Mental and physical health are always important, but especially at this very challenging time. Please find below some links and guidance to help support you and your family.
Looking after yourself during the Summer Holidays
The Summer holidays are around the corner and I am sure everyone is very much looking forward to having a break from their online learning and enjoying (fingers crossed) some sunny weather. Having online School has been a big part of our day and you may now be thinking about how you can keep yourself busy, keep a routine and look after yourself during the summer holidays when we are still not back to a normal way of life.
Below are some tips and ideas for looking after yourself during the summer holidays:
- Still keep to a routine: It is really easy to fall into some bad sleeping habits when we don’t have to get up for School. Try and keep to a routine as much as possible, it will make the transition back to School easier in September and also you won’t lose out on doing enjoyable activities during the day if you are asleep. The Mental Health Foundation have a great booklet called ‘How to Sleep Better’ that you could read if you are struggling with sleep.
- Keeping Active: If you have the opportunity to go out on your bike, go for walks or visit some outside areas locally with friends and family this could be a really great way to enjoy some of the holidays. You may be able to discover somewhere new which is close by and enjoy picnics with friends and family.
- Eating and cooking well: Just because you aren’t learning through School doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy learning some new skills! Look at setting time aside to perhaps look at making summer treats such as making your own ice cream and lemonade. Perhaps you could look at trying a new meal or ingredient each week that you haven’t had before. Cooking can be a really fun and enjoyable activity.
- Learning a new skill: Many of us have learnt the value of being creative during the downtime that the current circumstance has brought us and there are various activities and ideas you could get from looking online. University of Arts London has a newsletter which a parent can sign up for with weekly activity sheets. There are also lots of downloadable mindfulness colouring sheets available.
Keeping in contact with friends and family: There is more flexibility now with being able to see friends and family. It is still very important that you keep your distance but if you are in a position where you are able to see friends and family take the opportunity to do so. Being around people gives you the opportunity to talk, laugh and hopefully have a good time. If you aren’t able to do this in person or only a limited amount, there is so much available for us to keep in contact with friends and family virtually. You could consider putting a quiz together or even watching a movie at the same time.
- Knowing what help is available: If you are worried about something or someone, it’s important that you know the help and advice that is available, so make sure that you look at the information that is on the Bulletin and School website of who you can contact during the summer holidays if you are worried. Keeping worries to yourself can be draining and can feel like you are carrying a weight on your shoulders, talking to people can really lift that and help share or pass on that worry which would hopefully lead to a more enjoyable summer holiday.
Being creative is a great way of supporting our wellbeing. The Blurt Foundation have released an article on why being creative can be particularly important when we are experiencing something difficult. It is also something typically quite accessible at the moment when we are more restricted on what we can do and where we can go. Below, are extracts from the article which we felt were particularly interesting and useful.
Taking part in creative activities is a great for our overall wellbeing. Research has found that expressing ourselves creatively helps us sort through our thoughts and feelings allows us to make something more positive out of difficult experiences and makes us more resilient. It’s important to remember that we are all creative!
Mindful colouring books are becoming more and more popular, it offers creative and calming benefits of making art, without the need for drawing skills. It’s something you can spend a little or a long time doing, depending on how you are feeling and is easy to come back to.
There seems to be more and more people turning to cooking and baking during the current lockdown- so it must be offering some benefits! Turning ingredients into something delicious and that can be shared and enjoyed does use your brain in a creative way. It can also be something considered a calming activity, from weighing out the ingredients to the smell of the finished product!
Puzzles might not be something you’d typically consider a creative activity, but problem solving is a creative act. Looking through puzzle pieces or considering other solutions encourages our mind to relax. Puzzles don’t have to be jigsaw puzzles; it could be an activity like sudoku or a game like scrabble.
Home and Garden:
Making alterations to your environment is a creative act that can have a profound effect on your mood; this can be making small changes and adjustments to your room or upcycling a piece of furniture. Gardening can also be a creative activity that can contribute to positive wellbeing; the combination of fresh air, exercise and seeing the results of your efforts can be very uplifting.
Music is another creative outlet that boosts your mood. You don’t have to play an instrument (although if you have access to one, give it a go there is plenty or online resources out there!) you can always sing! You don’t have to be good singer but singing along to a song that we like can make us feel good!
