For so many people, home is truly where the heart is. They love getting together with their families and quality time is always cherished. Unfortunately, there are many families that don't have the same experience. For some people, home is the place to avoid and the thought of going home ignites feelings of anxiety and fear. If you don't want to end up in the second category, it's going to take intentional work and effort. You'll need to make family life and mental health some of the top priorities. Consider implementing these four tactics to improve the mental health and happiness of your family life.
1. Weekly Family Activities
Just like date nights are so important for couples, family activities are important for everyone. Between school, work and chores, it's easy to miss one another in the daily grind of life. Maintain a weekly family night so that everyone can reconnect and check in. It's also a great way to unwind. Whether the activity is bowling and pizza, a night out at the movies or ice cream at the local shop, find fun things to do together. Check the local newspaper to find out about cultural events, live concerts and other fun activities to do.
2. Family Counseling
A wise person once shared that you can't see the picture when you're in the frame. Family counseling is incredibly important because you need someone on the outside who can be a good sounding board. You also need someone who is totally unbiased. Find a licensed psychologist to sit down with your family and really get a good understanding of what everyone is verbalizing. Yes, it will take some vulnerability. Counseling can be an emotionally transformative process, but it also involves doing some heavy lifting. Just remember that the effort is worth it and your family will be healthier and happier as a result of it.
3. Individual Celebration
If you're in a family with multiple children, it's so important to make sure they're equally celebrated and loved. In many cases, there are children who become jealous of their siblings because they feel as though they receive more attention and love. Make sure that you celebrate each child and their individual interests and talents. Make sure that each member of the family has the opportunity to explore their gifts and interests. This same concept applies to you and your spouse. If your spouse is passionate about art and regularly makes time to work on it, create some space in the house. To help you live simply, consider putting some of the unused items into a storage unit and create a mini-art studio. This action communicates the family's belief in one member's dream and facilitates an environment to support it.
A family that plays together usually stays together. As you and your family are dedicated to working hard and getting things accomplished, it's just as important to take time out and relax. Some families never go on vacations and wind up experiencing serious bouts of burn-out. This mistake ends up bleeding into the familial life. When members of the family start to see family as synonymous with stress and work, you've got a serious problem. It's important for a family to rest and relax together. There are so many ways to get away at any price point. Even if you and your family get in the car and drive two hours away and stay at a bed and breakfast stop for the weekend, it's still a great way to unwind, recharge and get a change of scenery. Be intentional about planning ahead so you can find great deals and enjoy all life has to offer as a family.
As you continue these traditions with your family, you'll learn to love them on a deeper and different level. This also fosters a healthy environment for your family to love each other and become genuine friends with one another. As long as you remain consistent with your efforts, you and your family will reap the benefits.