National Staying Healthy Month
Posted on January 20, 2017 by CHS
It’s the start of a new year, which, for many of us means New Year’s resolutions! Although most of us have the best intentions to stick to our resolutions, we often give up or get side-tracked along the way. For that reason, January is known as “National Staying Healthy Month” –a month dedicated to helping us create healthy habits that stick.
Although the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “health” may be physical wellness, there are many other facets of “health” to be mindful of.
Consider the following factors when considering your health and that of your family in 2016:
Financial Health – Creating a personal budget can help you spend wisely, get out of debt, save for future goals and retirement, and plan for emergencies. Determining your income, expenses, and a plan for how to manage them can help reduce stress for you and your family, and set your children up for future success. Tips: look online for downloadable sample budgets or use a money management app like Mint.
Avoiding Stress – Prolonged stress can affect your mental health and weaken the body’s immune system, making it easier to get sick. By developing tools to cope with stress, such as getting support from family and friends, seeking counseling, or learning relaxation techniques, you can greatly reduce the harmful effects of stress. Tips: Take a yoga class or schedule in some “me” time.
Internet Safety – According to this article from Medical News Today, concern about internet safety is now ranked even higher than smoking as a major childhood health issue. This includes exposure to predators, cyber-bullying, and sexting, which have also been shown to negatively impact children’s self-esteem. Tips: Be sure to talk to your child about the potential dangers of internet use and set proper use boundaries and parental controls on your devices at home.
Positive Mental Health – Family stress can put children at greater risk for mental health concerns and developmental problems. Good mental health enables both you and your child to enjoy life, feel confident, and have the ability to overcome challenges. Spending time with loved ones, doing activities you are good at, and taking time to relax and destress are some of the best ways to maintain positive mental health. Tips: Nurture your children’s health by helping them feel loved and protected, praising their efforts, and creating a stable home environment. And have fun together!
Exercise - Childhood obesity ranks among the top three child health concerns, according to a Medical News Today article. Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise per day. Tips: Encourage outside play or go on a family walk. Limit the time children spend watching television and playing video games to increase their chances of staying well.
Proper Nutrition – Eating a balance of natural, unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and dairy is essential for parents and children alike. A healthy diet helps maintain energy, boosts the immune system, and keeps all of your body’s systems functioning correctly. As parents and caregivers, you can help your children build healthy eating habits so they can make smart nutritional choices. Tips: Include a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, avoid drive-thru meals, and make sure your child drinks plenty of water. [link to brochure and podcast]
Sleep – Without enough rest, children are more likely to become sick, as well as have a harder time physically, emotionally, and socially. Make sure your child is getting the right amount of sleep, which depends upon his or her age. Tips: Create a relaxing bedtime routine, including putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading stories.
Preventing illness – Reducing stress, increasing sleep and exercise, and proper nutrition are some of the best ways to prevent illness. Yet there are other outside influences that can cause illness that can be prevented. The best way to prevent the spread of illness is by good hygiene. Tips: Teach your kids the importance of handwashing and the proper way to cover a cough or sneeze.
Dental hygiene – Taking good care of teeth is an important, but often overlooked, part of staying healthy. Poor dental care can lead to other illnesses. Tips: You can help protect your children’s teeth by offering healthy foods that are low in sugar, developing teeth brushing routines after meals and before bedtime, and taking your child to a pediatric dentist by age one (and every 6 months after that).
For more tips on keeping your child healthy, visit our website to download helpful brochures and podcasts.
Healthy Steps for Healthy Lives Family Guide: http://neahealthyfutures.org/get-informed/student-physical-health/healthy-steps-for-healthy-lives/healthy-steps-for-healthy-lives-family-guide/