The goal of a healthy life can be challenging to achieve for many of us. When just starting out, it can feel like there is an insurmountable number of things to change about your lifestyle in order to be successful. It can seem as though healthy living requires giving up more than it is worth.
Fortunately, that is not necessarily the case. Small steps and minor changes can do wonders in improving your general health and well-being. Creating a pattern of healthy habits, such as brushing your teeth every night, can help to ensure you and your kids are on the way to lifetime health.
This is especially true when our positive health habits are established at a younger age. Some research indicates that habits — both healthy and unhealthy — that are developed early in life are likely to stick and hard to break. It is critical to practice good habits early and often. Here are a few to get started with!
Junk Food Moderation
In this day and age, perhaps one of the most challenging things to avoid is unhealthy junk food. We all know that eating junk food in excess has the potential to cause some serious problems; for instance, we know that sugary drinks can wreck havoc on our teeth. But junk food seems to be nearly everywhere and can be difficult to avoid without special precautions, such as preparing your own food in advance.
When trying to give up junk food, there are a variety of ways to get started. Arguably the best way to begin combating unhealthy food cravings is by drinking more water. Aside from water being incredibly good for you in general, some research has actually linked thirst to the feeling of food cravings. When you are thirsty, your body may actually be interpreting that as hunger.
Another means of combating junk food cravings is by making sure that you get enough nightly sleep. Sleep plays a role in nearly all bodily functions, including appetite. Poor sleep can actually contribute to swings in hormones that ultimately lead to stronger cravings — often for foods that are sugary and will provide a quick burst of energy.
Bedtime routines are another healthy habit that can make a significant difference in your overall routine. Ritualizing bedtime can help your body and mind prepare for a good night’s sleep. Furthermore, certain aspects of a routine can help make you more organized in the mornings, reduce stress after long days, and improve overall physical and mental health.
Nightly routines don’t have to be super complicated. Simple things such as brushing your teeth, washing your face, and taking out your contacts before bed can give your body cues that it is time for bed. If stress is a concern, doing things such as writing down your thoughts or practicing mindful meditation before bed can make a profound difference in avoiding restlessness at night.
For children, nighttime routines are imperative to developing good sleep habits and reducing fussing before bed. Sometimes it can be challenging to get your child into a bedtime routine that works for both them and you, but it is well worth the effort. Tips and tricks include things such as giving warning, reading a book, brushing teeth, and being firm once the lights are out.
Another good habit to get into and stick with early is a good personal hygiene. This is particularly important for preteens and teenagers that are going through changes that require additional hygiene requirements. Things such as putting on deodorant, showering regularly, and maintaining facial hair suddenly become much more essential.
Regardless of age, there are plenty of good habits that can improve personal hygiene. For instance, facial cleansing products can help reduce acne, improve skin durability, and ultimately make it feel softer. Habits such as cleaning and caring for your skin can have long-lasting impacts that become increasingly obvious as you age.
Additionally, the habit of brushing your teeth and flossing twice every day can have profound impacts on your oral health and greatly reduce the risk of gum disease. This is a particularly important habit to get small children into early on as brushing teeth can be a difficult skill to learn and takes a lot of practice. When teach children to brush their teeth, be sure that they are reaching all corners of their mouths and not simply focusing on their front teeth.
Health habits can be difficult to get into, but they are well worth the extra effort. Things such as avoiding junk food, developing a nightly routine, and making a habit out of good personal hygiene can be great starts to healthy habits for both you and your children. Starting early is key to long-term success!