From PSD's mental health team
While schools are closed, PSD’s mental health team continues to support students and families in collaboration with building counselors and other building staff. Mental health specialists for your student can be accessed through your school counselor or administration team.
Ask for help if you are having a tough time and remember you are not alone.
For a list of community resources, please see the Community Crisis Services web page.
Finishing well - Writing your story can empower you
What kind of ending to your story about the school year do you want to write? During a time when we have so little control, we can choose how we think, feel and remember the last several weeks of this school year. You may have experienced a range of responses and feelings since the Stay at Home Order was first issued. What are the important parts of the last few weeks that you want to remember?
The first building block of a person’s resilience is crafting a meaningful story and then supporting it with their realities.Through telling an empowering story of the end of the 2020 school year, we can come to terms with, and make meaning of what happened, and what we have experienced.
• First, give yourself the opportunity to honor the resilient themes in your story.
• Second, write your unfiltered story and then review it to find pearls of wisdom, strength and silver linings to help you in the future.
• Third, collaborate with others (teammates, family members, friends) to create your story.
Make it your intention to tell empowering stories about the end of the 2020 school year, and watch what happens when you do.
Managing uncertainty with kindness
Uncertainty is the one thing that is certain. Most of us feel overwhelmed and anxious when faced with change and unknowns. Feelings of despair and disempowerment are natural as a response to uncertainty. But, we have control over many things, especially how we treat ourselves and others. Acts of kindness are a way to feel better and create better energy in these challenging times. Kindness boosts self-esteem and helps overcome negative feelings. Notice the kind acts of others and create your own opportunities to make the world a place of kindness.
Articles to enhance your kindness efforts:
- The Heart and Science of Kindness
- The Importance of Kindness
- Choose Kindness Today
- How to practice emotional self-care
Get creative with traditions
May signals the end of school. Students graduate to the next grade or into the world. Staff and students look forward to a summer to relax and recharge. Traditions help us commemorate the passage of a school year and bridge to the future year. Traditions provide a sense of meaning, belonging, purpose and accomplishment. They connect us to one another.
This May is different from others. Among the complex feelings we have, staff, students and families are experiencing sadness and grief about the loss of our end-of-school traditions and goodbyes. Expected celebrations have been canceled or postponed. We can’t be physically together to say goodbye to the people we have cared about and invested in all year.
We must step into courage, resiliency and creativity to create replacements for the traditions we are accustomed to. Although it's not the same, don’t miss out on this important time.
Develop healthy coping strategies
Normally, our days are divided up into working, being home, driving, exercising, shopping, spending time with family/friends and sleeping. Most of these activities are missing now, and we are learning about the challenges and our ability to manage a new “normal.” These challenges evolve, adding to the struggle of developing healthy coping strategies for handling the impact being at home.
Steps to change the way you cope:
- Develop self-awareness and recognize the need to change,
- Join forces with someone to help you succeed in breaking a negative habit and creating a new one
- Choose a substitute for your habit
- Recognize and avoid as many habit triggers as possible (time, places, preceding event, emotional state, other people),
- Visualize yourself succeeding
- For more information on creating new habits view the Atomic Habits Cheat Sheet by James Clear.
Managing anxiety during social isolation
PSD Mental Health Specialist Christy Stiger presents strategies for managing anxiety during social isolation.
Build a sense of normalcy with routines
- Maintain a morning routine, including getting dressed, eating a balanced breakfast, brushing your teeth and maintaining hygiene.
- Create a “workstation.” A boundary between working, studying and relaxing. This is also a signal to family and roommates that you are working.
- Set “work” blocks, or chunks of time dedicated to a specific project, class or office hours.
- Schedule time for positive habits like exercising, getting outside, play, unstructured time.
- Take regular breaks.
- Maintain an evening sleep routine like: Take a bath, brush teeth, hug and kiss goodnight, lights out.
- Build in a relaxation practice: Whether it is mindfulness, journaling, before bed stretching, or listening to music, a consistent practice is a signal that it's time to rest. This helps with falling asleep faster and also the quality of NREM and REM sleep throughout the night.
- Avoid screens at least 1 hour before bed: Studies suggest screens (iPads, phones, computers, tv’s) delay the release of melatonin, our body's hormonal sleep signal.
- Take a hot bath or shower can improve sleep by changing our body’s core temperature and providing relaxation for the mind.