“Wellness” has become a health buzz word, but what does it really mean for you and your family? The National Wellness Institute has explained wellness as actively learning about and making choices to reach our full potential. It goes on to say wellness has six components: physical, intellectual, occupational, social, emotional and spiritual. We all have the choice to modify our behaviors within these six components of wellness to improve our lives.
- Physical wellness encourages proper nutrition, personal hygiene, regular physical activity and ongoing medical care.
- Intellectual wellness involves problem solving, creativity and learning. It encourages stimulating mental activities which provide the foundation to discover, process and evaluate information.
- Occupational wellness includes our personal satisfaction, achievement and ambition. It focuses on planning for a healthy future for ourselves and our family. It helps us to understand our decisions and values may change as we learn new information and have new life experiences.
- Social wellness consists of personal relationships, community and our connection with nature. It encourages developing friendships and the ability to interact comfortably with others. It aims to create harmony in our personal and community environments.
- Emotional wellness is our awareness and acceptance of feelings, trust and respect. It is being able to express and manage our feelings and develop a positive self-esteem to make decisions based on our personal attitudes.
- Spiritual wellness is what gives our lives meaning and purpose and includes our beliefs and values. It encourages being open to diverse multi-cultural beliefs and backgrounds to find meaning in human existence.
TRY ADDING THESE ACTIVITIES ONE AT A TIME TO ENCOURAGE YOUR FAMILY’S WELLNESS:
MAKE HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES AND COOK TOGETHER. Start simple by making small changes in your family’s diet such as switching to non-fat dairy products or replacing sugar-sweetened drinks with water. Aim to cook dinner together one night per week and slow down to eat at the dinner table most nights rather than on the run.
GET ACTIVE OUTDOORS. Take a walk after dinner, play a game in the backyard or plan an active weekend activity. Come up with a list of indoor activities you can choose from on days when the weather isn’t favorable.
VOLUNTEER AS A FAMILY. Research opportunities in your community and work together to choose one everyone is interested in. Find what works best for your family, considering an ongoing commitment or a one-time event. Everyone will feel good about connecting with others and improving the community you live in.
CREATE A FAMILY NIGHT. Designate one night of the week or month as family night to allow your family time to relax, laugh and spend quality time together.
UNPLUG. Make it a family rule to not allow technology (i.e., phones, tablets, etc.) at the dinner table and challenge your family to a “tech free Tuesday.” Use the time to visit the local library, go on a picnic, read with each other or play a
board game instead.
MAKE A SCRAPBOOK TOGETHER. Create a memory book to allow each family member see how much they have grown and what they have accomplished. Each family member can choose their favorite photos and design a few pages. Looking through these shared memories encourages a strong sense of belonging and builds lasting family bonds.
GET YOUR BEST REST. Develop strong bedtime routines with set bedtimes to ensure everyone is getting enough sleep. Keep bedrooms dark and cool and remove TV’s, computers, cell phones and other tech. Set aside time to read stories together each night before bed.
KEEP YOUR CONNECTIONS. Make visiting with friends and family a priority. If your family is too far away to visit in person, send cards or make dates to chat weekly online.
CARE FOR YOURSELF. Self-care will benefit your entire family. Setting a health goal and sticking to it helps you feel better, gain self-confidence and sets a great example for your children. Keeping up-to-date with a yearly physical and scheduling preventative health screenings are important for you and each of your family members to be at their very best.
TO LEARN MORE, start or continue helping your family eat well and get more physically active, download the We Can! Families Finding the Balance:A Parent Handbook from the National Institutes of Health at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/sites/www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/parent_hb_en.pdf
ANOTHER WAY TO START YOUR WELLNESS JOURNEY is to complete this wellness assessment: http://definitionofwellness.com/wellness-assessment/