Wellness in an Online Space

I hope this note finds all of you well.

Hamilton District Christian High is following the lead of the Ministry of Education and of public health officials in suspending on-campus classes. For some of you, the prospect of an at-home school experience in the short term might seem pretty appealing. For others, the idea of feeling disconnected from peers and from academic, emotional and social support networks is a little more unsettling.

It’s very important not to ignore our mental wellness in stressful times.

Keeping Well

All HDCH teachers, admin and student support staff are focused on continuing to execute our mission of preparing students, through learning, for a life of service to God. In pursuit of that ongoing mission, staff will be ready to help you continue in your learning journey.

Teachers are hard at work preparing to support all of you in your at home experiences. Teachers and learning support workers will continue to be available to support student learning. Student Services and Guidance will continue to operate via email, EDSBY, telephone, and Zoom platforms.

Wellness Contacts

If you have any questions about guidance, wellness, or academic support, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us. Contact info attached.

Shalem Christian Mental Health Network
Natasha, our on-site therapist, will continue to meet with clients (and set up new clients) via telephone of on-line counselling. Students can set up support from Natasha at Shalem by connecting them directly (contact info is  attached)

Dealing with Stress
Everyone deals with stress differently. For some of us, this is an amazing opportunity to rest, catch up, do some long-postponed projects, or spend time with family. Most of us have strong support networks and caring communities; it will be different, but we will be okay.

However, for some of us, this can be an unsettling time. And being unsettled and out of routine affects us all differently. Most of us manage just fine, but we might find ourselves being occasionally agitated or defensive, some of us may feel a need to withdraw or shut down, and others may seem distracted or unfocussed.

These, and a variety of other feelings, are normal stress reactions. It’s important to recognize these for yourself, and to understand that others in your space may be experiencing stress very differently than you. Knowing how people react to stress helps us all to live together a little better.

Keep an eye on your own responses
If you are noticing changes in sleep, diet, substance use, or behaviour, it’s probably good to talk through that with someone you trust. If you find yourself in crisis, don’t hesitate to connect with crisis lines or mobile/online supports.

Routines are good
In the coming weeks, we will be running school on-line. For your own wellness, it is wise to treat this school experience like any other school experience. Try to attend school during school hours; get up, get dressed and attend school as you normally would. Though we may be on different schedules, try to avoid doing your school work at night and risking the possibility of feeling disconnected or overwhelmed.

Practice good self care
It’s important to continue to do things that relieve stress and connect you to others. Continue to remotely connect with your faith communities and your social networks. Get outside, walk the dog, draw a picture, play cards, bake/cook something, colour, read, pray, etc.

Take media breaks
Take some time between checking in on news reports and social media posts. Eat healthy, get enough sleep, and check in with people in your space.

For parents

There are lots of great on-line resources related to child and adolescent wellbeing during crises. Please check out some of the articles and links attached for conversations about staying psychologically and emotionally healthy in stressful situations.

Resources for Parents talking to teens about COVID and stress

CAMH – Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 
This resource with tons of information, links, strategies and tips for talking about covid. It also has links to stress and anxiety self assessment tools, and it has great suggestions on supporting loved ones. 

Common Sense Media
Tips and links for helping kids learn in an online environment, for navigating media coverage, and for managing stress.

American Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization
CBC Opinion
Dr. Judy Malone on psychological health (Mar. 23)

Seattle Childrens’ Hospital article

James Apers, Director of Student Services
Hamilton District Christian High