"Box Breathing" Strategy for Anxiety
by email@example.com (Psyched About School) on March 30, 2020 at 12:52 pm
Having trouble with your anxiety? If so, you are certainly not alone. This situation is unsettling, at best. Our brains are wired towards what’s called the fight or flight response. When our brain perceives that we are in danger of some sort, we either want to run away from the perceived danger or fight with it. Neither of those strategies is an option, which of course makes us anxious. Often, when we are anxious, we breathe very shallowly, or may even hold our breath without realizing it. Making a conscious effort to breathe more deeply in a controlled way is one way that we can help to calm our nerves and calm that fear response in our brains.There is a simple technique, called box breathing, that can help to ease our anxiety.First, either imagine a square in your mind or draw a square on a piece of paper. Now, time yourself for 4 seconds across each side of the square.4 seconds across the top to the right, breathe in.4 seconds down the side of the square – hold your breath in4 seconds across the bottom of the square – breathe out4 seconds up the square, hold it in.Go around 3-4 times, and you should feel better. Thanks to www.teencentral.com for this suggestion.
Fun Activities to Do with Kids during the Virus Shutdown of 2020
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Psyched About School) on March 27, 2020 at 12:14 pm
The coronavirus has completely interrupted the normalcy of our lives. While eLearning started last week and occupies a significant amount of time, families still have lots of unstructured time to fill throughout the day. It can be difficult to think of things to do, especially when you can’t even leave your house. We have compiled a list of fun activities that you may not have known about or thought of. Some of these can be done online, but others are interactive and meant for families to do together. Let us know if you think of more! Show us your activities by tweeting to us @schoolpsychws. Use #wspsychs and #wsfcslearnon. We would love to add your ideas to this list!Cultural Enrichment:Google has compiled an extensive list of museums offering online galleries. Examples include the MET, MoMA, and Musee d'Orsay in Paris, just to name a few. You can find this list at Google Arts and CultureCheck out Star Trek’s Patrick Stewart reading Shakespeare online each day: ComicbookArt:Author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosocka (aka JJK) is offering daily lessons which give young people practical tools to tell stories using pictures and words. He does this every weekday at 2 p.m. EST. Visit Draw Every Day with JJKBaking Soda Art- You will need: a container or tray, baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, and medicine dropper or straws. Lay down a layer of baking soda in the container. Pour vinegar into different cups and add different colors to each cup. Have your child create art by decorating the baking soda with the colorful vinegars (using medicine droppers or straws- for straws, have your child stick the end of the straw into vinegar then plug the other end with a finger). Great activity for fine motor skills and it is fun!Face Hunt- Find 5 objects around the house and make a face using those objects. Make a different face using the same objects. Find new objects and make new faces. The adult can add social-emotional learning to this activity by naming an emotion and having the student make a face with a matching emotion.Natural Faces- You will need: a piece of paper with a large face drawn on it (leave the clothes and hair blank). Go for a nature walk and collect items that can be used to create details on the picture (example: leaves for hair, flowers for clothes, rocks for earring, etc.). When you have finished collecting, attach these things to the picture. You may choose to secure them using glue OR rearrange them to make different images.Art for Kids Hub has lots of great art lessons for kids. They even have weekly challenges to stretch your child’s creativity. Physical Activity:Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, is offering daily P.E. classes on his YouTube Channel. Visit The Body Coach The Body CoachGoNoodle is a great resource for families. Their website has lots of movement and mindfulness videos developed just for kids. To learn more about their offerings, visit GoNoodleHow about Bingo? This would be a fun family activity:Here are some ideas that might be fun for kids who are missing out on spring sports:Science:Mystery Science is providing some of their most popular K-5 science lessons for free, no account or log in needed. For example, there are lessons about weather, animals, engineering, and very timely ones about germs. Visit Mystery ScienceThe San Diego Zoo has an informative and interactive website just for kids. They have all kinds of activities from art to reading to games. Visit San Diego ZooTake a virtual field trip to Yellowstone National Park! Visit Yellowstone National ParkWant to learn more about nature? Here are the best nature webcams from We Are TeachersMissing out on this year’s science project? Mommy Poppins has a list of 63 science experiments you can do at home using household items.These activities can be both science and art. Go for a walk and create “natural jewelry”. You can make a bracelet using tape (turn sticky part outwards). Then go for an adventure and find flowers, grass, leaves to stick to your tape bracelet. While you are on your nature walk, collect sticks of different shapes and sizes. Create a “Woody Windchime” using the sticks and yarn. Hang it up!History/Social Studies:Want to visit The Great Wall of China? Take this virtual tour at Great Wall of ChinaWant to visit Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas? You