Action for Healthy Kids shared that self-care is for everyone. Simply put, self-care is the practice of taking actions to improve health… both physically and emotionally. Kids and adults need time to refresh, recharge and unwind from work, school, and current events. While it is important to focus on self-care individually, it’s also important to prioritize as a family to support healthy communication and a better understanding of how to support our loved ones.
A few simple steps and a family brainstorm are all it takes to make self-care a priority at home. Get creative and modify as needed over time.
- Create space for planning. Set time aside on a weekend or after dinner one night during the week to come together as a family and begin planning. It’s important to make sure that everyone can be present so the plan is representative of the family, as self-care can be practiced in many ways.
- Set goals or clarify purpose. Creating a self-care plan can be simply to integrate mindfulness and other forms of relaxation into busy family schedules, or it can have attached goals. Think about things your family may want to work on together (e.g., decreasing screen time by an hour each day, reducing stress associated with busy schedules, etc.). Identify top stressors and use as a template to build out a plan that helps you achieve goals to decrease and improve on how you manage them.
- Brainstorm activities. Create a nice balance of 5 or 6 activities. Activities included in a self-care plan should be inclusive of activities that support the mind and body.
- Caring for the body. Exercise, proper hydration, and good nutrition directly influence our social and emotional health. Find ways to incorporate some activities into your current routine rather than adding to.
- Create a water tracker to support hydration and encourage healthy swaps to sugary drinks. Idea: Test out new water infusions with fruits and herbs.
- Nourish your body with healthy foods – cook healthy meals together during the week. Idea: Have each family member pick a new recipe and try out new foods together.
- Exercise and incorporate physical activity. Idea: Take a family walk or bike ride after dinner or sign up for a virtual exercise class or lesson together.
- Caring for the mind. Supporting our mental health can look a little different for everyone. Include activities that feel the most natural to you or challenge yourself with something new.
- Engage in meaningful connection. Idea: Create regular space to talk together about feelings (e.g. morning coffee chat or after-dinner “walk and talk”)
- Practice mindfulness to increase self-awareness. Idea: Journal, paint or doodle feelings, thoughts and emotions or practice deep breathing.
- Nourish the mind with meaningful activities. Idea: Limit screen time and social media by setting a daily time to put away devices or swap for mind strengthening games.\
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