|Posted on June 30, 2020 at 11:50 AM|
Stop the social media madness! For those spending an excessive amount of time on social media (like many of us are in these "stay at home" times), there can be a serious increase in feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction, frustration, or loneliness. We see an increase in these feelings in ourselves, and likely in our teenagers.
Consider some of the negative aspects of using social media:
-A fear of missing out (FOMO) can keep you opening social media apps minutes after you last checked in.
-Many of us use social media as a “security blanket”. When we are in a social situation and feel anxious, or awkward we grab our phones. This also keep us from face-to-face interaction that can help to ease anxiety and keep us from meeting new people.
-Excessive social media use could be masking other underlying problems, such as stress, depression, or boredom.
-Comparing. We see other's post about all the great things they've been doing and photos where they never look tired. Keep in mind- we post what we want to post, and most people aren't posting their down moments, so comparing our everyday to someone else's best moments is not accurate or helpful.
-These things snowball as we continue to use social media to numb or ignore negative feelings, and then we feel worse, and in turn, spend more time on social media, etc.
In these cases, it's time to take a look at online habits and make some changes for a healthier balance.
- Set a timer once or twice a day for 15 minutes and catch up on the highlights and then move on to something healthier.
-Create a list of things you want to do and when you find yourself bored or anxious, choose something productive or healthier from that list. ( I sense a future post coming from this tip!) Some ideas may be downloading ebooks to your phone, watching TED talks, listening to a podcast, oh yeah, and going outside or interacting with your family or friends!
- Limit your social media platforms to 1 or 2.
- Define a goal for yourself- is social media to catch up with long distance family? Is it to post for your business? Is it a form of a journal for yourself to look back at events? Once you have a goal for social media use, consistently ask yourself if you are using it for more than that and adjust accordingly.
- Follow people that are positive or informative for you. If you consistently find yourself upset by someone's posts, unfollow them. Just because you know who the person is, doesn't mean to you have to be an online friend or follower.
- Consistently check in with yourself on how you feel after checking in on social media. If it isn't something positive (happy after seeing updated photos of your niece, or excited about a new recipe, for example), consider your social network and if you need to adjust your time, platform and who you follow towards something closer to your goal for using social media.
I know, you are likely reading this on social media, right? Social media isn't all bad, we just need to get clear on how it can be used for each of us individually in a positive way and continually adjust to make sure it is an asset and not a liability in our lives.
|Posted on June 8, 2020 at 9:30 PM||comments (10)|
10 Tips for Talking With Your Child or Teen About Racism and Diversity
It can be daunting to think about how to address racism with our kids. It is currently a heated topic that can raise tension. The best thing, however, is not to avoid these tough conversations. Here are some overall tips, as well as age appropriate ideas for these tough conversations. There are a lot of great resources available, so please check out as many as you can. Below are 10 ways to navigate these tricky topics.
- Allow conversation. Changing the subject or avoiding tough topics is not the answer. Our kids need to understand and process current events and that happens through asking questions and discussion of thoughts and feelings. We want our kids to come to us for these things, not to go to friends or others who may not discuss these topics in the manner we would like, or with accurate information. Answer questions as honestly (within age appropriate terms) as you can, and if you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say “I don’t know, but we can look into that together.
- Take time to process your own feelings. Our thoughts and feelings are easily observable by our kids, so feeling angry, fearful, or hopeless will be seen and felt by them. We need to take care of ourselves and process with our partners, friends, or other support people so we can be stable and available for our kids. If another person isn’t available to chat, you can use a journal, or meditation to get into a calmer mindset.
- Conversations should be ongoing. As children reach different developmental stages, and as current events arise, we need to be prepared to have ongoing discussion with our kids based on their evolving thoughts and feelings.
- Keep your discussions age appropriate. Preschool children may not understand words such as “racism” and “discrimination”, but you can use phrases such as “They are not being nice because she looks different from them”, or “He must be very angry to be hurting someone else. He could use his words or find other safe ways to show his feelings.” Your approach in both the terminology and the background explanation are going to be very simple for younger kids and more detailed the older your child is.
- Look for teaching opportunities. Many movies, books, and TV shows use stereotypes that we can point out to help our kids become informed on the underlying factors that play into racism and discrimination. Often we fear what we don’t know or what is different and our mind seek to “categorize” in order to make sense of things. This is how we our brains are wired- to make associations, but the issue comes in when we teach that different is bad, or that we should only associate with those who are “similar.” Bringing awareness to what stereotypes are (an overgeneralized belief about a category of people) and how they can create harmful thinking is an important part of these learning opportunities to foster acceptance and tolerance for all of us as unique individuals and the beauty that brings our lives.
- Cultivate a culture of acceptance and compassion in your household. Seek out different cultural opportunities through community events, different types of restaurants, reading books about different types of people, learn vocabulary in different languages, and seek out a diverse group of friends. Celebrate diversity and embrace the beauty of the world because of differences. Discuss how boring the world would be if we were all the same and that different is good!
- Monitor exposure to media- both yours and your kids’! It’s no secret that we spend too much time staring at screens, and even more so being “safer at home”. We are constantly bombarded with statistics, images, voices, and just too much outside noise and stimulation, often with inaccurate information and lots of emotionally charged view points. We need to be very mindful of what we are exposing our kids and ourselves too. Even if you don’t think the kids are paying attention to what you are watching or listening to, trust me, they are! For your own sanity and theirs, turn off the news and limit use of your phone! Take 5-10 minutes to watch the news headlines or social media to check updates and then make better use of your time by being present with family members- playing a game, listening to music, going on an outing, or completing a home project you’ve been wanting to get to.
