CAREtalk snippets . . .

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Want a better sleep? Here’s a tip: focus on managing your stress. With everything going on in the world, that can feel like a tall order. Many of us are tired, both emotionally and mentally. Finding a sense of calm may have taken a backseat on your list of priorities. But bringing your focus back to that task might just resolve a whole host of health challenges – including poor sleep. 

As it turns out, stress and sleep are closely linked. 

To create better balance in your stress-sleep cycle, try the following:

Turn off screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime, as the artificial light can suppress your body’s natural melatonin levels (the “sleep hormone”). 

Practice healthy ways of relieving stress by adding mindfulness, breathing exercises, guided visualizations, prayer and/ or meditation to your day.

Establish a sleep schedule, planning at least 7-9 hours of rest each night – and stick to it!

Limit heavy meals, sugar, and processed snacks late in the day. These can keep your digestive system active and make sleep difficult.

Avoid eating at least 3 hours before bedtime, so your gut is finished working and ready for rest.

Supplement with quality essential oils and herbal remedies. Lavender and Eucalyptus oils may help with relaxation, along with natural ingredients like Valerian, Chamomile and Melatonin. 

Kids dread returning to school for a number of reasons. Some kids worry about returning to school out of fear for facing their bullies, not being included in activities or social groups, or both. But what can parents do to help kids build mental strength, reduce anxiety, and avoid bullies and social distress? 

Best-selling author, family therapist, TEDx speaker and Psychotherapist Jodi Aman, LCSW, has a few tips on how to help their kids navigate these onerous social experiences to mitigate their negative impact. 

Here’s are her top tips to help parents prepare for their children returning to school when faced with anxiety and bullying:

1. Go over some bullying scenarios with your kids and make them come up with ways to respond to each one. This brainstorming will open their problem-solving mind so when they are in a situation they will trust themselves and be able to think their way out, rather than freezing or doing something unsafe. Remind them where to go for help at school and that they can always talk to you when they get home. 

2. Let them know why kids bully. Just saying that “they are jealous” isn’t enough to understand why someone might be jealous. Explain that miserable people are mean because they don’t like themselves. Go over examples from TV or movies so they understand this concept. This will help them not take the mean comments into their hearts.

3. Some friend groups have cultures of drama and this may not be the best place for your child’s tender heart. If your kid is being excluded have them use their noticing skills to find the nice kids. They are always there and may be just the friend group your child is looking for. 

4. Ask your kids about helping their friends when they are bullied. Do they stand up to them? Do they check in with them? Make sure you go over these options for how not to be a bystander.

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