The term “mental health” often has a negative nuance in our society. Many consider it shorthand for someone who is always “unhappy” or “depressed.” This isn’t the case at all. Now more than ever it’s important to regularly check in with your child about their mental state. After all, mental health is like physical health. It doesn’t have to be bad to need improvement, and regular “exercises” can help.
COVID and Our Mental Health
A big aspect of mental health is the influence of the environment on your mind state. Especially the past two years, there has been a lot of negativity in the news and in our daily lives. It is completely normal for your child’s mental AND physical health to have been affected. As life begin to start back up and we’re all focused on getting physically “back into shape,” I challenge you to also consider getting mentally “back into shape.” This is an important conversation that anyone at any age can benefit from.
I could give you some mental health activities that I’m sure you’ve heard of before. Instead, here are a few questions you and your child can discuss. These can offer a new perspective and focus on mental health.
A Couple of Questions to Ask
— “What’s been on your mind?”
Many times a simple check-in will do. Each child is different, and some may not like to talk. Simply asking them may let them know that you’re there to chat if need be. Your child may be dealing with stress in a different way than you, and regardless of how minuscule it is, it could be very difficult for them. We learn how to deal with stress at a young age and take it with us into adulthood. Let them know you’re there, no matter how big or small their problem may be!
— “Let’s have a family game night without phones?”
Okay- this one may be a little biased based on my favorite mental health breaks I had growing up. It doesn’t have to be a “game night,” but rather something that involves EVERYONE (yes you too) turning off their phones. Take a break from news, text messages, social media, etc for one night to refresh. Directly or indirectly, being online 24/7 will absolutely take a toll with your mental health. I think we can all agree that there is a lot of negativity we take in online.
I hope this offers a few ideas on ways you can open communication on mental health with your child. Physical exercise is a great way to improve your mental health, but I also think diving deeper is important.
Have a happy and healthy summer!
To find out more about our customized in-home fitness programs, contact Bonita at Bonita@EnergeticJuniors.com, or call 212-879-1566.