FAMILY HELPS YOU LIVE LONGER.
Good relationships are the key to a longer life. In a Harvard study on some 309,000 people, it was found that the lack of strong familial or friend ties increase the risk of premature death by 50%—that's comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day!
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH GETS A BOOST, TOO.
A large Swedish study conducted on people over the ages of 75 showed that those with the strongest, healthiest family ties had the lowest risk for dementia.
INDULGING IN A LITTLE NOSTALGIA.
Sometimes we don't realize how good things used to be until we're back in our childhood bedroom, slightly too big for our bed and definitely too old for the posters plastered on the wall. But that sentimental longing is a good reminder not to take things in life (family included) for granted, and to celebrate the person you've grown up to be.
EMBRACING YOUR INNER CHILD.
Holiday celebrations with your family aren't just about the adult activities, but spending and enjoying quality time with children, whether young nieces and nephews or your friends' little ones. Their excitement and joy is infectious, and family holidays are the perfect time to shed your reservations and indulge in play time, completely guilt-free.
A CHANCE TO GAIN VALUABLE ADVICE.
Stress can wreak havoc on your body and your brain. Spending quality time and venting to trusted family during the holidays can help. A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that those who took the time and had people to vent to had a lower pulse and blood pressure. A separate study conducted at Carnegie Mellon found that people who spent time with their families found healthier ways to cope with stress.
Tired of takeout? Being home for the holidays can solve that. There's nothing like your mom's casserole or your aunt's sweet potato pie to make you feel cozy and grateful.
TAKING AN "ADULTING" VACAY.
Let's face it, no matter how old we get, going home for the holidays makes us feel young again. And while that's not always a good thing, we can't deny the positive benefit of having your parents around. Sleeping in, getting breakfast made for you, not having to do many chores–it's the perfect mini break from life as a grown-up.
Sharing in long-held traditions is one of the most important aspects of the holidays. It's your family rituals that help tie you together, and there are few things better than getting to honor them, side by side. Even better? Now that you're older, you'll get to create new ones with your family that will last a lifetime.
BONDING OVER NEW EXPERIENCES.
Home is where the heart is, right? Linking with your family for the holidays is also a perfect time to experience new places and activities as a unit. You can introduce familiar people to unfamiliar settings, allowing everyone to expand their comfort zone, learn new things about each other, and become closer as a result.
LAUGHING AT INSIDE JOKES.
No one knows you better than your family, and getting a chance to reminisce about old times and laugh at silly jokes you all have is one of the big perks. Plus, laughter has real health benefits; it's known to boost the immune system, releases stress, and even burns calories!
TIME TO UNPLUG AND UNWIND.
These days, we're a little too connected to the world at times. Spending the day with family, taking those moment's to catch up, laugh, eat, and be merry means less time spent liking, commenting or posting... and that's a good thing. Giving your brain (and fingers) a much-needed phone break results in more time with the people you love, and more refreshed perspective once it's time to plug back in.
YOU'LL BE READY TO TACKLE THOSE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS.
Psychological help goes beyond the here and now. The emotional support provided by your family also gives you a greater sense of well-being. One study found that people who had supportive family and friends reported having a stronger sense of purpose, an excitement for the future, and saw a greater meaning to life.
Honestly, the most important thing about spending time with family during the holidays is...spending time. Through the good, bad, annoying and awe-inducing moments, family is an integral part of our lives, and joining together for the holidays can remind you of all the things you love about them. And really, isn't that what it's all about?