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Nurture your resilience: Discover ways to keep your pitcher full this summer

By Susan Damico, Director of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children

Imagery is a transformative tool that can help us see things in a new way. At the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC), we often use imagery to share valuable information about the science of resilience – the ability to “bounce back” from misfortune or change.

Picture this: Adults are like pitchers. When we take steps to prioritize our health by getting enough sleep, maintaining a well-balanced diet, exercising and connecting with loved ones, our pitchers are full. This means we have the ability to “pour” kindness and patience into others, serve as a good role model, and be truly present at work and at home. Alternatively, if we do not take care of ourselves, our pitchers can become empty, and it is challenging to be the person we want to be for our family, friends and colleagues.

For parents, we can take this imagery one step further. If parents are the pitchers, then children are the cups. When our pitchers are full, we are better prepared to fill our children with love, joy and confidence. When our pitchers are empty, we can miss critical opportunities to provide children with what they need to be happy, healthy and resilient.

As we spend time with our family and friends this summer, the DCRC team offers the following resilience-building tips to keep our pitchers full – and to fill our children’s cups with all they need to flourish.

  • Get outside: Summer provides us with longer days and ample sunshine. Spending time outdoors in nature is scientifically proven to boost our mood. So, whether you decide to go on a picnic, take a stroll in a park or simply step outside and look up at the stars, make it a priority to breathe in the fresh air. If you are a parent, invite your children along for the experience and try leaving your cellphone at home.
  • Laugh more: Laughter reduces stress and can improve our emotional well-being. Take a moment to reflect on what makes you laugh and then commit to building these activities into your summer routine. For parents, think about what activities you and your children can enjoy together. Making happy memories that revolve around moments of laughter and joy is a win-win.
  • Learn something new: While consistency is key for our mental health, so is embracing a spirit of curiosity. Life is more interesting when we are open to learning new things. Pick up a new game, plant a new flower, try a new recipe or read a new book. Parents: Encourage your children to be curious. When you show them that learning is a lifelong journey, you fill their cups with healthy skills while keeping your pitcher full at the same time.
  • Be kind: One of the best ways to keep our pitchers full is to practice small acts of kindness. Smile and say hello when encountering a stranger. Hold a door open for someone. Say thank you to a loved one. As parents, make sure your children learn, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop, Greek storyteller
  • Prioritize rest: Sleep affects almost every system in our bodies. While summer may offer more time for flexible routines, do not compromise your sleep. As parents, we must set a good example for our children around healthy sleep habits. Having the energy to get out in nature, discover moments of laughter and joy, create new memories, and practice kindness will be more enjoyable when we are well rested.

This summer, take time to fill your pitcher and make self-care a priority – you will build your resilience in the process.

Learn more about the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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