Five areas to take care of to build a strong foundation for your family

Five areas to take care of to build a strong foundation for your family

Suspension

Charles Sophie is a psychiatrist and internist in private practice, and was the former medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. He is the author of a bookFamily Values: Reset trust, boundaries, and connection with your child. “

As a mental health professional who treats children, I know how the heavy burden of the pandemic has intensified Problems our youth She was already suffering.

As we head into the holiday season, you and your family can find a way to get back to each other. Not just to get back to the family or people you were before the pandemic, but to create a stronger, safer foundation that allows everyone to thrive.

This foundation is a concept I refer to as SWEEP. It’s an acronym that represents the five major components that I’ve seen are the most important and simplest measures of well-being.

Ask yourself: What ingredients are an integral part of your family’s recipe for a purposeful, fulfilling, balanced, and enjoyable life? There are countless permutations of what every family values ​​and wants to work toward, but the foundation necessary to achieve those goals is consistent.

Without solid sleep – both qualitative and quantitative – you cannot be the best version of yourself and children may have behavioral problems.

Are you getting enough sleep? Do you feel energetic when you wake up? Do you or your child depend on coffee or caffeine to start the day? What time does your child go to sleep? Depending on their age, children older than 3 years of age usually need 10 to 14 hours of sleep. It is essential for their growth, so treat it as such.

My clients, a couple, have been struggling for years to get their kids to sleep for a certain hour. She helped them establish a bedtime routine for the kids, which included removing stimuli like loud music and video games, and adding calming activities like meditation. For a couple, I suggest soothing activities such as a hot bath and body massage, as well as white noise or soft music and aromatherapy in their bedroom.

Always remember that consistency is key. It is important to make one simple and consistent change to bedtime rather than making several intermittent changes.

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Do you and your children have a goal? Are you working towards this purpose and feel satisfied? Do you talk to your children about the importance of the work they do every day – going to school, participating in chores, going to teammates?

We hear a lot about “quiet take off”. I suggest the opposite – gaining clarity about what we want and need from work and school and making sure we live authentically.

One of my clients is a 42-year-old woman with a teenage daughter. With her divorce, my client’s income and lifestyle changed drastically, and she was struggling. It helped her see that she needed to find a purpose, and the job would give her that. It was a vital piece to its overall stability. My client is now happily pursuing her degree in cosmetology.

Few people connect the dots between food and emotional or behavioral turmoil. Ask yourself – do you and your children use food to stay healthy and energetic?

I would recommend a family ate on the run. It helped them find meaning to sit around a table during meals at least a few times a week, and raised their awareness about eating nutritious food. This helped improve their mental and physical health and strength as a family.

Eating time is the time when your family should not be distracted, adhere to rules such as no technology at the table, make eye contact as you relate to the events of the day, share feelings and solve problems so that everyone feels heard.

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E- emotional expression

For you and your children to be emotionally healthy, you need to be in touch with and be able to express your thoughts and feelings. Do you let the important people in your life know how you feel through emotional expression?

A couple came to see me because they were constantly arguing about issues related to their children. She taught them to express their feelings and feelings about what was happening in their homes with their children. It gave them the clarity they needed to move forward and address their core problems.

Every relationship needs nurturing. If you or your children are not able to communicate your thoughts and feelings, it will be difficult to connect with the people around you to establish the emotional security and sense of permanence that we all need.

Play is critical to our overall work. It helps us learn how to self-soothe, get rid of bad moods, manage anxiety, maintain individual identity and broaden our perspectives. What do you do in your spare time with the primary goal of having fun? Ideally, these activities will keep you physically and mentally fit, give you a creative outlet, and perhaps even enable you to communicate or improve other areas of your life.

One of my clients had a blank look when I asked her about her hobbies and how she was calming down. She took the time to remember her two favorite things – the needlepoint and the ladies’ card, which she had been enjoying before and early on in her marriage. I vowed to re-establish them. About six weeks later, she returned – a happy wife and mother.

These five aspects of our lives are at the core of our ability to thrive as parents and individuals. Think of SWEEP as your family report card that you can often turn to to assess your family’s well-being.

Your children are watching and learning from you. Parenting begins with how you show yourself and how you model the core values ​​of health and happiness for your family.

We welcome your comments on this column at OnYourMind@washpost.com.

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