For many of us, this time of year seems busier than others. We may be working from home, with our children at home with us, and typical family outdoor activities are canceled because of COVID-19.
Close quarters and the departure from “normal” can cause increased feelings of stress and worry for all members of the family. That makes it important to have healthy habits in place to help you take care of your own and your family’s physical, mental and emotional health. With simple adjustments to your daily routine, you can reduce stress and enhance short- and long-term health and well-being for the whole family.
Use these 5 tips from the Mental Health First Aid curriculum to practice self-care as a family.
- Eat more fruit, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Eating healthfully will help you and your family take care of your physical health and have energy for the day ahead.
- Get moving every day. Exercising can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Focus on increasing your heart rate consistently for at least 20 minutes once a day. Take a walk together as a family, stretch together in the living room, or play games outside.
- Spend quality time together. It’s important to spend time together as a family every day doing something everyone enjoys, such as cooking or listening to music. You can also connect with other family members, friends and neighbors with phone calls, text messages and video chats.
- Develop a bedtime routine. According to the National Sleep Foundation, going to sleep at the same time every night can help regulate the body’s internal clock and improve sleep quality — for adults as well as children. It’s also important that everyone in the family gets enough sleep – about seven to nine hours each night for adults and at least nine hours for children.
- Talk about how you’re feeling. It’s important to talk as a family about how everyone is feeling, and address any questions or concerns children may have. Develop a practice of self-reflection related to feelings and thoughts. Use these tips to talk to your kids about COVID-19 specifically.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on self-care activities. Adding healthy habits to your family’s routine can make a big difference in everyone’s physical health, mood and overall well-being.
Learn more about how you can practice self-care for yourself and how you can help your children take care of their mental health with MHFA.