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What Is a Family Lifestyle?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A family lifestyle refers to the way that families live and coexist together on a daily basis, and the habits and patterns that these people have as individuals and as part of the family unit. These lifestyles can be healthy or unhealthy, and this does not just refer to physical health, but mental health as well. The way a family eats, for example, or the amount of exercise they get are part of a family lifestyle. Also part of this, however, is the way that people communicate with each other, the way they interact with each other, and the activities the family does together.

Sometimes, unhealthy families can have negative or even toxic lifestyles. Homes in which one or more people are abusive, or where people constantly argue in violent or angry rather than productive ways, can all be representative of unhealthy lifestyles. A family situation in which one or more people are addicted to drugs or alcohol is another example of a negative family lifestyle. Family therapy or other types of treatment are often required to change behaviors such as these, and alter the lifestyles; if they can't be changed, divorce or changes in child custody arrangements may be necessary in some cases.

Of course, there are plenty of ways that families can have a positive family lifestyle as well. Many families find that having dinner together every night, giving each person an opportunity to talk about his or her day, is a good way to develop a positive and healthy lifestyle. This tends to encourage more positive, supportive communication than families who do not check in with each other on a regular basis. A family's diet is important part of the lifestyle as well, such as whether or not each individual makes an effort to eat healthy; thus, having a healthy meal together ensures that all members benefit from proper nutrition.

The activities a family does together are another aspect of family lifestyle. Healthy families who enjoy being active might enjoy playing sports or hiking, for example; others might simply read or watch TV together. Some families also attend religious services together. Family lifestyle should not imply that families spend all their time as one unit. One aspect of a happy family is that each person has his or her own interests and activities that make him or her feel fulfilled, and it is natural for some members to need more "alone time" than others. What constitutes a healthy lifestyle certainly differs for people from different areas of the world and different cultures, and it is also important to recognize and respect this.

Types of Lifestyles

Each family is different, and there are countless lifestyles that families may feel are uniquely theirs.

A lifestyle can be the accumulation of how a family spends their time, communicates with each other and establishes rules. While these can vary from family to family, there are some common types of family lifestyles that are recognizable, and each has the capacity to be healthy for its members when its passion is rooted in love. Some examples of family lifestyles are:

The Outdoorsy Family Lifestyle

This family is one that would always rather be outside experiencing the beauty of nature. They are the first ones to explore the new hiking trail that opened up at the local park. They prefer the water found in rivers, lakes and oceans to any you can find inside. For fun, they might go white water rafting or visit their favorite fishing hole.

This can be a very healthy lifestyle for a family, as outdoor activities often require physical activity. Being outdoors is also healthy for mental health, as Vitamin D helps the body and the brain function better and natural light has been shown to improve mood.

The Artsy Family Lifestyle

For some families, art in all of its forms is the driving nature in their existence. They’re the first to get tickets to the concert that’s coming to town and they’ve got season passes for the community theater. When the art walk hits the city square, they spend the afternoon oohing and aahing over the displays, and they may even have paintings of their own among them.

While not necessarily physical, there are many arts that are. Dancing and playing music can both be physically demanding, and the arts have been shown to improve communication and mental health. Music is often used as a form of therapy, and art can be, as well.

The Traveling Family Lifestyle

The world is a wide and wonderful place, and some families love nothing more than to explore every corner of it. They may be swimming with the dolphins in Mexico one week and spending a leisurely evening dining at a French bistro the next. The Grand Canyon might beckon them one moment and in the next, they may be planning an adventure to the Swiss Alps.

With traveling often comes exploring that can be physically demanding. Activities such as swimming and hiking are typical for those who love adventuring to new countries and cities, and walking around those places can require a lot of exertion. As natural light is beneficial to both physical and mental health, members of this type of family can benefit from it, as well.

The Sporty Family Lifestyle

Practice after practice and game after game is a lifestyle for many families. Starting when the kids are very small, they’ll be signed up for little league teams, and on through high school and often beyond these families will spend their evenings and weekends in the stands cheering on their favorite teams. They’ll shriek in joy one moment and groan in agony the next, and all of it forms a bond within the family members.

Sports are inherently physical activities, so the physical health of members of this type of lifestyle benefits from that effort required. Team sports have also been shown to build character and the determination necessary to train and work toward wins can help make kids mentally strong and resilient.

The Religious Family Lifestyle

For some families, their god or gods will be the point that their world revolves around. They might attend church or temple to worship God multiple times a week. They might pray together to Allah five times a day and schedule other family activities around prayer times. In these families, they are bonded through their devotion to their god or gods from which they learn morality.

While religious life isn’t necessarily physical, meditation is an exercise that benefits both mental and physical health and can be part of many religious practices. For many, having a religion and religious community to turn to can be a great comfort in times of stress.

These are only a few examples of general lifestyles that can be healthy for families. Even within the types listed, there can be many variations. For one outdoorsy family, their entire outdoor lifestyle might revolve around the ocean, for example. They might spend their days fishing and swimming in it, surfing on it and walking around the beach. That lifestyles can be so unique to families is one reason they are special.

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Discussion Comments

By anon998669 — On Jul 30, 2017

I think every family has a different type of lifestyle. The most important in the end is the everyone should be healthy and happy.

By Ana1234 — On Mar 23, 2014

@pleonasm - It's just tough when someone is working multiple jobs, or they are a single parent. I don't think anyone should beat themselves up over not being able to spend a lot of time with their children, if that extra hour of work means they can afford to pay the electric bill.

But there are ways to sneak family time into the day. If nothing else, usually everyone will be home at breakfast time.

By pleonasm — On Mar 22, 2014

@Mor - Not to take away the power of young people to change their family, but I do think this is mostly the responsibility of the parents. I know that parents often feel like the most important thing for their family is to provide a lot of money and of course it can be tough for the average family to get enough for security. But if they have that much, then I wouldn't work any harder than that. I'd spend the time with my kids and my family. Because most kids would rather have memories with their parents than memories of the material goods they were able to buy.

If everyone just works themselves to the point of misery for their children, they teach their children to do the same thing, and then no one will ever be happy.

By Mor — On Mar 22, 2014

I wish my family had done more together when I was a kid. It's one of my biggest regrets that I didn't try to get us to go out walking or camping or something more often.

My parents were usually so tired after work that they didn't even really cook dinner. We'd just have some takeaways, or something that was ready to eat, and basically sit in front of the TV.

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