We invited members of our Guidance Center staff to shed light on their culture with us this Hispanic Heritage Month. Amanda Gonyer, LMFT, shares her self-care routine with us and the methods she uses to teach her clients to prioritize self-care in their own lives.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration that occurs every year from September 15 to October 15 to commemorate Hispanic and Latino cultures. It was originally introduced by California Congressman George E Brown in June of 1968, as a way to recognize the contributions of the Latinx community and to increase awareness of multicultural identities. The month-long celebration was chosen to start on September 15th to coincide with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua all declaring independence from Spain on September 15, 1821 and Mexico declaring independence from Spain on September 16, 1810 [1]

I enjoy celebrating my Latina background during Hispanic Heritage Month by incorporating my culture into my self-care routine. When I talk about self-care to my clients, I emphasize using all of our senses to create a well-rounded self-care routine. Here are some examples of how you and your family can incorporate celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month into your self-care.

For sight, I like to read books relating to the Latinx community. Most libraries and book stores will have displays highlighting books to read for Hispanic Heritage Month. See if your nearest library is holding any events or book readings to highlight Hispanic Heritage Month as a great fun family activity. Museums are also a great way to see and learn about Latin heritage. MOLAA (Museum of Latin American Art) in Long Beach will be holding an event for Hispanic Heritage Month on September 18, 2022. (https://molaa.org/).

For touch, I really enjoy doing arts and crafts. This is a great opportunity to do some finger painting or sensory crafts with little ones. Have your kids try and recreate different flags from Hispanic countries around the world. You can make this activity extra challenging by recycling material you already have around the house (tissue paper, wrapping paper, magazines, etc.).

Listening to Latinx music is an easy way to incorporate auditory self-care. There are so many genres and amazing artists to discover and support during Hispanic Heritage month. Make a playlist of your favorite Latinx songs and play it the whole month. For some parenting self-care, sign up for a dance class for a date night or night out with friends.

Smell and taste can be easily combined together with cooking Latinx/Hispanic cuisine. Look up a new recipe online and try making it together as a family. If cooking is not your thing, no worries! Try to find a restaurant with Latinx/Hispanic cuisine you haven’t tried before.

Uplifting and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and culture shouldn’t end with this month Think of this as your opportunity to continue to learn more about Hispanic and Latinx communities through the rest of the year and beyond.

References:

[1] History.com Editors. (2020, September 11). Hispanic Heritage month. History.com. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.history.com/topics/hispanic-history/hispanic-heritage-month

Amanda Gonyer, LMFT, is a clinical therapist in The Guidance Center’s San Pedro Clinic, where she helps guide children and families struggling with mental health conditions or abuse toward positive and productive futures. She is especially passionate about utilizing creative approaches  utilizing art and play-therapy to help create a safe and supportive space for her clients to express and process their feelings. Before joining The Guidance Center team in 2020, Ms. Gonyer worked with juvenile youth on probation and minors at Star View in Compton. Ms. Gonyer earned a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2019 at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

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