Wellbeing, Mindfulness and Staying Active
Some free online activities to keep you and your family activated and motivated. Suitable for children and adults too!
Wellbeing, Mindfulness and Staying Active
Parents and carers are facing a daunting task to keep their children safe, calm, active and engaged over the period of school closures. The good news is that all kinds of people - families, teachers, artists, musicians and fitness instructors - are sharing their ideas and activities online. Current health advice is that children need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. The biggest challenge for children will be staying active, while at the same time staying socially distant.
Even if you are in self-isolation you can all stay active. Yes, all of you! To keep children healthy, parents and carers need to stay healthy too. Please make sure you’re connecting with your own social support network and schedule some restorative time for yourself. As tempting as it may be to lie-in and have PJ days, in the long term this is bound to have a detrimental effect on your overall well-being. Routine is good for mental health. We need the physical and mental health benefits of wellbeing, mindfulness and staying active at this time more than ever.
Get your family moving!
Here are some ideas to get your family moving. Some are screen free, others are screen-based, but consider it as healthy screen time. If children are moving and active, or doing mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises and relaxations online this will help them develop a sense of feeling safe and calm.
The important thing is to mix it up!
At the time of writing all the online activities were FREE. New activities are being added online all the time. Let us know which ones you discover.
Please be aware that as these activities are not supervised by a trained instructor and take place in your own home, you are responsible for checking your environment is safe and uncluttered. Please exercise responsibility. If you have a pre-existing condition please only exercise with a doctor's permission. If you feel unwell, do not exercise. Ensure you have plenty of water close by.
Jo Wicks PE Class
Join in with the Joe Wicks PE class every morning at 9am on his YouTube channel. Designed for children but the grown-ups can join in too! It’s a 30-minute workout, no equipment required. There’s plenty of other free workouts on his YouTube channel too.
Cosmic Kids Yoga
Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed especially for kids aged 3+
Change 4 Life
NHS site aimed at children, activities include a 10-minute shake-up.
Free dance classes with Oti Mabuse every day at 11.30 on her YouTube channel.
Kids Yoga with Julia
Sign up for a free weekly email with daily yoga and mindfulness activities that you can do at home. Join the mailing list here http://eepurl.com/dC-EPL
YouTube workouts designed for children.
Wake and Shake
Recommended by the fostering recruitment team’s children! A short morning wake and shake video made by teachers and pupils.
And for older children and the grown-ups…
Warwick Sport at Warwick University have lots of live virtual fitness classes that you can access for free, plus tips on managing your well-being. https://warwick.ac.uk/services/sport/
NHS Fitness Studio
Instructor-led videos for the grown-ups covering aerobics exercise, strength and resistance, and Pilates and yoga.
For the adults Lee Stuart and Sophie Duke are doing free online workouts from the RapidFit Health, Wellness and Personal Development Facebook group. Anyone can join in.
Make your own home gym using household items
Yes, you can! From bags of flour as kettlebells to bottled water as weights, there are some ideas here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2020/mar/17/how-to-make-a-home-gym-from-household-items-while-self-isolating
There are plenty of free yoga and Pilates videos on YouTube, have a search and see what you fancy!
We’ve tried and tested Yoga With Adriene https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene
Meditation and relaxation
Alongside yoga, there are some useful apps to help you meditate and relax.
Headspace has unlocked a free "weathering the storm" collection of meditation and mindfulness content on their app. To download, simply go to the App store and type in ‘Headspace’, then click the ‘Download’ button in the right hand corner. Click on the Explore tab, and the free section is at the top of the list.
This is an app which shows you how to use tapping techniques to help you reduce stress and anxiety and to improve your sleep. Some of these are free to access. They have temporarily unlocked some of the paid-for content so everyone can access it. Downloadable from the Play store.
A Mind of Your Own
This app is designed for young people to express their views and feelings. If they are finding it hard to talk to a social worker, health professional or teacher, the app is a great way to put down their thoughts and send them to those who need to hear from them. More information: https://mindofmyown.org.uk/ The app is downloadable from the Play store.
Outdoor activity will help reduce anxiety. Breathe in the fresh air and get some vitamin D. If you can’t get outside, now would be a good time to consider a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is important for our mental and physical health.
Even if you are in isolation you can still use your garden if you have one. Sit outside and listen to the sounds. We were struck by how much louder the birds seemed when there was less traffic in the background.
If the challenge is to get children moving and away from screens, try these ideas
- Put on an outdoor/indoor disco - who has the funkiest moves?
- Play party games like musical bumps and musical statues.
- The floor is made of LAVA! How will you get around the room/garden?
- Take your workout outside or set up circuits in the garden! For younger children, you could draw pictures of different activities, the children need to visit each picture and complete the activity, for example, hop on one leg 10 times, do 10 star jumps… How many can you do? Get competitive!
- Make up a workout and do it together.
- Children could become personal trainers and make up workouts for their grown-ups (maybe this isn’t such a good idea actually!)
- Back garden scavenger hunt.
- Step competition. If you have a step counter see who can do the most steps every day?
- Gardening, spring is the perfect time to get planting!
- Garden obstacle course.
- Can’t go swimming? Put your goggles and swimmers on and have a swim in the bath!
- Skipping challenge, who can skip for the longest time?
Ideas for eating well while at home
Getting the healthy eating balance right can be tricky, especially in times of stress and anxiety when it’s tempting to go for junk food and snacks. Healthy eating doesn’t need to be expensive.
Healthy eating on a budget
We love Jack Monroe’s recipes. They are explained simply, priced per portion and use ordinary ingredients. Her website has lots of recipe ideas: https://cookingonabootstrap.com/
Change 4 Life
Information and advice about healthy eating for families.
Tips on managing emotional eating
It can be difficult not to indulge in a few more treats than usual during stressful times. Here are some tips to help.
One thing most parents and carers are worried about is the children’s never-ending requests for snacks!
Try these ideas…
Teach children about money, maths, budgeting and making choices by setting up a tuck shop where they can ‘buy’ snacks.
Snack box - when it’s gone it’s gone
Put the snacks for each child in a box. They can help themselves, but when it’s gone, it’s gone!
Are you a secret snacker yourself? Here are some tips from people who are used to working from home about eating healthily:
Other useful wellbeing links:
Mental Health Foundation:
Protecting your mental health: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799
Young Minds: mental health and young people: https://youngminds.org.uk/
CAMHS resources: www.camhs-resources.co.uk/other-links