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Published on August 3, 2018

25 Fabulously Fun Family Activities To Bring You Closer Together

25 Fabulously Fun Family Activities To Bring You Closer Together

It’s the height of summer, making it a brilliant time to come together as a family and enjoy long sunny days. But what should you do?

There are so many fun family activities available, we’ve compiled 25 of them to set you on your way.

1. Visit museums

Educational and entertaining, museum trips have a knack of sticking in your memory, creating many positive moments for your young ones. Have a scan through Google to find out what’s on offer, or make it a day trip further afield to

Take a look at this video to find out why visiting museums is a good choice:

2. Enjoy a hot air balloon trip

It’s summer. It’s warm. There are spectacular sunsets and beautiful sights to be seen. Why not book a hot air balloon journey and capture some special memories?

3. Cook!

Teach your kids some skills in the kitchen, or learn a few new tricks yourself. The main thing about cooking is it’s great fun, but also a chance to instill a few healthy tips into your family’s life.

Instead of going for the more traditional sugary snacks, why not try out homemade pizza using organic wholemeal flour? Throw some wheatgerm into the dough mix, mush and beat it into shape, and then you can stick it in the oven with any toppings you like: asparagus with mushrooms and sweetcorn is my favorite.

Yottam Ottolenghi’s incredible cauliflower cake is another unique recipe I can highly recommend. It’s something else and makes for a fun conversation whenever you bring it up with friends or family.

Or, to keep things simple, why not just make some popcorn?

There are plenty of other recipes to try out, of course. For ideas, the Green Kitchen app is pretty unmatchable. This one has all manner of healthy and ultra-tasty recipes – it comes at a small price, but for recipes like the immune boosting turmeric lassi it’s absolutely worth it.

Green Kitchen has also produced a healthy dessert app, so you can really add some oomph to your meals, whilst laying off excessive calories.

4. Have a picnic

Know a nice stretch of countryside or urban park? Rustle up a lunch brimming with brilliant food (you might have learnt a few of them from #3) and head out for a meal outdoors.

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Fine food, fun conversation and a rustic setting? Perfect.

5. Go treasure hunting

Join the world’s largest treasure hunt with Geocaching. It’s a global event where people hide caches and leave notes for you to go on a treasure hunt. You can search the website to find ones local to you.

Watch this video to know more about this:

6. Start a YouTube channel

It’s free to do and easy – start a YouTube channel. You can vlog about anything, or take on something a bit more ambitious – make a family film, or chronicle the antics of a a pet you have.

Don’t expect fame and fortune from it all, more a creative release and a diary of your lives.

7. Start a blog

Why not join the international blogging community with a family site? It’s free to start, thanks to services such as WordPress. You can also pay to upgrade your account if you’re enjoying it – a Personal Plan is $36 annually.

Why blog? If you’ve got the slightest hint of creativity, blogging can be incredibly rewarding. It’s also a great opportunity to digitally meet new people across the world, as well as document what your family has been up to.

Looking back a few years down the line makes for great memories.

8. Read

It’s well established how important reading is for kids. Through it, they can expand their vocabulary and learn more about the world.

But what to read? Harry Potter is a given, but why not have a family reading session with something new? I can recommend the illustrated edition of E.H. Gombrich’s classic A Little History of the World – packed full of amazing pictures.

Alternatively, there’s the Atlas Obscura book. It’s a treasure trove of information, fascinating facts, and can provide new ideas for your next holiday:

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9. Find out more about film

Other than watching films, you can enjoy their analysis. The BBC’s Kermode and Mayo Film Review Show is a perfect mix of humor, discussion, and reviews of the latest releases.

Affectionately known as the Church of Wittertainment, the podcast should become a big part of your life due to its global community. There’s even an app called Wittr that lets you pinpoint other Wittertainees (the name for listeners) around the world.

It’s simply great fun to listen to, as the show’s presenters bicker like an old married couple, but the many in-jokes will soon have you looking forward to Friday afternoons – it airs once a week at 2pm BST.

10. Do some chores (in a fun way)

ChoreMonster is a bit of an odd one, unless you’ve seen that bit in Mary Poppins when you’re tricked into thinking chores can be fun (for about 20 seconds).

