Sometimes it is difficult to even start a blog post, especially during a stressful time. Unfortunately, we are all stressed right now, even counselors. We are all aware of the stress that this global pandemic has put on our lives. The stress may look different for every family and every person.
The past week I have been hearing more and more, from parents of young clients that they have reached their “limit”. What this really means us that they have been able to maintain their mental wellness up until a point and they have reached that point.
We are now in August of 2020, which means we have been dealing with this daily level of high stress for 5 plus months. It is definitely not surprising that we all feel “done”.
How long have we kept our households’ running, entertained our kids, tried to keep ourselves and our family healthy and safe, and managed our worries does vary from town to town and city to city but we are all exhausted.
But what can we do about this feeling of exhaustion and burn out? How will we be able to manage months more of this? By going back to the basics of self-care.
I regularly teach self-care to children, teens and their parents. Self-care can look very different to each adult and child but there are some basics that we all can and need to follow for better emotional health.
First and foremost, we need to take care of our physical health. We hear so much about getting and staying fit, drinking water, eating healthier and getting plenty of sleep and this could not be more important right now. Our mental health is directly related to our physical health, as my physical therapist reminded me just this week.
But then there are the other self-care behaviors that we can do that are more specific to each and every child or adult.
I teach children and teens basic breathing techniques. I have them talk about and plan to do other hobbies and interests they enjoy on a more regular basis. If a child has written list of things they like to do for self-care hanging up in their room, they are more likely to remember it and to use it.
• Bike riding
• Painting to music
• Jump on trampoline
• Call a friend
• Polish their nails
• Kick a ball/play basketball
• Bubble bath
• Play with their pet
Would some of these work for you or your child too? What would your self-care list look like?
We all need down time daily. Yes, daily. Start by scheduling on your calendar ten minutes a day for your self-care. Have your child do the same. Eventually, the goal is one hour of self-care daily. This takes time to build up to and it’s okay to take it slowly and build your self-care routine at your pace. Children learn by watching and if they see you taking care of yourself, with no guilt, they will too. However, of you don’t call it self0care, how will they know “why” you are doing what you do for yourself.
You cant take care of others, “keep it all together” and manage your own stress without daily self –care behaviors.
Putting your own self-care needs first as a parent, partner, employee, boss, friend, etc. allows us to be a more patient, grounded and caring human to those around you.
No guilt, take care of your SELF. Self-care is a gift you give to yourself and everyone else you care about.