Stress Releif for Kids and Caregivers: Ca Surgeon General's Guide
Double down on supportive relationships with in your household and help your kids maintain connections with friends and loved ones outside of the home by phone, video chat, old-fashioned letter writing or age-appropriate social media. Turn off media and devices for high-quality time together making art, dancing, cooking or reading at home. Remain in touch with mentors, friends, and family by phone or video chat, including schools and community- or faith-based organizations.
Engage in 60 minutes of physical activity everyday. It doesn’t have to be all atone time. Dance party in your bedroom, 35 jumping jacks here and there, 20 minute hula hooping contest, film a short video and share it out, power walk around the block twice, running, bedtime yoga, 10 pushups, do some double dutch jump rope, the list can go on and on. Bottom line – get your and your kids’ bodies moving and heart rates up to burn off stress.
Get sufficient, high-quality sleep. This may be particularly hard right now, but things that help are going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day. Making a routine of reading a book to or with kids before bed. Create a calm place for sleep that is cool, quiet and free of distractions. Turn off electronics at least a half hour before bed. Limit food and beverages containing caffeine, like soda and chocolate.
This is not about losing weight. This is about ensuring you are getting proper nutrition to help combat stress. Keep regular mealtimes, includes snacks for kids. General rule of thumb includes 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per/day & foods including fish, nuts and fiber.
MENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SUPPORT:
Engage in mental healthcare for yourself and/or for your child. Minimize the amount of exposure/consumption of news or other media content that feels upsetting for both you and your child. If your child currently sees a mental health professional, ask that those sessions can continue via video or phone sessions for psychotherapy, psychiatric care or substance use treatment. There are new laws to support your provider to do phone and video visits. Have open conversations as a family about emotional and mental health. If you do not have a regular mental health professional, here are some resources to help you get started
MINDFULNESS, MEDITATION, PRAYER:
Apps like Headspace and Calm are easy, accessible ways to get started. Meditations can be found online, as well. Both have specialty programs for kids of all ages. Mindfulness can help strengthen the brain pathways that actively buffer the stress response, helping you regulate body more easily. Take moments throughout the day with kids to notice and talk about how we're feeling, both physically and emotionally