Father’s Day is almost here, and this holiday is the perfect time to celebrate some of the most important men in our lives. Whether you are focusing on your dad, grandfather, a father-like figure, or the father of your children, this day offers you a great opportunity to show just how much you care about and appreciate him.
While plenty of dads might be happy with a day off from chores around the house and a chance to park themselves on the couch with a six-pack of beer, we’re here to suggest some healthier alternatives. Consider these five options instead:
1. Plan an Active Outing
You can let dad sleep late today and even serve him breakfast in bed. But afterwards, tell him it’s time to get up and get moving. The afternoon should be centered around a fun, physically active event that you can determine based on both your location and his fitness level. For instance, you might want to plan a day of hiking through the hills with a beautiful natural backdrop and a picnic lunch in a scenic spot. Maybe he’d prefer to go biking down by the shore, with cool breezes coming off the water. (Don’t own a bike? Bike rentals are often available by the shore.) Another option is an afternoon of walking, whether to explore some nearby town you don’t know so well, visiting a zoo or aquarium if he likes animals, or ambling your way through an arboretum to admire the stunning flowers. Tailor your plans to whatever you think would bring dad the most enjoyment as he gets in a workout.
2. Naptime isn’t Just for Babies
The sad truth is that most of us spend our days as tired as can be, and the man in your life is probably no exception. After all, we lead incredibly busy lives that include long hours at work and responsibilities at home. So it might be nice to offer your guy a long, satisfying nap on Father’s Day. It’s a treat he likely doesn’t get to take too often, and the benefits are substantial. Studies have shown that napping has the power to boost your mental abilities, improve your mood, promote creativity, and more.
3. Fill the Day with Hugs
When was the last time you gave your dad—or your husband, for that matter—a nice big hug? Even those of us who routinely think to kiss a loved one hello and goodbye often skip the warm embrace, especially with people we see often. But make sure you all give at least one hug as part of your Father’s Day gift this year. It will make both the hugger and huggee feel good inside, and might even keep everyone healthy. A 2014 study at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania found that hugging may lower the risk of catching a cold or the flu.1 Cohen, Sheldon; et al. “Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and Illness.” Psychological Science. 19 December 2014. Accessed 31 May 2017. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797614559284.
4. Help Him Reduce Some Stress
Unfortunately, stress seems to be woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. Emergencies to handle at work, personal problems to worry over, and the pile of bills that needs paying can all easily get in the way of dad enjoying himself. That’s why some time focused simply on de-stressing might be just right for today. Take him to a beginner’s yoga class if he’s never tried the practice before so he can stretch and gently work his tight muscles. Go to a spa together and treat him to a massage that will drain some of the tension from his body, or try the relaxing environment of a salt cave with natural minerals in the air. He might end up in a lower stress state that lasts for days.
5. Volunteer Together
Spending the day helping others may not place the focus totally on dad, but volunteering can bring you together in wonderful ways. Plan ahead to make sure you can get involved in some sort of community service that is up dad’s alley, whether that is serving in a soup kitchen, preparing a meal for the families of sick children, swinging a hammer at a Habitat for Humanity home building site, or caring for shelter animals. You’ll both love the quality time spent together, and a 2013 study at Carnegie Mellon University showed that volunteering can benefit your heart by reducing the risk of developing hypertension.2 Sneed, Rodlescia S. and Cohen, Sheldon. “A Prospective Study of Volunteerism and Hypertension Risk in Older Adults.” Psychology and Aging. June 2013. Accessed 1 June 2017. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804225/.
|↑1|| Cohen, Sheldon; et al. “Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and Illness.” Psychological Science. 19 December 2014. Accessed 31 May 2017. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797614559284.|
|↑2|| Sneed, Rodlescia S. and Cohen, Sheldon. “A Prospective Study of Volunteerism and Hypertension Risk in Older Adults.” Psychology and Aging. June 2013. Accessed 1 June 2017. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804225/.|