Create Healthy Habits for the Family

1. Evaluate your lifestyle. As a parent, it’s important to model healthy behaviors for your children. Children are more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle and less likely to associate stress with unhealthy behaviors if the whole family practices healthy living and good stress management techniques. So, ask yourself: How do I respond to stress? Do I tend to smoke, turn to alcohol, or overeat, when I feel stressed? How can I improve my stresscoping skills?

2. Talk about it. If you notice that your children are looking worried or stressed, ask them what’s on their minds. Work together to understand and address any stressors children are experiencing. Low levels of parental communication have been associated with poor decision making among children and teens.

3. Create a healthy environment. Your home, work space, and social environment influence your behaviors. Altering your environment can help alleviate stress. Look around your home, your office,and even your car. Do these spaces feel clear and relaxing? Decluttering may help. Clearing up your home space for the family is something you and your children can control, and it teaches children to focus on those things they can control when feeling stressed.

4. Focus on yourself. The correlation between unhealthy choices and obesity is strong. When you feel overwhelmed it is easy to fall into eating fast food, becoming more sedentary (playing video games or watching TV), or not getting enough sleep. Research shows that children who are sleep-deficient are more likely to have behavioral problems. When you and your family are experiencing stress, make a conscious effort to take care of yourselves. more

5. Change one habit at a time. Your family may aspire to make several important changes at once,such as eating healthier foods, being more physically active, getting better sleep, or spending more time together. However, if you are already overextended from juggling numerous responsibilities, doing all of this at once can feel overwhelming. Changing behaviors takes time. Start by changing one behavior; then you are more likely to experience success, which can encourage your family to tackle more healthy changes.

Stress and Relationships

People under stress admit to taking out their frustration on other people. Targets for venting out include strangers and those they have personal relationships with. Men and women report different levels of how work stress affects their relationships with their spouses.


of parents expressed concern for their child(ren)’s social life or development


of adults report work stress affects their personal relationships.


of men report work stress affects their personal relationship with their spouse compared to 61% for women.


of adults reported experiencing stress caused by a friend or loved one’s long-term health condition.

Source: Mental Health America created by