Mothering involves managing a lot of things for a family, including health routines. I’ve actually been trying to establish some healthier routines around here, and I’m hoping those habits rub off on my family. Even small steps in the right direction will help change the course of our health.
Habits and rhythms have been themes for me in the new year. I’m working on living an unhurried life so I can take time to take care of myself and the people around me. I’m reminding myself consistency is greater than intensity.
A great way to get some fresh air and to get out of the house for a bit is to incorporate walks into your family routine. We love to traipse around our wide-open spaces in the country, exploring our land and soaking up some sunshine. Of course, I love to take photos when we get out and about. My husband got me a new treadmill for Christmas and I’ve been enjoying that on these colder days.
Cook homemade meals
When you cook at home you are in control of the quantity and quality of the ingredients. Fresh ingredients lead to healthier meals and have less sugar and salt in them. Cooking at home can easily be healthier than ordering a takeout meal, which is typically quite high in saturated fats and salt.
Since 2020, when social distancing forced us to stay home more, our family has grown to prefer cooking at home. We can make foods we love and tweak recipes to our preferences. Recently, my husband has been trying to eat a heart healthy diet, so we’ve been experimenting with cooking salmon and found some recipes we love for that. We especially loved this glaze baked with this foil method.
Catching up around the dinner table is one of my favorite ways to stay connected, so dinner is even good for our mental health as a family. If the kids have basketball practice, we may all meet up at a restaurant, but even then we can recap our days together and maintain the mental health of our family.
Sometimes hobbies become side jobs, so if you’re more devoted to exercise than I am, you could always apply for a cycling certification online. This would motivate you as you motivate others in their health journeys. I’m really enjoying the iFit instructors that lead me through my treadmill walks.
My husband plays the guitar and my youngest child likes to dance. The rest of us like music even if we aren’t musically inclined ourselves! Like any hobbies, enjoying or making music together can bring us closer together, create strong memories, and even make learning the basics of music theory easier for younger kids! I know my husband is hoping one of the kids learns to play guitar — something he taught himself to do in college. Who knows, one day we may even be getting some equipment like cable management tools if we decide to get more serious about a new hobby. For now, we’ll probably stick to making playlists and going to concerts.
Establish bedtime routines
Most evenings I’m ready for everyone to go to their beds, so I can go to mine! When we’re home in the evenings, we spend the time together playing board games, watching a show together, or reading a good book. Another habit I’m developing this year is reading more books so I spend less time scrolling social media. It’s pretty easy for me to do if I have a book near me, which is easy with my Kindle Paperwhite. (Need book recommendations? I’ve got those too!)
My favorite bedtime routine for my own mental health is to recap the day in my line-a-day journal. I love how the journal has a space on each date for five years, so I get to remember the past years as I recap my current life. I’m in the fifth year of doing this, so I’m going to need a new journal next year.
Healthy habits can be developed one day at a time. Small steps in the right direction gradually change the trajectory of your life, so don’t rush yourself into a completely different lifestyle all at once.