Self-care takes center stage at October’s Eat Chat Parent workshop |

Self-care takes center stage at October’s Eat Chat Parent workshop

Attendees will learn a few minutes of self-care a day can increase mood and decrease anxiety

By Heather Hower
Special to the Daily
Alex Yannacone, director of community programs at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center, will return to Eagle County, virtually, to help teach families ways to cope with stress.
Special to the Daily
If you go ...
  • What: Self-Care Interactive Workshop with Alex Yannacone of the CU Depression Center
  • When: Oct. 8, Battle Mountain High School; Oct. 9, Eagle Valley High School
  • Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m (free dinner and child care available)
  • Who's welcome: Parents and youth ages 5th grade and up; Spanish interpretation will also be available
  • Sign up now: RSVP is strongly encouraged for all and required for child care. RSVP at

Jen gets up early, makes herself a cup of herbal tea and journals for 20 minutes. Olivia connects with a group of friends at a sweaty spin class. Luis teams up with another father and coaches his daughter’s soccer team. Tracy takes an early morning hike with a good friend every day.

Whether they know it or not, they are all practicing self-care. They’re getting exercise, connecting with friends and feeling the spirituality of the natural world. When they get to work, or as they approach the day as a stay-at-home parent, they’re feeling complete, fulfilled and ready to tackle what’s ahead.

Self-care: It’s a term that has become en vogue recently but has been the foundation of mental, emotional and physical health for decades. Self-care is an intentional activity that helps us care for our physical and mental selves. It’s easy to overlook or put on the back burner, but it’s key for reducing anxiety and promoting better moods.

“As we strive to strike balance in our lives and promote physical and mental well-being, self-care is critical,” said Eagle Valley Behavioral Health Executive Director Chris Lindley. “When we take time to nurture our own mind and body, we are able to give more of ourselves to others.”

Presented by Mountain Youth, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and Vail Health, October’s Eat Chat Parent will be an interactive workshop on self-care. Presenting speaker, Alex Yannacone, the director of education and community programs at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, says self-care encompasses six areas: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, relationship and professional.

“Overall we’ll talk about benefits and the necessity for self-care,” Yannacone said. “We’ll go over what research has proven to be beneficial and have positive impacts. We’ll talk about the intentional action of taking care of yourself.”

Oftentimes self-care is easier in theory than practice, which is why after the short presentation, the real fun begins with interactive breakout groups. Attendees will share what works for them as far as self-care and areas they can improve. The goal is to share ideas and have participants leave with a small arsenal of self-care ideas, tips and also be able to identify triggers and warning signs when they’re in a place of needing self-care.

Self-care can be pretty easy when life is moving along swimmingly, but when it gets stressful or difficult, self-care can be the first thing to fall off our list. It’s precisely why there will be a breakout session; so during these moments that we need to set aside time to practice self-care, we are able and ready. Luckily, that does not require hours.

Yannacone will remind attendees “how you can take a minute and do a self-reflection, a 20-minute workout app. The main goal is to recoup the habit (you are) already doing and reap the benefits, and small ways (you) can integrate other self-care.”

She added: “Think small, not big unachievable goals.”

There will be a separate group for the young people attending so they can reap the benefits of their self-care routine starting today instead of in middle age. After all, why not start a good habit sooner than later? No matter the age, all participants will leave armed with concrete ideas on how to continue to work self-care into their daily routines.

“We’ve found that parents and children want to leave our seminars with a clear way to continue the conversation or topic at home. After all, that’s when the real work starts,” said Carol Johnson, Mountain Youth’s parent education manager. “Parents and caregivers will have a worksheet they can share and reference to help keep their home life smooth. It seems obvious, but when we properly model self-care, that sets our youth up for success and helps foster their own self-care habits.”

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