Cultivating Wellness

January 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.


In-person connection continues to be a real challenge. We are busy. We are stressed. Though some of us are likely home together more than ever, many of us are more distant than ever because of things like technology invasion, the need for space within our homes, and work/school from home routines. Previously, our traditional routines would build in things as a morning hug and kiss at drop off or a high five on the way out the door. Our traditional routines create sincere feelings of missing or longing for a child's hug. Our connected after-school or evening homework routines have been replaced by the frustration of virtual learning and what feels like a 24/7 barrage of school demands and difficulties.

All of this is to say that we have to be intentional more than ever in how we seek and maintain connection with the ones we love. We must choose to be kind to ourselves so that we have the capacity to be patient with our children. We have to take time to recognize what is going right in our lives so that we are better able to celebrate the small victories with our families. Take a few minutes each day to recognize that we are all doing the best we can with what we have and that when we work together, we are stronger than ever.

Chris at Protect Young Eyes also recommends:

  • Parents, give out lots of hugs that last between 6-8 seconds. For years, scientists have touted the oxytocin-releasing impacts of longer hugs. Oxytocin gobbles up anxiety-driven cortisol.

  • Tell your kids you love them no matter what they do. Unconditionally. Mean it!

  • Do something kind to 3 people you haven't talked to in a while. You might just be their difference-maker.

  • Find a good therapist. Maybe for you and for them. "Healthy" people have therapists, too.

More Connection

One great path to connecting with others is to first connect with ourselves. Here are some resources that may help:

Meditation 101: A Beginner's Guide

Mindfulness for Kids and Families

4-7-8 Breathing

Calm Down Ideas for Kids and Families

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Self-Care and Connection

Review and revamp your Sleep Hygiene routine and then help kids do the same!

Discover a new hobby or try something new with your!

Read a story about overcoming challenges: You Did Something Really Difficult

Explore this guide to find additional activity ideas and extra support for at-home learning

Practice Gratitude!

Be kind to yourself always.

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For additional support on maintaining wellness during these challenging times, check out:

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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.