10 Examples of Self Care for You and Your Family
Self-care for the individual, usually for adults, is no new concept. The last few years have seen the idea of self-care growing in popularity and becoming a normal part of life for most of us. Things like drinking enough water, taking care of our mental and physical health, getting in enough relaxation time and spending time in nature, and getting a regular healthcare screening have all been promoted as important ways to look after yourself and give yourself a better quality of life.
Family Self Care Ideas
If these things are so vital for the individual, shouldn’t they form a regular part of family activities too? We think so, and we’ve put together a list of ten self-care activities you can do with your family.
1. Go For Walks
Families are busy; we know this. Even if you can’t take the time to take a walk every day, we suggest taking a walk once a week, maybe over a weekend, but always together. Spending time in nature and exercising are well-documented and necessary forms of self-care; when you take a walk with the family, you can do both! Not only is this good for you and the kids, but they need it. Getting rid of excess energy that builds up while kids are at school or hanging out at home is necessary, especially before a nap or bedtime.
Asking kids to meditate with you is probably an exercise in futility, but breathwork can be a different story if you come at it the right way. Try a technique called “Magic Breathing.” Choose a time when kids are in slowed down or relaxed mode and sit them down on a bed or the floor. Ask them to breathe slowly and deeply with you; in through the nose for five counts and out through the mouth for five counts. Then switch to two counts in and two counts out.
Sharing your daily highs and lows with your family is a great way to get things off your chest and build a strong connection. Before supper, when everyone is sitting at the table together is usually a good idea. Listen with no judgment and explain why it’s so important to talk about our lives together as part of self-care.
4. Story Time
This will probably only work well with younger kids. Get everyone together before bedtime or whenever works best for you and read to the kids, or have them read to you if they want to. Reading skills are improved, and it’s a real bonding moment.
5. Movie Time
Kicking back with a bowl of popcorn on a Saturday evening and a movie for the whole family is such a great way to spend time together and allow yourselves all time to relax and enjoy yourselves thoroughly. No demands on anyone, just fun.
6. Exercise Together
A walk once a week is not enough exercise to keep you in shape! Younger kids will only be able to take on things like jumping jacks and monkey bars or cartwheels, but you can still all “play” workout together. Make a competition of racing on the lawn, build a simple (because we know you don’t have all the free time in the world) obstacle course, and do dances together in the living room.
7. Make Art
The great thing about art is that there are so many different options. You could attend a pottery workshop, build puzzles of beautiful artworks, paint still lifes, draw pictures of the family pet, and make crafts…the options are endless. There’s probably something at some level that will suit everyone in the family.
8. Bake Together
Prepare yourselves for the mess because there’s definitely going to be one! Don’t choose something too ambitious, or you’ll take all the fun out of the process by putting pressure on the result. Assign each family member a different task depending on their experience and ability levels; if the result comes out edible, great! If it doesn’t, chalk it up to another lesson learned.
9. Talk About Mental Health
No matter how old or young your family members are, everyone needs to know about and understand mental health. Talk about having a bad day and what that means; make it clear that feeling grumpy or sad for no reason is not against the rules. Make it clear that however you feel is ok, and it’s fine to talk about those feelings. If kids understand mental health and know how to respond to themselves and others, they’ll grow up understanding themselves a lot better. Discussing medication and how it can help if it is needed is also a good idea.
10. Discuss Caring For Your Body
Washing hair regularly, showering every day…these are basics that we must attend to even if we aren’t feeling our best. Emphasize the importance of this if you have kids that you still have to bathe and tell them how one day they’ll be big enough to take care of themselves. Remind teenagers that physical care and cleanliness are an aspect of staying mentally healthy as well as physically.
Instilling the basics of self-care in the minds of your family, no matter how old or young they are, is essential to leading a happy and healthy life.