally as difficult as is it rewarding. At least for the first few months - and then keeping healthy comes as easy as riding a bike when you were a kid. The healthy habits become easier to act on and then the healthy habits become second nature.

Staying healthy and happy in today’s world is difficult. We will be super real when we say that being healthy takes commitment, perseverance and tons of self-control. You must desire to be healthy and stay healthy if you want to reap the rewards.

To Help Your Family, You Must Help Yourself

Truer words have never been spoken. It sounds cliché, but it is oh so true – you cannot help others if you do not help yourself first. How are you supposed to help your family become healthier if you are stressed, anxious or exhausted all the time?

Your health starts with you and ends with you. If you keep yourself mentally sane, physically well and use preventative measures for health, you are doing the world’s weight of the right thing. Give yourself a pat on the back, because committing to your health is such a monumental task.

What Makes a Habit a Habit?

Bootcamp Workout

According to Merriam-Webster, a habit is a ‘settled tendency or usual manner of behavior’ or ‘a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility performance.’

The science of habits is really quite interesting and leads one to ask many questions about why they do the things they do. Habits are said to begin with a three-part ‘habit loop’ that is the start of the brain’s psychological pattern of habit forming.

The first cue or ‘trigger’ is the point when your brain receives information that cues the body into auto pilot mode and allows the habit to unfold. The second step is the routine, which consists of the actual behavior itself.

Thirdly, comes the reward. The reward of habitual behavior is what makes your brain remember the ‘habit loop’ in the future. Habit forming is said to take place in the basal ganglia, which is also responsible for the development of emotions, memories and pattern recognition.

Our decisions, however, are made in a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. As soon as a decision becomes automatic or habituated, though, the decision-making part of your brain goes pretty much brain dead.

7 Healthy Habits to Start Forming

fit woman drinking water

Drinking more water is the number one thing anyone can do to improve their overall health and as we stated earlier and probably will keep stating, maintain your own health residually improves the health of those closest to you.

Lack of hydration can lead to inflammation, headaches, exhaustion, lack of energy, and so much more. On the other side of the spectrum, drinking enough water has a multitude of health benefits.

Health benefits of drinking water include relieving fatigue and increasing energy, promoting weight loss, flushing out toxins, improving complexion, maintaining regular digestion, boosting the immune system, relieving headaches, preventing cramps and muscle sprains and boosting mood levels.

a mom jogging with her daughter while riding a bike

The importance of exercise is a well-known fact, but what about the importance of exercising with your family? Exercising for at least twenty minutes a day is of upmost importance for every child’s normal growth and development.

Exercise with family should definitely be added to your list of healthy habits to pick up. Fitness expert and author Debbie Mandel says that ‘children who exercise do better academically and learn how to reduce stress.’ This is huge and can make amazing impacts of your family’s overall health and well-being.

Making exercising as a family apart of your daily routine can be a wonderful way to get the entire family to exercise as well as incorporate new healthy habits into your life. Whether it is shooting some hoops in the driveway or having a before bed dance party, exercising can look like so many different things!

healthy food

Food and eating habits is a huge indicator of health and well-being. Parents are the lead deciders (or should be) in what food is bought, brought and ingested in a home. Making healthy options readily available can greatly improve the health in your family’s home.

Creating different alternatives for things such as processed foods and added sugars can be monumental in creating healthy habits for you and your family. Remember, that you are the example, so if your kids see you eating Kit Kat bars every other day, then they will want to too!

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If the sweets are not in the pantry to be eaten,  they will not get eaten!

If your kids are hungry enough, that apple or those almonds will sound like a slice of heaven to them. The biggest decisions are those made at the grocery store or supermarket, so choose wisely and ask yourself if the Chips Ahoy are really necessary this go around.

Dinner Together Is Better

Eating dinner as a family might be an obvious thing that is good for the family, but it truly is a wonderful healthy habit to have. In today’s household, dinners are far too overrun with iPads, phones, screens and unhealthy habits.

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We are here to remind you that eating family dinners together is one of the best healthy habits you can have as a family. According to report findings issued by the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, children who eat with their family at least five times a week are at lower risks for weight problems, alcohol and substance dependencies, poor eating habits, and academic failure.

Eating dinner as a family builds family strength, brings awareness to healthy habits and also contributes to civilizing children. Children learn to art of sharing a meal, having conversation, observe good manners and learn to solve conflicts and compromise.  

Daily Check In’s with the Kids

Checking in daily with each child is a wonderful healthy habit to acquire in your household. For younger kids, even reading a nightly bedtime story counts as checking in. A good night’s sleep keeps you energized, healthy, and regulated.

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Talk to older kids about their day, inquire as to how they are feeling and make sure that they have nothing pressing on their mind. Make sure the kids are as stress free and healthy as possible by checking in with them every single day.

This might seem obvious or you might be thinking ‘I do this all day, every day,’ but it is so imperative to make yourself as available as possible for the special children in your life. If your kids trust you and feel comfortable being honest with you, overall health levels with soar.

Limit Screen Time for Everyone

In an age riddled by technology and screens, screen time is a real problem. Studies are being done and results are being released that screen time, especially first thing in the morning or right before bed, is not healthy for anyone. 

Unstructured playtime is far more beneficial than electronic media for a child’s developing brain. It can in fact be detrimental to a child’s health if they are given screens to stare at all the time. If your child is partaking in hours of screen time a day, definitely monitor the quality of what they are watching or playing.

Setting screen time limits for your kids as well as yourself can greatly improve overall health and well-being for families. Healthy habits around screen time include teaching appropriate online behavior, setting time limits and setting limits on the type of content kids are looking at.

Stress Reducing Activities

Stress is dangerous for humans of all ages. Reducing stress in your daily life for you and your children is critical in maintaining overall health. Reducing stress is known to improve your mood, boost immune function, promote longevity and increase production levels.

Stress can manifest in many different ways – physically and psychologically. It can have direct effects on your health in the forms of disease, depression, relationship conflicts, sleeping habits and so many other ways.

There are many tools out there to reduce stress levels. These tools include meditation, yoga, exercise, certain foods and making sure you are getting plenty of good sleep. With so many free online resources for reducing stress, it can be a fun and exciting task incorporating new stress-reducing healthy habits into your life.

A Healthy Family Is a Happy Family

Keeping yourself healthy will in turn keep your family happy. There are many small actions you can begin taking today to incorporate more healthy habits into you and your family’s lifestyle. By choosing healthier food items at the grocery store, you can create a healthier diet for your family.

By using exercise as a way to bond and interact with your family, you can boost energy levels and reduce stress. When your family feels healthy, they will feel happy. Begin by trying one of these semi-simple healthy habits to create a healthier and happier YOU!

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