Bucket List for Family Wellness

Lists are a great way to organize whether you are preparing for a trip, planning the week ahead, or jotting down goals that you have for your life. Bucket lists tend to be a list of big ticket items that you would like to accomplish in your lifetime, possibly as a means of ensuring that you have a full life. These lists are going to be different for everyone, but most of us want to ensure that when we get to the end of our lives we have no regrets about how we lived. Beyond that, if we are accomplishing items from our buckets list, at least we are working towards that goal even if we don’t complete it. I would even venture a guess that most people don’t even expect to check off all of the items listed, but rather use the list as a means of guiding their choices throughout their lives.

The benefits of having such a list are clear; you will likely do more if you have a list of items to follow. Why not use this same practice and make a list of things that you’d like to do in your own household to improve the quality of your family’s health? Make a list for your family to accomplish during this year’s spring and summer season. Here are five ideas to get you started:

  1. Create a Gratitude Practice - The problems we have are our own, and it’s ok to feel sad about the things that happen in our lives. That being said, it’s also important to have some awareness of the fact that those of us who have regular access to food, water, and shelter have a lot to be grateful for. Establishing a regular practice of gratitude will improve your mental health and your overall quality of life. Start by doing a daily gratitude journal and include your kids, listing three things that you are grateful for at the end of every day. Make it a project and write it down so you can all look back on your lists as you go.
  2. Eliminate Processed Foods - Challenge your family to eliminate processed foods for a week,  a month, or the whole summer. This bucket list item will benefit you and your family in many ways as it will force you to look at the ingredients before you buy anything. If you are a household that relies heavily on prepared foods, this will be particularly challenging because you will have to get used to preparing your own whole foods. The beauty of a challenge like this is that you will never go back to not checking the ingredients. You may let some things slide as you move back into the world of moderation, but developing awareness of what you put in your body will impact your food choices for the rest of your life.
  3. Try a New Activity - Pick a new activity to try out this summer. Make is a challenge to try it not just once or twice but for at least a month, if not longer. If you have a bigger family, pick an activity that everyone can do together. It’s really easy to settle into our comfortable and familiar habits. You may be very active already, but it will still benefit you to try something new and to move your body in a new way. Once you pick your activity, decide on a goal to reach or develop a way to celebrate when you’ve reached the end of your trial. 
  4. Grow Your Food - While there are limitations to what we are able to grow here, there are still plenty of foods that flourish in this environment and learning how to grow food that you can actually use to feed yourself and your family will change your relationship with food. Gardening can be an overwhelming task, especially when you compare yourself to those neighbours who have full, colourful gardens every year, but everyone has to start somewhere. Pick a few vegetables that you know will grow well here (kale!) and plant a small garden. Include your kids in the tending and picking of the garden and if they are old enough, let them have their own little plot. Start small, but stick with it throughout the summer and reap the rewards of eating food that you have grown yourself.
  5. Sleep Hygiene - As always, I cannot overstate the importance of good quality of sleep. Take a good look at your sleep habits, including any bedtime rituals, what you do in the hour before bed, how your bedroom, is organized, etc. Decide what you want that to look like and set the goal of achieving that in the next month. Creating a bedtime ritual and making a habit of it will improve your sleep quality which will improve your health.

Maybe your “Bucket List to Wellness” looks different than this, but whatever you decide to put on it, having it on a list will make you more likely to do it. Visualize what you want your future wellness to look like, and check in with the list frequently to hold yourself accountable to your goals. If you fail, pick yourself up and try again.

Happy List-Making!