By Nurse Diane
A friend of mine recently sent me an article about the most active to the sluggish cities in the country. I can't remember what the most active city was, but I do remember the least active one. It was Jackson, MS, and my old hometown! Yes, it is true, people here in the south, Particularly in Mississippi like things a bit laid back. Not everyone, but a good many of them. We are famous for sitting on our front porch, swinging in the swing, and sipping on some sweet ice tea. Passing the time shooting the breeze with friends and neighbors. My grandmother never saw the inside of her house until it got dark. She could be found on her back porch, and sometimes her front porch if company was coming. In fact, the reason I bought the house I have is because it had a screened in porch!
May is Family Wellness Month, and this is to emphasize the importance of family activities, and porch swinging is fun, but its not a very active way to spend the afternoon.
Family Wellness Month strives for communities to stress healthy family lifestyles and habits as well. The healthier each individual family is overall, the healthier we can all be as a whole!
life 360.com shares some ways to participate in Family Wellness Month. They include:
Change Your Eating Habits – Now this doesn’t have to be a complete transformation of the way your family eats (though if your up to the challenge I say go for it!). Make a few smaller changes, add ground turkey into that recipe that calls for ground beef, switch to non-fat milk, or organic fruits. Buy more fruits and veggies to snack on. You can make it a fun family affair by making a chart that tracks each family member’s daily fruit & veggie intake. When the family makes it through a week or two of everyone getting their daily intake, reward yourselves with a trip to the movies, zoo, six flags or the beach. Also, find healthy alternatives to favorite recipes and make the meal together.
Park Exploration – A simple, inexpensive and fun month long activity is setting a goal to visit every neighborhood park in your city. Print out a list from your local Parks & Recreation department and throughout the month visit as many as possible. Take pictures of each one and at the end of the month you can create a fun memory book of all the parks and talk abut what you liked and didn’t like about each one. A great activity, which feels like an adventure, the whole family can do together. Plus it will give you a great leg up when deciding which parks to visit during the summer break.
Hiking Exploration – If visiting the neighborhood parks doesn’t seem like enough of an adventure for your family, do the same thing only by listing all the hiking and walking trails in and around your city. Each weekend visit a new one. And again take pictures to document the trips and make a collage of all the trails you visited.
Get fit with the Wii Fit – Though getting out there and enjoying the May weather is HIGHLY recommended, there are days when time and (depending on where you live) weather prevents you from getting out there. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be active. Turn on the Wii and enjoy some active games together. Studies show that girls who play video games with their parents are happier for it.
Family Game Night – Board games never go out of style, and even just simple card games will not only give the family a chance to spend some quality time together it also offers a great opportunity for your kids to work on math skills, critical thinking skills and other brain functions they need to stay sharp.
Gardening – You don’t have to have a green thumb to grow a mean garden. If you can’t seem to pull off a lush yummy veggie garden, keep it simple and start a wildflower garden. Either way the time the family spends tending to the garden during the season is priceless.
Scrapbook – With May signaling the coming end of the school year a fun family project to do together is make a scrapbook of everything you did during the school year. Let each family member create a few pages of their favorite activities done in school and with the family over the last nine months.
Visiting Family – It is Family Wellness Month after all, so make it a point this month to go visit grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins, you don’t get around to seeing as often as you’d like. If family is too far to make a visit plan a Skype date with them! A great way to utilize current technology and catch up with faraway family members face to face.
Green Your House – Research with your family ways you can green your house even more than it already is. Make sure you really are recycling all that you can and set some fun goals. See how long you can keep from taking out your kitchen trash by recycling and reusing as much as you can instead of throwing stuff in the trash. Does your city recycle compost? Are you sure your throwing in everything that you’re allowed to? How about juice pouches? Is your school recycling them? They should be.
Set a Personal Goal – By working on something yourself, you’re benefitting your whole family. If there’s something you want to make better, do it! Quitting smoking, getting to a healthy weight, going back to school, whatever challenge you’ve been putting off, do it now. Nothing inspires your kids to try harder then setting a healthy example. Encourage your kids to find a challenge as well, whether it be working on their reading, making their bed everyday or keeping their room clean.
This month try some new things with your family, and let us know how you plan to celebrate your family's wellness.
(All images from Google)