As we head back-to-school, I hope you’re making time to recover from a busy summer and practice self-care. This summer, I’ve tried to slow down a bit, unplug from technology when I can and enjoy reading a book – yeah, one made of paper!
My favorite summer read has been The Deepest Well. It explores the impact of childhood adversity and the steps to take to counter those experiences. Like many people in America, I scored high on the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) questionnaire; now I’m finding myself searching for practical ways to lower the impact. Luckily, the author shares three ways to do just that: physical activity, healthy eating and mindfulness/sleep.
So back to celebrations.
Did you know ACEs impact our brain chemistry – from how we manage stress to our reward-seeking behavior? This made me think…
How can we actually use celebrations to promote healthy behaviors and counter adverse childhood experiences?
Move More, Together
From birthday parties to impromptu celebrations, “treat yourself” by trying a new physical activity. You’ll be proud of yourself for stepping outside of your comfort zone and have an opportunity to bond with friends and even make new ones. I recently went to a BBQ and Paddle Boarding birthday party. It was active, social and made for some fun Instagram pictures!
Celebrations can be simple too. Check out the August Printable Fitness Challenge Calendar.
Celebrating the joy others bring to your life is just one of the many benefits of gratitude. We all enjoy being recognized, right? Let’s make it the norm! Consider simple and on-going ways to celebrate others.
A simple action is peer-to-peer written praise.
Pair those positive messages with a healthy snack. Try clementine-grams. It’s as simple as a kind message written on a bright orange clementine. And who wouldn’t want to start their day with a delicious plum labeled you’re plum perfect or a peach tagged with you’re a peach.
On the next rainy day, set up a kudos bulletin board. Provide postcards and tape so staff, students, and families can easily celebrate each other. Don’t forget a “Treat Yourself” section with themes like “DIY Snack of the Week,” “Food of the Month” or “Healthy Tip of the Day.”
Slow Down (or at least try)
Typically, when we think of celebrating, our minds jump to how should we celebrate? or what should we do? Given the benefits of sleep and mindfulness, consider celebrating by slowing down. Reward yourself by taking a nap or enjoy a quiet calm activity before bed. Find a new book or work on a wellness-focused DIY project to flip the switch on late-night screen time.
Celebrating as a group?
- Make a chill playlist and do calming yoga or head outside for a peaceful nature walk.
- Reward your team with a healthy luncheon featuring a surprise relaxation station.
- Don’t forget infused spa water and try these tips to foster connectedness through healthy eating and hydration.
Share your ideas for healthy celebrations in the comment section below. If you’re searching for a staff training, watch the Healthier Generation videos The Sweetest Reward is a Healthy One and Let’s Celebrate! Healthy Ways for Schools to Celebrate.
For breakfast, I had a smoothie made with blackberries, almond milk, and almond butter.