September. Can you even believe it? For many (parents, students, teachers), it means the countdown is over and school has started back up. In a lot of ways, September signals a new start. A new school year has began, and a new season is approaching.
In case you missed it, one of our new therapists, Krystal Crawford, CASAC, MHC, is a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor and Mental Health Counselor. Krystal suggested she write a post about National Recovery Month (which is September), and it seemed to fit nicely into the idea of a fresh start. And, after reading her post, it actually seemed like the perfect time for a post like this. Krystal describes multiple areas of recovery below, and it may be helpful to consider these points within the context of back to school. Plus, she used my favorite word (resilience). With that, I'll leave it to Krystal!
Cheers to fresh starts (and a new school year)!
Thanks for reading,
September is National Recovery Month. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential” and has developed a set of “principles” for recovery (more information can be found here: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/recovery).
Counseling is based on hope for change and the ability to “recover” or overcome certain challenges. I think this applies to any age. I find when working with younger children, a positive, resilience-based outlook is refreshing and promotes just that, recovery. This process will look different for everyone, but SAMHSA states that there are four major dimensions for recovery. These include:
Health- making decisions that support physical and emotional wellbeing.
Home- having a stable and safe place to live.
Purpose- conducting meaningful daily activities.
Community- having relationships and support that provide love and hope.
For our children and adolescents, it is important to think about these domains and how we can weave the idea of building resiliency into each of them.
Health. Health includes both emotional and physical wellness. How do we support emotional growth, but also address the physical such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep into our every day lives? (Back to school: - you may notice a shift in some or all of these, and if you don't see a return back to baseline after a couple of weeks, don't hesitate to check in with a Pediatrician, teacher, or therapist).
Home. The importance of children having a safe place to live that provides them not just with their basic needs, but also the space to be themselves, cannot be understated. (This is especially true during the school year, as children often "fall apart" in their safe space after working hard to "keep it together all day" in school).
Purpose. The meaning of purpose for adults and children is going to look different. Meaningful daily activities can be going to school, but also simple tasks and chores. The feeling of purpose is so important to growth and development in many ways. Make sure your children have responsibilities that foster a sense of purpose. Maybe it is feeding a pet or participating in decisions about meals for the week. Having a purpose is such a great feeling! Think about how it feels to help someone, or to accomplish something at work or home as an adult and create those moments for your children.
Community. Lastly, everyone needs love and support on the journey of life and learning. Children need to know they are loved and not alone. The impact of this on the success of resiliency is immeasurable. (Community also includes teachers and other special adults, of course).
I hope these ideas are helpful and provide some insight into the ability to recover and promote resilience.
Krystal Crawford, CASAC, MHC