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No Ka Oi Health

Many of us have been home a lot more than usual this year, along with our kids having school at home. Perhaps at this point, you’re all set up with fun activities for your kids to do over winter break. For those of you who would like a few more options to keep your kids entertained at home, or if you would like to learn what groups are safely holding in-person activities and camps, here are some resources to help families stay healthy, active and have fun during the holidays:

• Maui Family Magazine: This magazine has wonderful activities, holiday recipes and additional self-care resources for kids and parents. You can also learn about winter break camps that are being held in-person at www.MauiFamilyMagazine.com.

• Mental Health America of Hawaii: The MHAH Facebook page has several groups for your kids to take part in, including Read Along and Busy Bees. And for the adults, they share many self-care tips at www.Facebook.com/MHAHawaii.

• Hawaii State Public Library System: Many of Maui’s libraries have reopened with limited hours. You can also still check out e-books and take part in story times or video craft sessions at www.LibrariesHawaii.org.

• Action for Healthy Kids: This blog has several ideas for family-friendly activities, healthy meals and snacks, and activities on mindfulness, at www.ActionForHealthyKids.org/healthy-activities-to-do-at-home.

In addition to caring for, educating and entertaining your kids, it is vital for you, as parents and caregivers, to take care of yourself. Find time each day to take care of your body, mind, heart and spirit.

• Body: It’s important to move your body at least 30 minutes every day. This can be any form of physical activity, such as walking, biking, yoga, swimming, dancing, skipping rope or gardening. Whatever type of physical activity you decide to do, do something that you enjoy. It can boost your mood as well as keep your body healthy.

• Mind: It’s important to do simple activities each day that help you to manage stress. Start by taking just a few minutes a day to sit quietly and practice breathing deep into your belly. This type of breathing provides added oxygen to your body and brain and helps reduce physical, mental and emotional symptoms of stress.

• Heart: Boost your spirits by doing something that you love every day. Listen to your favorite music, dance, play a game with your kids, bake cookies, play in your garden, read a book, or video chat and laugh with friends near and far.

• Spirit: Practice mindfulness to recharge your energy. Disconnect from the news, social media and even your phone and text. Take a few minutes to sit or lie down and practice mindfulness. As thoughts come into your mind, gently let them go. If sitting meditation isn’t your thing, try going for a walk out in nature and actively notice what you see, hear, smell, feel (touch) and feel (emotions). Next, take a few minutes to notice what you are grateful for. It’s amazing how being in nature and focusing on things you are grateful for can refuel your spirit and energy.

The more you take care of your own health, the more you will be able to care for your kids and others. For more information, call Public Health Education at the Maui District Health Office at 984-8216.

* Kristin Mills is a public health educator with the state Department of Health’s Maui District Health Office. No Ka Oi Health is published on the second and fourth Thursday of the month by the state Department of Health.

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