For many people, this is the most wonderful time of the year, with holiday get-togethers, plenty of cheer, and a seemingly unlimited supply of cookies and treats.
But for many children, the holidays can also be extremely stressful. Below are a few simple tips from Hopeton Bailey
, M.S., M.A., NCC, CGCS, outpatient behavioral health therapist, to help kids cope with the extra stress this season often brings.
Exercise improves mental health by reducing depression, anxiety, and negative mood and by improving cognitive function. Research has shown that exercise helps to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal. Try walking, running, yoga, kung fu, tai chi, Zumba, warm water aerobics, or any activity that gets your kids moving.
Invite your child(ren) to be a part of meal prep.
A healthy, well-balanced diet can help kids think clearly and feel more alert. It can also improve concentration, attention span, and cognitive functioning (the so-called “brain-gut connection”). Meal prepping with family members offers a creative way to spend time together, build stronger emotional bonds, improve communication, and increase fun and laughter.
Be mindful when using social media.
Social media can make children feel more disconnected (rather than connected) and foster emotions such as depression and anxiety. It can also cause children to experience fear of missing out (FOMO), in addition to cyberbullying. Make it a point to limit your child’s exposure to social media and make sure to monitor their online activities.
Volunteer and connect with people in the community.
Research has shown that social connectedness creates a positive feedback loop that fosters social, emotional, and physical well-being. Encourage your child to lend a hand to a neighbor or become involved in a local community or faith-based group.
Mindfulness improves mental health. Mindfulness can also help treat heart disease, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, relieve stress, and lower blood pressure, to name just a few healthy benefits.
Begin a gratitude journal.
There are several benefits to a gratitude journal, including increased positivity, improved self-esteem, better sleep, increased happiness, and reduced stress. When a child takes the time to focus on the good things in their lives, they naturally become more positive.
Connect with a therapist.
Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a trained and supportive expert often helps to make kids feel better. It can be very healing and empowering for kids to voice their worries and talk about things that are weighing on their mind.
For more information about the range of Behavioral Health Services
provided at The Children’s Institute throughout the year, please click here
or contact Dana Buchko at [email protected]