Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the concept of self-care? How do you think teaching children about wellbeing and self-care can positively impact their future decision-making and prevent burnout?
Self-care is more than just indulging in activities like bubble baths and manicures; it's about creating a lifestyle that promotes balance and prevents the need to constantly escape from stress. Tune in to this episode as Sara and Danielle provide insights and practical tips for teaching children how to create a balanced lifestyle that promotes their overall well-being and resilience.
Sara Olsher 0:00
Welcome back to the Raising Resilience Podcast. My name is Sara. I am the founder of mighty and bright and I am here with Danielle Bettmann. She is the parenting support coordinator for the raising Resilience Program here at Mighty and Bright. She is an early childhood educator and a parenting coach for parents wholeheartedly her company, she is brilliant. And today we are going to talk about month 11 of the raising Resilience Program, which is all about the protective factors for preventing kids mental health crises. And this month, we're talking about wellbeing and self care. And this one is so, so hard for grownups, the whole self care thing, I mean, in some ways, I get a little bit tired of hearing the term self care because it is like if there ever were a thing that is like more miss, like, it's so misunderstood. It's like this is we're not talking about bubble baths, and getting a manicure, although those things are nice. We're talking about creating a lifestyle that you don't feel the need to escape from. And we want to teach our kids to recognize their own care and their how they feel day to day and make balanced choices. So that when they're older, they are not a slave to the rat race, burned out constantly saying yes to everything, and everyone, because they have no idea what it feels like to be balanced. Like our goal is to teach our kids these things. Because if you recognize what feels good and balanced, then you are a lot more likely to make good decisions about what is going to then throw you out of balance. So this month, we have a basically a chart that's based on the dimensions of wellness. And this is there's between seven and eight dimensions, and not all of them apply to children. And so we've you know, some of them are like your occupation, for example. So we've kind of simplified it for kids, and how you can choose from these different things, whether it's like spiritual health, emotional well, being social, physical, these things to create a balanced lifestyle that really makes you feel good every day. And it's not about out finding like a way to do one from each category every day. It's about finding your own, like personal equilibrium, your own like baseline, what makes you feel good. And so that is what we're talking about this month.
Danielle Bettmann 2:44
Yes. And this is something that I teach the parents that I work with as clients. And because the first week in my group program is your sanity and well being, because it's a prerequisite for every other strategy to be able to stick. Because if you don't have the capacity, you can't possibly remember to do all the things or to integrate what you're learning or to take action and apply things. Your wellbeing as a parent dictates the parenting. It's your your ability to do the things because you're the parent. But this is something that, again, is still not only is it not taught, but it's not truly fostered or supported, especially for parents who are burning the candle at both ends. And not seeing that they even have the permission to prioritize themselves or to do what they need to meet their own needs, because surely their kids needs come first. And what I have to help them realize and take advantage of is, in order to give in order to have anything to give your family or your kids, you have to be able to have something to give to overflow. And that means that you need to unapologetically do what it takes to put that in your cup first. And sometimes parents don't even know what that looks like. And that takes some process of experimentation to realize, oh, for me, it's going for a run. Or for me, it's not going for a run, it's being able to, you know, listen to music in my car and drive around for a little bit. Or for me, it's really just being able to have some white space and journal or go have coffee with a friend or like whatever that is that truly pours into your cup. It looks different for different people and that it does have to kind of touch on each of these areas of well being we're talking about in order to really feel like you have that capacity and that sanity and that well being to give from and so if you're learning that right alongside your child, welcome to The Club. We're here with you. And as you learn what works for you, you can begin to help your kids see that as well and give them permission to do that, too. So one thing we're doing as a family is, is we have like a gym membership. And they have kids classes. And so there's a couple different variations. You know, there's one that's maybe more bootcamp oriented one that's more like a dance, you know, type class one that's more of a yoga base, and one that's more of like a CrossFit base. And so I've kind of let my kids experiment with trying the different classes. They're not athletic. But they love to be able to try those classes. And they really realize what they are drawn to. They love feeling strong, when they go to like more of a CrossFit class because they get to go in this like, personal trainer room that has like turf on the floor, and they get to like, throw these little ropes around. And they just feel like super cool. And I love that for them. Because hopefully, that's laying the foundation that they can build upon as an adult, where they see that action that they're taking for their body as meeting a need and taking care of themselves and giving themselves what they need to be able to thrive and give at their job the next day, rather than it being a obligation and a burden. And a something they have to punish themselves with to do because they ate a bunch of ice cream, right? And so it's more of a relationship to these things that we're trying to teach in a really healthy way.
