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Health and Fitness News

Take Time for a Family Recharge

Find ways to de-stress as a family.

Mom and Dad aren’t the only ones who deal with stress. Studies show kids and teenagers are more stressed today than they’ve ever been. Parents might be anxious about finances, home repairs, child rearing, job deadlines, or relationship tension. Kids in turn sense their parents’ stress. But that’s not the only stress on their plate. They’ve got anxiety over schoolwork, bullies, social pressures, and more. Don’t wait any longer or think your kids’ stress is unimportant. It’s time for the whole family to learn healthier ways to cope with stress.

While it’s important for each individual to decompress on his or her own, it’s also a good idea for families to set aside a portion of the day, week, month, and year to unwind and slow down together. Here’s how you can do it with your family.

Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be. - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Daily Relaxation

Instead of letting stress build up, create daily habits that help each member of the family recharge for the next day. Whenever possible, sit down together to eat meals as a family. Making family dinners a priority is a small way to decompress and unwind. When eating, turn off the television and keep phones away from the table. Instead, talk about the day, ask your kids questions, and discuss things going on in the world.

Bedtime is another opportunity for the family to relax together. At least half an hour before bed, turn off the screens and read a book together. A good plan is to read one chapter out loud every night to help everyone calm down. Spend a few minutes before bed talking and cuddling. And practice deep-breathing exercises together to help relieve tension even further.

Weekly Relief

Set aside a few hours each week for fun, relaxed family time. Plan an activity to do together on a weekend evening or a Saturday morning. It doesn’t need to require a lot of planning and it doesn’t even need to cost money. What you decide to do may depend on your kids’ ages or family interests.

Want more ideas? Pop some popcorn and watch a family-friendly movie. Order some pizza and play board games. Let each family member take turns choosing which game to play. Take a bike ride, go for a walk around the neighborhood, throw the Frisbee, or shoot hoops. Head to the park for a picnic or find a local trail and go on a hike. Go out to eat or stop for ice cream. Get creative a work on a family art project or craft. Turn on your favorite upbeat tunes and have a dance party. The options are limitless!

Yearly De-stressing

At least once a year, plan a family service project or volunteer with a local charity. Helping others is a wonderful way to de-stress. It takes your eyes off your own problems and helps bring hope to others who are less fortunate. Take flowers or kids’ artwork to patients at the nursing home, visit a shut-in neighbor to help with household chores or yard work, serve dinner at a local emergency shelter, or help organize food at your community food pantry.

Once a year, you should make time to get away, and leave your stress and worries at home. The beach, an amusement park, a national or state park, the mountains, or a big city offers great opportunities for family fun and relaxation.

Enlist the help of the family to plan the vacation, and allow your time away from home to be as cheap or expensive as your budget. Don’t let the planning, your finances, or your itinerary cause additional stress. Remember, the purpose of your vacation is to recharge and relax. You don’t want to come home more exhausted than when you left.