Do you smear sunscreen all over your face (even when it’s cloudy)? Or always remind yourself to “eat your veggies!” Yep—whether you like to admit it or not, you probably picked up some of your best wellness habits from your mom.
At least, that’s the consensus at the Well+Good office. Sure, we may have taken our moms’ advice begrudgingly at first—but the older we get, the more we realize just how spot-on mothers always are.
Whether they were cheering us on from the sidelines of our youth soccer games, screaming at us to turn off the TV and go outside, or reminding us it’s time for bed (because they knew well before researchers did that sleep is super important), our moms were really just supporting us all leading healthier lives.
And maybe we have them to thank for putting us on the road to wellness—which led us all (one way or another) to Well+Good.
To celebrate Mother’s Day, here are 14 wellness lessons the Well + Good staff has learned from our awe-inspiring mothers.
1. Fitness is a way of life
For many years, I was a competitive swimmer and was in the pool from 5:30-7:00 a.m. five mornings a week. My mom used to drop me off and then swim laps herself. That sent an important message: These hours in the pool weren’t just a kid’s activity for me, but that fitness is a way of life at any age—and that she was also taking care of herself. And on the recovery end of the spectrum, her love of massage and all kinds of bodywork has rubbed off on me as well! —Alexia Brue, Co-founder and Publisher
2. By putting one foot in front of the next, you reach the finish line
My mother, Patricia Bloom—who is technically my stepmother but I don’t refer to her that way—always surprised me with her gusto for fitness. She was often on-call as a physician (note stylish pager!), but even so she fit in time for running, biking, and swimming laps. Doing those things in measurements of actual miles seemed crazy enormous. But my parents were huge athletes, so we started doing these sports as a family—my very adorable brother Dave and I had very reduced distances. In 1983 we completed a family triathlon, commemorated with t-shirts my parents had made at the mall with those fuzzy ’80s iron-on letters. My mother doesn’t do quitting—and, confidence or no, I have been blown away by what I could achieve if I just kept going. —Melisse Gelula, Co-founder & Editorial Director
3. Never give up on your dreams
My mom has always been our support system. No matter the situation or the adversity, she would be our cheerleader at the finish line encouraging us to give it our best. When she went back to school later in life, we became the cheerleaders and she set an example for us to never, ever give up on your dreams. —Margurite Berard, Account Executive
4. Always keep challenging yourself
My mom never played sports in high school but picked up running in her twenties as a method of working out. To date, she has run 21 marathons, three 50k races, and has her first 50-miler scheduled for November. —Kate Citron, Integrated Marketing Manager
5. It’s always more fun to work out with other people
I grew up in a super active family—and my mom always insisted that we turn everything into a group activity. Which meant that we’d snowshoe up the mountain together, hike through national parks together, even do HIIT sessions in the middle of Central Park together. It made working out feel a little less like work—which might explain why I was so into team sports as a kid, and today am that person who makes hang time with friends (or family!) a sweaty endeavor. —Rebecca Willa Davis, Deputy Editor
6. Drink more water
According to my mom, water heals all wounds. From headaches, to backaches, to breakouts, there was no ailment a tall glass of water couldn’t fix. As a kid, this was never the answer I wanted to hear. Today, I constantly find myself repeating those three simple words—”drink more water”—laughing at myself for becoming a little more like my mother every time someone tells me about their headaches. —Ella Dove, Events, Marketing, and Video Coordinator
7. Laugh as much as possible
I grew up in a family that laughs a lot. My mom (and her mom) always preached that happiness is a choice and to always be mindful of the positive side of things, no matter what the world throws your way. In a nutshell, my mom and grandmother taught me how to be an eternal optimist and to smile as often as possible. —Josie Fox, Audience Development Manager
8. Women can love (and play) sports too
My mom taught me how to love sports and still be a feminist—that you can cheer on the guys without letting the world keep you on the sidelines. How do you do that? You play sports yourself. She played sports as a kid (not the typical thing for a high school student in the 1960s), and I did, too. As an amazing teacher long before I came along, she knew that the lessons of fitness (learning how to work hard, how to lead, how to follow, and how to accomplish things you never thought you could) are really the lessons of life. It’s a (super sweaty) shortcut to wisdom, and a great gift. —Erin Hanafy, Senior Editor, Articles and Special Projects
9. Always wear sunscreen
My mom’s tip to me was to always wear the proper sun protection. Whether that be at the beach, spring skiing, or sitting outside for Sunday brunch—I was raised to be a sunscreen fiend! —Lindsay Harnett, Sales Associate
10. Get outside
Fun fact: My mom was a spandex-clad aerobics instructor in the ’90s (sorry mom), so she was always trying to get me and my sister moving, rather than staying inside and playing Nintendo. Weekends would be the time when we would go to the park, the beach or community pool, go fishing or horseback riding—you name it. She liked getting us out of the house and trying new things. Her influence definitely instilled in me a love for being active (and for getting ants in my pants whenever I’m inside for too long). —Rachel Lapidos, Editorial Assistant
11. There’s nothing that a hot shower, a good night’s sleep, and a wet paper towel can’t fix
My mom has taught me to be kind and helpful, cook well with real food, and always be active—but the one thing she never taught was to throw quick-fixes at everyday problems. Instead, she was convinced that a hot shower, a good night’s sleep, and a wet paper towel could fix just about anything. Of course if something was seriously wrong with me or my sisters, she would go to the ends of the (physical or medical) earth to fix it. But when it comes to the common cold, a scraped knee, or a stress-inducing meltdown, you can bet that at least one of those three things are her recommendation (yes, it’s similar to the Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding). As much as we tease her for the predictable responses to our help-me-mom phone calls, I can’t say that I don’t use those three things as pillars in my quest for happiness and health. —Katie Maguire, Assistant Editor
12. Pay now for your health—or pay later
My mom—a breast cancer survivor—knows that health is not something that can be taken for granted. As a certified health educator from Hippocrates Health Institute, she’s made it her mission to help others get their health back on track through simple lifestyle changes. Whether it’s shopping for local, organic foods, or skipping that happy hour drink to put the money towards a new juicer, if it’s good for your health it’s worth the investment. Without your health, you have nothing, and focusing on it now makes all the difference. She always asks me, “Would you rather pay more for good foods/vitamins now, or for doctors’ bills later? You’ll be paying regardless, so make your choice!” —Nisha Malani, Consulting Sales Director
13. Walking does wonders for your mind (and body)
Opting to walk, instead of taking the train, a taxi, or even cycling (navigating NYC on two wheels can be stressful!) is one of the easiest ways to get clarity, gather your thoughts, and just do some heavy thinking. As a full-time real estate agent and mom to four (well, five if you count our dog Rocco), my mom has mastered the art of balance. She says she likes to walk to all of her showings to prep herself mentally, but I think it’s also a great way for her to just spend some time uninterrupted. I’ve copied her numerous times after a long day of work, by walking to the next subway stop—or just doing a few laps around the building during lunch. —Sarah Sarway, Social Media Coordinator
14. Confidence is the best beauty product
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my mama wear any makeup, unless you count Burt’s Bees colored chapstick passing for lipstick. Growing up, she always told me that as long as I believed it, I would always look beautiful (no matter what I was wearing). Beauty comes from confidence and self-love, rather than a tube of skin-perfecting foundation. —Willa Tellekson-Flash, Contributor
Kate Hudson got it from her mama too. Check out why Goldie Hawn is the anti-fitness guru of the moment. And if you need advice on how to get through Mother’s Day when you don’t have one to celebrate with, here are 4 expert tips.