Fun-filled Family Activities To Relieve Stress
- Stress can affect our health without us realizing it
- The work environment in Nigeria is too stressful
- Our social support system predicts our health
- Family activities like exercising, painting, and cooking can be fun and relieve stress
Missed that much-awaited family dinner with your cousins and uncles? Was the pile of extra work the reason behind it?
We often tend to miss out on life's happy moments due to unnecessary stress and work pressure.
The constant tasks that we need to fulfill, be it on the professional or the personal front, make us feel stressed and tired. Is there a way to tackle this? Read on to find out.
What is stress? What are the effects of stress on the body?
Stress is the body's response to a challenge or a change. When you experience changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental responses. That's stress. Stress responses help your body adjust to new situations.
The body's built-in stress response, the "fight-or-flight response," helps the body face stressful situations. However, long-term stress can lead to various physical, emotional, and behavioral changes in you.
Headaches, and high blood pressure, are examples of physical changes whereas anxiety, depression, and panic attacks are examples of emotional changes. Unhealthy habits like alcohol or substance abuse are examples of behavioral abuse.
Stress symptoms can affect your body without you realizing it. You may misunderstand them to be due to some illness but your decreased productivity and disturbed sleep may be due to stress.
Is your work life giving you stress?
Workplace stress is a major occupational health tropical issue. It is major because of its negative impacts on the lives and productivity of workers. These impacts are a significant challenge for both developed countries like The United States of America and Japan, as well as developing countries such as Cameroon, Togo, and Nigeria.
Studies showed that Nigerian workers are faced with a high level of stress due to excess workloads with poor salaries.
Other Nigerian studies reported that the work environment in Nigeria is too stressful. The working condition has become threatening and unsafe to the well-being of workers to the extent many of them look unhappy and frustrated.
About 85% of public civil servants in Nigeria police inclusive are reportedly experiencing psychological and occupational stress.
How to live a stress-free life?
The very first step to coping with stress or managing its symptoms is to identify that you are under stress.
Try reflecting on your behavior and physical as well as mental changes at the end of the day. Look for consistent signs that may indicate trouble, e.g: a persistent headache that is prevalent despite eating well, and reduced screen time.
Also, note down the days when you were unable to sleep well, was the workday very hectic or your disturbed sleep has been keeping you awake for some time now? Here are tips on how to be tension-free.
You can manage your stress by following these steps:
- Try stress-relief exercises like walking and jogging.
- Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, Yoga, Tai chi, or massage.
- Keeping a sense of humor.
- Spending time with family and friends.
- Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music.
Aim to find active ways to manage your stress where you participate in various activities, and interact with others.
Inactive ways to manage stress such as watching television, scrolling through social media, or playing video games may seem relaxing at first, but they may increase your stress over the long term.
What role does your family play in the times of stress
It is not easy to share with someone how stressed you are feeling. Even today, mental health issues are not getting their desired attention, and people with mental health issues are often looked down upon.
Suppressing negative feelings can increase stress, and, in turn, be detrimental to one's health. However, research suggests that expressing negative emotions in an adaptive and socially acceptable manner can serve to reduce stress and improve immune function.
For example, one study found that a sample of international students who wrote about their most traumatic or stressful experiences for 20 minutes per day over three days reported significantly less stress at the end of the study than their counterparts who wrote on neutral topics.
This is where one's family can act as a pillar of support. Talking about emotionally disturbing or traumatic events has also been shown to reduce anxiety, stress, and dysphoria.
In fact, one of the most effective forms of psychological treatment for stress disorders involves intentionally recalling and talking about traumatic events repeatedly until the recollection of the event is less distressing.
Much like humor, emotional disclosure allows an individual to step back and gain perspective on the stressful event and can transform how the individual views and makes sense of the situation. Our family does not judge us and can be all ears to what we have to say about our feelings, which can help us reduce the burden of stress and worry.
Research suggests that the strength of one's social support network is a predictor of health and is negatively associated with many mental health problems.
In contrast, loneliness is associated with a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, and lonely individuals have more stressful experiences and are more likely to assess situations as stressful. So sharing your stress with your family can help to better cope with it.
Fun-filled family activities to relieve stress
Spending quality time with your family can truly relieve stress and help you bond better with them.
- Enjoyable leisure activities can be broadly defined as the pleasurable activities that individuals engage in voluntarily when they are free from the demands of work or other responsibilities.
- These may include your favorite hobbies, sports, gatherings, etc. Individuals who engage in more frequent enjoyable activities may experience less distress during times of stress as compared with those who infrequently engage in these activities.
- Being outdoors, in general, helps to alleviate stress and anxiety and when you have your family with you, it becomes a cherry on top of the cake. But fun activities need not be limited to the outdoors.
- When indoors, you can enjoy the company of your parents, spouse, or children to do some things together. You can even quote prizes for the winners and pique their interest in these activities. If you are still confused about where to start, we have got you covered.
Fun-filled activities that you can do along with your family for stress-relief
1. Visit historical places
Nigeria is home to many beautiful places that speak about its rich culture. The mammoth-like Zuma rock is a treat to geology lovers. The Kalakuta republic museum, home of a famous musician, offers a rare glimpse into a distinct time in Nigeria's history.
2. Nature trail
Go for a walk in a natural habitat like the Osun Sacred forest in Nigeria. While walking, observe the breathtaking beauty of trees, and you can visit the Oshuno shrine located in the middle of the forest. You and your family will love this refreshing experience and you can click adorable pictures
3. Play with pets
Pets are a great way to detach from the stressful events of life. Playing with your pets can boost your happiness and improve your mood and energy. With kids and pets around, you are bound to feel refreshed and relaxed. If you don't have pets at home, visit someone who has.
4. Go on a safari
Safaris are a great way to explore the natural wildlife and scenery, especially in the colorful country of Nigeria. Yankari National park offers safari tours where you can spot the waterbucks, leopards, baboons, and majestic elephants. These natural views can relax you.
Breathing fresh morning air cannot be substituted for. Gardening with your kids can be both fun and soothing for your mind. You can teach your children how to do it and can keep them away from distractions like television, and mobile phones. You too can take some time away from your responsibilities, and enjoy the beauty of plants and flowers.
Creativity in any form is a calming and refreshing experience for our minds and body. What's better than painting? The different vibrant colors and the mesmerizing designs allow you to get some 'Me' time where you can focus on the present moment and practice mindfulness. Painting or drawing with your kids can be a totally pleasurable experience.
Similar to painting, cooking can be a relaxing and mesmerizing experience. When you cook, you get absorbed in making the dish a tasty, colorful, and unique experience. Try cooking a tasty Nigerian meal with yams and potatoes along with your kids.
You are bound to feel stressed some time in your life. However, you can avoid too much stress by practicing some relaxation techniques and following a healthy diet and lifestyle. You can also fall back on your family activities to relieve stress.
Involve your family in fun-filled activities like exploring nature, playing with pets, picnics, vacations, painting, and cooking. These activities help you unwind from the routine stress and responsibilities and serve to calm and relax your mind and body.
Have a happy family time!
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