Daily Mental Health Reminders!

Get crafty!

- Make worry stones. Collect smooth stones from around your house and write inspirational words on them with a marker.. Place them around your house to rub, when needed.

- Make a glitter jar. This article from Parents magazine provides the "how to" and the "why".

- DIY coping cards: brainstorm ideas for things to do when stressed and draw or write them on index cards or pieces of paper. There are also many printable options online.

Remember to breathe

When we are stressed, we tend to tense up and our breathing is limited. Practice breathing even when you don't think you need to.. There are many different techniques. Find what is most comfortable for you. A few tips:

- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth

- Count or repeat a phrase to keep your breathe steady.  A common recommendation is 4-7-8 (inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8). If this is uncomfortable, modify the count. Another recommendation is a 1:2 ratio (inhale:exhale).

- Search YouTube for "breathing with guided imagery" or use a free app such as Calm to help visualize your breathing.

- Make your own bubbles. Blowing bubbles forces us to exhale slowly. There are many DIY bubble recipes online.

Maintain a regular routine

While its ok to stay in your pajamas and binge watch your favorite shows if that makes you feel good, two weeks is a bit much!  Maintain routine provides structure and encourages healthy choices, and helps us to be mindful and stay present.

- Prepare and eat meals together, and disconnect from technology.
- Schedule time to do something that helps you relax - reading, yoga, walking the dog, etc.  
- Schedule cardio and strength exercise using fitness routines, apps and videos from the web.
- Encourage routine hygiene - teeth brushing, showering, getting dressed, etc. 
- Keep up with regular activities, such as practicing instruments and karate at home

Looking for resources? YouTube is filled with yoga videos; enter "yoga for kids" or "family yoga" in the search bar and gyms like the YMCA have online classes posted. PInterest is a great resource for quick craft projects and kid-friendly recipes. Finally, many services are working to provide online options.  Check with your kids' music teachers, tutors, etc. for virtual instruction or suggestion for online resources.

Social distancing does not mean social isolation

Social isolation is a known risk factor for mental health disorders, substance use and dementia, especially for those who are already vulnerable. During this time, it's important to be vigilant about maintaining positive social interactions. Luckily technology can help.

Reach out to friends and family daily, especially those who are alone. Try not to focus on the current situation; mix it up with these conversation starters:

- tell me something I don't know about you.
- tell me a family story I've never heard.
- tell me about your first job.
- if you could have dinner with any three people, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
- if you were stranded on a deserted island, what three  (foods, books, etc) would you want?