Family Matters #22: Keeping your child and yourself spiritually healthy

Photo 127296800 © Vadimgozhda | Dreamstime.com

By Lucia Ferrara

Now that school is just about over for the year and summer is here, how will you help keep your child and yourself spiritually healthy?

During the school year, our focus can be so much on the daily school and work schedule that we can neglect our mental and spiritual wellbeing. This time of year, as summer vacation approaches, I find myself thinking about different ways to approach the different pace and schedule for the next few months. What are the kids going to do to stay engaged in mental and spiritual wellness? There are many ways we can help our youth stay in touch with their inner beings.

Spirituality is in a sense how you can find comfort, inner peace, meaning and hope in life. People of all ages can find those in one or several avenues, such as art, music, religion, nature and even journaling.

All the articles in the Family Matters series are available here.

I find myself contemplating on how mind, body and spirit and connected. According to Be Strong Families, “Self-care allows us all to admit that we have our own needs, and that we need to get those needs met in order to function.” We need to take care of ourselves in order to give out positive energy to one another.

Some protective factors that talk about taking care of ourselves include resilience, strength, flexibility, social connections, and concrete support. Sometimes we tend to correlate wellness or health to our weight, blood pressure or other physical markers. But we need to think outside the box to focus on vitality and encourage others to do the same.

Spiritual practices that I use include mindful thinking, meditation and prayer. This can be exceedingly difficult at times, but I remind myself that I am not alone. I surrender all my cares and needs to God, my divine creator. No matter your belief system, you can learn to surrender and let go and just breathe. We do not have all the answers, but we need to trust that everything will be alright no matter what life throws at us.

Teaching our youth how to make choices that reflect positive energy and surrendering allows them to be in a position of confidence and trust in any situation. So how can we get our kids engaged in these types of activities during the summer months and even throughout the year? Take some time each day and spend it with yourself. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Friendship with yourself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” Dialogue with yourself, maybe by keeping a journal to explore ideas and thoughts to get to know yourself better. It is all a part of building healthy relationships with yourself and others like your children, family, and community.

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Other ways we can teach our kids to be centered in mind, body and spirit is through music and art therapy. Creative outlets like these help your kids to manage stress, make new friends, improve communication skills, and express feelings. These are tools that help improves a young person’s behavior, cognitive development, and overall well-being.

These are also expressions of letting go and surrendering. I encourage all of you to practice some of these techniques and activities and see what works for you and your family. This is a part of building a strong family together. I leave you with some reflections for you and your family to put into practice.

  1. Sit in a quiet place and bring your attention to a neutral place in your body and rest there. Now breathe and think about positive energies.
  2. Set aside time each day or once or twice a week to do something that helps you and your child spiritually. For example, go on a nature hike, volunteer, do yoga, or playing a sport.
  3. Make positivity a daily habit. Do not assume, always do your best, be honorable with your word.

[Lucia Ferrara is the Director of Hospitality at Precious Blood Renewal Center and the lead organizer here of Parent Cafes. Share your thoughts with Lucia or ask her questions by using the form below or sending an email to info@pbrenewalcenter.org. Read more about the Parent Café here.]

Top photo 127296800 © Vadimgozhda | Dreamstime.com

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