No, Really, It’s Ok to Take Care of Yourself: A Mom and Dad’s Guide to Self-Care once School Starts

Heaving a sigh of relief, you have finally kissed your little ones goodbye and watched them walk into the classroom for the first day of school. Then you get home, or back to work, and you find your head spinning. “How did they get this big that fast?” “Is it just me, or does everything seem just a little bit quieter?” You are a whirlwind of emotion, and that’s ok. Now that the kids have gone back to school, it is time that you also take some time for yourself.

Self-Care is Good Parenting.

The narrative that often defines good parenting is one of sacrifice. Being selfless is held up on an often unachievable pedestal. Despite this, the reality is that taking care of yourself teaches your children by example. If you make your own health and happiness a priority, they will learn to emulate your good work.

Get Back to Your Fun Side.

As school gets back in session, take these few precious moments of free time to get back to your fun side. Call up old friends, take an exercise class, learn pottery, or get involved with volunteering for a charity or your church. Before soccer, ballet, and all of the other activities start up, make sure you schedule some quality “you” time to help you get through the busy weeks ahead. Not only will you avoid burning out, your happiness will radiate throughout the whole family.

Take Care of Your Health.

We all want the best for our kids, so you also want to make sure you are giving them the best parents. Now that the kids have gone back to school, make sure you focus on you own mental and physical health. That way you will be in the best possible state to handle any challenges your kids throw at you.

Stop putting off that physical. Take a look at drinking one less soda, and, of course, consider scheduling a counseling session. Counseling is a great way to learn the most about yourself and how you can grow. Make an appointment today so you can give your family one of greatest gifts of all – a healthier, happier you!

Help Your Tween Adjust to Middle School

Trouble With the Tweens

“Tween” is a term used for kids between 10-12 years old. This is a stage where your child is no longer a kid, but still too young to be a teen. This in-between stage of development can require some adjustment for everyone involved, especially as summer ends and we pack up our bags and head back to school.

Talk to Your Tween

We have all watched the public service announcements about talking to your kids, and no matter how warm and fuzzy they portray these conversations as, we know that it isn’t always that easy. So, try breaking down your approach. Instead of asking,” how was school?” try asking something more specific about their teacher, classmates, friends, or activities.

At first, listen without judgment. Let them express their feelings and just listen. Share your own experiences, if needed, and do not scold them for making simple mistakes. Address their fears whether in school, with friends, or even at home. Talking to your child is the best way to find out what they are going through, and if you work on a healthy relationship now, you will be the safe place they turn to if things get rough.

Independence

As adults, we often forget the value of our own independence; but for our tweens, it presents a whole new set of possibilities. Don’t suppress that feeling of freedom in them. As parents, we should support our children and be their guide as they practice exercising their own independence. However, this doesn’t mean you should give up the reins completely – it means that you should gradually give them more and more freedom and responsibility, but they should also understand that abusing or neglecting these things comes with consequences.

It’s also ok to give yourself a little time to adjust, and to understand that you, as a parent, are allowed to make mistakes. This is a challenging time in both your and your child’s lives, so listen, be patient, and have faith that your whole family will get through it together.

Slipping through My Fingers: A Parent’s Guide to Empty Nesting

The acceptance letter is on the fridge, and you and your family are probably both dreading and looking forward to the day your child goes off to college. This is a tense time of transition for everyone involved, but it can also be a time of joy and celebration. So, whether you’re struggling or rejoicing, here are few words of wisdom as you look ahead to your new path as an empty nester.

Every Reaction Is Totally Normal.

Crying yourself to sleep at night? Getting nostalgic over baby photos? Ready for your new college student to get the heck out of the house? Can’t wait to have some alone time? Want your child to never leave? – No matter what you are feeling, it’s important to acknowledge it and accept it for what it is without judgment. No matter what you, your spouse, or the other families around you are experiencing, there is no right or wrong reaction; everyone simply feels what they feel.

