During this time of huge change and uncertainty it is helpful to have a framework for looking after our wellbeing. Dr Hazel Harrison in her Huddl Parent Talk on Family Wellbeing talked us through Dr Seligmen’s PERMA model to happiness. At this time we think it is helpful to reflect on this and use this model to check in with the whole families wellbeing.
N.B If your short of time click here to see a summary table, great to print out and have on your fridge.
Positive Emotions – we need a healthy balance of emotions in our day.
A healthy balance of emotions enables us to build connections with others and enhance our resilience. Positive emotions include love, awe, hope, gratitude, inspiration, joy, optimism and amusement.
Research shows that we do our best when we experience at least three times as many positive emotions as negative. You can learn more about this ratio and check your own here.
A few ideas for building positive emotions at home:-
- Exercise daily. PE with Joe Wicks is proving popular in our household along with millions of others! (Family)
- Model optimism (the belief that one will usually experience good outcomes in life) it is key to building resilience. (Adult)
- Practice emotion spotting by being aware of yours and others feelings. (Family, Adult)
- Start each day by planning 3 things you are looking forward to. (Family)
- Start a family gratitude jar, find some positives in each day and dip into the jar when you need a little boost. (Family)
- Watch something funny together (Family)
- Hello Happy by Dr Sharie Coombes (CYP)
- My Hidden Chimp by Prof Steve Peters (CYP)
- Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor (Adult)
- TreeBetty – an App for helping you count your blessings (Family, Adult)
Engagement – We need to do things we enjoy, that challenge us and use our strengths.
Engagement (or flow) is the feeling you get when you are completely absorbed in what you’re doing, you may even lose track of time. Developing our strengths and enhancing our ability to be mindful (be in the present moment) are great ways to increase engagement.
A few ideas for building engagement at home:-
- Help CYP find their flow – lego, reading, painting…(Adult)
- Learn about mindfulness (Family)
- Have screen free time (Family)
- Identify character strengths and use them to engage with challenges. You can do this here (Family)
- Be curious – use this time to discover something new every day (Family)
- Practice paying attention in a particular way – special time (Adult)
- Decrease multi-tasking (Adult, CYP)
- Learn to play an instrument! Become a family ukulele band, or take turns to learn your favourite tune and then perform! It could be another skill like cooking or painting, there are some great online teaching guides / clips / apps. (Family, Adult or CYP)
Buddhify App – meditation done differently
Headspace App – Mindfullness for your every day life
Strengths Switch by Lea Waters (Adult)
Relationships – We need to connect with other people.
At this time of social distancing we need to think differently about how we connect with others. Our interactions with friends, family, colleagues, children and our community impacts our wellbeing. When we feel loved, supported and valued by others this promotes our wellbeing.
- As parents, try to spend more time than usual listening to your children and young people. See separate Huddl blog post about how to talk to CYP about Covid-19 here. (Adult)
- Keep your support network strong, even when you’re only able to call or text friends and family. Help CYP keep in contact with friends and family using social media, FaceTime etc. You could try to have a virtual – party, “show and tell” with friends, book club or exercise session. (Family)
- Give family members 1:1 undivided attention (Adult)
- Send a handwritten letter to friends or relatives, especially those having to self-isolate. (Adult, CYP)
- Encourage spending time in other people’s shoes – children of key workers etc. (Adult, CYP)
- There is no prize for having lots of friends, be good to the ones you have! (Adult, CYP)
An excellent blog post on how to keep the greater good in mind during coronavirus. Read here. (Adult)
U R Strong – Enhancing the social-emotional wellbeing of children through friendship skills (Adult, CYP)
Growing Friendships – A Kids Guide to Making and Keeping Friends by Dr Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Christine McLaughlin (CYP)
Meaning – We need to feel like we belong and have a sense of purpose.
Being part of something bigger than ourselves. Having a reason to get out of bed each morning or experiencing a strong sense of belonging gives you meaning.
- Do something for someone else. Everyone can make a difference in the battle against the coronavirus. Whether they join in the clap to thank the NHS, deliver food to isolated families or volunteer to help in some other way. (Family)
- Being part of the online community can also help a sense of belonging, even if this is doing PE with Joe Wicks or the Task Master Challenges! (Family)
- Become a pen pal with an over 70, write letters, quizzes, ask about their childhood experiences etc. (CYP)
- Talk about the importance of kindness, even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference to wellbeing (Adult)
- Try the action for happiness coping calendar here (Family)
- Talk about and agree family values to help with the feeling of belonging (Family)
- 50 Ways to Feel Happy by Vanessa King (CYP)
- Create Your Own Happy by Penny Alexander (CYP)
- Find Your Why by Simon Sinek (Adult)
- A great websites to help with Meaning – Wonderthebook (CYP & Adult)
Accomplishments – We need to believe we can improve our abilities and succeed.
Having a sense of accomplishment means working towards goals, and experiencing mastery over endeavours. Believing it is possible to improve our abilities with hard work, help and feedback from others so that we can stay motivated to work towards difficult goals and build resilience.
- Set a family exercise goal, you could try couch to 5k – (Family)
- Use this time to learn or try something new – learn a language. Duolingo is great. (CYP, Adult)
- Practice adding “yet” to the things you or your child can’t do. Help them to understand that learning is a process. Get ideas from our Huddl blog on how to teach CYP about the brain (Adult)
- Tidy / re arrange your bedroom (CYP)
- Focus attention on the progress not just achieving the goal. Look at how improvement comes with effort. See Huddl advisor Dr Ruth MacConville’s blog post on how to nurture a growth mindset here.
- If you can try and grow something! (Family)
Mindset by Dr Carol Dwek (Adult)
For more information and the latest research on this topic – Mindsets
For evidence based ways to build character in children and young people https://characterlab.org/
The PERMA model was designed by Martin Seligman, founder of positive psychology, with five core elements of psychological well-being and happiness. Seligman believes that these five elements can help people reach a life of fulfilment, happiness and meaning. We hope that this framework and all our ideas help you and your family in some way over this time.
See summary table here – print it out and have it up somewhere to check in regularly with the whole families wellbeing.