- Give back as a family. Spreading love and joy is often done through service to others. By volunteering for organization who help those who have struggled due to mental illness, racism, oppression, and homelessness, we can change the dynamic of our society. Packing lunches for shelters, cleaning graffiti, giving time to advocacy agencies, donating funding for awareness campaigns are all ways to give back and to be part of the change we need to see in this world. This is a great way to model having empathy and respect for others.
- Practice gratitude. This ends up on any of my lists or recommendations, but it is hugely important to our well being. Regardless of what is going on in the world, implement a gratitude practice as a family. At dinner, or before bed time, have each family member share three things they are grateful for that day.
- Get outside! Nature is a great stress reliever and puts a lot of things in perspective. Walking and talking is a great way to have these tough discussions in a less intimidating setting than sitting at a table, staring at each other. Go for a walk or a hike. Watch the clouds or sit in the grass. Any of these opportunities can be a great place for purposeful conversation.
|Posted on May 20, 2020 at 10:05 AM||comments (3)|
Building Resilient Kids Part 1 of 7 "Competence"
How can we build resilience in children and teens during this time of uncertainty and unpredictability? We will be sharing a series on the "7 Cs of Resilience" in the next few posts to give you lots of ideas and tips on how you can purposefully build resiliency in kids, allowing them to make positive choices and develop skills to navigate tricky times.
What are the "7 Cs"? They are competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. (You can read more in depth in "Building Resilience in Children and Teens" by Kenneth R Ginsberg.)
Let's take a minute to learn more about competence today!
*Competence: the ability to know how to handle situations effectively. Kids needs to develop a set of skills in order to build competence. You can help by:
-Pointing out your child's strengths and help him or her build on them
-Noticing when your child does something well (and make a big deal out of telling them!)
-Helping him to build the educational, social, and stress relief skills need to be competent by reading, sharing ideas, and facilitating opportunities to learn and practice these skills
-Communicating in a way that empowers your child/ teen to make decisions (ask questions to help them learn to think critically on their own)
-Allowing her to make safe mistakes (don't interfere to protect them and prevent mistakes)
-Be aware of what your verbal and nonverbal communication portrays: are you projecting a message of "I don't think you can handle this?"
- Recognize the competencies of each child without comparing them to siblings, cousins, friends
Choose one of these tips to try out over the next few days with your child or teen!
10 Ways to Get Outside More Often (Tip 1 of 3 Breakdown of our series- 3 Ways to Quickly Boost Your Mood)
|Posted on May 19, 2020 at 12:25 PM||comments (8)|
Easy Ways to Boost Your Mood Throughout the Day
Last week, we shared 3 quick ways to boost your mood. ⭐Today we are going a bit further with each of the 3 tips to give you lots of ideas on how to build these mood boosters into your day even with all the demands we are currently trying to fill.
#1 Music: 10 ways to boost your mood with music!������
Yesterday, we shared 3 quick ways to boost your mood. Sound easy enough, but with all the demands we have right now, figuring out how to add one more thing can be tricky. So, we are going to those down even more over the next several days to give you lots of ideas on how you can build mood boosting moments as often as possible.
Mood booster 1: music! It reduces stress, lowers anxiety, makes us mindful, increases motivation, helps relieve pain and improve overall wellness!
- make a playlist of your favorite bands and listen throughout the day
-listen to worship music or music you spiritually connect with auring a few quiet moments with deep breathing
- If you are musically inclined, write a song, play an instrument, sing a song as part of your morning or evening routine each day
-Dance! With your family or by yourself is a great way to boost your mood and get your heart pumping
-Write down your favorite song lyrics and refer back to them when you need a boost
-Start your day with music- use your phone alarm with a customized some you like rather than an annoying beep or buzz
-If you usually have the tv on for noise, replace it with music that matches the mood you want to achieve
#2- Get Outside!
-Take your laptop or kids school work outside on the porch or in the yard
- Since the gyms are closed, get your exercise and vitamin D by walking, running, or biking (take the kids and dog too!)
-Start a garden and get a bonus of some homegrown veggies (small potted herb garden works if you are short on space)
-Take your meditation or prayer time outside and enjoy the sun and the birds while you work on your spiritual growth
-Grab a blanket or hammock and take a nap outside in the fresh air
- Make a spa on your lawn- grab some nail polish, an homemade face mask or lotion for for massages. This is a great activity to do with kids!
- Do some photography (skip the selfies and focus on the amazingness of nature)- bonus points for finding a new hiking trail or walking path to check out!
-It is the perfect time of year to eat outside- not too hot or cold. Grab your lunch and take it outside for a break from work, homeschooling, or homework
☕ Wake up without the distractions- take your tea or coffee outside and think of three things you are thankful for before getting on your phone or email.
-Find your inner artist. Sidewalk chalk, painting, coloring, drawing- what better place to be inspired than outdoors?
You know you need it but sometimes it's so difficult to get motivated! Exercise is some important to help keep our bodies and minds healthy and can instantly boost your mood.
Easy ways to get more exercise without having to get up before the ��:
-Ride your bike more! You may be working at home but if you can hop on your bike and grab the mail or run an errands, it is an easy way to get moving!
-Dance with your kids, friends or significant other! Quality time and exercise is sure to give you a mood boost!
-Take a break and walk your dog. Gets you in the fresh air and gets the blood moving, especially if you work at desk all day.
- Garden or do yardwork- another 2 for 1! Grow some veggies or spruce up your space to get exercise while checking something off your to do list!
-Stream a workout at home- there are lots of free workouts to do right now and all you have to do is hit play and follow along.
5️⃣ minutes is better than none at all, so if you are really strapped for times do a 5 minute workout several times throughout the day and it will add up quickly!
Here's to lots of fresh air, sunshine, and better moods!