What To Do Next

Once the dorm room is unpacked and set up, and you drive away, watching your kid waving goodbye in the rearview mirror, you may find yourself reeling at what to do next. Remember that every relationship is different, so your relationship with you child is going to be different than your peers, and how you shape your life after kids needs to reflect what’s best suited for you and your needs.

Many people need time to grieve. This is a normal step for many parents. It is also a time to celebrate that you did it – you raised an upstanding citizen. Now your next step as a parent should be to take care of your needs and continue living your life.

Even if it seems scary, remember that how you behave is still part of you working as a parent. If you take care of your own needs and wellbeing through this transition, your child will learn from and model your resilience. Even if, at this age, they act as if they are too cool for you, they will still notice.

Summer Time Mental Health Tips from South Denver Psychotherapy

Just like Olaf from the Disney movie Frozen, we all love summer! But just as summer can bring happiness, it can also bring tremendous heat. Here are some summertime tips that will help you beat the heat so you can enjoy your summer to the fullest!

• Have a Routine

Make a regular routine of the things that you need to do. You should also establish a regular schedule for sleeping and waking up. This is a great way to help you stay positive and on top of your daily tasks.

• Exercise and Eat Healthy Food

This will not just make you physically fit, but keep you in shape mentally as well. Regular exercise will help you to be stress-free and happy, as it releases happy hormones called Endorphins. Exercise has even been shown to help reduce depression and other mental health issues.

• Ease Up on the Booze.

The summertime is full of BBQs, bar patios, pool parties, vacations, and many more special activities. All of these are strewn with junk food and alcohol. Try to watch how much you have; you will feel better if you prevent a significant increase in intake.

Learn a Thing or Two

There are always things that you can learn. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook gourmet meals, bake wonderful goodies, try a new sport, or play a musical instrument. The possibilities are endless.

Be a Pet Lover and Go Get One

Getting a pet is a big responsibility; it could be one of the most life-changing choices that you will ever make, but it also might be the best decision you’ve ever made. Owning a pet requires much discipline, but a pet’s love is a priceless thing.

• Nourish Your Spiritual Side

Why not go on a quick retreat? Even if you don’t have the big bucks for a fancy resort, the summer is the perfect time to head to the mountains, museums, and other attractions around Colorado. Take a day just for you. Indulge and make sure you give yourself time to relax, meditate, or do whatever it is that stimulates your spirit.

The list goes on and on; these are just some of the mental health tips that are easy to follow. Let’s have fun, enjoy the warmth that summer brings, and don’t forget to call us today to set up your own personal plan.

How to Survive a Family Vacation

The calendar is marked and the tickets are purchased. Summer is here and that family vacation you have been looking forward to is on its way. Despite your expectations, and all of the marketing that pictures smiling families and bright sandy beaches, family vacations can often come with a lot of stress.

This is completely normal! However, there are few basic things to keep in mind to ensure that you have as much fun as possible.

Realistic Compassion Is as Essential as Your Travel-Size Toothpaste.

The stress that comes with traveling and spending a significant amount of time together can be overwhelming. The chaos of being on the move, the tedium of long hours in the car or the airport, worry about expensive lodging and meals, disagreements on activities, and the sheer difficulty of getting everyone together and organized are just a few of the issues families commonly encounter.

As you go through the day, take a deep breath and take a good hard look at those around you. It’s ok to be anxious and nervous, and it’s also ok for those around you to feel the same way. Be realistic, and remember that everyone will decompress at different stages of the trip.

Be in the Now!

Sure, having your tablet, laptop, and smart phone is great while you are on the go. But, once you get to you destination, PUT THEM AWAY! No matter how behind you are at work, or stressed about unfinished projects at home, it can wait. Take the opportunity to enjoy the time you have with your family; you will be better for it.

Enjoy the moment, immerse yourself in it, embrace it. Don’t long for the next place to see, or the next activity, or for that hour when you can use the hotel Wi-Fi. Just live and enjoy yourself while you have the chance.