Professional Development

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Self-Care Tips for Physical and Psychological Well-Being

In NAA's Self-Care Facebook group, with the help of our volunteer self-care captains, we recently launched a Self-Care Challenge for group members.

Tyler Kerns, Program Coordinator for Clayton Kid Zone in Clayton, Missouri, got us started as our Self-Care Captain focused on physical self-care. Below are some of his top posts, activities and advice for his week as Self-Care Captain:

Clock out of work and clock in for you (even if it's just for a little bit). If you haven't yet, put down your phone, close your eyes, and just take some deep breaths ... you earned this time.

Here's a fun exercise game called "Roll of the Dice" that's great for both kids and adults! First, you'll need a dice and to assign a work out to each number. Examples include:

1: Squat
2: Push ups
3: Burpee
4: Sit ups
5: Jumping jacks
6: Mountain climbers

To play the game, you'll roll the dice and do the exercise you get for one minute. Don't worry about the number of reps you do—just the quality of the exercise you're doing. You decide how many rolls you want to do, which will determine how long you play. One minute per roll x 15 rolls = about a 15-minute workout.

Let's pump each other up! Kearns asked group members to share what their favorite Friday jam song or music playlist. Answers from members included:

"Currently, mine is the Aerosmith or Pop Punk stations on Pandora." – Tyler Kearns

"I kick it ol skool with 70s Rock Essentials on Apple Music, but yesterday my wife had Kenny Chesney playing all day giving off the island/beach/summer vibe!" – Mark Cowsert, Assistant Director of Policy and Partnerships, Missouri AfterSchool Network

"SiriusXM 70s on 7!" – Heidi Ham, VP of Programs and Strategy, NAA

"Winelight, Grover Washington Jr." – Willie Buford, Flint Chamber of Commerce, YouthQuest

The following week, Katie Davis, After School CASA Specialist in Loudoun County, Virginia, signed on as our Self-Care Captain and provided tips and posts focused on improving our psychological well-being.

"Psychological well-being is something I am INCREDIBLY passionate about and I'm excited to share this journey with you," Davis posted. "My goal for this week is to encourage you all to think about what small things you can do to improve your own psychological well-being, by sharing tips and tricks I use in my own life."

She shared the below activity, which she recently added to her morning routine in 2021:

"With all the stress and negativity out in the world, I found myself needing to spend a little extra time focusing on the positive," Davis explained. "The easiest, most convenient thing that worked for me (again, those small things add up!) was to spend 5-10 minutes each morning listing five positive affirmations and four items that I am grateful for.

By writing the items down and taking time each day to think about these topics, Davis said, she's found it much easier to find the positive in all situations.

"Also, this is something you can do with the kids in your program to keep the positivity flowing!" Davis added, suggesting having children take some time to write down one positive affirmation and one item/thing they're grateful for each day. "Provide each child with a jar or bag to store all of their pages in. If they're having a tough day, encourage them to look back on their previous pages and remember how awesome they are and that they have great things in their lives!"

Here's another one of her favorite exercises:

"I think that I can speak for everyone when I say the last year has been unpredictable and overwhelming," Davis said. "This breathing pattern had been one of my favorite go-to techniques for when the world seems to be too much. It's great because it can help calm your mind by giving you something specific to focus on (i.e. counting)."

1. Expel all of the air from your lungs.
2. Keep them empty for four seconds.
3. Inhale through your nose for four seconds.
4. Hold for four counts.
5. Exhale for four counts.
6. Repeat 4-5 times to start, then work your way up to 5-10 minutes.

NAA Executive members can join the Self-Care Facebook group to share ideas and resources, ask questions, and motivate one another as our field takes on the challenge of meeting the needs of kids, families and communities.

For more information and access, log in to your member account today.

Courtesy of NAA.

Katherine Davis photo courtesy of 4 Chix Photography.