In our recent wellness survey, our #1 answer to the question “what is the most important aspect of maintaining your personal wellness and ensuring personal growth” was “quality time with friends and family,” was noted by 34% of the participants. However, what are the most valuable ways to spend that quality time? Is spending time with your loved ones defined as having a meaningful conversation that is beneficial to either of you or sitting beside them when one or both of you are glued to your phones? The answer may seem obvious, but it is often difficult to choose to spend your time with others in ways that benefit both your relationship and your mental health. As such, we have some suggestions for activities that may help to improve your quality time with loved ones.
Go for a Walk:
Fresh air, exercise, good conversation and time with your loved one(s) - what more could you need? Take the time you have together to not only spend some quality time, but get outside and increase your heart rate. Not only is it going to strengthen your relationship, it will help you work towards your goal of 30 minutes of activity each day (as discussed in this article). If walking isn’t really your thing, try biking, swimming or doing yoga together; any activity that will get your heart rate up will benefit your health.
Cook A Meal Together:
Cooking is always a great way to spend time with family and friends. You get the opportunity to exchange healthy recipes and learn new tips and tricks. Meal prepping for the week is also a great way to spend your time and set yourselves up for a week of clean eating. When you’re looking for recipes, remember to choose foods that will benefit your mental health and overall wellbeing. In addition to cooking together, sit down and eat your meal together at a table and not in front of an electronic. It’s so easy these days to grab your meal and scatter to your designated rooms, but make the effort to eat your meals with each other as often as possible.
Teach Your Kids:
This one may sound obvious, but many people are quick to give their children a task to distract them while they try to get their own tasks completed. Instead of shooing the kids away, teach them how to help you out; if they show an interest in the laundry, take the time to show them how to wash, dry and fold their own clothes. Not only will it take some of the stress off of you, but it will teach them valuable life lessons and help them prepare for their futures.
Schedule A Family Night:
Dedicate one night per week to family time. This can mean a game night, a movie night, or even a dinner out at a restaurant. Whatever you choose to do, keep the cell phones hidden away and focus on giving your undivided attention to your family. If you keep the day and time consistent, everyone will know not to schedule outside activities and miss out on the time together.
All time that you are able to spend with your friends and family is great, but there are definitely certain ways that can benefit your overall wellness more than others. If you have more ideas, share them in the comments of this post - we would love to hear what you and your family do together that improves your relationships and overall wellness.
One in four Canadians will experience anxiety symptoms at some point in their lifetime. Anxiety can present in many different ways; as the anticipation of new or uncomfortable events, within social settings, obsessive compulsive thoughts, panic attacks, trauma or as a more generalized anxiety. Fortunately for those who experience the discomfort of anxiety, grounding techniques exist to eliminate or lessen the effects of the symptoms. There are many forms of grounding techniques, and not every technique will work for every person; however, if one solution does not work for you, do not be afraid to try out another, or develop your own technique that helps you refocus in an anxious situation.
1- 5,4,3,2,1 Method:
In this method, individuals are asked to combine slow breathing and recognizing their environment. Take a deep breath in for 5 seconds and then exhale for 5 seconds. Once your breath has been regulated, take the time to acknowledge 5 things around you that you can see, 4 things that you can feel, 3 things that you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
For example, practicing this method in an exam may look something like this:
Deep breath in
Deep breath out
See - pencil, pen, paper, desk, chair
Feel - denim jeans, wooden desk, plastic pen, cotton shirt
Hear - pencil on paper, pages flipping, clock ticking
Smell - perfume, fabric softener
Taste - coffee
2- Square Breathing:
This method of grounding is very helpful when you are suffering from panic attacks or simply beginning to feel overwhelmed in any situation. Regulating your breath is extremely helpful in overcoming the uncomfortable physical symptoms that often accompany anxiety and worry. In this method, you will be matching your breathing to the movement of your finger.
Place your finger in the center of your chest
Start taking a slow, deep breath and begin tracing a square on your chest
Aim to finish drawing the square at the end of your breath. This should take about 10-15 seconds.
Repeat this movement and breath cycle about 20 times until your breathing has been regulated.
A variation of this technique is to match your breathing with something moving slowly and steadily. This resource is a great starting point for anyone who needs to slow their breathing during a panic attack or episode.
3- Memory Game:
This method of grounding challenges you to recall as many objects in a category as possible. The aim is to reorient yourself back to the present moment and suppress any negative emotions or memories that are trying to push their way into your thoughts. For example:
List as many dog breeds as you can
Name as many countries as you can
List all of the streets nearby that you can
List as many colours as you can
Grounding techniques are great tools to have when you experience anxious thoughts or feelings. Share in the comments some techniques that you have to combat anxiety. As always, if you feel that your symptoms are too much to handle on your own, consult a mental health professional, or go directly to the nearest emergency room.
Dr. Diana Garcia
Dr. Diana Garcia has over 20 years of experience in the field of psychology. She has provided psychological and counseling services in Ontario, and the states of Pennsylvania, and Florida