Take a moment to think about what is important TO YOU. What is it that you may have been putting off that has been playing on your mind for quite some time? It may be eating better, sleeping better, spending time outdoors or just having some downtime on your own and enjoying some peace and quiet. When was the last time you noticed inner joy from engaging in a fun or relaxing activity? How many of the healthy habits have you been actively pursuing or would like to try to implement in your lifestyle?
There may be all kinds of feelings you may notice when you think about these healthy habits. Feeling nervous, unmotivated, guilty or frustrated? Sometimes we may try to push away these feelings and avoid taking action, or we feel overwhelmed and also avoid taking action! Accepting these feelings and allowing them to come and go is a mindful strategy for children and adults to experiment with. Getting into the hang of healthy habits takes time, practice and determination. Starting with deep breaths is one way to work with these feelings leaving the thinking brain and perfectionism or self-doubt aside for a minute or two.
Sometimes it takes two to tango. Practicing these healthy habits may be more enjoyable with a friend, a colleague, your child or your pet! When parents attend my sessions, one of the first things I ask is, ‘What do you enjoy doing with your family?’ or ‘What is the one thing that you would like to do more of to help you to become a more resilient parent?’. Engaging in healthy habits may help to clear the mind and prepare the body for the challenges ahead: whether it is learning to effectively manage a child’s tantrum, to engage in age appropriate discussions with your child, or to get through a big day at work or at home with the kids.
Generally working with children in therapy also involves working with parents. Stress management and relaxation practices are included in my sessions. Parenting education is something I value and discuss with parents at the beginning of therapy. Working with families helps to identify family fun factors and simple daily routines that can be practiced as a family. Parents tell me that keeping calm and being collaborative with their child during challenging moments is difficult. These parenting skills are practiced in session and between sessions which aim to strengthen the parent-child relationship and improve parent self-care.
Evrim Ulusoy is a psychologist at Hopscotch and Harmony, and her work involves play-based therapeutic interventions with preschool aged and primary school aged children. Evrim provides a supportive and engaging environment for children to share their challenges and the impact on their personal wellbeing and relationships. Call 9741 5222 to make an appointment at our Werribee practice.