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Caring for Caregivers

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Caregivers typically provide assistance to someone who has a chronic illness or disabling condition. Whether a family member with special needs is a child or an adult, combining personal, caregiving and everyday needs can be challenging. Use these tips to help you find a way to manage caregiving on a daily basis.
Be informed. Take time to learn about your family member’s condition and special needs requirements. Talk to health care providers and other professionals who work with families with special needs. Understand the needs of you and your family, and work together to make good choices about housing, schools, health services and more.Get support. It’s important to remember that even when you feel isolated, you are not alone. Join a local or online support group. Search for local and national groups that provide services, recreation and information for families with special needs. Find out about local, state, federal or other programs that may be available.Be an advocate. Ask quest…

Make Mealtimes Meaningful

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Eating dinner together as a family is not just about the food; it’s about the connection. Spending time together builds healthy families and healthy kids. Here are a few tips for making mealtime memorable!
Keep a question jar. Place a container on the dinner table with blank slips of paper, and whenever you think of a cool question, write it down and toss it in. “What’s something you can do better than your parents?” “If there were a holiday named after you, how would people celebrate it?” Once a week, use some of the questions in the basket to spark conversations at dinner.Shake it up. Every so often, have a wacky family dinner night. Eat with the big serving utensils or use serving platters instead of plates! You could even serve dinner as a picnic, outside on a blanket or have an indoor picnic in the living room or playroom.Have a reading dinner. Choose a book and read aloud while you eat. If your kids are old enough, they can take a turn.Enjoy special food outings. Have a regular,…

Family Fitness Tips

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The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans say that kids and pre-teens need a total of 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Raking in these 60 minutes everyday can be fun, too! Use this as a time to get the whole family up and moving. Here are a few quick ways to do just that.
Walk the walk. Instead of watching TV after dinner, take a walk with your family. It doesn’t have to be far or long, but make sure you get outside and let your meal digest while you stroll. If it makes life fun, bring bikes, scooters, roller skates and the dog, too -- anything that brings a smile to your party on the go.Strike a pose. Try yoga to improve your family’s flexibility. There are family-friendly instruction cards with adorably illustrated yoga poses, illustrated books for kids and DVDs on yoga for families designed to guide your group through Tree Pose and Warrior Pose. Don't get hung up on whether the kids are doing the moves right, or even doing all of them at all. Let them imitate you …

Creating a Family Routine

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With school quickly approaching, the schedule-free summer days are almost over. For many families, the switch from the summer schedule to the school day routine can be stressful. But, things go more smoothly when both you and your child know what to expect. Here are some tips to creating structure and rules to make your back-to-school transition easier than ever!
Establish a routine and stick with it. A routine is a set of steps or to do items that you do the same way each time, making the day’s activities predictable. Morning and bedtime routines are crucial to creating structure in your child’s life.Give your child choices whenever possible. Asking them, “Do you want A or B?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth or take a bath first?” allows your child to learn to be more independent and feel like they have some control in daily tasks. Plus they get valuable practice in making good choices.Be predictable. Children crave structure, and they feel safe and know how to behave when they h…

A Brief Guide to Going Plant-Based

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Veganism has been around since 1944, but it’s still a relatively new concept to many people. The idea of cutting out all animal products to eat a more plant-based diet can be daunting. Most people are hesitant to go vegan because they believe the shift has to occur overnight, and a lot of people don’t want to give up their favorite dessert or snack item. This brief guide will give you tips and tricks to embracing a plant-based lifestyle at your own pace — no sacrifices required.
Try crowding in, not cutting out. Instead of trying to cut animal products out of your diet, crowd them out by putting emphasis on constantly seeking out new plant-based foods. You won’t miss your scrambled eggs in the morning if you are enjoying a delicious and refreshing smoothie bowl.Cultivate the habit of trying new foods at every opportunity. Try starting with sampling at least five new plant-based foods each week. When looking at recipes, find those with ingredients you have never tried or even heard of.…

Effects of Yoga

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You don’t have to be able to do a handstand to enjoy the benefits of yoga! According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 82% of adults who practice yoga said it improved their overall health and made them feel better. As an increasing number of studies are showing, yoga may help with several aspects of wellness including stress management, balance, healthy eating and physical activity habits. Here are a few ways yoga can help your wellbeing:
Yoga may help relieve some symptoms of chronic pain conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.Yoga-based interventions can help individuals create healthy eating and physical activity habits.Yoga may be helpful for anxiety or depressive symptoms associated with difficult life situations.Yoga may help manage sleep problems because it can help ease stress and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. You can read a detailed report of the benefits of yoga here.


Source: Nati…

Five Ideas to Maximize Family Time

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Finding quality time with your family can be a challenge, but it is an important investment in your overall wellbeing. This summer take time to inspire each other to live better and make new family traditions that encourage healthier lifestyles. The sooner in life we build healthy habits, the easier it is to keep them.

Introduce “Meatless Mondays” and create a family meal with only vegetables. Set limits on screen time. This includes television and all electronic devices. Instead, declare a family game night with board games, a dance-off or an outside physical activity. Try something new as a family. Bike rides, swimming and backyard baseball are all fun ways to fit in exercise. Let every family member create their own flavored water using fruit, vegetables and herbs. Try breathing exercises or a family meditation each night to help everyone unwind to get a better night’s sleep.