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Health and Fitness News

Cut the Stress, Family-Style

7 ways to de-stress as a family.

There’s no doubt that adults deal with stress. From work pressures and financial strains to relationship tensions, stress is a normal part of life. But what many parents forget is that their kids deal with stress too. Whether it’s from peer pressure, grades, fears about COVID-19, or stress picked up from their parents, childhood stress is a real problem.

No matter your age, unmanaged stress can take its toll on your mental and physical health. For this reason, moms and dads can take a proactive approach in helping their kids learn healthy ways of managing stress. One way to do this is by planning family activities designed to help you de-stress and relax. Need some inspiration? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Get Laughing

Like the saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Put distractions aside, turn off your phones, and plan a time to have fun as a family. Watch a family-friendly comedy, take turns telling jokes, or play an interactive game. Let each family member take a turn choosing which game to play. Make some popcorn and spend the evening together relaxing and having fun.

2. Take a Hike

There’s something therapeutic about spending time in nature. Combine that with exercise and you have the perfect way to unwind! Take an afternoon to get away from the crowded city. Leave to-do lists behind, and turn off your phones. Then put on your hiking boots and bug spray and go on a hike. Choose a trail that fits your family’s fitness level. A long hike or lots of hills will be difficult for little, tired feet.

3. Cook a Meal

When was the last time you sat down together at the table to eat together? Research shows family mealtimes benefit both kids and adults. It provides a time to unwind, catch up on the day, discuss ideas, and share life. Families who eat meals together are also more likely to eat healthier. Make family mealtime a priority at least once or twice a week. Let the kids take turns helping to prepare and clean up.

4. Get Creative

Getting creative is a great way to cope with stress. Plan a family activity that centers around an art project everyone can enjoy. Gather some small canvases and acrylic paint, modeling clay, beads and wire, origami paper, or sidewalk chalk. Or put on a family-wide photography contest, learn how to tie dye, or make holiday crafts.

5. Be Active

Exercise is a proven way to manage stress and prevent its negative health effects, so get the whole family moving. Take a walk or bike ride together after dinner each evening. Turn on some music and have a dance party. Head to the pool, lake, or beach on a nice day and go swimming. Go to the gym or play tennis with your teenage child. Design a circuit training routine each family member has to finish. Find ways to move and make it happen!

6. Plan an Outing

Life can get busy and stressful with the same routine day in and day out. You need to break out of routine. So do something out of the ordinary to de-stress as a family. This could be a week-long vacation or a day trip to a sporting event, concert, zoo, museum, or state park.

7. Volunteer Together

Reaching out to others is a great way to take your eyes off your own problems. Families with older children can serve the community or someone in need. Serve dinner at a soup kitchen, rake leaves for an elderly neighbor, bake cookies for a lonely friend, visit a nursing home, or babysit for a single mom. There’s no lack of needs in your community.