Virtual Community Summer Gathering: Health and Wellbeing
We have always believed that our school community provided all of the basic essentials for good health—a sound mind in a sound body. Since its inception, the school’s programming has been rooted in its mission to challenge and enable students to reach their individual potential in mind, body and spirit, the campus is located in a beautiful natural environment, and our staff and faculty have a long history of nourishing genuine and caring relationships with students. Our students have already demonstrated their resilience, a supportive and compassionate nature and an overall positive outlook. We are committed to ensuring they thrive in a safe and healthy environment while delivering an exceptional educational experience. This includes not only their physical safety and wellbeing, but also their mental health, community connections and self-care practices.
Our third Virtual Summer Community Gathering on Wednesday, August 5 focused on health and wellbeing as we navigate the return to school this fall with our students and families. Incoming Co-Head Student Jack Freeman ’21 and Senior-in-Charge of Health and Wellbeing Fatima Shahbaz ’21 co-facilitated a discussion with special guests Dr. Karen Cohen, Wendy Hepburn ’00 and Emily Cosgrove. In these unprecedented times and the unique challenges faced as a result, our panellists shared ideas and strategies aligned with our THRIVE Wellbeing and Positive Psychology initiatives for optimal wellbeing. Some tips include:
Normalize Emotions: Like any life stressor, a health emergency or pandemic challenges us to cope. It’s normal to feel worried, upset, fearful for ourselves and for others we care about. It’s also important to remember that everyone also copes differently with stress.
Help Others: What we do impacts other people. When we help other people, we help ourselves. There’s something we get out of being kind and generous to other people. It can also be a helpful coping mechanism for ourselves by showing kindness to others. Take care of yourself by taking care of your community - accept and give help and support.
Stay Informed: Use credible sources (i.e., Public Health Ontario, World Health Organization), but limit how much and how often you are reading. Follow guidelines provided by experts regarding physical distancing and handwashing.
Self Care: This looks differently for different people. Take the time to connect with yourself and know yourself. Pause throughout the day to check in with yourself and use the break to reset, whether by taking a couple deep breaths, getting a snack or stepping outdoors for fresh air. Make time for yourself to get creative and active. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your community.
Self Parent: Take care of yourself by maintaining routines, getting enough sleep, eating balanced meals and staying active. Making responsible choices will have a positive impact on your mental health.
This year will look different, but we are all in this together and our community will be made even stronger by working through these new challenges together.