Advice Column, Parenting

The importance of personal wellbeing in your family

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“I feel like I’m in a tornado! I am exhausted! My children are showing signs of stress and anxiety and I do not know how to fix it!  I am doing my best to survive!  We are overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic – it is unsettling and frightening!” 

Cindy Glass, Owner and Co-founder of Step Up Education Centres, believes that it is not enough to just survive the life that we are living! It is not enough to live in fear of contracting THE Virus. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could focus on the wellbeing of ourselves and our families and do this despite the challenges that everyday life may present to us? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could increase the quality of our physical and mental health, experience happiness and fulfilment and THRIVE, despite the threat of coronavirus? Of course it would!”

 “The reality is that our lives can feel out-of-control, frustrating and miserable at times. This is unavoidable. But the good news is that small changes can lead to greater opportunities of experiencing personal wellbeing, happiness and fulfilment,” Cindy explains.

She gives are her 5 helpful hints for you to get back on track:

Nurture an ‘I-have-your-back’ culture: The family unit can be a powerful platform of support, acceptance, encouragement, positive connectivity and unconditional love. Home should be your place-of-safety; your physical and emotional refuge against the challenges of the world. As parents, we need to set the tone of non-judgemental conversations, laughter and positive support. A hug, a listening ear, a word of encouragement, an acknowledgement of progress. Little acts of kindness can wield wonderful results!

Chatting is important: Make an effort to bring back the ‘old’ family tradition of eating dinner around a table – or together on the mat, or under a tree in your garden – whichever will ensure that genuine conversations can take place. Food is a wonderful connector of people. Your children will share their stories with you IF they feel safe-from judgement. Imagine the joy of genuine connectivity that conversations around a table can bring to you and your family! 

Create a family gratitude journal: Make a concerted effort to focus on what you already have and not on what you perceive you do not!  Use this journal to record things that you and your family are grateful for each and every day! Why not include things like academic and personal progress as well; if a child has shown improvement in behavioural choices or helpfulness, for example, record it in the journal.  Have you managed to be more productive at work? Record it alongside your gratitudes. Focus on gratitudes and progress, no matter how small they may seem. You will be amazed at how effective this will be in changing mindsets within your home. 

Get active: Looking after your physical body is just as important as taking care of your mental health. Find ways to exercise together; , a game of cricket in the back garden. Get enough sleep. Drink plenty of water and focus on making healthy eating choices.

Model strong values: Your children will follow your lead. Respect of self and others, integrity, kindness, a positive work ethic, resilience, self-regulation, accountability and responsibility. You can decide on a set of family values that work for you. 

“Life can be challenging but it is simply not enough to just survive something. We can focus on personal wellbeing and find moments of great happiness and fulfillment amidst the struggles. Give it a go!” Cindy concludes.

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