Mental Health News
BEGINNING THE NEW NORMAL IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC
Tips for Parents and Students
All families are adjusting to the new realities that have emerged over the last six months, as well as all of the changes that are imminent with the start of a new school year.
As you adapt to the many challenges, don’t forget to find joy in the little things. You and your child only get this school year once, so do what you can to make it memorable. Here are a few suggestions from an article in USA Today:
- Take their first day of school photo.
- Let your student design their own study area. This will help set them up for success and give them something fun to balance the uncertainties regarding school.
- Buy a new outfit for their first day of (virtual) classes.
- Have a show and tell dinner as a substitute for traditional show and tell in school (more appropriate for younger children).
- Plan fun after school activities to balance the virtual learning with some fun. Sidewalk chalk, family field trips or even just a walk in the neighborhood.
Psychology Today author Dr. Jaimie Long, PsyD, suggests the following evidence-based approaches to decreasing anxiety and increasing a sense of well-being:
1.Remind yourself that, “This too shall pass.”
Although easier said than done, pay attention to your thinking patterns, and when you catch yourself in a state of negative thinking, take a deep breath and remind yourself that we are in transition and this stage of life will pass.
2. Understand the Fight, Flight, Freeze response to stressful situations (Video embedded below.)
Learn strategies to calm yourself down such as:
4, 2, 6 Breathing - Breathe in deeply through your nose 4 counts, and let your belly expand. Hold for 2 counts, then exhale through your mouth 6 counts.
Self-Talk - "This feeling will pass"; "I will get through this"; "I am safe right now"; "I am feeling anxious now, but I have the power to make myself calm"; and "I can feel my heart rate slowing down."
Muscle Relaxation - Start by placing your awareness on the top of your head, and take note of any clinching, furrowing etc. Move your awareness all the way down your body to your feet and relax each part as you make your way down.
3. Pay attention to your nutritional intake:
Substances which are shown to increase the effects of stress and anxiety, among others, are caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods. Be aware of your consumption and make adjustments as needed.
4. Physical activity
Just get moving, and preferably outside, rain or shine! As stated by Dr. Long, “During exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins which interact with receptors in the brain to cause euphoric feelings and to reduce physical pain,” in other words, regular exercise can increase a feeling of decreased stress/anxiety and increase a feeling of well-being.
5. Establish healthy sleep habits by creating and sticking to a routine
Unplug from devices at least an hour, but preferably 2 hours, before bedtime. By following a routine, you can train your brain to relax your body and mind as you begin the process of preparing for bed.
Fight, Flight, Freeze
Resources for HELP!
If you or anyone you love is struggling, please contact a mental health professional right away; crisis counselors are available to you 24/7:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
- Consejo Counseling Service Phone: (253) 285-475021120 Meridian Avenue E.Graham, WA 98338
- Call Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK
- Call Pierce County Crisis Line 1-800-576-7764
- Text 741741
- LGBTQ Trevor Project Support Center: 1-866-488-7386
Eatonville School District Mental Health
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WES and CCA