can do that from home with this virtual tour that tells you the history of it and introduces you to some “amazing Boeing employees who are preparing to write the next chapter of space history with the launch of the Starliner/CST-100 spacecraft and the deployment of the Space Launch System (SLS).” Visit Johnson Space Station-BoeingWe are in the midst of a historical event like we have never experienced before. Explore ways to help your student document this moment in history. One idea might be keeping a daily journal. If done online, your child could even attach visual reminders, such as pictures of empty parking lots or temporary closure signs. You could even consider compiling everything into a scrapbook to be printed. It would be an interesting keepsake to look back at with their own children one day. Music:Another great resource from NPR: “NPR Music is compiling a list of live audio and video streams from around the world, categorized by date and genre, with links out to streaming platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Some will require registration or a subscription, but most will be free, often with digital tip jars and opportunities to directly support artists by buying music and merchandise.” Visit NPR MusicThe Metropolitan Opera Each opera will be streaming live operas each day that are available on the Met's website at 7:30 p.m. EST and will remain available to stream until 3:30 p.m. EST the next day. This website has great resources for kids missing their music teachers! Visit Classics for KidsBrain Breaks:In an earlier link for physical activity, we shared about Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, and his daily P.E. classes. He also offers “5 Minute Move” videos for kids. These are a perfect way to get up and give brains a break during long online school days. Visit 5 Minute Move for KidsLemon Lime Adventures Lemon Lime Adventures has compiled a great list of activities for sensory breaks and why they are so important for children. To see these ideas, visit Sensory Break IdeasThe folks at Minds in Bloom have a list of 20 brain break activities. A few of them might be difficult to do without a class, but most can be adapted for family use. Visit Minds in BloomSocial Emotional Learning (SEL):This school psychologist does weekly (sometimes daily) SEL lessons using music. Check out his YouTube channel: SEL LessonsCheck out this google doc for a daily SEL challenge. Great for kids, and even adults! Visit Daily SEL ChallengeYou are probably familiar with Class Dojo as a way to communicate with your child’s teacher; however, did you know they also offer lots of great videos on SEL topics? Visit Big Ideas Class DojoThe folks over at Everfi are providing families in the Piedmont-Triad region with free SEL resources to use at home. It also has some great career exploration activities geared at STEM, math, science, financial wellness, and much more. If your student doesn’t already have an account, you’ll have to go through a simple process to create one. Visit EverfiFamily Activities:Being stuck at home can be difficult. I have a friend who has coined it “Forced Family Fun.” In all seriousness, families can take this opportunity to spend quality time together doing things other than school. Here are a few ideas to consider:Family Scavenger Hunt With “Shelter in Place” potentially coming for us, consider getting creative with your family. I found this idea on a friend’s Facebook page. How about making a family chain? One link for each day of the quarantine to record your thoughts and activities. Hopefully the chain won’t get too long, but it will be fun to look back one day and think about your days in isolation.
Got Anxiety? Got stress? Help is out there ( and you don’t even have to leave your house to find it).
by email@example.com (Psyched About School) on March 27, 2020 at 12:12 pm
Got anxiety? Got stress? At this point, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that we do. In these “unprecedented times” it sometimes hard to know how to cope with all of the changes that have happened so quickly, and in knowing how to cope with our new normal. As parents, it is important for us to know how to facilitate good mental health, for ourselves, and also for our children. We are important too, and if we aren’t healthy, how can we care for them?For people who are looking for support, NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) has developed a resource guide to helps to address many of the questions that people may have as they cope with the current situation. They are also available by phone to address questions that might not be answered by the guide.Topics include how to cope with anxiety, how to cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation while sheltering in place, or quarantined, how to help people with mental illness or even what assistance programs are available for people who may be suffering financially due to business closures.Among the suggestions that they have for helping with anxiety is to remember that knowledge is power (find out the information that is most relevant to you), and Don’t accept everything you read or hear (make sure that your sources are accurate and reputable).They mention the importance of getting your emotional support system in place. Helpful suggestions include: maintaining familiar routines, take care of your basic needs and employ healthy coping strategies, such as getting enough rest, eating healthy food and engaging in physical activity.They suggest reaching out for support if needed, and have provided a number of ideas such as a “warmline” staffed by volunteers trained as listeners, online support groups, and even text support! NAMI COVID-19 Resource GuideBe well, and remember that we are all in this together.
