3 Fun and Smart Online Activities for Days You Just Want to Stay Indoors By: Jenny Wise

Hi all, this heat is pretty ridiculous isn't it? Here in Danville, the current temperature reading is 103 degrees! 

We are so fortunate in the San Ramon Valley to be a short drive away from the mountains or the beach and can escape the heat. However, for the days when you and your family cannot get away from our triple digit heatwaves (or when we finally make it to those rainy days), I have a post that is perfect for you!

This is a guest post by Jenny Wise of specialhomeeducator.com, and is a great post for when you get complaints of boredom from your kids or your kids have used up their gaming time. 

3 Fun and Smart Online Activities for Days You Just Want to Stay Indoors

Whether it’s the weather, a sunburn, or just the desire to stick to the AC, watching mindless TV or mentally dissolving into a tablet, phone or video game system aren’t the only activities for the kids. There are many indoor activities that families can do together that increase kids’ knowledge while adding some fitness and fun as well. And sometimes, you can even incorporate those electronic devices - not as distractions, but as tools for entertainment, education and fun.

1. Fun, Indoor Exercises

For a fun and family-friendly workout, turn your largest room into a pop-up home fitness studio. YouTube has a countless number of fitness videos. Although there are no easily-accessible statistics on how much fitness content is on YouTube, the company has noted that over 5,500 years’ worth of yoga videos alone were watched in 2014. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of trainers offering free classes, tips and information on many fitness topics.

Many of these fitness classes, especially those at the beginner-level, are appropriate for children of all ages. Simply search “kids’ fitness” to find a routine that is fun and effective. Kids enjoy yoga, boot-camp style workouts, and any workout that has a good soundtrack.

Speaking of good music, kids can get exercise from more than just fitness classes. Dancing is all over the internet, and the latest moves to the hottest pop music can work up a sweat quickly. Look for edited, age-appropriate versions of songs and videos, such as KidzBop or radio-edited songs. Have kids take turns learning new dance moves, and have a dance-off at the end of the day.

2. Artistic Expression for Fun and Learning

Music can also be a fun resource for indoor online activities. In addition to listening and dancing to music, children can learn basic music theory online as well. The ukulele, for example, is very popular due to its simplicity. Most anyone can learn the basic uke chords quickly, and be on their way to playing their own versions of popular tunes. Ukuleles are also fairly inexpensive, and teach manual dexterity in addition to musical notes and scales.

Children do not have to perform to gain from music. Music appreciation can increase a child’s ability to learn, while teaching about the different styles and genres. The positive effect of classical music on the brain is well-known, and thousands of concerts are available for free online through YouTube and other sites.

3. Learning Math and Science in the Home

When it comes to learning other topics, math and science are particularly easy to learn online. There are countless sites that offer fun (and free) online learning tools, such as math games. Another source for stimulating children’s brains is the series Brain Games, which is available to stream through Netflix. This program covers many of the quirks of the human brain, such as how perception and cognition work. Children love to learn the strange parts of how learning works, such as optical illusions and the power of suggestion - two topics the series has covered.

In addition to online games and series, there are many tutorials for fun science projects available with the click of a mouse. Use these as a way to bring science class into the kitchen or living room, and you can even make cleanup part of the day’s exercise class afterwards!

While rest and relaxation have their place, you can still take advantage of the indoors for fun, family, and fitness.

Image via Pixabay

 

5 Benefits to Attending Therapy

Hi everyone; summer is in full swing here in Danville, and I hope your summer days are full of fun, inspiration, and relaxation.

 This next post is a guest post by Bill Weiss, the Director of Community Engagement for Recovery Local, an organization dedicated to providing resources and information to those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. I love being able to include guest posts because they provide additional perspectives to therapy, mental health, and counseling. This is a great post for someone who wants to learn more about what they can gain from counseling/therapy or is contemplating whether counseling/therapy is right for them or a loved one. 

What Are the Benefits of Attending Therapy?

Seeing a therapist or a counselor has a huge variety of benefits. For some reason, a good portion of society has the idea that seeing a counselor means that something is wrong; however, this isn’t always the case. Anyone can see a positive impact in their life if they see a counselor or therapist, even if the sessions are not weekly or even monthly. For those who are struggling with any life issues the benefits are obvious and the positive influence this will have on that person’s life is quite substantial.

Any problem can be addressed and hopefully corrected or improved by attending therapy. It doesn’t have to be in a one on one environment, group sessions also allow for tremendous growth and advancement. Sometimes partaking in both group therapy and one on one counseling is the correct route to take.

For example, take someone who is in recovery for drug addiction and/or alcoholism. People in recovery often see a big pay off when they do group and one on one sessions.

1. Accountability

Being able to share their experience with others can help them realize their actions and emotions that happened during their active addiction are not unique. Sharing personal weakness and tribulations with a group of people can make someone feel vulnerable, which can often lead to increased emotional strength.

2. Privacy

In a one on one therapy session, they are given the opportunity to share things they might not feel comfortable talking about in front of a group of people. Counseling and therapy sessions are a safe place where someone can share their personal secrets and issues with complete confidence that what they say will never be repeated. Confidentiality is one of the core principles of therapy. It is essential that the client feels comfortable speaking their truth. Without that level of contentment, the counselor/therapist will not be able to properly do their job.

3. Being Able to Organize Your Thoughts

A therapist's office is a safe place free of distractions. This is easily one of the best benefits of seeing a therapist or counselor. Their offices allow one to easily organize their thoughts and feelings. According to recent studies, around 40% of adults in the US have one or two symptoms of neurosis, but no way of truly expressing how they feel. Neurosis is defined as “a relatively mild mental illness that is not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress (depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, hypochondria), but not a radical loss of touch with reality.” Don’t confuse neurosis with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, it affects the brain differently and is treated with various methods.

4. Staying in the Moment

Seeing a therapist or a counselor on a regular basis will help keep one focused and living in the moment. Being able to go to a safe place and speak freely without judgment isn’t something that happens very often in everyday life. Most people are nervous about how they may affect their image or how others view them that they will rarely speak openly about how they feel. Chances are they don't even bother examining what may be causing their anger, depression or anxiety. It has been discovered that most of the things that bother us the most are typical day-to-day situations. Problems at work, relationship issues, money stress and other normal things, when left untreated these simple problems can snowball into something bigger.

5. Perspective

It will never hurt to hear an unbiased third-party perspective about certain situations or different decisions you have made. Trying to handle certain thoughts, emotions and ideas without an outside party can be difficult and even harmful. Letting it all out and discussing what’s on your mind with a therapist or a counselor can go a long way.

A healthy and unclouded mind will lead to a happier and more fulfilling life. When the mind is strong and unbothered by past negative thoughts your physical health will also improve. You will get a better nights sleep which leads to increased energy and serotonin levels. Anxiety is extremely harmful to one’s physical health. It dramatically affects blood pressure and heart health.  Visiting a therapist or counselor will help reduce anxiety levels and help keep you stronger for a longer period of time.

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If you want to learn more about resources for drug and alcohol addiction or other mental health concerns check out Bill's website at http://recoverylocal.org/

Other helpful resources on this topic:

https://www.detoxlocal.com/resources/periodic-table-drug-addiction/

https://www.opiates.net/resources/