Family traditions have the power to make the holiday season even more exciting, yet many are commonly centered around eating and shopping. This isn’t always a bad thing, but when we focus completely on these activities, we tend to engage in behaviors that are unhealthy.
There are many alternative traditions that you can establish as a family that encourage good health and well being. Consider volunteering your time as a family to a certain charity or good cause, such as ringing the bell for The Salvation Army.
There are also many charity races during the holidays that you can participate in as a family, which encourages physical activity as well as the ‘giving spirit’.
It’s absolutely fine to have the big holiday feast, but assemble the family for a neighborhood walk afterward, or avert full attention on the food by taking time to have family members share past holiday memories. The holidays shouldn’t be the only time of the year in which we spend time with our families.
This is also a great time to set resolutions to factor in more dedicated family time into our weeks throughout the year.
Many studies have proven the tremendous health benefits of family meals and spending time outdoors as a family — physically, developmentally, and emotionally. Therefore, as we celebrate the holiday season and start the New Year, focus on instilling healthy family traditions for years to come.
Our area is fortunate, as Cone Health has an exceptional network of primary healthcare physicians, behavioral health specialists, and other related healthcare providers dedicated to educating families in the community on improving overall well being and establishing healthy routines.
Heather Bland is a counselor at Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital’s Outpatient Department. Heather received a Bachelor of Arts in English at N.C. State University in 1997, and earned a Master’s in Counseling at Wake Forest University in 2002.