Ms. Camara's Counselling Blog

"Let your faith be bigger than your fear"

Welcome Cameron Families

Welcome Cameron Families.  I have originally created this blog in April 2020 for families to conveniently access different types of resources during the unprecedented times of Covid 19.  I will continue this blog with what I hope to be useful counseling and social-emotional literacy information.    As challenging as this is for all of us, I am confident that we will get through this together.  Take care.

Social Emotional Health Comes first

To all the parents are struggling with online learning lately, please understand that your and your child’s emotional health comes first.  I think most parents, including myself, get so caught up in what we have to DO for our kids that we forget, even at a time like this, that what they really need is just for us to BE with them.  It’s normal at a time like this to get caught up because we feel like we need to keep up.  This of course causes us to feel overwhelmed, easily frustrated, angry and anxious.  This is completely normal at a time where the world is swirling with uncertainty.  Let’s give ourselves some self compassion and to remember that we are all in this together.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or just need an outlet, please check out the side links for online parent resources or mental health resources.

 

May is Mental Health Month

May is mental health awareness month and now, living in a global health crisis amidst physical distancing, looking after our mental health is more important than ever.  We all have mental health…but what exactly is it?  Simply put, mental health is brain and mind health. We look after our bodies by getting enough sleep, eating right and getting exercise.  But how do we look after our brains?

Dr. Dan Siegle, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA, developed, along with David Rock:

These seven daily essential activities, as Dr. Siegle terms them, are quite self-explanatory, but I do find two activities a bit vague: ‘downtime’ and ‘time in’

Both downtime and time in are activities that people tend not to know too much about, BUT are extremely helpful for our mental health – especially during COVID 19. Teaching our kids how to relax our brain and how to reflect on their day/feelings and thoughts are important parts of mental health.  Attached are some easy ways to help include downtime and time in to our daily lives.

For more information on the mental health platter please go to https://www.drdansiegel.com/resources/healthy_mind_platter/#overview 

 

Downtime

Tense and Relax: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDKyRpW-Yuc

Mind Yeti – Follow one breathing exercise from the website www.mindyeti.com

GoZen breathing : https://youtu.be/Uxbdx-SeOOo

Listen to the podcast Imagine Neighborhood.org where they use music to help us calm https://www.imagineneighborhood.org/podcast-1/episode/2540ba9c/bonus-mr-music-man-lindsay-jones-calming-music

Time In

At the end of the night, ask your child what:

  1. Their favorite thing was that day
  2. Made them happy/sad/mad/worried/proud
  3. Challenged them that day

Practice gratitude (what they are thankful for/appreciative of) everyday for the month of May.

Listen to the story Grumpy Monkey. https://youtu.be/wylzbbSL668

 

What can you Control?

As we get into another week of home-schooling, a lot of parents and students find themselves starting to unravel.  A perspective to take during this time is to let go of the things we can’t control, and try our best to focus on what we can.

Week One of At-Home Schooling

During a time of crisis when so many things are unknown, one of the things that provide comfort for children is a routine and schedule.  Creating a routine and schedule will provide structure and predictability for children which in turn will provide them a sense of safety and reassurance.  Routines also promote positive mental and physical health.  Some helpful points to creating a routine and schedule include:

  • Have a good and consistent wake up time and bedtime.  Try if possible to stick as close to the school schedule as this allows their physiological system to maintain a healthy balance between activity and rest time.
  • Work together with your child in building the schedule and review expectations as you are both working on it.
  • Start slow. Try not to over-commit. Set aside a quiet work space for your child to do work
  • Allow for snack and natural  breaks
  • Include opportunities to be outside or to be physical
  • Encourage hobbies or creative outlets in the schedule.  This ‘new normal’ gives your child an opportunity to explore things they might not have had time to explore previously
  • Have opportunities to connect with friends and family virtually
  • As a family, incorporate some coping activities such as controlled breathing exercises or mindful activities
  • Include some family time or one on one time together, even if it’s just for 20 minutes.  Although  everyone is under one roof for an extended period of time, doesn’t mean that children are getting the same interactive and attention time.

Remember that it’s completely normal to feel stressed out and frustrated and, that in the beginning it is normal to get a bit of (or a lot of) push back, a bit of tears and some shaking of heads It is just a sign to go back to the drawing table together to re-evaluate what’s not working and what will work.  Some days schedules work fantastic and you feel brilliant, and other days your may be scratching your head wondering where the day went! All that is normal in the ‘new normal’.  Be gentle with yourself and know we will get through this, one socially-distancing day at a time.