Practicing Self-Care

In our busy lives, it can be easy to forget to spend time taking care of ourselves. There are many great benefits of self-care to our overall health and well-being. Self-care is knowledge, actions, and behaviors that a person can adopt in order to better themselves mentally, emotionally, and physically. Displaying self-care in a setting with kids, such as at home or at school, allows them to understand why it is important. Modeling healthy behaviors for kids helps them learn actions and behaviors that they can use themselves for their own health and happiness. 

The International Self-Care Foundation (ISF) is centered on embodying self-care habits in daily life. This organization promotes adopting a happier, healthier lifestyle – something that Jump IN is equally passionate about. The ISF has broken down self-care into seven pillars: knowledge and health literacy, mental well-being, physical activity, healthy eating, risk avoidance, good hygiene, and rational and responsible use of self-care products and services. While each pillar is important to maintaining health, Jump IN’s area of expertise allows for useful recommendations to supplement a few particular pillars. Here are some ways that you can incorporate these recommendations into your own self-care, as recommended by ISF. 

Physical Activity 

Finish out the summer strong (and carry your actions into the fall season) by taking on some fun outdoor activities to keep you moving! Staying active in the summer has never been so accessible, thanks to various Indianapolis and central Indiana organizations hosting events for kids and families! Local parks and an initiative Jump IN is part of, Indianapolis Greenways Partnership, have lots of upcoming family events – free! Finding a new way to move your body (and stepping away from the ease of mindless scrolling) will help you work toward an hour of physical activity and less than two hours of recreational screen time per day. Introducing new ways to stay active helps model the importance of movement to kids! 

Indianapolis Greenways Partnership's 5-2-1-0 hike on the Pleasant Run Greenway

Mental Well-Being 

Making sure that you properly rest and re-charge is incredibly important. Whether it be free time away from homework, brain breaks during lessons at school (research shows that taking a brain break – especially with a little physical activity – helps encode learning for both kids and adults!), or making sure that kids are getting the necessary amount of sleep at night, rest is necessary for maintaining mental well-being. Maintaining mental health and well-being can also be supported by exercising and eating properly. 

Healthy Eating 

Preparing and eating healthy and nutritious meals is a necessary step to fueling your body. One way to make sure that you are doing this is to incorporate 5 servings of fruits and vegetables into each day of meals. Check out this resource on how to fit your fruits and vegetables into your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners!  

Replacing sugary beverages with water, during meals or after exercising, ensures that you and your family stay hydrated (especially in hot summer months). Like food, water is fuel for your body, and helps kids stay energized for learning and staying active. 

Looking for inspiration to preparing affordable, simple, balanced meals? The USDA has a lot of resources here on its MyPlate pages, including personalized plans, recipes, and resources in Spanish.

Knowledge and Health Literacy 

Take some time to read through other posts on our blog that you may have missed in the past few months! Gathering information on how you can improve your family’s health and well-being will allow you to apply it and make real changes in your own life. The more that you learn, the easier it will become to make changes in your environment, whether it be at home, in a school classroom, or in a childcare facility.  

Today, and every day, prioritize your health and focus on these self-care ideas! As you brainstorm a self-care plan that will suit your own needs, keep in mind Jump IN’s 5-2-1-0 suggestions: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity, and 0 sugary beverages per day! Implementing even one of these habits into your life will make a positive difference in your health. You are on your way to being a happier, healthier version of you!  

As always, Jump IN’s Resource Hub has hundreds of tools and materials in English and en Espanol. Go here to start reading.