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Relaxation, Self-Care and Modeling

It’s time to pick up the kids from daycare, start dinner and get a load of laundry going. Is your blood pressure rising? Among the to-dos of the day, is there time penciled in for self-care? Are you a priority in your own life? Does your to-do list include time to just be?

It’s important to make time not only for our own self-care but realize we are also modeling relaxation and self-care to our children. Is there time to play on the swingset in the park, color, or take a walk? With our schedules packed and our iPhones on hand, are we modeling for our children and family the life we want our children to lead?

We are obligated to provide, but consider the opportunity to encourage your children and families via modeling. Modeling is leading by example, through observation alone. It is a technique often used in psychotherapy.

What are some opportunities you can act upon? I struggled making time to practice yoga. Cognitively I am aware that I am nourishing my mind, body and spirit with daily practice, but I got caught up in the to-dos of the day, and had diminished my practice to one or two times per week. But during a holiday visit with my sister, I noticed my 3-year-old nephew practicing yoga next to me. He had seen me practice for several days when he came out with his blanket, splayed it on the floor and wanted to show “Aunt Liz” his downward dog.

Now that he is 7 he calls me the “counselor aunt,” tells me I help with calming down, and I walk and do yoga a lot which makes me “healthy.” This is modeling. I didn’t have to tell him; he simply observed my behavior.

Identify three priorities in your life. Do they correlate with your value system? If not, evaluate and make changes. This can be an opportunity for growth for you and your family.

When under stress I have found myself watching television for two or three hours. I accept there are nights it is OK to veg with the television. I also evaluate the often negative messages I am receiving watching television, and the often unhealthy snack foods I am mindlessly eating while doing so.

What other activities could I be engaging in during this mind-numbing two to three hours? What projects or activities would you like to engage in for yourself and your family? Making alternative, healthy choices will not only affect your own health, but your family’s. Make time for activities that nourish your mind, body and soul.

Yoga photo available from Shutterstock

Relaxation, Self-Care and Modeling

Elizabeth Grasher, MS, LPC, LMFT

Elizabeth Grasher, M.S., LPC, LMFT, is a counselor who has worked in a variety of settings including juvenile detention, non-profit drug and alcohol and outpatient practice. She assists clients with relaxation and mindfulness techniques and also practices them herself.

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APA Reference
Grasher, E. (2018). Relaxation, Self-Care and Modeling. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 25 Oct 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.