For many families, this is a highly charged time of year – exam time! In particular, those writing their matric exams need all the support, love and empathy they can get.
So, what can we all do to make exam time more bearable, and have healthier and happier children who have a positive outlook for the future?
We need to make sure they are fully supported so they can think, eat, rest, exercise and associate well with others.
Cultivating positive thinking habits within the home takes great practice but when done correctly, they become a way of life that directly impacts on overall health and wellness. What do we talk about? How do we address each other?
Do we even greet each other with courtesy and love? Are we reassuring of our love and absolute confidence in the abilities of our children during this busy time?
What do we allow to influence and impact us? Radio? Television? Computers and cellphones? Perhaps these gadgets, useful as they are, should be turned off at scheduled times, to allow the minds of our children and ourselves to calm down and reflect on all the preparations for exams and the future.
This is a great time to be mindful of our rest habits. We need to ensure adequate sleep, as it is during sleep that the mind refreshes and consolidates neural pathways that ultimately form the lifestyle we aspire to have.
Similarly, setting aside time for exercise and recreation is important to keep our bodies healthy. It is astounding how regular exercise, with attention to breathing to ensure oxygenation of tissues, impacts the mind’s ability to remain calm and to recall facts during exams.
It is a fact that during stressful times such as exam time, eating habits take a great knock.
This is a time when supportive habits such as eating together at home instead of on-the-run can pay great dividends to overall health.
It takes the support of everyone at home to make a habit of creating an atmosphere that enables ‘rest and digest’, so that food can be of value to the mind and body.
Many of today eat food for convenience – not necessarily for the nutrient value. The global fast food culture, spurred on by quick profits, is an international concern. I truly believe that we need to get back to basics.
Meals that are nutritious and prepared at home with care, love and great attention to the quality of ingredients used, is a good place to start. It is time to popularise organically-grown fruits and vegetables, and the farmers who produce them (especially on a small scale).
It is also time to emphasise to our loved ones that prevention is the only form of cure for lifestyle diseases that are so prevalent today.
So, let’s get back to basics and develop good habits of thinking, eating, resting, exercising and associating, so we can look forward to a healthier and happier future.
Dr Eseza Nambassi is a medical doctor and managing director of Simply Healthier. She can be contacted at [email protected]