Protective Factors & Wellness
Mental Wellness Topics
Beyond being able to recognize and seek treatment for mental illness, it is important to know the protective factors that support mental health. Whereas risk factors are known contributors to mental illness, protective factors are elements that bolster well-being. Protective factors encapsulate all aspects of being human from taking care of our physical bodies to bonding with others. Many of these topics are interconnected, such as physical activity and sleep or mindfulness and healthy eating. These parts of our daily life not only protect against mental illness but are essential elements of what it means to thrive.
Topics include: sleeping, eating, moving, and thinking well, along with fostering connection and conscientious digital media use.
Creating a Routine Around Healthy Habits
Family routines and predictable schedules play an important function in providing support and guiding behavior for children. When thinking about incorporating protective factors into your child’s life, most are likely already part of their daily routine and some may only need a little reflection and slight modification. Those that are not already part of your family’s daily routine can be gradually and creatively incorporated in conjunction with other daily behaviors.
Consider the following questions in establishing and maintaining a family routine:
- What are the healthy habits important for your child to learn?
- How can these healthy habits be practiced on a daily basis?
- What family routines are already established?
- How can new habits be made into exciting games or enjoyable activities?
- What are ways to creatively “double-up”? Consider exercising together or eating dinner without devices, enjoying the food and asking your child about their day.
- When everyone is busy, what are ways to ensure healthy habits are maintained?