Collaborative Post¦ If you’re a parent, there’s every chance that you put your heart and soul and every ounce of energy you have into making sure your children are healthy and happy. While this is brilliant, it is crucial to look after yourself too. If you can get into the habit of adopting healthy lifestyle changes, you can boost the health and wellbeing of your entire family. Here are some simple steps you can take to benefit everyone.
Enjoying an active lifestyle
Being active is hugely beneficial for children and adults. If you exercise on a regular basis, even if this means going for a leisurely stroll with a toddler every afternoon, you’ll reduce your risk of a host of health problems and also boost your mental wellbeing. We tend to focus on the physiological benefits of working out and moving around, but exercise also makes you feel good. Whether you’re stretching your legs in the open air, or you’re doing a Zumba class or a session at the gym, you should emerge the other side with a smile on your face. If you have kids, getting them into the habit of playing games outside, letting off steam and enjoying physical activity will set them up for life. Being active is also a brilliant way to spend quality time together. If you have a free weekend, for example, you could go to the park and play games, take a walk in the forest or go for a bike ride.
For adults, especially parents and those with a high-pressure job, being active can also help to prevent and reduce stress and provide a platform for enjoying time out. If you find yourself feeling like you’re swimming against the tide, or you’re craving half an hour to yourself, do a yoga class, go for a run or do a HIIT session at home. When you’re exercising, you can shift your focus to the task in hand, and you’ll feel calmer, more relaxed and happier afterwards.
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Keeping in touch with health professionals
You might be the healthiest family in the world, but it’s still important to keep in touch with health professionals and make sure you’re up to date with routine checks, vaccinations, and tests. Most parents are incredibly conscientious when it comes to their child’s health, but this can mean that their health takes a backseat. If you haven’t been to the dentist in the last year, you still haven’t got around to having your eyes tested, you’re late for your cervical smear test, or you haven’t had your blood pressure checked for as long as you can remember, take a moment to book some appointments and get up to speed. It’s also important to realise that there’s no shame in reaching out if you do need help. If you’ve developed symptoms that don’t seem to be getting better, or you feel out of sorts, don’t hesitate to seek advice. You can take advantage of web-based clinics, for example, weight loss, hair loss, acne and menstrual problems by visiting an approved online pharmacy, you can go to your local pharmacy or make an appointment with your GP. It can be daunting to go to the doctor, but it’s always best to be on the safe side if you are worried or you have queries or concerns.
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Sleep and rest
Every parent will be familiar with the feeling of struggling to keep their eyes open. Tiredness is an incredibly common infliction in the modern world, and it can have damaging consequences for physical and mental health. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably been working hard to get your child into a bedtime routine from a very young age. If you’ve managed to do this, apply the same level of effort to your own regime. Your body has an internal clock, and if you’re going to bed at a different time every night, you’ll struggle to get enough sleep. Get into the habit of getting into bed and setting your morning alarm at the same time each day. There will be evenings when the kids throw a tantrum and nights when they wake up and climb into your bed, but if you can try and adopt a pattern, you should notice a positive change in your energy levels and sleep quality. If you’ve got a routine, and you’re still struggling to sleep, try and adjust the environment. Make sure your bedroom is a relaxing, calming place, lower the lights, and avoid using phones or checking emails late at night. Take a few moments to unwind with a book, run a bubble bath or listen to music.
Your diet has a major bearing on how you feel, and it can be instrumental in your health and wellbeing. Eating well boosts immunity, and it can also help you to feel more energetic. When we read and talk about healthy eating, there’s often a tendency to focus on weight loss, but having a healthy diet isn’t just about ensuring your BMI is normal. It’s also about making sure that your body gets the nutrients it needs. Concentrate on planning a menu that includes nutritious foods, and try and introduce your kids to a wide range of foods from an early age. If your children don’t like vegetables, and you’re tired of every mealtime turning into a battle, try hiding vegetables in homemade meals. You can do this by blending different vegetables, for example, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, courgettes, and peppers and adding them to soups and pasta sauces. It’s also a great idea to try and make your children’s plates look enticing. You could turn a cucumber into a crocodile or a banana and some sliced grapes into a flower, for example. Be creative, and try and set a good example. Limit sugar and salt intake, and check labels when you go food shopping. Sometimes, items that are marketed as healthy products, for example, smoothies, aren’t as saintly as they seem. Some shop-bought smoothies contain as much sugar as a can of pop.
For a long time, we thought about health as a physical entity, but increasingly, we’re paying attention to mental health. You don’t have to suffer from depression or anxiety to think about mental wellbeing, and even if you’re happy and content, there are things you can do to protect your psychological health. Talk and be open, rather than bottling up your emotions, and use your time wisely. Everyone should be able to devote a little bit of time to hobbies and interests. Even if you only have an hour a week or the odd weekend free, you can boost your mental health by hanging out with friends and family, exercising, and doing activities you enjoy, for example, baking, cycling, swimming, learning a language, Pilates, dancing or playing tennis or golf. Encourage your children to talk about how they feel from an early age, and foster confidence. Be kind to each other, and be gentle to yourself. Often, we are our own worst critics, and if you can learn to embrace the imperfections that make you special and unique, everyone around you will benefit.
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Health should be a priority for everyone. Even if you’re young, fit and healthy, there are steps you can take to improve your health and make you feel fantastic. If you’re a parent, making changes to your lifestyle will benefit your children for many years to come. Get up to speed with tests, checks and appointments, don’t hesitate to ask for advice or seek help if you have any concerns about your health, try and move more as a family, make sure you get enough rest and eat well.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.