This app changes everything, plus it gets your kids involved. It’s a great way to get them independent, enjoying themselves, and taking on new responsibilities around your home – download the app, get it running, and they’ll be positively thrilled to do the dishes from this day forward:

11. Take a road Trip

Roadtrippers and Waze are two apps to inspire a road trip. Where to go? After you’ve been through the Atlas Obscura book above, you’ll have several hundred new must-see destinations to notch up.

Alternatively, you could tour through your local community – become an expert of your hometown. There’s something fascinating to do no matter where you are.

Need to be suitably inspired? Take a look at 16 of the Best Road Trips in the World.

12. Get artistic

Some paper, pens, pencil, coloring crayons, or some paint – creativity can’t hold you back. Express yourself as a family, but there’s a bit more to it as well – as you can watch in the TED video below, it helps us to analyze the world to a greater extent. That’s ideal for young, flourishing minds.

13. Try a writing game

Collaborative writing games can be highly entertaining. A favorite for me is exquisite corpse (maybe give it a friendlier name for your kids!) – it’s regularly hilarious.

Despite the macabre title, it’s suitable for all ages. You’ll need a piece of paper. From there, write a sentence, cover up what you’ve written, but provide a word for the next person. They then complete their sentence – continue until you think you’re done.

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I was taught this at primary school back in the early 1990s. The results are often surreal, absurd and remarkably silly – if you like that type of thing, you’ve got hours of laughs here.

You can play the game with drawings, too. It was popular amongst Surrealist painters like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali in the 20th century – why not keep the game alive for a new generation?

14. Get a SNES Classic Mini

Nintendo’s games are fantastic fun for all ages. Its current games console, the Switch, boasts some unbelievably engaging titles. These include Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, Mario Tennis, Snipperclips, and Overcooked – perfect entertainment for all the family.

If you don’t want to pay for a brand new games console, however, you could pick up a NES Classic Mini or SNES Classic Mini – these are only in production until the end of 2018 and it can be quite difficult to get your hands on one.

At $70, it’s a steal for the cute, dinky SNES, which features amazing classics such as Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, and Yoshi’s Island.

15. Do some volunteer work

Have a scan through your local community for places where you can volunteer. Popular choices include animal sanctuaries – there’s likely a cat shelter nearby, so why not help re-home some adorable felines during your downtime?

The bonus to this is it will teach your children about empathy and doing good deeds for others, which is an incredible personality trait to have.

16. Play a board game

It’s easy to forget these exist in this day and age. But they’re out there! Really, you can’t go wrong with the likes of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, chess, Cluedo, Battleships, and many more.

They’re a great alternative to video games, if those aren’t your thing, but you can still download the likes of Monopoly to a device of your choice. You can then cast the game to your TV – great fun:

17. Have a proper family dinner

It’s tempting to slob out in front of Netflix these days, particularly after a long day at work. But, at the very least, you could make time at weekends for a round-table feast – it’s a fine way to catch up with everyone, have a discussion, and enjoy some quality time together.

18. Build a veg garden

Gardening can be incredibly rewarding, but also takes discipline, a meticulous approach and teamwork.

These are all great skills for any young one to learn, so head out into your garden (or start a veg patch inside your home) to see what you can grow. The results can be inspiring.

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19. Make a time capsule

These are endlessly fascinating – capture your moment in time, then catch up with it a number of years later (or not at all, leaving it for future generations to find).

You need an airtight box, but other than that feel free to add in whatever modern day knickknacks you feel best summarise life in 2018.

20. Learn how to juggle

Asides from being great fun, fantastic exercise (mentally and physically), juggling can become a joint family hobby.

Take it slowly to begin with to master the rudiments, but from there you can double-up into a juggling act in no time. Research shows juggling can also improve your brain power – again, fantastic news for kids.

Check out this video and learn some basic juggling skills:

21. Create a scrapbook

Get yourself a large scrapbook, some coloring pens, crayons and pencils, then record something as often as possible.

You could stick in newspapers or magazine clippings, draw silly pictures, write poems, haikus, or just your thoughts during that moment in time.

22. Take on an epic jigsaw puzzle

Find the most ridiculously over-complicated jigsaw you can – turn it into a project!

You can keep a record of it as you progress through the year (take pictures etc.), whilst working on it as a family, or alone. There’s a certain serenity to completing a jigsaw puzzle piece by piece. Plus, it’s highly rewarding at the end.

23. Knit together

Science says knitting makes you warmer and happier mentally.

