Supporting our mental health and well-being during this time is critical. We are here to support you. Each week, we will be sharing some tips, resources and ideas for you to help you practice well-being. Come back here weekly and also follow along on social media at #TDSBwellness. Read all about mental health and well-being and read specific resources to support you during COVID-19.
Over the past months, we have focused on supporting your well-being and reminding you of the importance of coping, gratitude, relationships, taking care of yourself and hope. Together, these themes have led us to support your resilience -- the way that we handle what comes our way and bounce back, hopefully, stronger than before.
We cannot always avoid challenging and stressful situations. The COVID-19 pandemic is one such example. As we focus on resilience, think about what you’ve learned during the pandemic, how you’ve grown, how your perspective on life may have changed and how you might apply that to your life.
Developing and maintaining resilience is an ongoing process, so during these trying times we can continue to try the following ideas as they can help make us stronger.
Build and strengthen your social support network
Manage strong feelings by naming and expressing them effectively. All feelings are ok.
Intentionally spend time with people who help you feel good
Use your energy committing to activities that really matter to you
Focus on what you can control and let go of what is beyond your control
Things are always changing - adapt as best as you can
Resources for Elementary Students
Resources for Middle and High School Students
Additional Resources for Caregivers
Hope is an expectation that good things will happen. While it may be hard to even consider such an expectation during a global pandemic, research shows that hopeful individuals do well under difficult circumstances. We can move in and out of feelings of hope. But looking to small milestones or bright spots can help improve your outlook and well-being.
Here are some ways to instill and maintain hope during this challenging time:
Embrace challenges as best you can
Notice simple actions that inspire you or give you a glimpse of joy
Try to focus on things day by day, moment by moment
Laughing can make you feel better and can create hopeful moments
A Message of Hope to our TDSB students TikTok Messages of Hope. A challenge for our students: keep passing on messages of hope to others!
Activity: “The first thing I’ll do is...” Share your idea of hope on social media, post it at the The Good Viral, hang it on your window, wall, fridge door, draw it on the sidewalk in chalk.
Listen to a song or video that inspires you or gives you hope
Taking care of yourself is an important part of supporting well-being. As we continue to live with the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic, it is important to find ways to nurture and take care of yourself. Sometimes we feel guilty for taking the time to care for/ focus on ourselves. This is a life skill that is helpful for everyone, regardless of age. Taking care of yourself (self-care) can look different for everyone. But in doing so you can improve your energy, find joy, and refocus on what really matters to you. Here are some ideas for you:
- Find moments of stillness and quiet in your day
- Move your body
- Go outside/be in nature
- Rest when you can and prioritize regular sleep
- Reflect on what works for you
- Give yourself permission to focus on your own needs and set boundaries on obligations
- Find pleasure in things that you like to do
- Explore new ways to relax and unwind
- Eat and hydrate when you can to fuel your body and mind
- Find some time during the day to connect with friends and family
Exercises for Elementary Students
Exercises for Middle and High School Students
Additional Resources for Caregivers
Coping means finding ways to deal effectively with something difficult. While we are in the midst of an extremely challenging time that no one has ever experienced before, we are searching for ways to cope and trying to determine what works for us individually. Finding our way forward may take some time and some days may be better than others.
During this time, you can try to:
- Stick to the facts as communicated by public health agencies or medical professionals.
- Acknowledge what you can and cannot control and adjust your expectations.
- Maintain a positive attitude. It helps you cope with whatever comes your way.
- Take a flexible approach to life and try to appreciate the potential good that may come out of this new and different experience.
- Remember you are doing the best you can.
- Connect with others.
- Listen to your feelings and know that it’s ok to not to be ok.
- Maintain a sense of humour – laughter can be a great way to cope.
- Seek help when you need it.
Physical activity and movement helps to reduce stress and helps take your mind off of your worries.
- Walking is a relaxing activity that can calm your mind with the added bonus of fresh air and Vitamin D.
- If you have something like chalk, take it with you to write non-permanent positive messages or drawings. For more fitness resources, go to OPHEA's YouTube Channel
Connect! Reach out! Check in! Relationships are a vital component of health and well-being. There is compelling evidence that strong relationships contribute to a long, healthy, and happy life. Relationships give us a sense of belonging, and, while we are physically distant from many of our family members and friends right now, maintaining connections with people is more important than ever. Keep connections with your friends and other important people in your life virtually by reaching out, sharing your coping skills, listening to each other, remembering good times and laughing...it’s the best stress reducer there is!
Relationships help us feel that we belong. We know how hard it is to be apart from friends, classmates, teachers and school staff. While we are social distancing, we are finding different ways to keep our relationships going. We are hearing amazing stories of kindness and caring throughout the TDSB and the world.
This week, reach out to someone with a happy picture or message to help build and strengthen those connections. You might try this by:
- Leaving little works of art in your neighbourhood, such as a painted rock, when you go for a walk. Small gestures like this help make people smile.
- Writing a message to your friends and neighbours on the sidewalk or fence in chalk, or send them an email or text.
- Posting messages and pictures in your windows. Use any materials you have – a cereal box, paper towel roll, anything works!
Noticing how someone is kind and caring is what we call a #TDSBGoodEgg. When you notice someone being kind or caring, send them a virtual #TDSBGoodEgg (by email, tweet, instagram, text). Invite them to pay it forward by acknowledging another person being a #TDSBGoodEgg.
To be “GoodEgged” is an honour. Be mindful when you choose someone to “Good Egg.” It’s essential that it’s thoughtful and meaningful.
Inspire others by sharing your #TDSBGoodEgg story, too! Let’s get cracking on noticing when others are being kind and caring and see how many #TDSBGoodEggs we can acknowledge and inspire. Learn more about the #TDSBGoodEgg initiative and download the #TDBSGoodEgg image!
The benefits of making a habit of practicing gratitude are enormous for both your mental and physical health. As many of us are social distancing with our close family right now, it is important to focus on how we can invest in making each other feel happy and positive. In challenging times like this, it is important to focus on gratitude. Gratitude is stopping to notice and appreciate the things that we often take for granted. It helps people feel more positive, deal with hard times, and build strong relationships. Even just thinking about the things we are grateful for can help us feel happier and more connected to each other. Gratitude in challenging times shows people that you care.
Gratitude Exercise for Students Kindergarten to Grade 6
Express thanks by sharing a note, making a call, creating a window sign or acknowledging someone who cares for you or has helped you. Consider keeping a gratitude journal.