• Akila Venkatesh

Five essential daily habits for good health

How to adopt and teach the 'healthy five' to your family, for daily wellness

Sometimes the most basic foundations of our human wellness, such as revitalizing ourselves through healthy habits, can be the hardest to master, because we live in a world that prioritizes work, over the basics of life itself. When life throws challenges our way, these habits are crucial in keeping us afloat, but are harder to learn during tough times. As such, it's a good idea to work on them regularly and proactively, and as parents, teach these skills to our children. Revitalizing ourselves is the 7th activity of the In Good Hands E.M.P.O.W.E.R.E.D. challenge.

In order to encourage our kids (and let's face it, ourselves) to adopt healthier habits, it helps to chunk or organize the concept into manageable parts. That's what the 'Healthy Five' is for. These days, we are inundanted with health and wellness information or the latest 'biohack', and it can all get overwhelming. These are what I feel are the 5 key pillars to healthy living that you can return to over and over again. I use them to guide my daily wellness habits, as well as my kids'. I just hold up a whole hand, and we go over them as a family on a regular basis.

The Healthy Five:

1. Eating nutritious foods (in our house we call them 'growing foods'), with a focus on a rainbow of vegetables and fruit, clean protein and healthy fats.

2. Getting quality and consistent sleep.

3. Moving to sweat every day (my kids are very active but I have to be intentional about it and aim for at least a 15 minute medium-high intensity workout).

4. Outdoor time every day (for my kids, we aim for at least an hour, for me, I aim for a minimum of 30 minutes).

5. Proactive relaxation and/or stress reduction time (i.e., meditation, laughter, joyful leisure activities alone or with loved ones, etc.)

In our home, we aim to fit in the healthy five every day. Most days we do it, and occasionally we don't--that's part of life and being human, and it's ok. Overall consistency is the aim. With our children, we usually require that they get in their healthy five before screen time and we talk about their healthy five throughout their day-to-day lives at home, so it is part of their vernacular and embedded into their understanding of what 'health' means to them.

Personally speaking, maintaining healthy habits is extremely challenging for me, so keeping things simple and just focusing on 5 habits is helpful. As a lover of desserts, and as a parent juggling the demands of work and home-life, I am continually fighting the temptation to give-in and break these habits. It's a work in progress, but being able to immediately know which key components to focus on, helps me get going again. Self-compassion is key.

Let me know which healthy habits you are working on in the comments below and which ones prove to be the most challenging and rewarding for your family. If you have any tips or tricks, I'd love to hear them!

#health #wellness #habits #family #parenting #children #familyfitness #healthandwellnesseducation

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© 2020 by Akila Venkatesh

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