Mental Health Updates

The Importance of Maintaining a Schedule/Routine

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to remote learning, many experts agree that establishing consistent daily and weekly routines is critical. Consistency and structure provide students with a sense of normalcy and can be calming during times of stress. Kids/teens enjoy predictability, knowing what’s going to happen and when. It helps students to feel safe and can decrease the potential for anxiety during uncertain times. Daily schedules can also be a huge help to parents who are working from home. 
 
We have included a brief list of recommendations that may be helpful in creating or revising student schedules and routines.
  • Monday through Friday, try to set a reasonable schedule that mimics the school day.
  • Wake up, have breakfast, and get dressed at regular times. It is important for students to maintain regular mealtimes. It is also important for students to get out of their pajamas and get dressed because it signals to them that their day is beginning.
    • Maybe even consider “walking” to school by going on a walk around where you live (even inside your home) before the school day starts and “walking” home to signal the end of the school day.
  • Similar to a regular school day, phones and TV should be kept off during school hours and while doing schoolwork.
  • Build in activities that require students to get up from their workspace, unplug, stretch, get fresh air and be active. Research shows that active students will not only feel calmer, but they will sleep better too. 
  • Schedule time for lunch, snacks, and breaks.
  • Keep social support networks strong. Adolescence is a time when socialization and connections with peers are especially important. Without these connections, teens and young adults can feel sad and lonely. Set time aside daily for hanging out with friends and family.
  • Maintain routine bedtimes. Getting enough sleep is important to mental health and well-being as well as to keeping the immune system healthy and strong. It can also be very difficult for teens to transition back to a “normal” sleep routine once they are on a consistent late to rise and late to bed schedule.
Mindfulness Updates

Meditation Session

Judith Sekler, Buckley’s Mindfulness teacher, will be leading a meditation session every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. for all parent/guardians, students, and faculty/staff. Zoom link will be sent out in an email. Join us!

Boredom

Ms. Sekler's Mindfulness Corner

Introduction to Mindfulness

Procrastination Now

Fully Present

"The Journey" by Mary Oliver

Tips from the Student Support Team

Sleep Issues

Suggestions for Supporting Sleep

Lack of sleep can lead to difficulties with inattention, memory retention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, mood dysregulation, stress, lethargy, etc. Adults, too, are having difficulty getting enough sleep during these turbulent times. Here are some suggestions to support you and your child’s sleep:
  • Get as much time outside as possible. Please keep a safe social distance, but be sure to spend some time outdoors. It could be a walk around the neighborhood or up and down your street, riding bikes, or even just a few minutes in your yard or on your patio.
  • Engage in physical activity daily. Get the energy out and flowing. This is essential for both physical and emotional well-being.
  • Adhere to a scheduled bedtime. Be sure to be in bed/preparing for bed at the same time every night.
  • Follow a nighttime routine. Do the same thing every night (that does not involve a screen) starting 30-60 minutes before sleep. Engaging in a routine will help signal to the brain that it is time to sleep. Some ideas include: showering, reading or reading to your child, meditating, journaling, stretching, doing some breathing exercises, etc.

Tip: Altruism

Help others — If you are in a position to do so, find ways to support those in need or those around you. Some ideas:
  • Check on your neighbors
  • Write messages of encouragement, love, or humor and slip them into mail boxes
  • Offer to run errands and collect supplies for others
  • Call your local market and encourage them to allow cashiers to put out tip jars for the duration of the pandemic
  • Put some goodies next to your front door with a message of thanks for the people making delivers
  • Put a box in your mailbox with a note of appreciation and/or tiny gift for your mail person
  • Make masks out of t-shirt or bandanas for loved ones, neighbors, or to donate to shelters  

Altruism in Action

Tip: Daily Schedule

Your daily schedule should include a variety of activities that are creative, intellectually stimulating, grounding and restful, energizing, physically active, and community supporting. When you move through your activities, you should - where possible- change your environment for the different activities. 
 
Activity ideas include:
  • Reading a book
  • Doing a crossword puzzle
  • Journaling - write at least one sentence every day. 
  • Cooking
  • Exercise 
  • Yoga
  • Baking
  • Watching 3 episodes of your current TV show
  • Sewing masks or making masks out of bandanas or shirt and sharing them with family and neighbors
  • Planning an activity or game for your family or friends to play
  • Talking with friends
  • Play a board game, mafia style game, or role play game via skye or zoom. 
  • Write a book or short stories 
  • Draw or cartoon - make one drawing every day

Breathing & Body Exercises

Alternate Nostril Breathing 
Sit in a comfortable position. Lift your right hand up toward your nose. Exhale completely then use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril. Pause. Close the left nostril with your right ring finger. Lift your right thumb off of the right nostril and exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril then pause and close this nostril with your right thumb. Lift your right ring finger from the left nostril and exhale through that nostril. (image of what it looks like below).This is one complete cycle. Repeat 5 times.

Side Sways
This can be done either seated or standing. As you inhale, reach your arms into a "T" position. As you exhale, reach your right arm straight overhead while you lower your left arm and sway to the left. Inhale and bring your arms back to the "T". Exhale raise your left arm straight overhead while you lower your right arm and lean to the right. Inhale bring them back to a "T". This is one complete cycle. Repeat 5 times. 

Toes to Heels
If possible, take off your shoes and stand up. As you inhale, lift your heels off the ground. As you exhale, release your heels to the ground and lift your toes off the ground. This is one cycle. Repeat this rocking back and forth cycle 5 times. This can also be done seated with pointing your feet with inhaling and flexing your feet with exhaling.

Nine Suggestions for Maintaining Mental Health & Well-Being

List of 9 items.

  • 1. Keep a consistent schedule and routine.

    It is important to maintain consistency during these times. Having a set schedule- wake up time, eating breakfast, getting class, attending classes, and activities after online class, and maintaining the same bedtime.
  • 2. Get enough sleep.

    Sleep is essential for physical and emotional well-being. It is recommended that six to 12 year olds get 9 to 12 hours of sleep and teenagers should get 8 to 10 hours.
  • 3. Limit exposure.

    Limit watching the news.
  • 4. Get outside.

    Vitamin D is very important for your mood. When outside, continue to practice good social distancing!
  • 5. Participate in daily exercise.

    Physical activity is an essential stress reliever for people of all ages.
  • 6. Talk it out.

    Talk about stressful situations with a trusted adult.

  • 7. Stay social.

    Use the gift of technology to stay in social communication with your loved ones. Maybe play Monopoly or Dungeons and Dragons via Skype.
  • 8. Make time for fun -- and quiet!

    Take time away from your computer. Engage in at least  2 hours of activities that do not involve a screen.
  • 9. Write about it.

    Research has found that expressing oneself in writing can help reduce mental distress and improve well-being.

Other Resources

Take Five with Ms. Chenoweth