7 Ways How to Carve a Wellness Routine for Yourself and Your Family
Wellness, a word, a lifestyle, a phrase that can sound almost unattainable to most. When I ask people what comes to mind when they think of the word, people usually respond with ideas around expense, non-inclusive, fancy foods, or a way of life that is not accessible to them.
I am here to tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Creating healthier habits is available to each and every one of us, particularly within the Black community.
Admittedly “wellness” is a bit of a buzzword, but in its simplest form, it is the act of practicing habits that help create health in both your physical and mental state. I think we have done a pretty good job of making it seem like it is a club reserved only for the chosen few, but I am here to show you how Black moms can start introducing the entire concept into your everyday life.
Here are a few of my favorite tips:
Be Sure to Rest
Fatigue is often due to lack of sleep, and can lead to dry eyes, eye strain, and other eye conditions. Visit the Virginia Eye Consultant page and find Sarah Mahmoud, an optometrist who can be your go-to doctor for your eye health. Other than sleep deprivation, did you also know the constant overstimulation of our lives and minds is also a core contributor to fatigue?
Become unapologetic in carving time out to rest — daily would be ideal. Even if it’s just five minutes, I want you to take time out to give your body and mind a rest; the laundry can wait, the dishes can wait, but your rest cannot. You can even put it on your calendar or in a diary so people know you are unavailable during that time. If you do not advocate for yourself, nobody else will.
Life can sometimes feel mundane and repetitive, but if you look for the magic in each day you will find it. This is a ritual you can do as a family. At the end of each day, you can ask yourself and your children what you are grateful for. Children are not born grateful so, like anything, it is a skill that needs cultivation. Children who are raised to be grateful have been shown to lead happier and more positive lives.
Write in a Journal
This can be written or spoken but spend time, even if it’s just five minutes, getting your thoughts out. Research has shown just releasing the thoughts we have in a calm manner can help reduce stress and the feeling of overwhelm.
Go for a Walk
Go for a family walk and talk. Talk to each other. Talk about what you see along your walk. While walking is a mental wellness benefit, you are teaching yourself and your children how to incorporate physical wellness into your routine at the same time.
Healthy Food Swaps
One of my favorite things to do is to make snacks and meals healthier. One of my favorites is gluten-free banana bread. Rather than consume all the extra additives in store-bought banana bread or even traditional homemade banana bread, I prefer to swap out some key ingredients for healthier substitutes. The result is the same tasty warm bread but with added benefits and less gunk. You can check out the recipe here.
There is also a lot of value in teaching kids to eat savory or umami foods. These have a unique taste but also wean people off the super-sweet food that seems to dominate the culture. For example, instead of eating sweet meats, umami would emphasize eating more vegetable broths and whole foods. Granted, it can take a little while to get used to the new flavors, but once you make the shift, your new tastebuds stay with you for life.
Learn to Say No
Yes: say no and say it more often. If you notice, children, particularly your own, have no trouble saying no. We may not need to be as blunt as them but if something doesn’t make you feel good or simply you don’t want to do something or go somewhere or answer the call to that draining person, please note you absolutely do not have to. You should not feel guilty about it either.
Trying to create new and healthier habits takes time. The beauty of life is that perfection doesn’t exist and motherhood is no exception. There are some days you will feel like you absolutely won. Other days? Not so much. But both days are valid. Lean into the feeling, find something that went well and try again.
Hopefully I have inspired you to introduce healthier habits into your routine in a manageable and sustainable way. My desire is for all of us to have access to wellness and pass those habits onto our children.
Theresa Ami, is the Creator and Founder of Who You Are Stories – The Inclusive Wellness Brand for Children. Her mission has always been making wellness accessible to all particularly children so that they can grow to live healthier and happier lives. The brand’s flagship product The “I Am Grateful” Journal is an entry point for early age children to understand and practice emotional wellness.