Have you enjoyed a family outing recently?
Getting out and about as a family can be loads of fun. As parents, we tend to think about whether the kids will enjoy themselves and benefit from the outing, but family outings can be really beneficial for us too.
Here are 8 ways that a fun time out together as a family can enhance your wellbeing.
A family outing allows you to leave work, household chores and anything else that’s making you feel stressed and harried, behind for just a little while. Of course, to experience the benefits of this break, you need to be fully present during the outing and not thinking of the report you need to write or the state of your kitchen.
Spending time with the people you love is great for your physical and mental health, as we’re all wired to love, to be loved and to belong. Family outings also help alleviate the guilt that many parents feel over not spending as much quality time as they would like with their children. And, when you have fun, play and laugh, your cortisol levels drop, and you feel more relaxed.
With all our modern conveniences and 24/7 entertainment options, it’s easy to stay inside. But getting outdoors is worth the effort, so make some plans for you and your family to experience the benefits of nature.
Spending time in nature lowers your stress levels, boosts your mood, improves your concentration, helps you sleep and provides the vitamin D (via sunlight) you need to support your immune system.
Our phones are like an extension of ourselves these days. Many of us are also regularly using computers for extended periods of time. But what starts out as convenience can easily become a huge distraction. Technology can get in the way of us really being present and connecting with the most important people in our lives. How many times have you had a conversation with your child while looking at your phone? We also ever allow our brains to switch off. We have very little idle time and when there is a spare moment, we reach for our devices.
A family outing is an opportunity to unplug and be fully present in the moment. You’ll enjoy yourself more, remember it better and your family will know that you want to be with them. Many people have found that they feel refreshed after taking a break from their phones and especially from social media. Of course, you may want to allow yourself to take a few photos! Then put that phone away!
Learn new things
Family outings provide an opportunity for you to learn something that you may not have otherwise learned in your everyday life. Learning new things has been directly linked to improved health and longevity. It provides enjoyment, mental stimulation and inspiration. Learning new things makes life more interesting, and can stimulate your creativity and imagination. It opens your mind to new perspectives and boosts your confidence and self-esteem. Research also indicates that there is a beneficial relationship between exercising your brain through learning new things and your mental health later in life.
Do you ever feel like your family time just flies by and there’s never enough of it? If you do, here’s something that may surprise you – when you’re engaged in an outing where you’re learning new things it will actually seem like it lasted longer in hindsight. This is because time feels slower when your brain is so engrossed in collecting lots of new information. So, on Monday morning, when you reflect on your weekend family outing, you’ll feel like you had loads of quality time together!
Discover new passions
When you become a parent, you lose a lot of the time you had for hobbies and leisure activities. Mothers, especially, often feel like they can’t even remember what they used to enjoy doing. By getting out and trying new things as a family, or exploring something that someone else in your family loves, you might just find something new that you love. Your kids may find something new that they love. And even better if you can love it together.
Connect and communicate
Even if you spend a lot of time together, that doesn’t automatically mean that you’re really connecting. Family outings provide an opportunity for you all to have a common experience. There are plenty of opportunities to listen, share what you’re thinking or feeling, to work together, learn from each other and show affection.
Spending more time together strengthens family bonds, so that you all feel emotionally closer. Strong family bonds help families navigate challenges better. When you feel like you are loved and that you belong
Kids feel special when their parents dedicate time to doing fun things with them. Studies have actually found that kids in families who spend quality family time together and who communicate more, have less problem behaviours. There is also lots of evidence that more experiences and less ‘stuff’ helps children feel happier and well adjusted. I’m sure you’ll agree, this is all good for parents’ wellbeing too!
We all know that we need to move and our daily routines often mean we are sitting a lot. Daily movement improves your physical and emotional wellbeing. It helps you think better, learn faster, remember more, communicate better and interact with others more effectively. It’s not just all about looking good or losing weight!
Often kids love activities that require a lot of movement. Sometimes, you could even call it exercise!! It doesn’t really matter if your family outing feels like a serious workout or if it simply involves moving more. Every bit of additional movement benefits you! You might even enjoy it more than going to the gym.
Create new memories
Family outings are new positive memories that you create together. Later you can recall and enjoy those memories.
When we reflect on happy memories, we experience the same positive feelings that we did at the time of the event. Treasuring and enjoying positive memories can improve life satisfaction and happiness. When you remember things positively, it can actually boost your self-esteem and help you have a more optimistic view of the future. Positive memories can also be comforting through challenging times.
As you can see, family outings have benefits that last far beyond the moment in which they are happening.
The activities don’t have to be costly, extravagant or complicated. In fact, it’s better to keep things simple so you can relax and enjoy yourself. Your family will also enjoy themselves more when you’re relaxed and the outing will be more likely to go smoothly and be remembered fondly. Children appreciate the simplest of activities, when their parents are connecting with them and everyone is having fun. You could even ask them what they’d like to do.
So, get out, connect with your family, have some fun and look after your wellbeing at the same time.
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