For some of us, since the beginning of this strange journey on March 13th, it may not seem like a whole lot of change has taken place. Today feels very similar to the day before, and it’s likely that tomorrow will be a lot like today. Other Jefferson students may be in the midst of one of the most stressful moments of their lives. Perhaps a family member is sick or has lost a job. Many people are suffering from either boredom or major life stressors. The strange thing is, regardless of which of these situations you find yourself in, the best thing you can do is have a self-regulation and operational plan in place to get you through the next couple of months. This is important because even our best minds don’t know how long this is going to last. The overall goal continues to be to maintain good mental and physical health. Control the aspects of life that you have control over.
- Going to bed and waking up at a consistent time everyday (no sleeping all day staying up all night)?
- Eating reasonable sized, not sugary or fatty balanced meals on a regular schedule?
- Getting outdoors on good weather days (while actively avoiding contact with others and crowds)?
- Actively remembering to keep your hands away from your face and washing your hands every time you get back home from being outdoors, after using the bathroom, and before you eat?
- Doing body weight based (if you don’t have exercise equipment available) exercises in your home or apartment?
- Keeping your brain exercised by logging into Canvas and completing assignments?
- Limiting time on social media to two hours per day?
All of these items, while seemingly small, will make a huge difference when they are combined together. We all want to come out of this trip through the unknown strong and healthy. Check out some of these resources to keep your mind and body on point:
Available mental/mind resources:
- The Arlington Public Library has huge online collections. They are currently allowing parents to sign up their kids for a library card (always free) online. You can use the “card” immediately to look at thousands of ebooks and magazines. Go here: https://libsys.arlingtonva.us/selfreg to sign up. Reading feeds your mind in ways that using the net/tik tok/instragram or playing Fortnite/Minecraft never can.
- Going through strange, unknown times can wreak havoc on your mind. People show anxiety in many different ways. Some people are obviously scared or nervous. They can have panic attacks and episodes of clear trouble. Most people, however, may not even be aware that they are “wound tight.” The symptoms are more likely to show as overeating or having no appetite, being easily upset/angry, having trouble sleeping, or not wanting to get out of bed. One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is to engage in a process called meditation. You may not believe it, but it works, for real. Try a meditation app like Headspace, which is offering free guided meditations https://www.headspace.com/covid-19 and see if it helps. You will notice some relief and a change in mood almost immediately. Over time, and after continued practice, you will be truly more comfortable.
- Canvas…no explanation needed. Some students currently may not pass the 8th grade. Use Canvas to pull your grades up so you pass. A full explanation of the current grading system can be found here: https://app.peachjar.com/flyers/985762/schools/24870
- Your cellphone is your connection to your friends, it’s a huge resource (make sure you use it smartly). Everyone is going through this together. Try actually making a phone/FaceTime call to friends. Your words and facial expressions convey feelings in a way text messages never can.
Available Body Resources and Workout Guides:
- You need food. If your family is having problems with food supply make sure they let somebody know. For a start, check out the “Community Resources” part of this webpage for places that are giving student free breakfasts and lunches: https://health.arlingtonva.us/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/food-financial-and-medical-assistance/ Also, APS is doing food service at various sites on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays throughout the county, here are the sites: https://www.apsva.us/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/free-lunch-breakfasts-and-other-resources/ If you need food and you can’t figure out a way to get it let us know. Here’s how you can do that: https://jefferson.apsva.us/post/need-help-just-ask/ Rental assistance is also available depending on the circumstances.
- Check out Mr. Stith’s weekly exercise guide HERE
- If you have access to youtube, Jeremy Ethier has a good at home workout/muscle building regimen that only requires your own weight. No barbells, dumbells or other exercise equipment is necessary. You can check that out here: https://youtu.be/95846CBGU0M
- Use google maps to map out a one mile route around your neighborhood, this is now your one measured mile walking/running course. Run it as far as you can then take a walk break. Do this every other day and you will begin to notice over time that you are able to run farther before you have to start walking.
As always, we’re all in this together and one way or another we will get through. Use this unstructured time to your maximum advantage by adding structure!