Cultivating Wellness

Summer 2021

Tips, Encouragement, and Support for Parents and Educators

While schools focus on the how-to of academics, this monthly newsletter aims to emphasize support, encouragement, and connection to optimal mental health and wellness. The goal is to share tips and strategies that are simple enough to incorporate into an already full plate. At the very least, this newsletter is a regular reminder that we are in this together. We are all human and are all desperate for small successes and even more in need of worthwhile connection.
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Summer is a time when we can often finally find time to recharge. Many individuals go on vacations, travel or just simply rest. Recharging is very important for the mind and body. Our daily routines can be very stressful and exhausting: some of us work from sun up until sun down. Additionally, many of us have multiple commitments outside of work such as chauffeuring children to various practices, attending school events, faith activities, and volunteering. We often run such a tight schedule we have little room for much else. The nature of life, especially in the last year has resulted in many of us always being "on" for longer and longer stretches. While humans are resilient and built with a high capacity for stress, sometimes our minds and bodies need a break. We are often being alerted to this fact, and unless we know what to look for, the alert goes unattended.

Some of the ways that our mind and body may signal the need for a break include:

  • Increased feelings of irritability
  • Feelings of hopelessness or depression
  • Feeling nervous, anxious, on edge, jittery, or excessive worry
  • Decreased ability to focus and concentrate
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Decreased (or increased) appetite
  • Problems with memory recall or multitasking
  • Muscle tension and unexplained aches and pains
  • Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping more than normal

Once we've recognized the need to recharge, we can answer the call in a number of ways:

  • Unplugging from technology and disconnecting from social media
  • Schedule a check up with your primary care physician
  • Engage in therapy with a licensed mental health professional
  • Exercise: (re)discover an activity that engages your mind and body
  • Try new foods; enjoy the "colors of the rainbow" with fruits and vegetables
  • Schedule time to rest and allow for down time in your daily routine
  • Use breathing exercises, practice mindfulness or explore yoga
  • Go on vacation or enjoy a staycation with no "homework" obligation
  • Re-establish boundaries: leave work at work and leave home at home
  • Fresh air: get outside for a nature walk, bike ride, or just sit in the sun
  • Practice gratitude to start your day and carry it through until bedtime

A commitment to recharging our minds and bodies has the potential to yield many positive results:

  • A stronger and more resilient immune system
  • Decreased stress
  • Decreased muscle soreness, tension, and body aches
  • Improved focus and clarity
  • Increased sense of purpose and hope
  • Increased energy, motivation, and initiative
  • Improved mood
  • Decreased anxiety and worry
  • Improved relationships and interactions with family, friends, and coworkers
  • Improved sleep
  • A more profound enjoyment of life

Our bodies are incredible machines composed of many essential components. When those components are out of balance, out of sync, and over-stressed, we must act fast to get regulated and recalibrated. Engaging in the work of recharging helps to restore our bodies to function at their maximum potential.

In case you ever need a reminder as to the importance of taking time to recharge, occasionally ask yourself this question and let it inspire you to remember that we need to treat our bodies as well as we treat our phones:

What if we recharged our bodies as often as we recharged our phones?

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Shout Out To All Educators!

Thank you for your commitment to repeated attempts to compose a meaningful, connected story during a year in which the narrative often felt distant and disconnected.

Thank you for your heart and the thousands of younger hearts you were able to connect to, despite barriers to your services.

Thank you for your patience and grace, even in the face of misplaced anger from stressed parents and unfair demands that continued to come across your desks.

Thank you for showing up each day and showing our students how to work through personal losses.

Thank you for your efforts to model true collaboration and sacrifice to the next generation of problem-solvers and community builders.

Thank you for your incredible efforts this year. Your passion and ingenuity have inspired hope that together we really are better and that together we really are stronger than ever.

Here is a wonderful video from Teacher and Speaker, Trevor Muir, to help with closure on this unique year.

The work you do will be a part of people's memories.

Your homework for the summer: Rest, Unplug, Reflect, Create, and Celebrate.

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Resources for Your Mind, Body, and Family

Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255

GISD 31n Mental Health Team

Our team is committed to promoting wellness in schools as well as in our communities through support of students, staff, and parents. We strive to bring you relevant and helpful information for accessing tools to better deal with stress and to connect to community resources.

To learn more about health and wellness for teachers, students, and families, check out our page on the GISD website.