Learn the basics of knitting (this includes the men of the family, as there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be involved) and have a monthly knit-off.

Whoever creates the best piece of knitwear, after a family vote, can win something of your choice – perhaps a night away from cleaning the dishes.

There you go, 23 fun family activities you can try this weekend! You may want to make a schedule with your family about when to do each of these activities too!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Alex Morris

Creative Writer, Copywriter, & Journalist for Business, Culture, Lifestyle, & Work

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Published on November 30, 2018

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Postpartum depression (PPD) strikes about 15% of women around childbirth.[1] Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers.[2] The causes of which are thought to be linked to hormonal changes, genetics, previous mental illness and the obvious change in circumstance.

The stigma of mental health – with or without support from family members and health professionals – often deters women from seeking help for their PPD. In this article, I will show you 10 ways to begin overcoming PPD.

Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression is defined as depressive disorder, beginning anytime within pregnancy up to the first year of the child’s life. The symptoms of post natal depression are the same as those of depression. In order to receive a diagnosis from the doctor, 5 symptoms must be shown over a two week period. The symptoms and criteria are:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, nearly every day, for most of the day or the observation of a depressed mood made by others
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of concentration or increased indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, with or without plans of suicide
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Low libido
  • Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
  • Poor self-care
  • Social withdrawal
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
  • Lack of concentration and poor memory
  • Fear that you can not care for the baby or fear of the baby
  • Worry about harming self, baby, or partner

Should you, a friend or your partner be showing any of these signs, I recommend you to seek medical advice.

Causes of Post Natal Depression

It is worth noting here that there is a difference between what is commonly known as ‘The Baby Blues’ and post natal depression.

Postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues,” is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in up to 80% of all mothers following delivery. The Baby Blues should clear within 14 days, if not it is likely an indicator of something more in depth.

It is not known exactly what causes post natal depression, however there are some correlating factors. These factors have a close correlation and haven’t been shown to cause PPD:

  • Prenatal depression or anxiety
  • A personal or family history of depression
  • Moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms
  • Stressful life events experienced during pregnancy
  • Maternity blues
  • Birth-related psychological trauma
  • Birth-related physical trauma
  • Previous stillbirth or miscarriage
  • Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Low self-esteem
  • Childcare or life stress
  • Low social support
  • Poor marital relationship or single marital status
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Infant temperament problems/colic
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • Elevated prolactin levels
  • Oxytocin depletion

One of the strongest predictors of paternal PPD is having a partner who has PPD, with fathers developing PPD 50% of the time when their female partner has PPD. [3]

Ways to Overcome Post Natal Depression

1. Seek Medical Help

As knowledge of PPD grows, more and more physicians are becoming aware of the indicators and risk factors. This means that health care providers are looking for signs as early as their first prenatal care visit.

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If you are at risk, letting your provider know early in your pregnancy means that you’ll be given extra support and care throughout the process. It is best to seek treatment as soon as possible.

If it’s detected late or not at all, the condition may worsen. Experts have also found that children can be affected by a parent’s untreated PPD. Such children may be more prone to sleep disturbances, impaired cognitive development, insecurity, and frequent temper tantrums.

2. Therapy

This is the first line of defence against post natal depression and will commonly be prescribed alongside medication. Around 90% of post natal depression cases in women are treated with a combination of the two treatments.

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare. Your counselor will ask questions about your life, and it’s important you answer honestly. You won’t be judged for what you tell, and whatever you talk about will be just between the two of you. Your counselor will teach you how to look at some things differently, and how to change certain habits to help yourself feel better.

Therapy is personalized for everyone, but women in counselling for postpartum depression often discuss topics including; who you’re feeling, your behaviour, your actions and your life. (If you need immediate support please call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. The toll-free call is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

3. Medication

There have been a few studies of medications for treating PPD, however, the sample sizes were small, thus evidence is generally weak.

Some evidence suggests that mothers with PPD will respond similarly to people with major depressive disorder. There is evidence which suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective treatment for PPD.

However, a recent study has found that adding sertraline, an SSRI, to psychotherapy does not appear to confer any additional benefit. Therefore, it is not completely clear which antidepressants are most effective for treatment of PPD.

There are currently no antidepressants that are FDA approved for use during lactation. Most antidepressants are excreted in breast milk. However, there are limited studies showing the effects and safety of these antidepressants on breastfed babies.

