Let’s be real: under normal circumstances, we could all use some strategies for dealing with stress. Now, add a worldwide pandemic in the mix and many of us might be feeling like we are teetering on the edge of what we can handle. It’s important to know that we are not alone and that there are tons of resources available to help us fill our toolbox with knowledge and strategies that will not just get us through the current times, but will better equip us and our students for anything the future throws our way.
At CharacterStrong, we are fortunate to work with Dr. Clayton Cook, a professor in the school psychology at the University of Minnesota, who has provided us with a wealth of knowledge on coping with stress. You can watch the entire webinar below (and we hope you will - it’s a good one!) but for now, here are some of our favorite takeaways:
See full webinar HERE
Top 7 Ideas
- None of us are immune to adversity:
Struggle and tough times are inevitable in life. Sometimes we experience this more than others, but no matter what we will all experience them and that’s ok.
- We need stress:
- You can’t create a meaningful life without stress! The right amount of stress actually helps us with peak performance.
- Values Clarification is a key step:
Taking time to identify what motivates us, what matters most, and what we want to be known for helps us understand levels of good stress needed to achieve those goals.
- Gratitude practices need to look different:
Practicing gratitude is a healthy exercise. But framing your gratitude through the lens of “what would it be like if I didn’t have this thing?” is actually even better!
- We all need a Hawaii:
Do you have a place where you can step away, calm down and breathe for a few moments when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed? If not, create one!
- Sleep is everything:
Enough (8 hours) + Uninterrupted (0-2x per night) + Everyday (consistent) = good sleep. Good sleep is connected to our ability to manage everything else (I know you know this, but it needs to be a constant reminder - sleep affects ALL of the things).
- How Can I Help + Asking for Help = Taking Care of You:
When we seek help as needed and provide help when we can it is the ultimate cycle of self-care.
Dr. Cook joined Houston Kraft to answer many of the questions you had and you can listen to that conversation on this special podcast.
The more we know and understand how stress works, what we can do to work with it, and to build resilience in ourselves and our students, the better off we are. There’s also a lot of truth to what John Norlin always says, “we need to be reminded more than we need to be taught” so hang in there, take a deep breath, and know that you got this!
You can find more modules by Dr. Clayton Cook in our On-Demand PD here.
The CharacterStrong Team is a partnership of educators, speakers, and students who believe in creating sustainable change in schools and helping young people develop the skills of service, kindness, and empathy.