Protecting your child’s mental wellness is many parents’ primary goal. Others may pay more attention to outward issues. Placing mental health on the back burner is detrimental to everyone in a family because the consequences can extend to others. It’s essential to recognize the signs of declining mental health and pinpoint lifestyle aspects that affect it. You can only fix a problem if you know the cause.
Once you know what impacts your mental health, you can change things for the better. Here are nine factors that influence your family’s mental wellness:
1. Exercise Level
Even if you don’t love exercise, it has tangible benefits. It builds your stamina, gets your oxygen flowing, and reduces your risk of conditions like cardiovascular disease. Physical activity positively affects growing bodies by increasing endurance and making muscles limber. It stimulates the release of hormones like serotonin, which dictate your mood and happiness. Schedule in some time a few days a week to do family fitness activities.
2. Eating Habits
A poor diet doesn’t provide your body the nourishment it needs to function. You may feel too fatigued for your normal activities. Everyone needs antioxidants and vitamins to help their brain and body thrive — and you find these in healthy foods. Increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, and lean meats and practice moderation with your portions.
3. Communication Style
Every person has their own communication style, and meshing with others requires compromise. You learn to adapt to each other’s language. A disjointed bond often ends in misunderstanding and conflict, because neither person can understand why the other communicates a specific way.
Similarly, your children may become distant if they’re not being heard or acknowledged in a suitable way. Talk to them about what makes them feel understood and try to see the world from each other’s perspectives.
4. Screen Time
Although technology can be helpful, too much of it affects your relationships. It’s easy to use the TV to unwind or sit your child in front of a tablet to occupy them, but this leaves less time for interaction. You may miss out on sharing unique moments because you’re busy with other things.
Arrange some time each day to sit down with everyone and talk about the day’s events. Set limits on how long everyone can be on the phone or in front of the TV — including yourself.
5. Sleeping Habits
If you’re like most people, you feel irritable when you don’t get enough sleep. You’re tired during daily tasks and would rather hit the bed to gain those lost hours. Your child feels the same way, and poor sleeping habits can hurt their school performance. Many parents make mistakes when enforcing sleeping habits for their kids, like not setting and sticking to a routine. Fortunately, you can resolve these errors while they’re young.
6. Home Environment
A stressful home environment can make anyone feel like their mental health is under attack. If you and your partner often argue — or if your communication styles don’t align — this creates a hostile atmosphere. Stress makes it hard to think or relax, which takes a heavy toll on one’s mental health. If your home environment isn’t the best, work on changing it to a place of peace and understanding.
How often do you and your child go out to see friends and have playdates? Your social relationships hold equal weight with your familial ties. If this area is lacking, it manifests through your mental health. You or your child may feel isolated, depressed, and misunderstood with no one special to confide in. Even if it’s only once a week, socializing with others can alleviate this isolation by helping you build connections.
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8. Family Relationships
A significant change in the family — whether a divorce or death — can damage your mental health. You may struggle with managing your grief while shielding your child from the worst of it. Sometimes you aren’t able to protect your kids from all the details. It’s better to discuss the situation and allow them to share their feelings about it.
9. Body Image
Body image troubles many people, and these self-deprecating thoughts can appear early in children. Worrying over scales and limiting your caloric intake influences your kids, whether you intend it to or not. Caring for your physical health is great, but not when it veers into disordered behavior. A recent study showed kids who are more conscious of their weight are likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression and practice dieting methods.
Improving Your Lifestyle Transforms Your Mind
Examining your lifestyle allows you to make necessary changes for better health. Mental health is one piece of the puzzle — caring for your body often includes a lifestyle rehaul. The effort is worth it for you and your child to prosper through every situation.
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Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
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