Author Topic: Family Wellness Tips and Tools  (Read 13103 times)

Daniel F

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Family Wellness Tips and Tools
« on: November 03, 2014, 10:19:15 am »
How do you keep yourself and your family well?

Here are some ideas:

●   Spend time each day doing something for no other reason than your own leisure.
o   Find activities that bring you pleasure, help you relax, unwind, and recharge. For example: spend half an hour reading a good book, going for a walk, watching your favourite TV show, taking a bath, etc.

●   Keep a personal calendar/day planner.
o   Write all your appointments and tasks down in a place that you can access them easily (calendar, day planner, cell phone application, computer, etc.). Schedule everything – even leisure time. The time you spend scheduling your life might equal less stress and feelings of being overwhelmed later on.

●   Keep a personal journal
○   Many people find it helpful to journal regularly to organize their thoughts, express themselves, and process their emotions. You can keep track of life events, moods/feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams in your journal. You can also keep track of successes and signs of progress, in addition to challenges that you may be facing. Journalling can also be a way to understand your needs, keep track of ways you are practicing self-care, and as a mode of self-care in and of itself.

●   Keep a family calendar.
o   In a shared space in the home, keep a calendar of appointments, family events, and anything outside of the regular routine. This is a simple tool you can use to keep everyone on the same page.

●   Have a family white-board.
o   This is another tool you and your family can use to communicate. You can write encouraging messages to your loved ones, post reminders, share resources, or draw silly pictures. This tool is especially useful if verbal communication is difficult in your home or if tensions are high.

●   Schedule “family time.”
o   Assuming everyone is willing to do so, scheduling time to spend with your family is a good way to connect, open lines of communication, and find out what’s going on in other family member’s worlds. This scheduled time could look like anything: a family meal, going to a movie, a walk in the park, a games night, etc. Keep in mind, however, that your loved one may not always be up to “family time,” even if you’ve scheduled the time and made it a priority. Spending time with family can be stressful and anxiety-provoking for some people, depending on a variety of factors. As such, it’s a good idea not to make “family time” a requirement, but rather an option and an open invitation; keep this time flexible.

●   Create a crisis plan.
o   Make a plan for what you will do in crisis/emergency situations. Make sure to include all family members in the making of the plan. There is a good template for crisis planning through the WRAP program.

●   Make a list of what works and what doesn’t.
o   A simple and useful strategy for distinguishing issues in your family relationships is to create a two column chart with the heading “Works” in one column and “Doesn’t Work” in the other. With your family, fill out each side with points from each person’s perspective. For example, you may write that yelling and screaming doesn’t work, but communicating calmly does; your loved one may write that pressuring them to do things doesn’t work, but asking them if they want to do things does.
o   You may want to also keep this in a visible place so that you can remind yourself (and each other) of what you’ve discovered. You may also want to do this exercise periodically as new challenges come up.
o   This exercise is not about putting down one another or assigning blame; it’s about acknowledging what happens in your relationships and looking at how to make them better.
o   You can also do this exercise on your own to reflect on how you are relating to your loved one(s).

●   Access supports from outside the family.
o   Some of the issues and conflicts that occur in your family may be beyond your ability to solve on your own. This is not a weakness - it can actually take a lot of strength to reach out and admit you need support. Getting the input of other family members, friends, peers, and professionals can make a significant difference in your situation.
o   Peer support groups, counselling (individual and family), and recovery programs can make a difference in the quality of your home life. You may receive valuable insights and strategies that help you deal with your loved one’s mental illness. It can also be helpful to simply connect with others experiencing similar situations and to reduce feelings of isolation.

●   Educate yourself.
o   Access to information has never been more readily available than it is today. Books, the internet, professionals, and peers are just a few sources of knowledge that you can tap into. The more you learn, the more equipped you will be to handle the challenges that come up.

●   Remember: exercise, diet, sleep…
o   All of the factors that affect your own health will have an affect on your ability to support your loved one and be there for your family. Making time for exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting adequate sleep are just a few of the important factors that can contribute to your overall wellness. The better care you take of yourself, the more you will be able to help those around you.