I grew up loving the ocean, and the waters around Maui were my favorite place to be as a child. Camping on the beach with my family, diving through the waves, and getting tossed about by the shore break stir up salt-encrusted memories that I wouldn’t change for anything.

Somehow, as the years pass and our responsibilities pile up, that childhood sense of abandon and wild glee get lost in the tumult of parenthood. Yet, water offers the ideal antidote to the stress and strain of adulting.

Salt water is an especially healing element, and we are lucky to be surrounded by it. Simply sitting by the ocean is calming, and when you immerse yourself in it, you are officially entering the self-care zone.

Here are three water play ideas to get your imagination flowing.

  • When you take your keiki to the beach, watch how they play in the water. Then join them, mixing freedom and frolic, wonder and wildness. Connecting with nature in this way takes you out of your day-to-day worries and gives you a wider perspective.
  • Take time to float in the ocean. Let your limbs be free and feel your lightness as you are buoyed by the salt water. Close your eyes and listen to the underwater mele, or open them, and take in the vastness of the sky above. Let yourself be lost in the present, even if it’s just for a few moments.
  • Turn your bath time into a salty ritual. You can go simple with Epsom salts (Costco sells them in bulk), find one of the many local brands that mix scents and salts, or create your own signature blend, using your favorite essential oils and organic flower petals. Light a candle, put on music that makes you melt, and slip into the bath, letting any stress you have carried in the day wash away. Quiet time in the bath is a balm for the most challenging of days.

Parenting can often feel overwhelming. Worry, lack of sleep, and constant attention can pull on your inner resources. Water is a conduit for inviting in those moments that lift you, moments of awe and wonder, joy and delight. Let yourself be fully immersed in the emotions that water play brings and savor the sensations. These are the ways we remember how to be fully alive.