May is mental health awareness month and now, living in a global health crisis amidst physical distancing, looking after our mental health is more important than ever. We all have mental health…but what exactly is it? Simply put, mental health is brain and mind health. We look after our bodies by getting enough sleep, eating right and getting exercise. But how do we look after our brains?
Dr. Dan Siegle, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA, developed, along with David Rock:
These seven daily essential activities, as Dr. Siegle terms them, are quite self-explanatory, but I do find two activities a bit vague: ‘downtime’ and ‘time in’
Both downtime and time in are activities that people tend not to know too much about, BUT are extremely helpful for our mental health – especially during COVID 19. Teaching our kids how to relax our brain and how to reflect on their day/feelings and thoughts are important parts of mental health. Attached are some easy ways to help include downtime and time in to our daily lives.
For more information on the mental health platter please go to https://www.drdansiegel.com/resources/healthy_mind_platter/#overview
Tense and Relax: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDKyRpW-Yuc
Mind Yeti – Follow one breathing exercise from the website www.mindyeti.com
GoZen breathing : https://youtu.be/Uxbdx-SeOOo
Listen to the podcast Imagine Neighborhood.org where they use music to help us calm https://www.imagineneighborhood.org/podcast-1/episode/2540ba9c/bonus-mr-music-man-lindsay-jones-calming-music
At the end of the night, ask your child what:
- Their favorite thing was that day
- Made them happy/sad/mad/worried/proud
- Challenged them that day
Practice gratitude (what they are thankful for/appreciative of) everyday for the month of May.
Listen to the story Grumpy Monkey. https://youtu.be/wylzbbSL668