Summer: A Time to Prioritize our Wellbeing
SPMS “TRAIN YOUR BRAIN” COUNSELOR
Summer time is upon us and the race to find ways to keep our children busy this summer break has been well underway. In fact, during a recent chat with some parents, I realized that parents were feeling stressed about how to fill up their children’s upcoming free time. I heard a variety of concerns, like coordinating drop-off and pick-up, cost and distance of activities, coordinating with planned and unplanned vacations, co-parenting on a different schedule, avoiding learning loss, making sure summer isn’t spent on devices and children’s overall wellbeing. While summer break can be a great time to unwind and recharge, it can still present its own challenges, and our children’s mental health and our own are important to keep in mind as we ease into summer.
Below are some tips and resources that might help your child and family manage mental health and prioritize wellness this summer.
Stay connected to friends and family. While summer is a good time to take a break from some of the social stressors that can happen at school, it’s important to avoid isolation. Summer can bring many opportunities to spend unstructured time with friends, neighbors, extended family and even make new friends.
Keep up a routine
While one of the best parts of summer is sleeping in and staying up late, we can still create a sense of routine and balance. Keeping a routine through the summer can help maintain good hygiene and healthy eating and sleeping habits, which are key for mental and physical health. Let’s not forget that this will also make the return to school much smoother.
Engage in self-care
Now that there is a little more time, encourage your child to engage in self-care activities. Self-care can look different for everyone and is defined by taking an active role in one’s wellbeing and happiness. This is generally something we talk about doing during times of stress, but there is something pretty magical about engaging in self-care when our stress doesn’t get in the way of doing it.
Try something new
Having extra time can give us time to try a new hobby or activity. Who know? Maybe it will stick around even when things get busier. It could even turn into a form of self-care.
Spend some time in nature
There are countless of articles on the mental health benefits of spending time in nature. From forest bathing to mindful walking, there are many ways to improve our wellbeing when we get outside and connect with nature.
Try a digital detox
This can be a tough one for child and parent alike, but it could be worth a try. Maybe it’s one day, maybe it’s one week or maybe even more. Try it together as a family and show your kids what your childhood was like without cellphones and internet (at least if you’re as old as me).
Additional Resources for Summer:
If your child is open to it and they have time on their hands, I highly recommend the free, online course, The Science of Wellbeing for Teens, by Dr. Laurie Santos. This article discusses the popularity, benefits, and structure of this Yale course. It also has a link to access the course.
If the course seems like too much, you can have your child explore short YouTube videos from the course by Dr. Laurie Santos.
SPUSD Train Your Brain Website
Check out our website (spusdtyb.weebly.com) where you can find information on the TYB program, referral info, mental health resources, TYB x TCN podcast, parent webinars and TYB articles.
Mental Health Resource Guide by ESS
Our mental health partner this year, Effective School Solutions, published a mental health guide for teachers and parents as part of Mental Health Awareness month this May.
Summer Schedule: Is It Too Controlling?, by Dr. Emily Edylnn
A great article by one of my favorite psychologist-mom bloggers.
Strategies for a Successful Summer Break, by Beth Arky
Another great article from a contributor at Child Mind Institute.
It goes fast, so enjoy your break and get in as much rest, relaxation and recharging as possible. We’ll see you in the new school year!