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Have a healthy, happy Father's Day

In the spirit of Father's Day, we're celebrating the power of connection with some fun ideas to bring the whole family together. Because if our father figures feel good, we all feel good.

It's important to spend quality time with those we care about. Sharing family time strengthens our bonds and boosts our wellbeing.

We've put together a handy list of uplifting Father's Day practices to strengthen family connections and get everyone feeling healthier.

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Digital detox

Technology allows us to connect and learn from each other - it's also a source of distraction from the people and relationships right in front of us. Being glued to our screens removes us from the present. Digital habits limit our face-to-face interactions which can make us feel disconnected from the world.

Becca Reed, licensed perinatal mental health and trauma therapist, says: "Turning off the screens and tuning into each other can be refreshing - it’s a chance to see and hear what’s going on with those around you. This kind of quality time strengthens bonds, making everyone feel more secure, seen, and understood."

By putting down your devices, you can enjoy more close, authentic experiences with your family and friends. This Father's Day, why not step away from your screens and enjoy some quality family time.

The health benefits of a digital detox

Feeling overwhelmed by the constant influx of emails, notifications and other types of online information can lead to technostress. Taking breaks from internet usage can lower your stress levels and help your mind relax1.

Most digital devices give off blue light that can suppress the production of melatonin2 - the hormone your body makes to help you sleep. Taking a break from bedtime scrolling will help you nod off easier, leaving you with lots more energy to spend on family fun.

Getting lost in social media can also drain your productivity and make your day feel wasted. Reducing your screen time means you can regain control over meaningful activities. This will free your mind to think of more creative ways to spend a special day like Father's Day3.

Embrace the outdoors

Family outdoor activities can help your body and your mind. Spending time in nature can offer a treasure trove of health benefits. It can also give you a break from distractions in the home.

Jana Wu, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Director of Cultural Integration at Mountainside Treatment Centre, says: "Being in nature can be a healthy way for families to engage, interact and strengthen relationships."

Several studies have shown that spending time in a natural outdoor setting - compared to that of a busy town centre - boosts feelings of positivity4. Walking in nature also releases endorphins - the hormones which help you feel happy.

Surrounding yourself with fresh air and nature can lower your cortisol levels5. Cortisol is a hormone your body releases when you're stressed. Safe exposure to the sun is also a great way to get your daily dose of mood-lifting vitamin D.

Spending time in nature acts as an escape from the daily churn of life, allowing you to exist in a more peaceful, present state.

As Reeds says: "It's like pressing the reset button."

Sharing a moment in nature can spark conversations about familiar sights and sounds. This can forge a sense of connection and bolster Father's Day family bonding. So why not head outside and create some lasting memories?

Nature Trails are a great way to encourage family togetherness. Searching for natural objects such as leaves, plants and insects, whilst listening out for bird calls is ideal for both learning and exercise.

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Family exercise

Exercising and playing games come with a lot of healthy benefits, much like those we get from spending time outdoors. Playing as a group not only encourages a healthy lifestyle, but it creates an opportunity for building lasting memories this Father's Day.

"Whether it’s tossing a frisbee or enjoying a casual game of catch, playing as a family supports connection and improves attachment," says Reed. "When you play together, you laugh together. It’s about more than just getting off the couch. It’s a fun way to let off steam, lighten up, and enjoy time with family."

Exercise can strengthen your heart and muscles, and help with high blood pressure. Interactive games can also make exercise more enjoyable and less of a chore. This increases motivation and pleasure, meaning you're more likely to fit them into your routine.

Multiplayer exercise games in particular can benefit people who feel isolated in social situations. By playing together, everyone contributes equally, creating a sense of inclusion and belonging. Exercising together isn't just about fitness - it helps us learn more about each other's strengths and weaknesses, and reinforces family bonds.

Balloon volleyball is an excellent game to play for people of most ages and abilities. It can be played with one or multiple players, either seated or standing.

The goal is simple: stop the balloon from touching the ground by hitting it with your body.

Eating as a family

Eating as a family offers a wealth of wellbeing benefits. This basic act of combined action is a recipe for healthier habits for both children and adults.

Family meals create opportunities for conversation. They're a safe space for children to talk about their daily experiences and receive feedback and encouragement. This supportive environment improves self-esteem and communication6.

Reed says: "There’s something special about cooking and eating together. It’s not just about the food - it’s about sharing stories and smiles across the table. These moments are nourishing for the body and help everyone feel more at ease."

Children naturally learn by watching older family members. Being present at family gatherings and mealtimes helps them pick up social cues, table manners and even vital life skills. Eating with others encourages you to slow down, savour your food and pay more attention to how much you're eating. This habit can help you keep a healthy weight.

Studies show that families who eat together usually have healthier diets7. Let your little ones help you explore exciting ways to prepare a range of healthy meals.

Why not plan a healthy eating activity like a pizza party - complete with a variety of nutritious toppings?

You could even organise a fun Father's Day outing and pack a healthy lunch together.

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Focus on the future

Spending regular quality time with family is vital for keeping connections strong. Engaging in activities together, whether it's playing games, sharing conversations or simply being around each other plays a key role in building bonds.

Reed advises that small things like chatting over a board game or piecing together a puzzle can create lasting memories. These activities pull everyone into the moment, building a happy bubble inside the home where everyone can relax and just enjoy being together.

"Quality time supports co-regulation of the nervous system," she says. "This mutual regulation occurs through facial expressions, voices, tones and body language, which can help people feel more connected and emotionally stable."

Making an effort to organise these family times - not only on Father's Day but throughout the year - will help keep relationships healthy, along with our minds and bodies.

Spending Father's Day with the family isn't just about celebrating loved ones, it's a win-win for forging healthier families through shared experiences and physical activity. Getting active in nature, exercising outdoors and eating healthy meals boosts everyone's mood and wellbeing.

So why not plan an unforgettable Father's Day adventure that creates lasting memories and builds a happy, healthier family?

Further reading

1. Fitz et al: Batching smartphone notifications can improve well-being

2. Rabeie et al: Do blue light filter applications improve sleep outcomes? A study of smartphone users’ sleep quality in an observational setting

3. Albertsson et al: A qualitative study of how and why a person detoxes from social media in a digital age

4. Fuegen et al: Walking and Being Outdoors in Nature Increase Positive Affect and Energy

5. Jones et al: Greenspace Interventions, Stress and Cortisol: A Scoping Review

6. Berge et al: A descriptive examination of international family/shared meals: Prevalence, meal types, media at meals, and emotional well-being.

7. Videon et al: Influences on adolescent eating patterns: the importance of family meals

Article history

The information on this page is peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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