With the first day of school right around the corner, we thought we’d reflect back (in some cases way, way back) about our first days in kindergarten and the lessons we learned there. It’s never lost on us that the simple things we learned in primary school impact us every single day, particularly when it comes to our health and well-being.
Wash your hands.
It doesn’t matter if you are skimming around the playground or opening office doors; germs are everywhere and they are more than happy to hitch a ride on your hands. Send colds, viruses and infections down the drain by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, usually about 30 seconds or about the length of singing the Happy Birthday song (doing it out loud is optional). After all, it’s one thing to have a healthy immune system. It’s another to overwork it unnecessarily.
Play is crucial for child development, and it is just as important for adults. Stimulate those pleasure centers in the brain with a big dose of endorphins, which not only promote a sense of well-being, but can also temporarily relieve chronic pain. Play also stimulates and challenges the brain, promoting memory recall and improving brain function. How you define “play” is up to you, just make sure you unplug, get active and do something you can be happy about.
Take a nap.
Just like play, naps are good for you! After all, more than 85 percent of all mammals sleep for short periods throughout the day. If you can, give in to this animal impulse, especially when your body clearly needs it. A 20-30 minute nap can provide more short-term alertness than several cups of coffee—without the jittery side effects or the impact on your nighttime rest.
Make new friends.
Make no mistake; having friends—human or animal—is beneficial to your health. People with strong social networks have stronger immune systems than those who live in isolation, and they also sleep better than those who feel lonely. This may be one of the reasons people who make an effort to make and keep friendships not only live longer, but report having a positive outlook on life.
Clean up and encourage everyone to do the same.
There are plenty of statistics showing that clutter is on the rise, and not to the benefit of our health. Clutter has been found to increase feelings of depression and anxiety, and for legitimate reasons. In this way, taking the opportunity to hire a maid service may not only free you up to make other healthy choices (play, nap, make new friends), but may also be healthy in and of itself.
Take a time out.
When a child behaves poorly, or is about to make a series of bad decisions, parents and teachers often encourage a “time out” to reassess, refresh and re-establish. While we may not call them as such, or have a special chair to take them in, time-outs are just as crucial in sports games as they are in adult life. They allow us to calm down, take stock and allow the emotional process to chemically work its way out of our system (typically about 90 seconds).
Allow yourself the time to react and come back to yourself before you make any quick judgments or say something that will take longer than 90 seconds to undo. Controlling your emotions in this way helps manage stress, and helps keep happy those relationships that have such a great impact on our health.
Never stop learning.
There was a purpose to the things we learned in kindergarten, and there is a purpose to the things we continue to learn in life. Whether it’s a new way to do our job better, picking up a brand new skill, successfully completing a challenge, or successfully failing at one, our brain takes everything we throw into it and turns it into who we are. Constant learning has been proven to make humans happier, more productive, humble and resourceful. It also makes us healthier.
Do you have a lesson you learned in kindergarten that you carry with you? Please tell us in the comments.