When winter comes, so too can a drop in our mood. Whilst most people will not meet the criteria for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), many people will find themselves being more socially isolated, less prone to outdoor activity and being active, more screen time, less exposure to sunlight and maybe more comfort eating. This can impact all members of the family and can lead to getting into a rut. Sometimes we end up with these bad habits without realising how or when we got there, which is normal but frustrating as it feels we lack control over these things. But, the best way to break old habits is to make new ones… here are some ideas for new family habits to help us turn around our winter blues!
- Weekend family walks in the wilderness (or maybe just the wilderness of your local neighbourhood) are a great (free) way to have time with your family to fuel your feelings of connection as well as giving everyone the natural “lift” you get from moving your body and getting outside amongst nature (or at least a few trees!) Consider making time the on devices a “reward” for time spent outside to get kids involved. You might find this reward becomes less important over time as they too experience the benefits of your undivided attention and the natural highs of being active outdoors!
- Family fun nights where kids get to choose the game that the family plays one night a week. Go old school with some Uno or Monopoly or even Charades or learn to play your child’s fave video game (though stick to ones that are likely to have a good interactive benefit). Remember this doesnt have to be an epically long experience – keep it to a length of time that makes it realistic and achievable to be a regular thing.
- Eat a meal together at the dining table several times a week, sharing everyones “highlights” of the day. There is lots of evidence to say that this has a positive effect on healthy eating of children and certainly provides the opportunity to connect for the whole family as everyone gets a turn at the conversation.
- Cook something healthy together. The temptation can be to go for cakes and biscuits on those cold winter days – and whilst this can be great to do too – kids and adults learning to do a great new recipe that is going to make them (and you!) excited about eating something packed with nutrients is going to boost your flagging energy! It also promotes a sense of discovery as you all do something new together.
- Give yourself a break… we know happy parents = happy kids, so look after yourselves! Taking care of the grown ups in the family can mean having the opportunity to have a night out or even just making time to take yourself for a walk or a visit to the gym or maybe time to just have a shower/bath on your own once a day!