2020 was a year where we all became grateful for what we had. It was a year where our family’s health and happiness was the most important of all. As 2021 starts with its own restrictions, yet with a glimpse of hope to return to some normality, maybe, like us, you are thinking about how you can carry some of this gratitude and sense of peace where less is more throughout the year. If you are, here are 5 healthy habits to adopt as a family in the New Year.
1. Get Outside as Much as Possible (even if it’s just in the garden)
We know it’s difficult with the changing restrictions and the different lockdowns that are being put in place, but make sure you find out what the most recent rules are and make the most of the time you are allowed outdoors. Getting outdoors in any weather has many benefits, especially for our mental health, so try to get as much fresh air as you can as safely as you can.
Even if it’s just getting out for 20 minutes. Breathing fresh air increases the oxygen in our brains which in turn, increases the levels of serotonin. Pair this with endorphins that are released when we do light exercise – such as walking, cycling or even throwing a ball around in the garden – and the whole family will feel much more relaxed and happy.
2. Limit Time on Gadgets Indoors
Technology is taking over our lives in today’s world, especially since our children have been home for most of the year! While it’s been a difficult time and a stressful one at that, try your best to limit how much time is allowed to be spent on them. Spending a lot of time looking at a harshly lit screen can affect our sleep and lead to other problems such as headaches, so try to establish a routine where there is dedicated screen time.
A routine is so essential for our families right now as the world keeps changing so drastically from week to week. So even if your children aren’t at school or nursery, try to keep as much of their daily routine as normal as possible. When it comes to screen time, choose a time of day that works for you. Avoid it before bed if possible, as it wakes the brain up rather than helping you wind down.
3. Eat Healthy and Get the Children Involved with the Cooking
One of the best healthy habits to adopt this year as a family is to eat healthier. Now, by healthier, we obviously do mean, eating more fruit and veg and maybe, replacing snacks with healthier alternatives. But ‘healthier’ can mean a few things. One of them being, making sure that you are all eating regularly together, and that meals are never rushed and are purely a chance to bond without any distractions such as phones or the TV.
It’s also a great idea to involve your children as much as possible with the cooking. Since we have more time at home, why not teach them how to cook some of your favourite recipes or get them to help you lay the table every day until they are doing it themselves? The more you can involve your children, the more they will feel like they contribute to the household and that will have a very positive impact on them. Plus, you may even find that they will have a much bigger appreciation for food and family time too!
Need ideas? Check out these Kid’s Cooking Recipes!
4. Exercise for 20 Minutes a Day
Exercise is essential for our health, so if you’re going to make one healthy change in the New Year, make sure to try and do more. Just 20 minutes a day is the daily recommendation which, even with how busy our lives get sometimes, every single one of us can make time for!
Obviously, exercise outdoors will offer even more benefits but with the weather and restrictions, that’s not always possible. So, get creative! Introduce a fun workout in your household that gets the kids involved, from an assault course or skipping to an exercise video or your own made-up routine. (Try P.E. with Joe). You’ll soon find that you all enjoy it, are happier for it, and you’ll almost always end up doing more than 20 minutes which is great for the heart.
5. Work on Building Healthy Routines Together
One of the best ways to make a family healthier is to bond and work as a team. Every family has their own areas they need to work on, so why not do it together? Do you need to make more quality time to have with each other or is it simply showing more gratitude? Do you need to improve your current bedtime routine or do you need to get outside more?
Whatever you feel like you could work on, the healthiest way to do it is to sit down together and decide on how you’ll achieve this together. Not only will it make you all stronger for it, but it will show your children that they are valuable members of this family and they will want to work together.
When building healthy routines as a family, get creative. Introduce things that every family member will like such as a Friday film night, and when it’s too cold to get outside, make your house an indoor playground! It’s really important for our health to burn off excess energy, especially for children, so think of ways you can do this indoors when you need to. This could be anything from buying a trampoline for the garage, playing board games, hosting a Wii sports competition or building a giant fort in the middle of the living room. The important thing is that you get everyone involved in doing something instead of just sitting around.
So there we go, 5 simple and completely do-able healthy habits to adopt in the New Year! Start off by working on one habit and you’ll soon find that they will all naturally become part of your daily family life. Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!