Fighting the "Holiday Blues"
Helping Students Manage Winter/Holiday Stress and Anxiety
Hello TASD Teachers & Staff!
As I'm sure everyone has realized when walking outside at 6:00am and having frost on the cars, winter has arrived and the holidays are right around the corner! While this can be a fun and exciting time of year for many students and teachers/staff, this can also be a time of increased stress and anxiety (as well as sadness and depression) for many of our students at TASD.
These negative feelings can occur for a variety of reasons, including changes in routine, uncertainty about holiday plans, concern for family for financial reasons ("Will we be able to afford to heat our house this year?"), and feelings of being unsafe, especially when school is their "safe space" and they know they'll be away for extended periods of time.
While we all look forward to the holidays and our plans for celebrating this wonderful time of year, I also wanted to distribute some resources and tips to help students of all ages at TASD be better able to control their worries and enjoy their break from school, too. Feel free to post/distribute this information to anyone I may have missed when sending.
Building Resiliency: Strategies for Educators & Parents
- Positive Attitudes and Emotions - providing words of encouragement and talking openly about all feelings associated with events in life allow students to process and better understand their emotions. Students who are cared for, loved, and supported learn to express positive emotions to others
- Competence - children who feel competent are resilient. Feelings of competence arise from success in school work or other activities. Make sure all students have the opportunity to feel success(es) in your classroom from time to time
- Network of Connections - connection with others fosters resiliency at all ages. Teachers can encourage students to develop emotional attachments with others who share their interests and other members of organized activities or classes. Helping others also fosters positive connections between students
- Physical Health - individuals who eat healthy and have the habit of regular exercise not only have improved resiliency, but it's also extremely helpful for emotional health. Try to help students exercise, even when it's cold on the playground :)
Helpful -vs- Harmful Ways to Manage Emotions
Everyone experiences negative emotions in life. The GOOD NEWS is that everyone can do a better job of managing his/her emotions in a healthy way. One way to deal with uncomfortable emotions is to remember the word, PATH. PATH stands for:
Pause, Acknowledge, Think, Help
Step 1: Pause
- This step is important because instead of acting on emotions right away, you stop and think things through. Count to 100, or say the alphabet backward.
Step 2: Acknowledge what you're feeling
- Think about why you're feeling this way .. "Are you mad at someone, or are you sad because your feelings got hurt?"
- Whatever it is that you are feeling, remember that it is OK to feel this way.
Step 3: Think
- Now that you've taken a few minutes to think about what/why you're feeling this way, think about ways to make yourself feel better
Step 4: Help
- Take an action to help yourself based on what you came up with in the 'Think' step.
If you are having trouble thinking of "feel better" solutions, try one (or a few!) from this list:
- Read a story
- Watch a funny YouTube video
- Play with an animal
- Watch a movie you love
- Re-organize your room
- Make a list of places you want to travel someday
- Eat a healthy snack
- Drink a glass of water
- Take a nap
- Take a shower/bath
- Draw how you're feeling
- Make a 'gratitude list' ** --> THIS CAN BE A GREAT WHOLE-CLASS EXERCISE!!
- Punch a pillow
- Take a walk outside
- Let yourself cry
- Vent -- Talk to someone you've made a connection with in the past
- Help a stranger/volunteer
- Make a list of your strengths
- Play a video game
- Practice Belly Breathing -- Breathe in deep for 5 seconds, breathe out for 10 seconds. Repeat
- Do yoga
Parents: If you think your son/daughter may be in crisis, please contact the following:
- Crawford County: Crawford County Mobile Crisis: 814-724-2732
- Warren County: Forest/Warren Human Services - Crisis Lines 1-814-726-8413 (8:30 am-5:00 pm) 1-800-406-1255 (after 5:00 pm, weekends & holidays)
- Venango County: Venango County - Emergency Contact Line 1-814-432-9111
School principals and counselors can also provide you with information about what can be done at school.
Students: If you think you may be feeling anxious and/or depressed, please talk to SOMEONE, especially a TRUSTED ADULT. There are many people at Titusville Area School District, as well as your friends and family, who care about you, love you, and want you to feel better. You Can Feel Better!
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255
- Talk to your school counselor or psychologist
- Text "MHA" to 741741 or call 1-800-273-TALK