Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

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Everyone is exposed to stress during their lives but some are able to deal with it better than others. We all know that being a parent is hard and not an easy job sometimes. It can be very stressful. As parents we have been told that we have to be strong mentally to deal with all the aspects of being a parent. But how can we make sure that we have a healthy mind?

There has been the growing awareness in our country of the problem with children and parents becoming obese. We have all heard of the food pyramid. As you know it needed a revision and has now become Choose My Plate. This plate reminds us to make better choices in our eating habits.

But there is another problem that is receiving little attention; maybe because we are not able to see the physical signs like we do with obesity. It is a person’s mental well being. We are all overwhelmed at times. Our mental being can be pulled in many ways – work, children and family, friends – just to name a few. We multi-task, try to get everything done in a day, focus on everything that comes in our path and receive an abundance of information on many different topics.

There are several ways that we can begin to deal with the stress and make sure that we have a healthy mind. One way is to practice relaxation breathing or find other calming activities and routines. Another is time management or prioritize the things that need to be done that day and do the most important ones.

There has not been a lot of clear information that help us to develop good mental habits in the past. Drs. David Rock and Daniel Siegel created the Healthy Mind Platter which contains seven essential activities that are needed for optimal mental health daily. These activities will help your brain to function at it’s best.

  • Focus time – look at tasks in a goal oriented way
  • Play time – be spontaneous and creative
  • Connecting time – connect and be with others
  • Physical time – move and exercise your body
  • Time in – reflect on your inner self (sensations, feelings, thoughts, etc)
  • Down time – let your mind relax or go on a brief mental vacation
  • Sleep time – get the rest you need

Everyone is different and needs change over time. Try each day to get each these times into your daily routines. All of these are necessary to help you have a healthy mental status. In order for us to have good family well-being we have to be healthy both physically and mentally. And when we are we are better able to deal with stress.

So let’s use the Choose My Plate and Healthy Mind Platter as guides to remind us to have healthy diets for both our physical and mental well being. And you know when we follow these healthy diets, our children learn to follow them too.

Parents As Teachers is a free and voluntary program that is available to all families with children ages 0-5 who live in Hoke County. Parent educators, both English and Spanish speaking, are available to help you be your child’s first, best and most influential teacher. If you are interested in the Parents As Teachers program, call Celeste Neumann at (910) 875-2000 or stop by the Cooperative Extension office beside Turlington School.

Parents As Teachers is funded by Smart Start and administered by Hoke County Cooperative Extension