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Mental Health Matters: April 10


Hello Ellis Families,


I hope each of you is doing well! Self-care… the importance of self-care has certainly been elevated lately. In my social work profession, I can recall many meetings in which we’ve been asked to share our self-care routines. People would report on going for a run, crocheting, shooting hoops or doing some sort of activity. Inevitably, though, at least one person would say, somewhat shamefully, they knew they needed to work on it. Self-care became a badge of the competent, and not addressing it became a sign of failure—but it isn’t. Self-care is different for everyone, now more than ever. One of the greatest self-care tools relevant right now is forgiving yourself.


You can forgive yourself for not sticking to a rigorous routine for you and your child, or for not being a perfect parent with preplanned activities that all go perfectly. It can be forgiving yourself for being frustrated, and sometimes wanting space from your child, or from your partner, or both.


The second greatest self-care tool you deserve at this time (and always) is speaking to yourself with self-compassion. Remind yourself of the fundamental truth that you are doing the best you can!


I warmly invite you to join our next Caregiver Zoom Chat scheduled for the evening April 16th from 8:15-8:45pm. We can use this time to collaboratively troubleshoot some of the challenges you may be facing, as well as celebrate successes you may have had in a non-judgmental space. We can also discuss the concept of self-care more deeply and explore what it could look like for you during these times.


Thank you and be well,

Jenn

Breathing Techniques

Spaghetti Breathing:

· Ask your child to lie on their back, arms at their side and imagine they’re stiff like uncooked spaghetti.

· Say, “Take a deep breath in, tensing your whole body and imagine yourself turning into cooked spaghetti- soft and relaxed.”

· Repeat until they feel ‘cooked’.

Spaghetti breathing is a fun way to teach breathing to children, and it incorporates some guided muscle relaxation techniques as well. Benefits of learning muscle relaxation techniques include helping children learn to manage their reactions to stress and anxiety. They also help release tension in the body. To help your child visualize this technique you can consider cooking noodles so they can compare them to the uncooked noodles. This may end up being in a yummy spaghetti dinner!


Self Care in the Time of COVID-19

Zero to Three is offering free 15 minute mindfulness classes Fridays at 10 starting April 10th. You can register here.


There are lots of resources for your kids to take virtual field trips that can also be very relaxing for adults, too. Visit Yosemite National Park to see the abundance of wild life exploring the land as they take advantage of humans practicing social distancing. You can visit the live streams here.


Also, humor is definitely self care! Parents have stepped up their meme, cartoon, and Twitter games during this time. Self-care might be a minute alone in another room to take to laugh at a funny Tweet or post online :)


Hot Tip

This hot tip came from one of our parents via our Caregiver Zoom Chat, so shout out to them for such a fun idea! In an effort to help your child (and you!) get some energy out and some endorphins going, have a daily dance party! Whether it is one song or a whole set, get your family moving and dancing. Dancing after your kids are finally in bed can be equally as fun!


Mental Health and Parent Support

Psychology Today: Many therapists are taking on new clients during this time and can conduct virtual intakes and sessions. Many are also offering sliding co-payment scales as well as short term treatment models. If your feelings have become overwhelming and having an objective person to talk with is helpful, you can research a potential fit via Psychology Today . Additionally, if you need support in finding a counselor please feel free to contact me at japps@ellismemorial.org.


Parental Stress Line: 800-632-8188

  • Parental stress line counselors are there to listen to your concerns and problem-solve with you. 24/7, free and confidential.

Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST Team): 800-981-4357

  • A mental health emergency hotline to do crisis evaluation and treatment if you feel your child has become a danger to themselves or others in the home.

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