Written by Kayli McClelland, Creative Media Specialist, Ever Active Schools

If you’re like me – you live close to many of your loved ones and you enjoy being active – Family Day is really nice.

It’s a Monday off in the middle of February. The cold of Alberta’s winter has started to set in. A little time to recharge with your favourite people is exactly what you need.
In 2020, ParticipACTION highlighted the role of family in the physical activity, sedentary and sleep behaviours of children and youth. Role modelling a physically active lifestyle influences the choices of our children and youth. It also helps us as adults to improve our own well-being. Family Day is a perfect opportunity to practice this. It’s a chance to build physical activity with your loved ones into your routine! While you might think of physical activity as a sweat session, it’s really about moving your body and getting away from screens for a little while. You know, instead of sitting on the couch with a laptop, like I am to write this.
I love the idea of a simple dog walk with my loved ones, heading off to an outdoor rink for an hour (even though I can’t skate), or trying some of the tasty treats around Calgary for YYC Hot Chocolate Fest.

Four people outside wearing winter gear hold sleds and smile for the camera for Family Day.Here’s how the rest of our team here at Ever Active Schools likes to move with their loved ones:

  • “Our family rarely plans weekend activities, as weekends are a time of rest, restoration, and fun for us. We very much live “in the moment”. We do, however, have an arsenal of go-to winter activities: sledding, geocaching, hiking, birding, cross-country skiing and, when the mood hits us, we’ve even been known to head to the mall for people-watching and a yummy beef dip sandwich!” – Tracey
  • “My favourite way to connect with my family is by exploring, by foot or bike, a different local Edmonton trail with our dogs.” – Hayley
  • “We take time on Family Day to go on walks through local parks. It’s an inclusive activity that everyone in our family can be part of, there’s no cost, and we don’t have to travel far to get to some beautiful spots.” – Rebecca
  • “We all go out for a dog walk, play board games and eat at least one meal together.” – Adrian
  • “I can always be convinced to go for a weekend walk with the promise of picking up a good coffee from a new-to-us shop. We love exploring new nooks in our neighbourhood and the surrounding communities.” – Katie
  • “Screen-free time spent doing indoor activities like puzzles, board games, colouring, reading, or cat naps! Also, skating and hot chocolate, phone calls with far away family, and early spring cleaning or house projects. No, it doesn’t sound super fun, but it’s always nice to tackle the project list and make home feel a bit more cozy for everyone.” – Jamie
  • “Volunteering is a great way to spend time as a family and to give back to the community. Also, I love a good dog walk, especially when it can be in the mountains.” – Krista

The pandemic has certainly limited our ability to engage in many of these activities with all the people we would like to.

Yet, it’s important to find ways to do it anyways. Relationships and movement play big roles in our well-being. Our team is clearly fond of a simple walk to get outdoors and move! To share this with the loved ones you can’t be with in person, document your adventure! Take photos and videos, write messages in the snow, or call or video chat with them while you walk. Maybe even get creative and set up a scavenger hunt for different cohorts to complete!
“But Kayli, my family dynamics look different than yours!” 
“I don’t have loved ones nearby!”
“Socializing sounds horrible!”

I hear you. If Family Day is the opposite of a recharge for you, then what are you supposed to do?

One way to look at it is to see Family Day as an opportunity to take care of your well-being on your own and celebrate YOU! Take it as a chance to do something you’ve been putting off. Engage in your favourite hobbies! (In case my job title didn’t give it away, dedicated time to create fills my cup.) Try a new-to-you local shop or restaurant! Tackle a personal project you’ve been slacking on! Rent that movie you’ve been dying to see! Call loved ones you haven’t talked to for a long time! Or, my personal favourite, take a long cozy nap without feeling guilty. Above all else, remember to move: your body and mind will thank you for it. 
How are you taking time for your well-being on this chilly Family Day?

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