Childhood mental health concerns have been on the rise over the last 10 years but significantly increased since 2020. Stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and racial inequality have only exacerbated underlying mental health concerns in our youngest patients.
Amidst the day-to-day rhythm of life, it is common for people to feel like they are living from the shoulders up, being tuned into thoughts and worries more than the body.
This year, holiday celebrations are likely different than in past years. In addition to acknowledging whatever emotions come up for you during the holidays this year, another helpful thing can be practicing gratitude. A growing body of research has shown that people who engage in gratitude practices (even during the COVID-19 pandemic) have higher wellbeing and vitality than those who do not. To get you started, the following website has a great list of ideas about ways to practice gratitude individually or with loved ones: https://daringtolivefully.com/gratitude-exercises
Choose a space in your home to dedicate to safety and calmness. This could be a room, or even a closet, corner, or a spot outside. Fill the space with things that make you feel safe and calm, so that you can take breaks there and feel more grounded. When thinking about things to include, it can be helpful to think about what textures, smells, imagery, sounds, lighting, or tastes help you feel safe, calm, and grounded
This is a guided walking meditation.
Help clients experience the steadiness and continuity of their mind that is underneath mental events like emotions.
This is a powerful story about a child feeling supported by the rabbit, who just listened to them. Use this tool to explore what children need when they are experiencing difficult emotions.
This book is a powerful way to help children visualize connections with their loved ones regardless of location or circumstances.
This is an intervention that can be used for children to find material around their homes that are helpful in soothing and calming during periods of distress.
This is an intervention that makes worry tangible for children. It allows us to externalize worry in a healthy way while being able to identify healthy ways to cope with worries and fears that come in because of our “monsters.”