Wellbeing for Children and Families
More materials have been added to support schools and families with children’s wellbeing on the Home Learning Hub here:https://www.cambslearntogether.co.uk/home-learning/wellbeing
There’s now a section called ‘Explaining the coronavirus to young children’ with resources including a new book by Nosy Crow, illustrated by Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo); as well as the Children’s Commissioner’s Guide to Coronavirus.
There is also a wonderful resource, created by Strengthening Minds, an organisation based in London. The Strengthening Minds Guide to Staying Home…In Style is a brilliant resource full of ideas, games, activities and resources for families with young children including a section on wellbeing and mindfulness.
There are new things being added to the website all the time, and it can be hard to keep up. So a section called ‘Recently-added’ has been created on the landing page which will tell you what’s been uploaded in the last few days:https://www.cambslearntogether.co.uk/home-learning/hub
Looking after yourself throughout the school closure:
Here is some information that may be useful during a time where looking after yourself and other people is more important than ever. Below are some tips as well as some information on some great services to have a look through.
Being proactive throughout the changes and school closures:
- Plan your days: our normal routine may be disrupted and that can be stressful. Take some time to write down how you want to spend your day. Creating and sticking to a new routine will give you some normality. Decide on your routine and make sure you build in times to do things you enjoy.
- It’s great to stay connected with family and friends through Skype, phone calls and Facetime. If social media and the news becomes overwhelming take a break from this; there is a lot unknown at the moment and this can make us feel anxious.
- Be productive: write a list of things you’ve wanted to do but never get around to doing and start working through this, maybe put some books to read on this list too.
- Reach out for help: if your situation becomes difficult or you are feeling more worried talk to someone you trust. There are also lots of useful websites, apps, helplines and texting services that are really good.
Useful contacts and sites:
The Blurt Foundation:
Blurt It Out has a "coronavirus helpful hub" with great support for adults, especially parents, at this challenging time. https://www.blurtitout.org/resource/the-coronavirus-helpful-hub#parenting.
Chathealth is a confidential texting service run by the School Nursing Team (NHS). Their number is 07480635443
You can contact Childline about anything and everything and they have lots of useful tips and advice online, including on keeping calm. Their website ishttps://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/ and their number is 0800 1111. There is also an email section on their website.
Kooth has online support and there are staff available to talk to Mon-Fri 12pm-10m and Sat-Sun 6pm-10pm. Kooth also have lots of useful articles written by young people and a journal section. https://www.kooth.com/
https://youngminds.org.uk/ Young Minds also have an urgent care text service and you text YM to 85258
Other Websites and Apps
What does Mindfulness mean?
Mindfulness means being present and aware of your actions in the moment whilst calmly acknowledging thoughts, feelings and senses.
Why might Mindfulness be useful to try?
Mindfulness focuses on activities you can do to help promote calmness. Mindfulness also looks at ways we can think and be aware of everyday activities. During a challenging time, some of these exercises may be useful to try, whether they are part of your daily routine or a conscious effort to complete a mindful activity.
Mind UK have created some ideas and examples of mindful exercises such as:
- Mindful eating. This involves paying attention to the taste, sight and textures of what you eat. For example, when drinking a cup of tea or coffee you could focus on how hot and liquid it feels on your tongue, how sweet it tastes or watch the steam that it gives off.
- Mindful moving, walking or running. Notice the feeling of your body moving. You might notice the breeze against your skin, the feeling of your feet or hands against different textures on the ground or nearby surfaces, and the different smells that are around you.
- The mindful body scan. This is where you move your attention slowly through different parts of the body, starting from the top of your head moving all the way down to the end of your toes. You could focus on feelings of warmth, tension, tingling or relaxation of different parts of your body.
- Mindful colouring and drawing. Focus on the colours and the sensation of your pencil against the paper, rather than trying to draw something in particular. You could use a mindfulness colouring book or download mindfulness colouring images.
- Mindful meditation. This involves sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing, your thoughts, sensations in your body and the things you can hear around you. Try to bring you focus back to the present if your mind starts to wander. Many people also find that yoga helps them to concentrate on their breathing and focus on the present moment.
Mindfulness can feel like an abstract concept and there are some really helpful YouTube videos to help you understand and explore Mindfulness further such as:
PE with Joe