Grow with Care: Learning self-care in fun and creative ways makes it more likely that kids/teens may use as they grow up. One kind of self-care that can be made into a game is mindfulness. By practicing grounding in their environment with the “Say what you see game,” kids/teens learn to quite their mind while having fun! Here are steps of the game:
o The client will need a pencil/pen/marker and paper.
o Have them draw a picture of their surroundings.
o Have them take a deep breath.
o Have them look to the right and say what they see.
o Look to the left and say what they see.
o Look in front of them and say what they see.
o Look behind them and say what they see.
o Look up and say what they see.
o Look down and say what they see.
o Then flip over their paper and have them draw a picture of everything they can remember about where they are.
o Afterward, ask the client to compare the two pictures:
• What is on the second drawing that wasn’t on the first?
• What did they notice after slowing down and breathing?
• How did they feel during the activity?
Sample Progress Note: The focus of the session was (tailor based on treatment plan). The therapist engaged the client in a self-care activity to build coping strategies and promote resiliency. The client responded to the activity by (fill in the blank).
Adult strategy of the week:
Self-Care = Self-Connection: We often think of self-care as something more that we need to do, when we naturally connect in care for the self each and every day. Noticing how we self-connect can be a meaningful way to recognize all the ways one already cares for the self. Greater awareness of our self-connection can also inspire us to engage in more self-care.
o Start by identifying from the beginning of the day all the ways you have connected with yourself (e.g., woke up, opened eyes, breathed in, drank water, felt fresh air, brushed teeth, moved the body, etc.)
o Then expand your awareness of each way you have self-connected, in real time, throughout the day (e.g. ate something to nourish the body, took steps towards where you needed to go, put sunglasses on to protect the eyes, hummed a tune you like, noticed appreciation for a blooming flower, etc.)
o It may also be helpful to consider/review other ways to connect and care for the self, mentally, emotionally, physically, socially, spiritually, in the next day (see source for ideas).
o Source: https://positivepsychology.com/wp-content/uploads/Self-Care-Checkup.pdf
• Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist engaged the client in a reflection activity to support them in building awareness on ways they engage in self-care and connection. The client reported that it was (helpful/not helpful/painful/etc) to reflect on their self-connection to identify more ways to engage in self-care.
Depression strategy of the week:
Seeding Resilience: A form of self-care and connection is building emotional resilience in everyday living. The PERMA model, developed by Dr. Martin Seligman, encompasses five elements of emotional wellbeing (positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments) and provides a framework to build resilience each day in any myriad of ways. Here is an example of how you can use with clients:
o Start by having the client identify something that went well, or something they did that day.
o Then have them identify a positive emotion associated with this (e.g. sense of relief, fulfillment, gratitude, compassion, curiosity, hope, playfulness, appreciation, awe).
o Next have them identify how they were engaging with life.
o Following that, how may they have been building/strengthening a relationship with themselves, another, a community or a higher power.
o What does it mean to them to build this relationship or do this thing, or what was a silver lining or something they learned in the process?
o Lastly, how was this an accomplishment for them (e.g. a demonstration of progress, strength, growth, momentum, etc.).
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist provided psychoeducation on the PERMA model of emotional resilience and supported the client in practicing this strategy. The client reported that it was (helpful/not helpful/etc) to learn about and use the PERMA model and was able to identify (one/a couple/several) ways to utilize outside of session.
Mindfulness/Meditation of the week:
Mindful Movement: One way of engaging in self-care that we naturally do every day is moving our bodies. Engaging in mindful movement helps to foster the connection between our body and mind, enabling us to become more aware of and attend to our needs, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Here are some ideas on how to move mindfully:
o Breathing exercises: Connect with the body by purposefully elongating your breaths to calm the body, or shorten breaths for short periods of time to refresh and refocus.
o Walking meditation: The biggest difference between a walking meditation and going for a walk is walking slowly and trying to bring full awareness to the act of walking. That can look like focusing on the breath, or feeling the ground beneath the feet as one step turns into the next. When the mind wanders, bring it back to the sensations of the moment.
o Stretching: Release tension, stiffness, and heavy emotions that build up when our bodies don’t move. Take a moment to let go of the day’s distractions, getting away from the desk or couch, and engaging in gentle movement can help boost our energy, focus, and resilience.
o Exercise: Whether 2 or 32 minutes, physical activity can be a great way to tune in to the body, synchronize the breath, and be in the moment, all while building strength and nourishing the muscles.
Sample Progress Note: The focus of this session was… The therapist led Ct. in a mindfulness activity around cultivating the mind body connection through mindful movement. Ct. (engaged/did not engage in the activity), and they reported that the mindfulness activity was (helpful/difficult/not helpful).
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