Welcome to Catherine’s Encouragement Parenting Tips for May! Each month, WU World Changer Catherine Gruener will share new tips that will encourage you to learn positive parenting techniques!
Influence Your Child’s Mental and Physical Health.
“There is never enough time for self-care.”
I hear this all the time from my parent-clients, as they ask me to help them:
- Have more energy.
- Be more focused.
- Be less reactive.
- Fix behavioral problems.
- Keep the peace.
- Create more fulfilling home life.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it is time that we start taking care of ourselves as parents.
I don’t want to scare you, and I am one to always look on the positive side of any issue, but this is really important. The research on what happens to children who go through adverse experiences, which can range from abuse to living with a parent who is suffering from anxiety and depression, even experiences chronic or severe stress, is daunting.
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, the leading authority on trauma, found a significant relationship between adverse childhood experiences and:
- Depression, suicide attempts, alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, domestic violence, and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Cigarette smoking, obesity, physical inactivity.
- Heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, skeletal fractures, and liver disease.
Parental stress, depression, anxiety, and adverse childhood experiences have a direct effect on children’s mental and physical health.
This is our wake-up call. Fortunately for us, we can do something about it.
I’m sure you have heard of the bucket analogy used in lots of different ways. Well, let’s talk about your bucket; Your self-care bucket. We cannot give what we do not have, and I know each and every one of you want your children to be healthy, whole, happy, and strong. It really does start with you.
Take out a piece of paper and draw a bucket.
Now, think about how you filled your self-care bucket today, and draw in the amount of self-care you gave yourself today. You can draw pebbles, sand, circles, liquid, etc.
Envision each step or task of self-care as a quantity of self-care being added, scoop by scoop, to your bucket:
- Taking a moment to breathe and center yourself before getting out of bed (3 scoops of self-care)
- Giving gratitude for sunny weather (2 scoops of self-care)
- Eating a healthy breakfast (5 scoops of self-care)
- Giving my kids hugs and cherishing the feeling and the moment (10 scoops of self-care)
- Calling a friend (3 scoops of self-care)
- Working out… Meditating… Really listening to your child while not reacting… (15 scoops of self-care)
Grab a crayon or marker and color in those scoops of self-care. How full is your self-care bucket?
You can change your habits of self-care in 3 simple ways (a little wisdom from Jim Kwik):
Ask yourself how motivated you are after reading this article? How motivated are you to model and create the healthy environment where your children can thrive? What would the cost be if you chose not to change?
Write down a list of small moments and activities that you can do during the day to improve self-care. Eating a healthy meal, saying 3 things that you are grateful for each morning, being fully present in the moment with your child. These are just examples. Create your own list!
Schedule in that self-care. Create a reminder or a ritual that triggers you to do one of your self-care items. Block off time to go for a walk. Set an alarm at noon each day and eat a healthy meal. Post affirmations on your bathroom mirror so each time you go into your bathroom, you have to read them.
Motivation + Ability + Trigger = Change.
When we have energy, when we are physically feeling strong and healthy, when our minds are focused and present in the moment, we are able to give. Our children not only receive our love, but also the opportunity to grow physically and mentally healthy.
Go Fill Your Bucket!
See you next month for my Encouragement Parenting Tips for June!