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Two Questions to Help Us Through This...

As we begin this school year, that has been labeled as unprecedented because of the multiple pandemics that are currently taking place, how are you?

I follow many people’s social media accounts and have noted that adults and children are anxious and worried about:

  • Contracting or spreading COVID-19;

  • Schools not addressing systemic racial injustices;

  • Social and governmental responses to systemic racism;

  • A divisive partisan presidential election;

  • Inadequate funding to meet the needs of students and their adults;

  • Falling behind academically;

  • Not serving students social, emotional, and academic needs;

  • Natural disasters; and

  • Maintaining their mental health.

As we begin a school year that is unique and different from all previous school years; I offer you two questions to consider to support you in making through this year:

  • How are you?

  • What self-care do you need?

How Are You?

In the United States the question “how are you?” has become a form of greeting with the expected response being something along the lines of “I’m fine. How are you?”. If we go beyond the polite exchange to show care for ourselves we may name some core emotions to describe how we are - angry, fearful, loved, sadness, joy, and/or surprise. Psychologists suggest if we can dig even deeper we will benefit from naming specific emotions and then choosing ways to manage them. Using an adult-oriented feelings wheel or kid-friendly feeling wheel can be helpful in naming our emotional state. Meditation practitioner Andy Puddicombe says, “We are not our emotions” and yet our mental health status is significantly influenced by our emotions. Noticing and naming our emotional state can help us as we navigate our mental health on a day-to-day basis.

What Self-Care Do You Need?

This is such an important question because it gets to the heart of each person’s ability to survive the multiple pandemics that we are living through.

Here’s my list of self-care choices:

  • Spend time with family and friends (albeit right now this is mostly on zoom)

  • Do something physical

  • Go outside

  • Listen to music (I Am Enough by Justin Michael Williams is my current anthem)

  • Reading (So many good books, articles and poems to read)

  • Watch or listen to something that I think is beautiful (Love me some Jason Reynolds so his poem For Every One on 826 Digital brings a smile)

What would you put on your list? Write it down and put it in a visible place so when you need it you can access it.

None of us can control the pandemics that are happening; but we can take care of ourselves to be able to do the vital work that needs to be done. As writer April Reign said, “ cannot save your village, and you cannot save your family, if you are not saving yourself.”

Take good care!

Resources About Emotions

My Selected Resources for Self-Care

This meditation application is available both Android and Iphones and centers the experience of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). All the practitioners that offer talks and meditations are BIPOC.

Justin Michael Williams offers a meditation guide for those who need to get sh@t done and take care of themselves.

Jor-El Caraballo examines the revolutionary act of self-care and its connection to activism.

Offers meditation practice and learning for teens and adults.

This weekly online gathering focuses on the Personal Exploration of Planetary Possibility (PEPP) – that’s the PEPP MWe Up Gathering. What do you imagine in a world transformed by compassion and social justice?

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