We thought we’d provide an overview for parents of Wellness operations during distance learning. During lunch, we offer various activities, like journaling, games, mindfulness practice, and more. We are still doing intakes and zoom or phone therapy. Students can access the Wellness Center during regular school hours but we do not pull students from synchronous classes. We can use Academy where a student does not need extra help or has not been tagged. We also meet with students after school. We do not typically meet with students during the early morning hours so as not to take away from sleep. However, for students who are early risers, we will meet with them at their request. Finally, please note that on 9/29 at 5:30 pm, Contra Costa County’s Tobacco Prevention group will present “Vape Pens and Teens: What Our Community Needs to Know”. You can register here.
For updates, tips and advice, follow Wellness on Social Media: Instagram @acalaneswellness
We’re having many rewarding interactions with students right now that are interesting for two reasons. Firstly, we notice how productive it is for them to name their challenges right now. Whether it’s procrastination or motivation or fear over uncertainty, they feel better just by voicing it and having the news met with understanding (versus judgment or advice). “That makes sense because this is hard!” is the best response you can offer. The second interesting thing is that by being curious and asking follow up questions we find that they have many answers to the challenges presented by the shelter-in-place. What is in short supply for them right now is self-kindness.
Finally, we must share The Importance of Safe Gun Storage During the COVID-19 Pandemic. If you have them in your home, make sure firearms are locked, unloaded, and stored separately from ammunition.
We learned a lot this week from a state-wide wellness webinar about what students most need right now. To put it simply, they need the four R’s: Reassurance (this is temporary and everything will be okay); Routine (loss of structure is destabilizing--human beings need it); Regulation (in times of stress, we must practice self-care to calm the central nervous system response to a steady diet of uncertainty, complexity, and volatility) and most importantly, Relationships (ones that offer love without condition, safety, and understanding.) We also got to hear from grief experts about the very unique type of loss students are suffering. Worthy of your time, here is an excellent article on helping your kids with grief and loss from the Greater Good Science Center. This coming week, we continue to offer programming that leans toward “fun and games” as students have expressed a need for that. We’re also offering something cool and different on Tuesday at 5pm as we interview a class of ‘18 Don, now Tiktok celebrity, about how he’s prioritizing wellbeing and sharing it with others. Be well and stay in touch! (CS 4/24 @3:20)
This week we joined 8,000 educators and mental health professionals on the California Wellness Together webinar sponsored by the state’s Department of Education. We engaged in learning around practices, policies and programs to inform and strengthen student supports. It was gratifying to realize that many of the plans we put in place in advance of the training had all the right ideas. Some of the most important things we can do for all students is to listen, encourage, reassure, and normalize their experience. We continue to reach out to students to refine our offering in terms of theme, content, and timing. We’re analyzing the results of our school-wide survey and will be switching up the time of day of our offerings so that more students are available. We’re grateful to the many Dons who showed up for Wellness by attending a session and by filling out the survey. We humbly share with you a comment from one of the many students who’ve reached out to say they appreciate us: “I think what you are doing has so much potential for impacting many teens’ lives in a positive way. I just felt happier after our zoom.” Whenever we get to connect with students, we just feel happier too. We’ll continue to have Tuesday-Friday offerings this week and students can check loopmail for details. (CS 4/17 @5:16pm)
We are providing real-time, online programming to support and connect students to Wellness Staff and peers but we need your help to get the word out. Students can access the Zoom programs by checking their School loop mail or news. We’re helping the students by creating space for them to process the experiences and emotions that come with this difficult transition. Our weekly programs will evolve to meet student needs and interests. They take place at noon each day as follows:
- Tuesday: Tea with Wellness
- Wednesday: Journaling through the Pandemic
- Thursday: Quarantine Cooking
- Friday: “Friday Focus” Mindfulness practices to manage stress
Parents can find important resources on Wellbeing and Mental Health here at the district website. You can continue to reach us during school hours at email@example.com. (CS @5:30 4/10)
Wellness will launch a virtual center this week with daily programming for students to connect with Wellness Staff and to engage in activities designed to help them navigate the pandemic from a strength-building perspective. Students will receive invitations to sign up for the programs via school loop. This week will be a soft-launch and the model will evolve as we learn more about students’ needs at this time. Please follow us on Instagram @acalaneswellness.