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4. Communication with Partner

Don’t blame yourself, your partner, close friends or relatives. Life is tough at this time, and tiredness and irritability can lead to quarrels.

‘Having a go’ at your partner can weaken your relationship when it needs to be at its strongest. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone understanding.

By spending time with your partner doing activities that you both enjoy, like going for a walk, can really help. This change of state, from moving location, can significantly elevate mood whilst providing ‘neutral ground’ in which to open up communication.

Be honest with your partner and show ways in which they can support you best through this time, even if it’s just talking or letting you have time to go take a shower.

5. Self Care and Rest

Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired. It’s common that women are the experts at ‘being busy’ and ‘doing it all’.

Rest whilst the baby is sleeping, and really take time to prioritise yourself. Throughout life, if you’re constantly giving out energy, you will be left feeling unbalanced. It’s important to become aware of one’s energy and making sure to give yourself energy first, before giving out is imperative.

Your body has just been through the trauma of the birth, which is very stressful. It therefore needs time to recover so taking time to yourself is important. Things as simple as a cup of tea, or shower or listening to music will really help.

6. Supplementation (especially DHA)

St John’s Wort is a herbal remedy available from chemists. There is evidence that it is effective in mild to moderate depression. It seems to work in much the same way as some antidepressants, but some people find that it has fewer side-effects.

One problem is that St John’s Wort can interfere with the way other medications work. If you are taking other medication, you should discuss it with your doctor. This is very important if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill. St John’s Wort might stop your pill working. This can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

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It is also worth noting that fish oil (containing DHA) is being shown to correlate with lower instances of PPD. DHA consumption during pregnancy — at levels that are reasonably attained from foods — has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression,” conclude study researchers led by Michelle Price Judge, PhD, RD, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.

7. Movement

Before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor and find a fully qualified pre and post natal specialist. That being said, there is plenty of movement that can be done prior to ‘hitting the gym’, such as walking.

Not only does being outside positively benefit you by getting some fresh air and vitamin D. The same is said for your baby, who will likely sleep better once they’ve been outside. Exercise gets your endorphins going, which helps alleviate depression symptoms, It can also get you focused on something for yourself. In an analysis of data from 1996 to 2016, researchers discovered that moms who stayed physically active after birth experienced fewer depressive symptoms.[4] In contrast, one study found women who led a more sedentary lifestyle were, in general, more likely to experience postpartum depression in the first place. [5]

The type of workout doesn’t matter much. Yoga for pregnant women, stretching, and cardio are essentially equal in terms of making you feel better.

8. Socializing and Support Groups

Do go to local groups for new mothers or postnatal support groups. Your health visitor can tell you about groups in your area. You may not feel like going to these groups if your are depressed.

See if someone can go with you. You may find the support of other new mothers helpful. You may find some women who feel the same way as you do.

9. Accept Help

Some cultures believe that the symptoms of postpartum depression or similar illnesses can be avoided through protective rituals in the period after birth. Chinese women participate in a ritual that is known as “doing the month” (confinement) in which they spend the first 30 days after giving birth resting in bed, while the mother or mother-in-law takes care of domestic duties and childcare.

Whilst this may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that being able to accept help from your friends, partner and family can be extremely beneficial.

10. Avoid Smoking, Drink and Drugs

Which may seem common sense, however you may be tempted by the short term ‘fix’.

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Don’t use alcohol or drugs. They may make you feel better for a short time, but it doesn’t last. Alcohol and drugs can make depression worse. They are also bad for your physical health.

Final Thoughts

Most women will get better without any treatment within 3 to 6 months. One in four mothers with PND are still depressed when their child is one-year-old. However, this can mean a lot of suffering.

PND can spoil the experience of new motherhood. It can strain your relationship with your baby and partner. You may not look after your baby, or yourself, as well as you would when you are well.

PND can affect your child’s development and behaviour even after the depression has ended. So the shorter it lasts, the better.

Sometimes there is an obvious reason for PND, but not always. You may feel distressed, or guilty for feeling like this, as you expected to be happy about having a baby. However, PND can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.

It’s never too late to seek help. Even if you have been depressed for a while, you can get better. The help you need depends on how severe your illness is. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends.

Featured photo credit: Derek Thomson via unsplash.com

Reference

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