For both young and old, life is filled with ups and downs. Although their ups and downs might seem insignificant to adults, they are real. Our acceptance, understanding, and acceptance of their emotions and experiences will significantly impact how they interpret relationships, emotions, and love. It will also influence their mental well-being now and in the future.
These are some ideas to use the power of self-care to help young people and children become more reflective, aware and conscious of their emotional and physical needs.
THE WELL-BEING SPIRUM
To help children and youth understand their emotions, it is possible to create a well-being spectrum. This simple visual tool allows you to see well-being as a spectrum that includes feeling balanced and well and anxious or unhappy. It also helps to understand that everyone is somewhere on the spectrum. Although it is possible to move within the mental wellness spectrum at different times, if we are more aware of our emotions and well-being, these transitions can be smoother than thunderous swoops along the spectrum. This is one-way young people can understand what they feel.
MENTAL WELL-BEING AND EMOTIONAL AWARENESS
It is widely accepted that young people learn the best learning methods. This theory should be applied to emotional awareness and well-being. Young people can learn how to practice self-care and self-love better to improve their mental health. Young people who are open to recognizing how they feel can recognize when they fall towards the “darker” side of the spectrum and seek help.
We can preventatively help by creating a self-care toolkit with children and youth. It contains activities and strategies that can be used to improve their well-being at the moment. This is an essential life skill that every young person should learn to be able to handle future stressors.
THE SELF CARE TOOLKIT
You can add or remove items according to your needs. And they can even be unique to you! Our Self-Care Toolkit can be modified to suit the needs of each individual. A young person may need to lift their mood or to energize. They will better understand their bodies and feel what tools are needed and when they should be used.
Your child must decide what activities and techniques go in the toolkit you create together. They would still benefit from gentle guidance and suggestions. And most importantly, they could learn from a role model.
These are just a few suggestions of activities that you can try to find what suits your needs and interests the best.
FRESH AIR AND BUBBLES
There are many benefits to being outdoors for both mental and physical health. Some doctors now prescribe “Nature Prescriptions” to patients. Young people can gain a greater appreciation and curiosity about the natural world and their bodies by actively engaging in it. You can relax by spotting wildlife or chasing bubbles through the park to release tension. We have found that this activity is suitable for all ages.
CALMING AND ENERGIZING BOXES
An empty box has many uses. A calming box can be a great way to help children balance their moods if they feel overwhelmed or have been experiencing sensory overload. This box can include a blanket or weight blanket, music and gentle scents, photographs, poetry, or photos. It all depends on the child’s age. A calming box might not be the best tool for the job. An energizing sensory box may be better to help lift their spirits. Like the calming boxes, this could contain similar items but be modified to stimulate the senses with stronger or more complex smells and different music.
Creativity doesn’t have to be limited by arts and crafts. That is what makes it so enjoyable. It can be used for anything. Young people can find creative activities that allow them to express themselves and their emotions. You can use your creativity to relax by drawing, painting, and modelling. But other creative activities, such as writing, cooking, crafting music, planning trips, writing poems or stories, or problem-solving activities like puzzles and lego, allow you to express yourself and develop new skills.
PLACES, FACES, SPACES
It is important to ask young people to reflect on the places, faces, and places that make them feel their best. If they feel drained, they can go back to that space, visit that “face”, or recreate it. Some environments are more draining than others. Things like noise, light, mess and lighting can all impact young people’s well-being. These are the things they should be aware of. In the same way as environments, some people are more supportive of you when you’re not feeling well. Being aware of this can help young people set boundaries in their friendships.
YOGA AND MINDFUL BREATHING
Ironically, questioning your ability to breathe can help you feel better about yourself. Yoga does that! There are many great resources available. My personal favourites are Yoga Pretzels and Cosmic Yoga. These resources help youth be more in tune with their minds and bodies. They can focus their attention on making shapes with their bodies and doing tricky breathing.