It’s the end of summer and going back to school is challenging now more than ever as we are returning to school under COVID-19. Many parents and caregivers are feeling unsure, overwhelmed and anxious.
School boards across the country are now planning for a return to school for fall 2020. Many school boards are offering parents/caregivers the option between:
Reasons to attend school include:
Reasons to avoid physical return to school:
Reasons to consider virtual schooling from home:
Here are some tips that may be helpful as the school year starts, whether or not your child will be returning to school physically or virtually.
Some children will be able to wear masks easily, but others may have a harder time. Consider the following exposure and desensitization strategies.
Help your child continue to cope:
Ease your child’s worries:
The first week back to school:
Remember: Every child and situation are unique. Touch base with your school staff to get added support as needed.
Loss and Grief
Losing a loved one can be a painful experience which can lead to a path of grieving. In this process people often feel alone and overwhelmed with intense emotions that can last for months or years. Along with emotional symptoms of sadness, people can also experience physical symptoms. Which can include headaches loss of appetite and sleep. If not treated in time it can lead to depression. Everyone experiences grief differently, it is not a linear process and there is no predictable time period for grieving. Grieving process should not be rushed and denied. Being patient with yourself, seeking support and acknowledging your feeling are some ways that can help you cope.
“People in grief need someone to walk with them without judging them.” Gail Sheehy
Seniors and COVID
We are going through some unprecedented times experiencing the COVID 19 pandemic. This epidemic has affected us all in many ways. Many of us are feeling sad, stressed, anxious, scared and confused. We have been advised to practice physical distancing to help control the spread of the virus which has resulted in social distancing. We adapted creative ways to connect with our loved ones through Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime etc. The population that has suffered the most is our seniors. Physical distancing has created isolation and loneliness among them. Some of them have lost their regular routines which might be going to gym, recreation centers or a visit to the park. These are great places for socialization and provides a means to stay active and engaged. However the fear of COVID have imprisoned them in their own homes and away from their loved ones. The restrictions are easing in BC; the care homes are allowed to open for visitors, the recreation centers and malls are also accommodating their needs for having an early hour for seniors. We can all do our part by reaching out and connecting with them by calling, video-conferencing, sending an e-card, email or letter. Let’s not forget the people who need our support the most.
Discussing Problems with Others
Communicating effectively where we feel heard can be a challenge. Below are some simple steps in assuring that you are saying what you mean in order to communicate and collaborate with the people around you.
Gambrill, Eileen and Richey, Cheryl. (1988) Taking Charge of Your Social Life.
Berkeley, CA. Behavioral Options Publishing. p. 195.
In today’s world being successful is considered the key to happiness, whether it be in a personal life or professional one. We live in a very competitive society where there is a lot of emphasis on being strong and confident. We are expected to conquer and push ourselves in very stressful situations that requires confidence and boldness. However, this does not leave room for a lot of us who struggle with low self-esteem.
Having a low self-esteem means constantly doubting yourself, always over thinking and a lot of self-limiting beliefs. There are many factors that can contribute to having a low self-esteem such as, having an early negative childhood experience, being bullied at school or living in an abusive relationship.
Living with self limiting beliefs takes a toll on our mental health. It keeps us in unhealthy and toxic relationships where we start settling for less than we deserve.
To change how we views oneself is a difficult and daunting process although not impossible. Surrounding yourself with supportive people and challenging negative thought patterns are some of the ways we can start building our self-esteem. Individual and group counselling can also offer support and strategies that can help develop a positive view of yourself.
“Each of us had great gifts, but many of us severely limit ourselves with negative attitudes about our potential” Gene R Cook
Why Self-Compassion is important
Self-compassion involves being aware of our own pain and suffering, and understanding that this is a hard, but normal human experience. Directing feelings of kindness and
care towards ourselves and focusing our attention and energy on how we might alleviate our pain, are also crucial components of self-compassion.
Self-compassion can bring great benefits for our mental health and well-being. Particularly, self-compassion can activate our soothing system, which calms the threat and drive systems.
Our threat and drive systems tend to be overactive for many of us much of the time, and responsible for the difficult emotions we may be struggling with (e.g., anxiety, anger, depression).
The opposite of self-compassion is self-criticism. This very negative thinking style often links to difficult emotions and mental health problems. Those who are highly self-critical particularly
need to develop the ability to relate to themselves in a compassionate way.
The Importance of Establishing and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries
Setting boundaries is essential for both our physically and emotionally healthy. Creating healthy boundaries can feel empowering as we begin to recognize the need to set and enforce limits in our life. For some boundaries are to protect you (keep you safe). Boundaries can also help increase your self-esteem, maintain self-respect, and enjoy healthy relationships.
Unhealthy boundaries cause emotional pain. Emotional pain has many impacts that affect our well-being. A lack of boundaries is like leaving the door to your home unlocked: anyone, including unwelcome guests, can enter. On the other hand, having too rigid boundaries can lead to isolation where no o one can get in, and you can’t get out.
Identifying our Values we can better establish boundaries. When we think of what happens for us emotionally or physical when our values have been crossed; it looks a lot like what happens when someone crosses you boundaries.
Create space to self reflect on what you value and how you can establish and maintain healthy boundaries.
The building blocks of a successful relationships are: transparency, compromise and honesty. To make a relationship fruitful we have to put our best foot forward in order to make everything just right.
In these relationships we often begin to try to create deeper connections in order to make the person feel good by adapting their likes and dislikes. By integrating their hobbies, interests, and belief systems into our own selves is done to create harmony. In this cycle of pretending we begin to lose sight of ourselves and not recognize our own authenticity and individuality.
Women do these things not just for their partners but for their children as well. However, when children move on she finds herself alone and lost. Rediscovering yourself is not an easy thing to work through though it is worth the journey.
Eckhart Tolle: “When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world”.
Life has many ups and downs and in some stages it can feel hectic and chaotic. In order to prevent getting overwhelmed we create routine and structure in our daily lives.
Creating a comfortable pace where we start doing things from a very unconscious state of mind. Over time it becomes part of our life and a new normal living in this autopilot state.
With time it starts affecting our relationships. We start to feel stagnant and lose connection with those around us, causing for our relationships to get weaker. Living in this comfortable and predictable bubble can cause life to become dull and may result in losing interest in each other.
Being spontaneous and humorful is the key to keeping relationships strong and growing. Taking time out for each other, appreciating each other, being mindful and present are some of the key components of having a healthy relationship.
The human spirit lives on creativity and dies in conformity and routine – Vilayat Inayat khan
What is distress intolerance?
According to centre for clinical interventions, “Most people dislike feeling uncomfortable.
There are many ways that humans can feel uncomfortable: we can be hot, cold, tired, in pain, hungry, unwell, and the list could go on. The type of discomfort we will be talking about in these modules is emotional discomfort, or what is often called distress.
We may not like it, but experiencing uncomfortable emotions is a natural part of life.
However, there is a difference between disliking unpleasant emotions and experiencing unpleasant emotions as unbearable and needing to get rid of them. Being intolerant of experiencing emotional discomfort can interfere with living a fulfilling life, and can escalate any emotional discomfort we might be experiencing”.