From the Counsellor’s Desk
Dear Parents and Students,
After consultation with Doctors (private and public), psychologists and other mental health professionals, the following advice and recommendations seem the most important to share:
- Get dressed everyday – This simple act of dressing will allow your brain and thus mental state to be more positive. It will allow one to feel a sense of normality
- Follow a routine – breakfast, work/school, lunch, activity (arts, gym, relaxation, meditation), some alone time (30mins- more could lead to the mind wondering), supper, family time/activity, productive session of choice, following a strict sleeping pattern (20:00 for 11-13 yr olds, 21:00 14-15yr olds, 22:00 16+).
- Isolate yourself from news about the virus. Check once a day for clarity and then forget about it, what we need to know – we know already
- Don’t check in on the death toll – Avoid the hurt, guilt and anxiety that it inevitably creates.
Avoid sending or reading fatalistic messages – remember some have more fragile mental states and could be adversely affected by this information
- Be kind – check-in with family, friends, neighbours. Share routines and ideas to keep busy.
Practice gratitude – some have more than others. You might have the internet, a yard, a pool, cool toys or activities, siblings, family members etc. Be grateful and be considerate of those who might not have the same facilities at their disposal
- Music is a good form of keeping one’s mental health in check – play an instrument, listen to music at a decent volume, sing along. Have a dance party
- Firmly believe that this too shall pass – we have survived the millennium bug, the swine flu, a possible drought and many other natural calamities. This too shall pass
- Journal – This has always been a great therapeutic tool, confess your worries, burdens and fears and leave them in the confines of your journal. This will allow you to rid yourself of the dark clouds that will form at some point
- Embrace this temporary new normal – we have all, at some point, wanted to be homeschooled, stay at home parents, have freedom to create our own lives and schedules. Now you have the change, take it, use it wisely and grow
- Most importantly – Your positive attitude, mood and affect will help you protect not only your mental health status but your immune system as well. While a negative outlook and mental state has shown to decrease awareness, increase symptoms of depression and low mood.
We find ourselves in a challenging time, we can recentre and refocus, we can live and learn and we can definitely make a brighter future if we adopt these aforementioned recommendations.
With gratitude and a positive attitude,