Kelly's mission is to help educate and empower children with simple daily practices that optimize their mental health.
Her goal is to change the world, one smile at a time--in memory of her son Elijah Cain Eldridge
About Elijah S.M.I.L.E.S.:
Elijah's S.M.I.L.E.S. is an idea dedicated to promoting mental health and compassionate choices in children's life. However, it is Kelly's hope that our smiles can be enjoyed be everyone!
Show us your S.M.I.L.E.S. for mental health:
S- Say something when something doesn't feel right.
M- Make something.
I- Inspire others with kindness.
L- Love yourself
E- Eat well, sleep well, play well.
S- Smile every day.
S. Say something when something feels wrong
Sometimes we have hard days. Sometimes people bully us. Sometimes something feels wrong inside, but we don't know what is or how to make it feel better. Please know that it is okay to talk about all of these things.
Speak to your parents about what you are going through. If your parents are not helpful, speak to a loving adult such as a teacher, a counselor, or a trusted friend. Please know that your voice matters, and there is always someone who cares about you and your well being.
Talking allows us to release the bad feelings and find solutions to our problems. Sharing our stories helps us feel less alone. You deserve to feel better today. Please talk about it when something does not feel right.
*If you fear you are in immediate danger, or in need of immediate assistance from the police please call 911.
*If you are a child or a teenager in an abusive home or situation, please find a safe place to call Child Help National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453.
*If you feel like you might be of harm to yourself, are feeling hopeless, or suicidal please reach out. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741 or call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-723-8255.
M. Make something!
What do you really love to do? Do you love to draw? To write? To build space ships with Lego?
Maybe you love to paint or make music! Whatever you love to make, keep making it. When you are actively involved in a hobby that you love, you are less likely to think about all the bad stuff. You are also building self-confidence, learning problem solving, and building other valuable skills for a happier healthier life! Isn't that cool? Who knew making something could do all that?
*Don't worry about being "perfect," just love what you do and you will only find yourself getting better in time. Just enjoy the process.
*Create what you feel. Let your emotions show through your creations. You will find that many times this makes us feel better on those hard days.
*Your good is good enough. You can do this. Believe in yourself.
I. Inspire others with kindness
"In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. When you go through your day expressing kindness and courtesy to all you meet, you leave behind a feeling of warmth and good cheer, and you help alleviate the burdens everyone is struggling with." ~ Brian Tracy
When you are kind to others, you are actually being kind to yourself. By being kind you are allowing yourself to connect with others from a loving place in our hearts, and that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside! It is really simple to be kind! Just treat others the way you would want to be treated. Smile at a kid who gets left out, hold open a door for someone else, use words like "please" and "thank you." These little acts of kindness make the world a better place. Did you know that you have the power to change the world? Click here for Elijah's list of 98 ways to be kind today!
L. Love yourself!
You are worth love. You are worth love. You are worth love. Did you get that? Let me just go ahead and say that again, just are worth love. Start by loving yourself. Here are a few tips to start loving yourself today:
1. Every morning, stand in front of the mirror and give yourself a pep talk. You can say things to yourself like:
"I am awesome."
"I believe in myself."
"I have many gifts and talents."
"I am unique and special."
"I am calm and peaceful."
"I enjoy feeling, thinking, and being positive."
"I am worth it!"
"I am loved."
2. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself. Are you a great listener? Do you have a unique sense of style? Do you make the best peanut butter sandwich? What do you like about yourself? Remind yourself of these good things! Do this often.
3. Take time to do the things you love. Take time to relax. Take time to do what makes you feel alive! You deserve to feel good inside and out. You are worth the good stuff in life.
4. Say "no" when you know something is wrong, or you don't feel like you should be doing something. Is someone pressuring you to do something you don't want to do? Or maybe they are trying to talk you into doing something you know is wrong? Love yourself enough to say "no" and stand up for yourself. If it feels like it is too much to handle on your own, get help. Remember that it is okay to talk about the hard things.
5. Every night before bed, write down in a notebook or journal three things that you are thankful for. When you start to look for the good in the world, you will start to see more of it.
E. Eat well. Sleep well. Play well.
You have the power to make good choices. It is ultimately YOUR CHOICE how you treat yourself, how you allow other people to treat you, and where you go in life. So start by making these good choices today.
When you eat well, you feel well. Eat more real food like fruits and vegetables. Treats like candy, cookies and donuts are fine every now and then, but if you are eating real food that grows from the earth then you can never really go wrong. Get your parents to help you find some videos on Youtube about healthy eating habits for kids. Make a shopping list together and maybe learn to cook a few new healthier dishes for dinner this week! Make it an exciting new adventure. Enjoy eating well.
When you are well rested, you can focus on your tasks and have energy to do the things you love. Did you know that kids between the ages of 6-13 should be getting 9-11 hours of sleep a night? Teenagers should get about 8-10 hours of sleep. Your body needs rest to grow. Set a bed time routine to help you establish good sleeping patterns. For best practices, try dimming the lights and ending screen time at least an hour before bed. This will help your brain naturally relax and get ready for sleep. This would be a good time to journal about your day, write down those 3 things you are thankful for, and maybe spend some quiet alone time. Sweet dreams!
When you play, you laugh. When you laugh, smile. When you smile, you feel good. Video games are awesome for things like communication, problem solving, and strategy. Playing outside is good for creativity, connecting to nature, using your imagination, and allowing your body to burn off energy. There are many ways to play: group sports, solitary exploration, collecting rocks, building forts, tea parties, climbing, swinging, jump rope, running, four square, picking flowers, etc. Do whatever makes your heart happy. Play time is such a wonderful gift. Enjoy it! Enjoy your life. Never stop playing.
S. Smile every day!
Smiling for 30 seconds can trick your brain into feeling happy. Imagine what smiling all day can do? Do we always feel like smiling? No! Of course not. So what do you do when you don't feel like smiling? You learn ways to help you cope you with the "bad" feelings. Write it all down in your journal and let it go. Scream in your pillow. Talk to someone who cares about you. Cry. Let it all out. Paint, draw, or create. Once you've got it all out of you, let it go. Then try to find your smile again. Think back to S.M.I.L.E. and: Say something when something feels wrong. Make something. Inspire others with kindness. Eat something good. Get adequate sleep at night. Play and do the things you love. Above all, remember that you deserve to smile! You are amazing.
Get YOUR copy of Elijah's Smiles Change the World HERE!