#COVIBOOK: Supporting and reassuring Children around the World
by Central Office on March 27, 2020 at 9:19 am
Dear families and educator all over the world, Manuela Molina has created a short book to support and reassure our children, under the age of 7, regarding the COVID-19. This book is an invitation for families to discuss the full range of emotions arising from the current situation. It is important to point out that this
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Self-Care During a Pandemic: A Marathon, Not a Sprint
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Psyched About School) on March 24, 2020 at 10:00 pm
We recently discovered this article on the Psychology Today website entitled "Self Care and COVID-19: Getting Ready for the Marathon." Planning and preparing for the long-term is such a great strategy in uncertain times. The author, Dr. Doreen Dodgen-Magee, writes that "intentional planning goes a long way to staying mentally healthy amid a crisis."Our educators, parents and students are scrambling right now to establish a new "normal." Support systems that may have been in place through family gatherings, religious services, athletic teams or other social opportunities have been severely limited in this new era of social distancing. Now is the time to make sure that your self-care toolkit is well-stocked, as none of us know exactly how long this crisis may last. As Dr. Dodgen-Magee writes, "Just as we’re washing our hands, resisting touching our faces, and keeping 6 feet between us, it’s important to tend to our mental hygiene."The CDC has published an article on "Managing Stress and Anxiety" during this COVID-19 outbreak. The advice to "create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book" aligns perfectly with Dr. Dodgen-Magee's idea of developing a self-care plan NOW that you can turn to later, if events begin to feel even more challenging.In this article, you can find some tips on "bite-sized acts of self-care" (what a great phrase!), including the following:"Number one: Take five minutes in quiet to just breathe. Focus on your breathing and nothing else; let go of any unwelcome thoughts that pop up. Number two: Play a song and just dance. No further explanation necessary, just enjoy it. Number three: Take a longer than typical shower and relish the sensations it provides. Number four: Practice the DBT technique of half-smiling and willing hands. Sit or stand with your arms relaxed at your side and your palms turned outward. Relax your face and turn the corners of your mouth slightly upward. Now notice that it becomes more difficult to hold on to frustration, anxiety, and other difficult emotions. And lastly, number five: Turn off your phone."That last bullet refers to a "conscious uncoupling" (to borrow a phrase from Gwyneth Paltrow) from the neverending stream of information that surrounds us. It's important to stay informed, but it's also important to take digital breaks, so that we can safeguard our emotional well-being. Perhaps scheduling media updates can help with finding balance. For example, have a plan to visit one or two trusted websites or news apps only at a certain time of day and resist checking those "breaking news" updates every time your phone pings.We love this Twitter post of "Daily Quarantine Questions" from @teachergoals:To help you develop your own COVID-19 Self-Care Toolkit, here are some additional resources:"How to Practice Self-Care During the Coronavirus""Being Mindful of Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Outbreak""Self-Care in the Time of Coronavirus""How to Keep Your Cool With Your Kids When You Are All Cooped Up Together""How to Care for Yourself While Practicing Physical Distancing""Young Children at Home during the COVID-19 Outbreak: The Importance of Self-Care"We will leave you with a quote from that last article:"Self-care is not selfish or indulgent - it's how we keep ourselves well to ensure we are physically, emotionally, and mentally capable of being there for our young children."...and some excellent self-care advice from the CDC! 😀
Sesame Street Responds to Coronavirus
by email@example.com (Psyched About School) on March 24, 2020 at 2:00 am
We want to continue to bring you resources for both academic and social-emotional learning as we enter this new era of virtual learning. We love the new "Caring for Each Other" initiative from Sesame Street, which is described as follows:"Your friends on Sesame Street are here to support you and your family during the COVID-19 health crisis. We understand that these are very stressful times; our daily lives have been disrupted, and we are all coping with uncertainty. As we create a new sense of normalcy, it's important that we take care of ourselves, so that we can best care for our children."We first discovered the Sesame Street initiative in this article from the PBS and NPR parent company, GPB. The article notes that PBS is working to expand offerings of free on-demand episodes of Sesame Street on PBS KIDS digital platforms. In the "Parents" section of PBS KIDS, you'll find resources on how to manage both the physical and emotional health of children during this stressful time. The free apps found in this section offer educational games and videos. PBS Kids also has a great article on "How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus" that includes videos, games and activities related to hand-washing and staying healthy. Be sure to check out the upcoming free webinar activities, as well. On 03/25/2020 at 10:00, a "Cat in the Hat" webinar is geared toward building science inquiry skills in early learners. On 03/26/2020 at 10:00, you can join a webinar for building early literacy engagement.Finally, since this can be a stressful and uncertain time for all of us, we wanted to share a virtual hug!
Corona Convo 2 – Virtual School Psych Life
by schoolpsychedpodcast on March 22, 2020 at 2:18 pm
Corona Convo 2 – Virtual School Psych Life Missing adult interaction? Come join us to see where people are at and how people are managing. https://www.txasp.org/assets/docs/COVID-19/ED%20OCR%20OSERS%20Supplemental%20Facts%20Sheet%203_21_2020.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2qDfkoqGpFxERKCXy1EcKYZVJVZFwgAAh9jH_gcp9N3zVJUkiuoMZyrRw