It has now been proven, by the office for national statistics, that keeping connected with family gives us mental, social and physical advantages to our health but what exactly are these benefits? Often we get so distracted by daily life and let little feuds and niggles grow that we don’t stop to take time and appreciate how valuable family connections really are. So take a step back and have a think about the advantages of keeping in connected. Below are some of the key ones!
Can you remember the last time that you actually sat around a dinner table and had a meal with your family? Research suggests that families who make a habit of sitting around a dinner table for at least five nights a week are happier, closer and more united. It is therefore at no surprise that because of this, children are less likely to fall ill to substance abuse. This embodies the importance of media free time for meaningful interactions according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse.
If you have read our previous article on: ‘Is family the key to a happy and fulfilled life?’ then you will be aware that staying connected with family can actually lead to greater overall wellbeing. There are physical benefits – as family usually positively encourage a healthier lifestyle and the mental benefits are also clear as generally people experience a greater feeling of contentment with family members according to the NHS. Additionally, the NHS also confirms that family also provide a sense of belonging which reduces the effects of depression and anxiety.
That’s right – there is a direct correlation to performance at work and the social interactions we have with our family. Comprehensive studies have been carried out on family connections and progress in the work place and the conclusion is that higher levels of family support provide greater job satisfaction and longer employment.
You may have heard the well tried maxim that ‘it is important to know your roots’ or ‘always remember where you come from’. Well, there is a certain element of truth to this. And one way to achieve this is to go and visit your family to take you back to your roots. This may sound somewhat philosophical but it keeps you in touch with your identity and purpose and is a reminder of the people who either raised you or who you grew up with.
Facebook is so easy and accessible with the vast amounts of people using the network that in itself it is reason to keep in touch with family. Facebook provides unprecedented opportunities for extended families and even generations to stay in close contact even when geographical locations separate one another. This is a vital means of communication for family members that live afar but especially in recent years for grandparents and their grandchildren.
There have been various studies which look into the implications on recovery time for those who have the support of family and those that don’t. There is overwhelming evidence that supports the theory of an increased recovery time when loved ones are close by. And this isn’t just to reference with minor illnesses either. There have been quite astonishing stories of people with different cancers, diabetes or circulatory problems that have benefited from family being around them.
How to stay in contact?
Aside from the notable example of one of the largest Social Media platforms Facebook, as mentioned above, there are a plethora of other ways to stay in contact with family. And this doesn’t have to all fall under the bracket of the new digital age of technology. Below are just a few ways to have the means to benefit from keeping connected with family.
Plan an annual get together
Christmas doesn’t count! Every year set just one weekend aside to catch up with the whole family. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it might just be a weekend away camping or meeting at a central location at a relative’s house. This is a great summer activity and you will be able to set up lots of fun things to do for the children or grandchildren such as a summer Olympics.
So facebook has really helped people to keep up to date with daily life. But nothing beats a good old face to face chat. This is where new technology is really helping to breakdown barriers of geography. Applications such as Skype, and apple’s facetime, enable you to have the ability to physically see someone on screen even though they may be thousands of miles away. It’s also free and easy!
Send a letter
Sending a letter is a great form of traditional communication that is of the more personal variety than say a generic email. Providing that it isn’t a standard bill, receiving a letter can actually be very exciting, especially for the little ones. They can send a letter to Nan and Granddad with drawings and you can also jazz the letter up by giving it an authentic feel. Simply, get a tea bag and dab it over paper, burn the edges and put a scroll around it to make the task more entertaining.
Weekly phone call
There is no denying the fact that most of us have busy schedules in life and it can be a challenge to fit everything into our day-to-day lives. However, if we plan to just set aside twenty minutes every week to call a family member then this will go a long way in trying to keep better connected.
There are a whole host of benefits to stay in contact with family, from improving wellbeing to an increase in job satisfaction. There are also a variety of ways we can keep better connected with relatives, from the traditional letter to the digital world of skype. However, one thing is for sure and that is that keeping connected with different family members is essential to our quality of life.