May is Family Wellness Month, a commemorative month that helps educate, encourage and support healthy family lifestyles. During Family Wellness Month, some families may spend time evaluating their overall lifestyle and habits. Others may set specific goals, such as spending more quality group time together, reading aloud regularly, or working together as a team. Family Wellness Month was created to help families overcome their biggest challenges to staying healthy and connected. This month, celebrate family wellness and improve your family’s habits with these simple tips.
Cook— It Matters!
The benefits of good family nutrition surpass maintaining a healthy body weight— positive attitudes about eating, mindful food choices and home-cooked meals are nourishment for the body and soul. They save money, relieve stress & are healthier. Not to mention, good nutrition has the power to prevent or reverse many diseases, from dementia & depression to cardiovascular disease & cancer. If you mostly eat out, try making one simple recipe with your favorite foods. If you already cook, invite your family to cook with you & share a special meal.
Make a Healthy Food Shift
Over time, little changes in the foods, drinks and ingredients your family chooses can have big health benefits. This month, try making one healthy shift and carve out some time to plan your meals. For example, shift from regular pasta to whole wheat or veggie, shift from soda to water or try seafood or legumes instead of red meat. Making one swap is a great starting place to improve your family’s eating habits.
Taste the Rainbow
The color variety in fruits, vegetables & legumes signals healthy nutrient diversity. This month, invite your family to eat one red, orange, yellow, green & blue/purple plant food. Experiment with new dishes or make your favorites more colorful by adding greens to a smoothie, mixing edamame or pinto beans into rice or topping cereal with berries. For a challenge, aim for 3 colors in every dinner this month. After deciding on a goal, take a family trip to the grocery store and pick out fresh ingredients together. By involving children and teens in the planning process, they are more likely to be invested in your goal. And by picking the ingredients out themselves, they learn how to make healthy choices and can see what goes into each meal.
Make Movement Routine
Movement is essential for brain and body health. Regular exercise has a profound impact on cognitive function; it improves mood and memory and reduces the risk of developing depression by 35%. This month, get your blood pumping with some family exercise. Find a scenic hike that the whole family can enjoy or go on a family bike ride. You can even get those competitive juices flowing with some family-friendly competitions such as a game of soccer or volleyball, tug-of-war, a three-legged race or even an obstacle course.
Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness. Celebrate National Family Wellness Month by partaking in some fun outdoor activities. Get outside, put the phones away, and enjoy the fresh air together. Pack a picnic and head to your local park, fly kites or have a water balloon fight. You can even plan a night to have a bonfire and s’mores or simply lay out and gaze up at the stars.
Start a Relaxing Bedtime Ritual
High quality sleep improves both physical and mental health including the ability to exercise, eat well, handle stress, pay attention, build new memories, deal with tough emotions and interact with others. This month, encourage each family member to choose a calming pre-bedtime routine to try. Then, spend 5, 10 or 30 minutes before bedtime every night listening to a calming playlist or podcast, reading, taking a hot bath or shower, meditating or deep breathing.
Practicing stress management reduces the risk of depression and anxiety, as well as fosters self-acceptance, enhances contentment and promotes self-care. This month, experiment with different stress management strategies as a family. Since every person and situation is unique, there is no “one size fits all” solution. This month, when you or a family member feel stressed, try a technique that makes you feel calm and in control like playing with a pet, taking a bath or a shower, lighting candles or diffusing oil, watching something funny, cleaning your space or going for a walk.
Social wellness involves building healthy, nurturing and supportive relationships, as well as fostering a genuine sense of belonging and connection. It is the ability to communicate, trust, set boundaries and manage conflict. This month, build new connections as a family by meeting a new people or participating in a new group. Consider engaging with a community or rekindling old connections to boost your sense of belonging. As a family, you could volunteer or mentor, meet or do something kind for your neighbors, try a family fitness or art class, or join a new community group.
Social wellness is crucial for development, health and survival. In fact, a lack of social connectedness has been shown to be a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. This month, nurture positive and supportive relationships in your family. Consider strengthening bonds with those who are most important to you by engaging in a shared hobby, offering praise or spending quality time together. During Family Wellness Month, try planning a fun date with your partner, hosting a small family gift exchange or making an effort to complement each other.
Intellectual wellness involves participating in academic, cultural, artistic or skill-based education. It is a dedication to lifelong learning through critical thinking, skill development and knowledge expansion. Stimulate your family’s brains by trying a new or challenging activity together. Keep your minds engaged and entertained by problem solving or processing new information. This month, you could start a family game night, visit a museum, explore a library, visit someplace new, attempt an escape room, watch a documentary or even sample and learn about a new food.
Spiritual wellness involves having a set of values, principles, morals and beliefs that guide your actions. It is a willingness to appreciate, enjoy and express gratitude for the things that make life meaningful. Express your spirituality as a family through feelings of forgiveness, gratitude and compassion. Consider volunteering, picking up litter in your community, sending cards to distant family, advocating for a cause, sharing art that inspires you, or engaging in one activity that makes you feel at peace.
While many families are familiar with physical health habits like eating well and staying active, total wellness is much more than fitness and nutrition. This month, there are countless ways to reflect and focus on emotional, mental and spiritual health habits too. At Neuro Wellness Spa, we are proud to support our patients in their wellness journeys. If you or a loved one is struggling, contact our clinical team today.