Routine plays an important role in developing life skills and establishing healthy habits. With the school year ending, moving into the summer months with some structure can help reduce stress and anxiety. It equally can contribute to a more comfortable transition for back to school.
For a flexible routine, which supports good mental health, we can think of the “The Big 5 to Thrive”. We want to be mindful of exercise, sleep, supportive relationships, healthy nutrition, and helping others.
Here are some tips on how to support each of these pillars:
- Exercise: It is important to move our body in ways we enjoy! The general recommendation is ensuring we get 150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, which can include activities like riding your bike, playing team sports, or going for a brisk walk.
- Sleep: A healthy sleeping pattern includes getting adequate hours of rest and establishing a good nighttime routine. General recommendations for children under 12 years old is 9 to 12 hours of sleep, while those ages 13 to 18 should be aiming for 8 to 10. During this time, the brain is developing and becoming specialized. A good nighttime routine can include monitoring technology and stimulating activities before bed. Instead, shift the focus to calming activities such as, meditation, stretching, or reading a book.
- Supportive Relationships: Be mindful of who is around you. Work towards ensuring you have positive connections with family, friends, and others in our community. Together, you can support and comfort one another in both times of joy, but also during hardship.
- Nutrition: You want to enjoy what you eat, but it is equally important to make sure you are getting all the necessary nutrients. Healthy eating is associated with a healthy heart, strong bones, better energy levels, improved mood, and brain health. Experiment with recipes and find the joy of fueling your body!
- Helping Others: When we volunteer, donate, or share our time with others, it boosts our mood and our well-being. This summer, strive to get involved in your community!
These pillars of health can seem basic, but we can always find something to work on. Improving one can often have positive effects on the others, so this summer, strive to thrive with the Big 5!