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Vancouver Mom > Health and wellness > Mental Health: How to reduce stress and bond as a family in a technology obsessed world.

Mental Health: How to reduce stress and bond as a family in a technology obsessed world.

By Ginny Lam, President & CEO of The World of Kidtropolis

I wish I were a little kid so I could take a long nap and everyone would just be proud of me”.

In a world where technology is rampant and information is just a click away, children and teens are often inundated with the immediate onslaught of information coming at them. So many social media outlets such as Snap Chat, Instagram, YouTube and the dinosaur Facebook are all public enemy #1

If you’re trying to unplug, live in the present and not hide behind a screen. But how?

How do we unplug, find ourselves in the midst of chaos to take the time to stop and smell the roses?”

Kids are so drawn the screens in what can only be described an addiction and affliction. How do we pry these devices from their zombie like state unscathed and work on a manageable schedule for everyone to stay sane?

What does it take to create a happy and healthy family when modern life threatens to overwhelm us?”

>> 6 ways for moms to get serious about self-care

The day after Labour Day means Back to School and back to a predictable, less fly by the seat of your pants routine than the lazy days of summer. Right? Hmm…maybe. However, as school sessions begin, daycares and preschools fill up and parents get back to work, the enormity of getting everyone to their places can have a toll on even the most organized. This is when the stress of living as a weekend warrior parent, students trying to get a handle on homework, tutoring and the like can implode.

How about something as simple as playing together? According to Dr. Laura Markham, founder of Aha! Parenting and parenting expert, playing together as a family unit is fun, engaging and nurtures the family. We’ve all heard that laughter is indeed the best medicine.

Playing together is a magical way to build connection.

The science behind fun is that when we laugh, our body releases oxytocin into our systems. So when you’re laughing with someone, you’re bonding. Laughter also transforms negative energies by decreasing the stress hormones circulating in our bodies. That’s why playing together is one of the fastest ways to heal relationship stress, help people break down barriers, and bring the family together. So get out there and enjoy the simple pleasure of play and laughter. It’s free and just takes a little imagination and creativity to get the chuckles going.

Another antidote to keeping the blues and stresses of the day away are indeed the comfort of routines. Routines give kids a sense of security and help them develop some self-discipline. Let’s face it, even adults lack self-discipline to get things done. There are just so many distractions these days. People are wary of the “unknown”. Most people prefer to know what’s happening in advance in order to brace for the worst and celebrate the best.

How routines benefits kids

  1. Routines eliminate power struggles because you aren’t bossing your kids around. Activities such as brushing teeth, nap time or bed time are just what is done at that time of the day.
  2. Routines help kids cooperate by reducing stress and anxiety for everyone. No one should feel that they haven’t been given fair warning of what is expected.
  3. Regular routines helps kids get on a schedule so that they know what to expect and when to expect it.
  4. Routines help kids learn to take charge of their own activities and makes them feel more independent of how they manage their time.
  5. Routines help parents build precious connections. Like snuggling with your child when it’s time for bed.
  6. Routine helps set the right expectations. Healthy expectations are set for everyone in the family which leads to healthy habits. When things run smoothly, it’s a win-win for the whole family. Happy happy!

>> How to establish Back to School routines for your kids

Our next point in this article but most certainly not the last is the art of being as it relates to physical and mental health. According to numerous medical institutions including Duke and Harvard, exercise and meditation such as yoga are extremely beneficial. Yoga and exercise combine breathing exercises, meditation and movements that benefit mental clarity and physical health. The physicality of each movement requires thought and purpose.

Benefits of yoga

  1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Studies show that exercise and yoga can help ease stress and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  2. May Fight Depression: Endorphins are released and a sense of euphoria can be achieved through regular exercise.
  3. Promotes Better Sleep Quality: Exercise has a significant positive effect on anxiety, depression, and stress which are all contributing to sleep problems as it has been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.
  4. Promotes a Positive Self Image: As exercise takes shape there may be a significant increase in body strength, conditioning, endurance,  and flexibility which leads to a healthy positive attitude and self-awareness.

As we embark on another year sure to be filled with the trials and tribulations of family life, let’s celebrate in the joys of being a family unit and not stress about who left dishes in the sink or who forgot to put the clothes in the dryer…again.

Live life to the fullest, go on adventures, famjam getaways, eat ice cream for breakfast, start tickle fights and make sure you laugh and play!”

Treasure those memories and smile knowing you’ve got happiness at your fingertips once you open that front door.

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