Six habits for better wellbeing

Tackling wellness holistically is a surefire way to feel good. Here are the six essential areas to focus on if you want to improve your general health as a parent.

In the fast-paced world of modern parenting, maintaining a healthy balance between work, family and personal time can be a daunting task for lots of people. However, the pursuit of a healthier, more balanced life has never been more normalised than it is today, with the global conversation around wellbeing, health and lowering stress reaching new heights. People of all ages across the world are actively seeking techniques and practices to integrate wellness into their daily lives, recognising its pivotal role in managing overall wellbeing. In this article, we’ll explore six ‘go-to’ habits that will help you find increased confidence and good health across this new year.

Mindful mornings

A good morning sets the tone for your entire day. This means that establishing a mindful routine upon waking allows you to reap the reward of a positive ripple effect that shapes your morning, afternoon and evening, bringing you benefits all day long. To start off right, consider waking up a bit earlier than usual to carve out some sacred time for yourself before the busyness of family life begins. These precious minutes are a great opportunity to engage in activities that ground you and set you up well for the day ahead. Whether it’s a brief meditation session, a light morning jog, a nice stretching routine or just enjoying a cup of tea in peace, investing in yourself during the early hours will significantly impact your mental and emotional wellbeing.

Scientifically proven to reduce stress and increase focus, mindfulness practices such as these can be a game-changer for busy parents. By starting the day with intention and calm, you create a foundation for better decision-making, a clearer head and a greater well of emotional resilience to dip into throughout the day.

Prioritise quality sleep

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, sleep often takes a back seat. However, the importance of quality sleep cannot be overstated when it comes to your overall health and happiness. Decent sleep not only rejuvenates the body but also enhances your cognitive function and emotional resilience, meaning the demands of parenting will feel a little easier with a good night’s rest. Time and time again, studies tell us to aim for seven to eight hours of solid, proper sleep every night, as quality rest regulates our hormonal equilibrium, our brain performance, heart health, emotional balance and most importantly, our lifespan.

Most of us think that establishing a consistent sleep routine is mainly for children, but actually, it’s just as useful and effective for adults! By creating a tranquil bedtime environment for yourself, free from screens and distractions, you’ll be able to follow a handful of repeatable, relaxing steps that work best for you. These can include things such as taking a quick shower, reading a few pages of a book, scribbling down some ‘to-do’ tasks for the coming day, listening to a zen soundtrack or having a cup of herbal tea in bed. Repeating these steps in the same order nightly will train your body to fall into its most efficient, restorative sleep. This is even more enhanced when you do this at the same time each night.

Recharge with nature

Nature has a profound impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Incorporating outdoor time into your daily routine can be a transformative habit that helps ground you amid the hectic challenges of parenthood. Whether it’s a family hike, a picnic in the park or simply a stroll around the neighbourhood by yourself after dinner or upon waking, connecting with nature provides a refreshing break from the demands of daily life. Just ten minutes of early morning light will have a profound effect on resetting your circadian rhythm, ensuring you get better sleep and also enjoy a steadier stream of energy throughout your day. Studies show that spending time in nature is also wonderful for your psyche, lowering stress levels, boosting your mood and improving your general sense of wellbeing. So for the year ahead, do your best to carve out regular time where you can take in the calming, energising benefits of the natural world.

Move your body

Regular physical activity is a tried-and tested cornerstone of wellbeing. It’s easy to think this means strict exercise programs and intense training, but the reality is that even half an hour of brisk walking per day is all it takes to begin enhancing your health and longevity. Of course, the more you can incorporate exercise, the more you will benefit. Afterall, movement, encompassing strength, balance and flexibility, is the basis for strong physical wellness.

Instead of viewing exercise as a chore, you could try to make it an enjoyable family affair. By putting your best foot forward in 2024 with some fun movement – whether it’s dancing in the living room, riding bikes together or playing a sport – you might just discover new and exciting activities that could become family favourites! The habit of exercise and movement is wonderful for parents who crave more energy to run around after their little ones, but this practice also creates positive associations with staying active, forming the foundation for a healthy lifestyle in children too – a win-win!

High-quality connections

In the digital age, meaningful social connections often come second to virtual ones. Scientists who study ‘blue zones’ or pockets of the world where many residents live past 100 years old, increasingly underline how happy relationships influence our wellbeing for the better. With this in mind, make an effort to prioritise meaningful face-to-face time with the important people in your life over the coming months. By scheduling regular gatherings, coffee dates or dinner parties, or even joining a running group or book club, you’ll foster positive connections, social support, companionship and a sense of belonging within yourself. Investing the time and energy into nurturing these connections will enable you to form a robust social network and support system around you, enriching your internal feelings of purpose and contributing significantly to your long-term happiness and health.

Fuel your body well

Healthy eating is something that eludes many busy people, and parents are no exception. It’s not a secret that nutrition plays a vital role in our basic wellbeing and that the best diet is one rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins while being low in sugar and chemicals. However, it can be hard to plan, organise, prepare and stick to these kinds of meals. Therefore, it’s best to begin slowly and sustainably, making healthy habit changes to your diet over time. You can start by simply reducing sugar and eating mindfully, savouring each bite and paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues. This will open the door to hearing what your body is actually calling for, which inevitably will be whole, real, nourishing foods that make you feel good and give you sustained energy. As you ‘stack’ these eating habits, you will be able to create a meaningful shift in what you eat, in a way that is easier to stick to in the long-term.

Cultivating these ‘go-to’ habits this year is sure to lead to progress across all aspects of your life. When we prioritise these six pillars, positive changes take place in mental performance, emotional states, physical energy and capacity, as well as general vitality. Remember, wellbeing is not a destination but a journey, and these habits serve as reliable compass points, guiding you toward a healthier and happier state of wellness.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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