Spend more time with your family

We're constantly faced with the pressure of balance: a social life, a career, leisure, academia, keeping ourselves sane enough to juggle all of these. In the whirlwind of it all, it can be easy to forget the reason why we're alive to stress out about all of these things. If your family lives far away, this can easily become a case of "out of sight, out of mind" no matter how close you are to your parents. Something happens along the way, once you establish your own life, and it becomes yet another aspect to balance.

No matter how old you are, it's important to make time for your family; if you live near them, spending afternoons lounging on the couch or going out to eat together is vital to continuing to strengthen family ties. If you live far away, make time for a phone call of a Skype session. According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, calling your mother taps into oxycotin, which increases happiness and decreases stress. All of this, of course, depends on the relationship you have to your mother; even if you're not there, it's a good incentive to start up that relationship again.

Having a strong bond with your siblings is just as important; as annoying as they are, it turns out having strong ties to our siblings makes us less alone. When you really think about it, those of us lucky enough to have siblings are in a unique situation: not even your parents share quite the same DNA. The only other people in this world that share our exact genetic make-up are our siblings; how can that connection not be priceless?

Outside of the physical and mental health benefits of spending time with your family, you'll only regret the time you didn't spend with them. Missing your sister's graduation while you're working a high-profile internship, although admirable in cause, isn't worth it. You're creating big moments for yourself, but completely throwing yourself into these moments doesn't do justice to the people that helped get you there. Duty might always call, but make time to watch T.V. with your siblings, or have a beer with your dad, or give your mom that extra call just to check up on her. In the long run, you'll be all the better for it.

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