No matter your age or stage in life, it is undeniable that most of us can use a boost in our physical, mental and emotional health. Life can be daunting and downright exhausting, so taking a beat to take care of yourself is a HUGE must-have during these unpredictable days. Do not be fooled by past stigmas — there is nothing wrong or selfish about scheduling a little one-on-one time with your needs. You only have one life, one body and one soul, after all. Make this one count in every possible way.
What’s beautiful about self-care is that it is unique to each of us and cannot be done incorrectly. Some people find solace in getting 30 daily minutes of outdoor time and feeling the wind in their hair. For others, they find great peace of mind in journaling their thoughts during their first cup of coffee. These small, but largely impactful self-care practices are incredibly important for releasing stress, preventing illness and increasing gratitude. Do not underestimate the power of self-care!
Now consider this: if you need these little breaks to get through the week happy and healthy, what about your kids? The answer is simple — they need it just as much! Don’t be afraid to welcome them to the wonderful world of self-care!
It is never too early to begin implementing behaviors that create a deeper appreciation of self and those around you. When parents teach their children that it is important to take a moment to pause and prioritize their own needs, they prepare children for enriched lives filled with empathy and mindfulness. By being more intimately in touch with ourselves, we are, in the long run, better capable of forming relationships with others. Are you interested in teaching your children about self-care and how they can get started? See our list of everyday self-care for every girl!
Identify comfort scents
If your girl races downstairs at the scent of baking cookies, consider buying her a plug-in air freshener or hand lotion that has a sweet vanilla scent. During moments of stress or even peaceful times like bedtime, have her use the cream on her hands and arms, breathe it in deeply and relax. Light her favorite candle after school in the kitchen so she is greeted by its scent the moment she enters the door. This ‘happy place’ of a scent will connect her to a feeling of joy, comfort and safety. Scents have a magical way of tying to memory, so continuing to associate good feelings with her most-loved notes will only make these moments even more meaningful.
Get mother nature involved
Schedule outdoor time with your girl and teach her the value of connecting with (and respecting) nature. Good news: enjoying mother nature does not have to come at a great financial cost. It can be helping water the plants, going on a walk at a nearby park/around the block, bird watching, taking photos of landscapes or making a phone call to a friend or grandparent on the back porch. The main step is to be outside, inhale in the fresh air and appreciate the beauty of the world around you. Bonus: make a list with your girl of the local parks in which you would like to visit! EXTRA Bonus: invite grandparents and friends in advance to these park visits!
Put it on the page
As mentioned earlier, jotting down your thoughts, ideas, worries, plans or appreciations is a very effective form of self-care. Visit a local craft store with your girl to pick a journal, and to make it even more fun, purchase a pack of gel pens or stickers. In terms of where to do the writing, we recommend keeping the journal bedside. Make journaling a part of the evening wind-down routine. Every night, have your girl write down three key findings of her day. Even if it’s just a few sentences, encourage her to take note of what made her day great, what she’d like to improve and what she is grateful for. Positive or negative, getting emotions out on a page is a very healthy thing to do and can offer excellent perspective, especially right before calling it a day.
Introduce mindfulness through meditation
For parents, competing with the bright lights and buzzing sounds of technology can be quite the obstacle. That is exactly what makes this next soothing form of self-care, meditation, all the more crucial. Studies have proven that kids who practice mindfulness activities (like meditation, yoga, deep breathing) can more effectively concentrate in class, respect their peers and demonstrate self-control, empathy and reduced stress levels. Kick off this practice by joining your child in brief introductory meditation sessions that are not overly abstract or lengthy in time. Explain why you are doing what you are doing and how it is beneficial. There are dozens of thoughtfully-crafted apps, such as Calm and Headspace, that will equip you with just the tools you need. If you want to try out a slightly different approach, check out these three unique meditations in this link!
Post (and Verbalize) Positive Affirmations
Throughout the house, or in your girl’s bedroom (or we love a lunch box surprise), post sticky notes of positive affirmations. Each week, share a new message with her, carve out time to discuss it and have her repeat it back to you about herself. When she hears her own voice speak these supportive messages, they will resonate even deeper. After school or on the way home from practice, have her repeat the affirmation again. Over time, challenge her to write ones of her own. Positive self-talk that comes straight from the heart is a life-long habit that every person should try to employ. There’s always something to take away from a positive affirmation that can apply to your life. You just need to be willing to think carefully, honestly and with an open heart.