9 Ways to Stay Mighty During Covid-19. A Message from your Social Worker and School Psychologist.
Hello Students! (and parents)
Our names are Alisa Webb and Krystine Morris. We are the school social worker and school psychologist at Cottonwood High School. Some of you will know us personally. Hopefully all of you would recognize us. We hope this e-mail finds you well. We recognize that we are living in some pretty strange times right now, and we wanted to reach out to you to offer some tips and support for taking care of your mental and emotional health right now.
We imagine that each of you, along with your family members, friends and even your
teachers and staff here at Cottonwood have been feeling some pretty big emotions during these last few weeks. Maybe confusion? Uncertainty? Maybe some anxiety or fear? Even sadness and frustration? Anger? The truth is we are all experiencing some of these
emotions right now and they are totally NORMAL. Please understand that feeling emotions is okay. It’s what makes us human. Some emotions may be uncomfortable, but they are neither good nor bad. Also, remember that emotions are never permanent. They come and they go- like the waves in the ocean. Allow yourself to feel what comes up, give it a name and then move on with your day. Below we have listed a few tips that may be helpful for you as we weather this storm together. BREATHE: Mindfulness activities and/or meditation for a few minutes a day have been scientifically proven to be a great response to anxiety and stress. It helps calm both our minds and body, and it’s easy! This is something you can do anytime and anyplace. You just need to take a few minutes to focus on your breathing. That’s it. There are several FREE apps and websites that you can access to help you. Some of our favorites are Stop, Breathe & Think (app); https://www.mindful.org/; Insight Timer (app): and Mindful Schools is currently offering free mindfulness classes https://www.mindfulschools.org/free-online-mindfulness-class-for-kids/. Also, watch for future content from us in the next few weeks. We will be sending out mindfulness activities and video recordings to help us all calm our active brains and deal with some of those big emotions. ORGANIZE AND PRIORITIZE: We’ve heard feedback from many students and parents that you feel overwhelmed with all the schoolwork, online assignments, different platforms etc. We totally get it! I think many of us are feeling overwhelmed right now- your teachers included. Again, it’s totally normal. We suggest having a regular schedule every day- one that fits your needs. Check in with your A Day classes on A Days and your B Day classes on B Days. Pay attention to deadlines and then prioritize those assignments according to due dates because after all, “How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” However, it is important that you are checking in and doing work daily. If you avoid your work, those feelings of anxiety and overwhelm will just increase. Also, focusing on schoolwork and doing homework can be a good distraction from all the things that are going on around us. MOVE: Get outside! Take a walk. Go for a run. Shoot some baskets. Kick a soccer ball around. Dance. Do yoga. Whatever you choose, do it every day. Physical activity is an essential coping skill when dealing with stress. DISTRACT YOURSELF (using only healthy activities!) Distracting ourselves from the crazy that’s going on around us is totally okay…….as long as we use healthy distractions and we limit our time with those distractions. Playing a game, watching some funny videos, listening to music, laughing at some funny TikTok videos, painting, drawing, coloring, playing music, or writing in a journal are all great ways to deal. Definitely take some time each day to just chill and enjoy. REACH OUT: Lack of social interaction is probably the hardest thing many of us are dealing with. We miss our friends! Find other ways to connect with your friends right now. If there is one place that teenagers are probably finding ways to thrive, it is staying connected with friends. Facetime, Snapchat, texts and phone calls are all great ways to connect. Also, if you are really struggling with your emotions and mental health, please reach out. Talk to your parent. Use your SAFE UT app. Reach out to a teacher and/or your school counselor, or the school social worker and psych. At your parent or guardian’s request, we can do some video consultation or counseling if needed. LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA: Although social media can be a great way to connect with others, it can also be unhealthy if used in excess. Perhaps only check in to your social media accounts once or twice a day. The overload of information can feel completely overwhelming so… shut it off. Go outside. Get moving. Talk to your family. Do some homework. PRACTICE GRATITUDE: There’s a lot of scientific research behind this one, friends. Taking the time every day to focus on a few things that we are grateful for can actually change the wiring in our brain overtime and can help improve our mental health. We recommend taking time each day and listing out three things that you are grateful for: They can be things that you like about yourself, good things that happened during the day, or just a list of people and/or things that you are grateful for. Actually make a list so you can refer back to it over time. The Notes App in your phone is a great option. REMEMBER WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER and BE KIND: Sometimes when we are going through hard times, it can be helpful to connect to and talk to others who have also gone through similar hard times. Guess what? We are ALL going through this hard thing together- as a school community, as a state community, as a national community, as a world community. Together we’ve got this! One thing that can be extremely helpful in managing our big emotions is to turn our focus outwards. Perhaps you can find some way you can help someone out each day. Maybe do the dishes, clean a room, text or call a friend or family member who may be feeling lonely, help a younger sibling with their homework, or even hang a sign in your window with a positive message for those who pass by. Helping others helps ourselves. We are all in this together and we all need each other’s support and kindness. REMEMBER THIS WILL END: Always remember this current situation is not our permanent situation. This will eventually end, and life will go back to normal. We don’t know when, but we know it will. And imagine the stories you will be able to tell. One day in the future, a student will be sitting in a history classroom at Cottonwood High School, and they will be learning about the events that took place and the things you experienced in 2020! We hope these tips are helpful. Please know that the faculty here at Cottonwood are thinking about you always. We are learning this thing called “distance learning” together so be patient with yourselves and be patient with your teachers. Together we will get through this! If you feel you need further assistance, please talk to a parent and reach out. We are available to support you. There are additional resources listed below. Stay well and take care. COLTS ARE GREAT! Alisa Webb, LCSW
Krystine Jolstead Morris Awebb2@graniteschools.org