Sara Olsher 6:22
Yeah, it's, it's really, and to incorporate things that you maybe you didn't even realize were as important as they are like being social. And that is one of the dimensions. If you don't have relationships with your friends, or a way to connect with people, you're not going to feel great, you're going to feel balanced, you know, if you don't have something that connects you to a spiritual world, and that just to be clear, is not religion, that is being connected to something that is bigger than you. And that can mean religion for some people, but for others, it is being connected to the earth. It is being connected to your community, it is helping helping the animals, it is any number of things that feed your soul and make you feel good. And these kinds of these kinds of things. And understanding how they make you feel means that that that builds self awareness. And it makes it much more likely that your kids will choose to prioritize these things in the future, because they know how positive they make them feel is what this is all about.
Danielle Bettmann 7:33
Right? Yeah, thanks to the pandemic, we realize just how important that social one is, like, like isolation and loneliness is like a very, very awful thing that affects our physical health more than me possibly realize, yes.
Sara Olsher 7:49
And the research really shows just how much physical and mental health are linked. And that is, you know, that is a reason to exercise. But it's also a reason to take care of your mental health. Because when it starts to deplete your physical health, I can tell you from someone who has been sick for a very long time, that is not a that is not a good feeling, to have a body that does not work well. So it's all about helping our kids to find that balance, to be able to care for themselves. So that in the future, they are not repeating what we have, you know, done generation after generation, which has pushed ourselves to the point of breaking, we don't want to do that.
Danielle Bettmann 8:36
Right, right. And for them to really see it as being in tune with what they like being responsive to treating themselves to what they need, not just what they deserve, not just what they earn. But being able to have that intuition and that relationship with themselves where they have that element of self compassion, or they see their body as something that they should treat Well, or that they value a lot and that they're appreciative to. There's there's a lot of things in each one of these elements of well being that are important for us to teach and to model and just, you know, sometimes don't have the weight, even bring that up in a conversation that doesn't feel forced, or that doesn't feel awkward. You know, because it's been hard for us in the past, or we've had, you know, relationships with our body that haven't been ideal, or there's been, you know, eating disorders or other things playing a role. So it's like, well, I don't want I don't want to create something and then that isn't a thing yet. And so how do I handle this conversation? It's very intimidating.
Sara Olsher 9:43
Yeah, and I think that that's what makes us so powerful is it's not just focusing on what we traditionally think of as self care. It's not a conversation about your body at all really or how how how your body looks. It is a conversation about how each one of these dimensions makes you feel. And then setting an intention for each day of how you're going to care for yourself by focusing on something from each one of these dimensions if you can, and write, you know, because it isn't selfish to take care of yourself. It is 100% necessary, and we want our kids to know that.
Danielle Bettmann 10:28
Yes, yes, yeah. So for, for them, you may have a kiddo that has a really social personality. And you know, you know, if they have a few days off school, you need to plan a playdate, or you need to get them out. And then on the inverse, you might have a kiddo that when it's a holiday weekend, you need to plan whitespace. And you know, for them to be able to bring a book and you know, and for them to know that about themselves, and to be unapologetic about that. And it's okay to be able to know, hey, I'm really haven't, you know, been able to have social time or really haven't been able to be out in nature, or to do this thing that really helps me? Can we make time for that soon, and being able to advocate for that with some language around it? That's so powerful.
Sara Olsher 11:18
Absolutely. Wow. Thank you so much for chatting with me about this today. Danielle.
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