Fatherhood is one of the most significant roles that men can take upon themselves. It’s a tough job. Being a dad is often overwhelming, always busy with many roles and duties. While it is important to take care of family, jobs, and other duties, spending some time with yourself and your friends can help prevent burnout.
Dads, try to work these 5 ideas into your schedule:
1. Pick up an exercise plan
As a father, it's easy to become overly occupied with the many roles in life that take up your time. But health experts universally agree that exercise should be a part of daily life. Not only will exercise benefit you physically, routine fitness can reduce stress and anxiety. As if those weren't enough benefits, exercise releases endorphins that boost your mood, and help your memory. I can't think of any dad that wouldn't welcome that.
In short, exercise is one of the best investments a dad can make. It’s time to get off the couch and into the game! Whether it's going on a walk or training for a marathon, getting a personal routine fitness plan is one of the very best antidotes for burnout.
2. Rediscover a lost passion
Oftentimes, fathers have hobbies or passions that are left by the wayside to make room for promotions, kids, or other life events. Although you are still busy, past hobbies can still be very fulfilling in your life.
Decide which hobbies you haven't enjoyed in a while and get back into it. Maybe you haven't picked up your golf clubs in ages, or maybe you loved to shoot hoops. From fishing to baseball card collecting, sight-seeing to hiking, craft building to video games, writing poetry, camping, or even playing card games, let yourself reminisce and enjoy your passions.
As a plus, maybe your hobby is an activity the whole family can enjoy. This is a great opportunity to let your kids take a stroll down your memory lane, and do something new with dad.
3. Have a father's night out
Just because you're a father doesn't mean you can't have a guy's night out. And let's face it, we can all use our support groups more often. Gather your fellow fatherly friends and relatives and enjoy a night together every month or so.
Find something in common you all enjoy: watch a sporting event, camp out for an evening, or have a BBQ — the options are endless. As long as it's an activity you enjoy, go for it! Whatever it is, try to make it something that can fit into a monthly routine.
To make these activities less stressful, plan on taking turns organizing the event. You'll take the first month, then assign planning to someone else. However you organize it is your choice, just make sure you do it. Studies have shown that spending time with friends and family act as a buffer against depressive thoughts and feelings. Every month, give yourself and your friends an evening dedicated to your camaraderie as fathers.
4. Be more positive with your children
As fathers, we join our wives on the frontlines of raising children. Many times, these experiences of having a family are extremely rewarding. Other times, we may get caught up in criticism. We can get annoyed, frustrated and disappointed with our kids, and it’s easy to voice these feelings in a way that is hurtful or isn't constructive.
For whatever reason, looking for the good in others does not come as naturally as it should. But with practice and determination, it can become part of your life. As a father, being supportive will powerfully impact your influence for good. Make a goal to compliment your children and others in your life more often. Be specific and meaningful when you give compliments. Make an effort to be 5 times more positive than negative per day.
Your children will thank you for it later, and you’ll reap the positive benefits for yourself; Increasing positive emotions in our lives builds stress tolerance, creativity and problem-solving ability.
5. Express gratitude to the father figure in your life
It's important to show gratitude for your own father figure. A series of experiments in a 2003 study showed that expressing gratitude towards others increases our own physical health.
We don't have to show our appreciation and gratitude with a physical gift. Sometimes the significance of expressing your feelings towards these individuals is worth much more than something money can buy. For many fathers, the most rewarding part of being a dad is being when his son's tell him that they love and are proud of their father.
Try to remember one of your favorite experiences with your father figure. Be specific, and reach out to let them know what their example means to you. These kinds of interactions can create lasting bonds that uplift and strengthen each of us.
Mark Miller is a master’s level intern at Life Stone Counseling Centers in Midvale and American Fork, UT. Learn more at www.lifestonecenter.com.