LISTEN: Effective tips to take care of your child's mental wellbeing during lockdown
Waves for Change is a Cape Town-based organisation that provides child-friendly mental health services, which combines surfing with evidence-based therapeutic practices to promote well-being in children and youth from under-served communities.
The NPO's service is delivered by trained youth mentors from the same or similar communities as the children. Due to Covid-19, their usual service has been paused, in the best interest of their children and mentors.
One of behaviours the organisation practices with the children at every session is the W4C Take 5 activity.
It is essentially a short mindfulness activity which can help us regulate our emotions and behaviours, and provide respite in times of stress and anxiety - which is essential for our brain's healthy functioning, our physical health, and our mental health.
Coaches and participants have said that the Take 5 helps them calm down when they’re feeling angry, scared or sad; helps them to focus on difﬁcult tasks; and helps them to make better decisions that aren’t too reactive.
Below are the steps for a W4C Take 5:
1. Make sure everyone is sitting comfortably, with their eyes closed.
2. Everyone takes a deep breath in through the nose, for four counts. This is must be a slow, deep breath, but not so slow that anyone runs out of air and feels anxious.
3. Breathe out for four counts through the mouth.
4. As you breathe in deeply through the nose again, become aware of all the sounds around you. Listen to them carefully. Don’t worry about your thoughts - let them come and go. Then breathe out through your mouth for four counts: 1, 2, 3, 4.
5. Breathe in through your nose again and become aware of all the sensations in your body. Are you warm, or cold? What is your body telling you? Breathe out, and just focus your attention on what’s happening inside you. Take another deep breath in, filling your lungs and letting your thoughts come and go without worrying about them. Breathe out through your mouth.
6. Now its time for the last breath. Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of four: 1, 2, 3, 4. And hold it, keeping in all your air. Hold it for four counts, feeling the air in your lungs. Focus your energy on that feeling... and release all the air out through your mouth. When you are ready, you can slowly open your eyes.
7. Check in with how you are feeling after the Take 5. Calm? Relaxed? Energised? Focused? Remember, you can do the Take 5 whenever and wherever you need to, to help you and your friends and family to feel calm and strong and be bananas.
Visit Waves for Change's website here