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This year is almost over, and it’s time to make resolutions. Individual promises are all the rage, but why not buck the mold and focus on goals for the entire family?
You don’t need to make every resolution involve something grueling — some pleasurable activities, like taking a vacation, also benefit your mental and physical health. Here are ten things your family should do this year to make it both productive and fun.
1. Save for a Home
There’s discouraging news for renters — apartment prices keep climbing faster than inflation. Worse, wages have stagnated for years. If both trends continue, you could find yourself priced out of a place to live.
The only way to escape the rental roller coaster is to save for a permanent home. As much as it may seem impossible, the sooner you begin a savings fund, the more quickly you’ll amass what you need. Investigate alternatives — if you now telecommute, you can find rural land at a bargain, although you may need to get handy with a hammer to complete your homestead.
2. Make an Escape Plan
You don’t want to discover that your little one is too terrified to climb down an escape ladder while flames lick through your home. Make this year the year you create and rehearse a plan with your family in case of natural disaster.
When creating your escape plan, consider factors like where you will all meet if you get separated and ensure all family members have backup chargers and phones to communicate if something occurs while away from home. Identify the safest place in your house to ride out earthquakes or tornadoes.
3. Go on Vacation
If you spent most of the year cooped up in your house, you probably feel more than a little stir-crazy. However, while uncertainty lingers, you might feel loath, even a bit guilty, about booking a vacation.
Ease your mind with this terrific news out of the State University of New York and the University of Pittsburgh. A 9-year study of over 12,000 men at high coronary disease risk revealed that those who took an annual vacation decreased their risk of death over those who stayed put.
Even if heart disease doesn’t run in your family, vacations also improve your concentration and focus. After surviving this year, your whole gang deserves a break.
4. Plant a Garden
Gardening is a healthy activity for the entire family. You get outside and moving in the sunshine, which boosts your immune function and mood, and you become more self-reliant by reducing your need to buy fruits and veggies.
What if you are a renter? You can still enjoy the pleasure of growing things. A windowsill herb garden keeps your dishes tasting fresh and container gardens flourish on sunny balconies.
5. Get Outside More
Getting outdoors improves your mood and may stave off sickness. Research published in the National Institutes of Health reveals that Japanese people who participate in shinrin-yoku or forest-bathing have higher levels of the natural killer cells that fight invading pathogens.
The secret lies in phytoncides, chemicals that defend plants from predators. When you inhale them, it improves your immune system — so make like a family of silly hippies and go hug a tree.
6. Improve Your Diets
Think of your body like a giant chemistry set. Everything you add into the mix either benefits or detracts from your health — including food.
While you don’t want to go off the deep end, a little food prep once a week helps you skip the drive-thru. Chop up plenty of crunchy, long-lasting veggies like carrots and cauliflower to eat for snacks. Make healthy meals and freeze portions for weekday meals that require only a quick zap.
7. Adopt an Exercise Routine
Nearly everyone resolves to get in better shape— how original is that? However, you can spice things up by making fitness a family affair.
You could all train for a race together. Many events have specialty routes for the youngest family members. Other ideas include going hiking each weekend or joining a recreational sports league.
8. Hold a Weekly Check-in
Your mental health is as important as your physical well-being. Your mind and body share an intricate link, and when stress or depression hijack your thoughts, it often causes a ripple effect of problems. However, teaching your kids how to communicate their emotional state can strengthen family relationships.
Have a weekly check-in with your kids to see how they’re feeling. You can create a ritual where you do so by running for coffee together or heading to a favorite park spot. Please remember that the purpose isn’t to modify behavior, but instead to give your children a change to feel heard.
9. Support Each Other in New Endeavors
Even if you make resolutions as a team, each family member likely has individual goals. Take the time to learn how to support each other best.
For example, some folks who want to lose weight respond well when others gently remind them of their goals before they take that slice of cake. Others find such suggestions intrusive. The only way to know is to ask.
10. Make “Team _____” T-Shirts
From police squads to baseball lineups, professional teams share one trait — they wear the same uniform. Shouldn’t your family likewise declare your status to the world?
Get T-shirts printed that read “Team” and your last name. You’ll foster a feeling of closeness, and it will be easier to find each other if you get separated at the amusement park.
Do These 10 Things With Your Family This Year
If you want to make this year the best yet, please consider doing these ten things with your family this year. You’ll strengthen your bond and feel more secure about your future.