Time to pull the family together over Christmas

The Christmas period is a great time to use for repairing some of those rifts that may have occurred during the year in your family unit. There is time to reflect, relax and to be relentless (only while playing board games of course!). 
Celebrating Christmas without stress

Even Santa has to do his chores….Merry Christmas

The Importance of Social Interaction
Talking about board games, what a great opportunity to spend some social time together, while also teaching the younger (and maybe older) children about turn taking and the importance of losing gracefully. A board game is so much more interactive than an electronic game or watching TV, it encourages members of the family to communicate and interact. Such activities improve the feeling of togetherness and you are never too old to play a game of Ludo or Monopoly. 

Over the Christmas period more families tend to eat together, and at a table. This is great practise for how you should be eating together as a family during the rest of the year. This Christmas, pay close attention to how differently it feels to eat together as a family, and then visualise yourself doing this for the rest of 2015. When we have our meals at a table and together with others, we generally eat better. We chew our food more, we interact socially and we eat smaller portion while also picking the more nutritious food groups. Also, eating together as a family is extremely important while bringing up children. It has been found that teenagers feel their family is more supportive and attentive which leads to fewer signs of depression. Not a bad side effect, is it!!

How to Feel Better
After that large heavy meal, how about making sure you venture out for a nice long walk. When we are walking and talking, we get flooded with the beneficial hormone, endorphins. It goes into our system and literally mops up any stress hormones that we may have lingering around in our bodies.  

On the subject of good hormones…spending hours on finding that perfect gift is time well spent. To see the joy on a loved one’s face can prove price less, and we all know how strong that lovely feeling is. The science behind this is that a chemical reaction is happening inside our bodies. When we do things that makes us feel good, the brain releases dopamine. So you may say that it is this secret ‘feel good’ ingredient that is needed to make a happy person. Get ‘cooking’ and remember to apply the secret ingredient, dopamine. 

To ensure you reduce your stress levels further….how about using this as an excuse to validate a little time out! To family members, you simply have to state the fact that snoozing has in indeed been proven to reduce stress as it can help to improve memory and alertness as well as help your cardiovascular functions. Just make sure it is only a snooze on the sofa and not an extra long sleep in your bed since this will have negative effects on your sleeping pattern in the night. But a quick nap is a great way of getting out of doing the dishes! 

Bed Time Antics
Last but not least, for that extra spurt of feel good factor and repairing relationships over the holidays. Look closely at your partnership, and infuse some love with your partner. Generally the holidays allow partners the time to show more affection and love, often leading to an increased level of intimacy between the sheets. This bed action leaves you with great health benefits as it really relieves stress, it boosts your immunity and it is great for your heart (both on a physical and psychological level). No excuse, remember to sneak in those special moments over Christmas. 

Most importantly, enjoy the company of others but also keep in mind to value your own company and allow yourself some ‘YOU time’. Have a wonderful Christmas.  

By Tina Elven

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