With everything happening in the world, health and happiness are important right now. Physical, mental, and emotional health are all important. Even though I’d consider us a happy family, I want to take reasonable steps to keep us that way.
Here are seven tips to help you get started and keep the whole family happy and healthy.
Find balance in work and home life
With constant access to one another through technology, finding a work-and-home balance isn’t easy. My husband has made strides in this area in the midst of a busy season at the office. Some ways to do this are to prioritize your time, set work hours and stick to them, and capitalize on your strengths. Unbalance happens when you try to do much and get your priorities out of whack. See where you can make a few changes, and not only will you be able to spend more time with your family, but also ease the stress at the office.
Communication is key, not just between partners, but between all family members. Effective communication will enable everyone in the family to feel included, open an honest conversation, and firm up a foundation that remains in good and bad times. Good communication happens between my husband and me with Google Calendar. My oldest child, who is a freshman in high school, recently asked me to share our family Google Calendar with her. My sixth-grade son has recently started using email at school, so that is another way for us to keep him informed.
Dinner together is important to me. We’re in a busy season with two kids who each have two soccer practices during the week and Saturday games, but we still strive to find ways to eat dinner together — even if that means sandwiches on the bleachers at the soccer fields.
Other ways we spend quality time together include playing card and board games, inviting friends into our home, and talk while driving to and from school. My husband and I recently went away for a long weekend together. That took some planning and coordinating, but the time together with little responsibility was worth it.
I’ve been trying to incorporate more walking into my everyday life, while the kids are practicing soccer. It’s good for my physical well-being but maybe more importantly my mental well-being when I walk and talk with a friend. My husband has been doing exercises in our make-shift garage gym before he starts working most mornings. In the summer, we love to swim. Our kids like to play soccer and basketball and also have two days of Physical Education at school, so it’s good for them to be engaged in physical activities. Regular activity also helps by improving our moods, helping us sleep, and transforming our general quality of life.
When we have nutritious food at home, we are more likely to eat well. Recently, I’ve gotten a couple of home deliveries from a local business that sells produce and products from local family farms. If you’re 40-50 miles from Harvest Crate in Benton, Kentucky, this is a great way to get fresh, healthy food to show up on your porch. You can get free delivery on your first order with my code TAYLORHC.
My orders have includes items such as farm-fresh eggs, corn, onions, red & white potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, donut peaches, apples, chicken legs, zinnia flowers, and blueberry scones. (See more about that here.)
We have some salmon in our freezer from our last Harvest Crate delivery, so I may use this easy, delicious baked salmon recipe. I add vegetables to almost every meal, even if that means cutting up a cucumber for my kids who don’t like my favorite sauteed squash, zucchini, and onions.
My kids and I enjoyed these relatively healthy Monster Cookie Energy Balls as a quick breakfast or snack. They always come home from school hungry, so we’re all better off when there are easy, healthy choices available. That does take some planning.
Humans are creatures of habit, and thrive off a routine. When children and families have routines, it helps to bring consistency, certainty, and comfort into a child’s life, while helping to reduce any stress and anxiety because they feel safe. I’ve helped my kids with a morning routine with a checklist inserted into a page protector so they can mark off things with an Expo marker.
Of course, I also have to remember to notice when routines need tweaking. I value bedtime routines, but sometimes that’s when my kids want to talk the most and process whatever happened or is expected to happen. I’m thankful we have a foundation here for that to happen.
Look after yourself
As a parent, I spend a lot of energy caring for and managing my family life, but it’s also important I take care of myself. I do this by keeping regularly scheduled doctor appointments, getting monthly-ish massages, and reading lots of books. Some seasons of life make this more difficult, but right now I have pockets of free time while all three kids are at school and my husband is at the office.
How do you keep yourself and your family happy and healthy?