Fahan School Counsellor, Mrs Maria Conway, checked in with parents and students this week as we move back into a new term and online learning and reminded us all of the basics of mental health:
- Eat well. Being at home in these circumstances may lend itself to comfort eating. Ultimately though, your body needs healthy, nutritious food. Feed your mind whilst feeding your body. Staying hydrated can be a challenge especially as the weather cools down. Keep your water bottle by your side and try to finish at least one a day.
- Exercise. Sitting in front of a screen all day is not only physically draining but mentally draining as well. Schedule in stretch breaks in throughout the day. Stand up, stretch your arms and legs and draw a circle with your nose to give your neck a good stretch. Go outside and take a few big, deep breaths of fresh air. You may be limited in places you can go but you can get out and take a walk in your neighbourhood by yourself (for some me time) or with your family. Check out a Mrs Banks-Smith's Fahan Fitness Challenges, throw a spontaneous virtual dance party (or just a family one in your living room), skip rope or get out in the garden and make things grow!
- Connect with others. Check in with family and friends, plan a themed dinner or spend a night out (indoors) with your family. There are so many platforms for interactive games. Call a good friend and have a chat about a great memory or something funny that happened. Bring thankful Thursdays home and remind your family why you're grateful for them. Get all decked out for formal Friday and have a fancy dinner.
- Make sure that you are getting enough rest. Switch off screens at least an hour before bed and keep good sleeping habits. Resist the urge to watch one more episode of your favourite show and take a bath, have a herbal tea, or get on one of the amazing mindfulness apps and do a wind-down exercise. Or a sleep story. You can even be read to sleep by Matthew McConaughey if you want to jump on the Calm app. Try to keep the same bedtime each night.
- Connect with what brings you joy. It is so easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of news, but that's not helpful long term. Plan COVID-19 news time into your day, get the updates that you need and then get off your phone and go to your happy place. That looks different for each person but it could be brushing your daughter's hair, going for a run and listening to the birds, taking your shoes off and walking around feeling the grass under your feet, catching a sunrise or stopping to enjoy a good cup of coffee (the smell, the taste, the warmth of the cup). It could be getting your hands dirty gardening or finger painting. It could be connecting with family and stopping to take in all they are saying or showing you. Or reading a good book and reflecting on it. Whatever it is that takes you out of the news cycle and back into mindfully experiencing the things that bring you joy, go to that place.
It has been said many times, and I know that I do not need to tell any of you, that we are living in extraordinary times at the moment. I would like to congratulate your daughters on their hard work and the resilience they have shown in transitioning so well to home learning.