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Wellness Wednesday – 27 May 2020

 

Loss, Grief, and What’s Next

Greetings UWCEA Community,

In grief we learn a lot about what we value and what is important in our lives. Over the past few months we have all experienced some type of loss including losing the ability to end the school year in the company of our friends, participating in special ceremonies/rituals, and even the loss of special people in our lives. Depending on the loss, we may enter a period of grief, which involves experiencing intense emotions and feeling a loss of control in our lives. This is normal but, as the quote above states, we can heal. However, there is work that needs to occur in order to allow this to happen in a healthy way. Last week, we focused on “letting go” and it is not easy to do this when we are experiencing grief. As many of us experienced earlier this school year, grief can take hold of a whole community. However, through time, and work on better understanding the grief cycle and
developing coping strategies, we learn how to heal ourselves. It is not easy, but it is worth it in this thing called life. (Yes, Prince again, because music is also a way of working through our challenging emotions.)

In order to help everyone remember the stages of grief, and revisit how they play out in our lives when we have experienced a significant loss, we invite you to view the image below. The way we travel through the grief cycle is not consistent and can be impacted by additional losses or challenges we face while trying to grieve properly. In addition, if we do not work to heal ourselves while grieving, we find that the emotions can become overwhelming. Even when we are able to reach the stage of Acceptance, we may be surprised that the anger or deep sadness may arise again at unexpected times. This is healthy if we learn to recognize it and embrace what we feel in that moment. To learn more, please view the image below and read the information on the stages of grief on this link.

There are additional resources about dealing with grief during this time that can be found in the updated COVID-19 Counselor Resources document.

Part of the issue that people face with grief is feeling like they did not have a chance to say goodbye or show someone how much they appreciated them. This is why it is so important that we are continually finding ways to express gratitude to people in our lives on a daily basis. Not in a fake or disingenuous way, but in an authentic, in the moment, and sincere manner. Last month this message was reinforced at the Primary School Gathering when Mr. Morley charged our students (and staff) with creating an “Attitude of Gratitude.” Each week, staff are encouraged to send a “Shout Out” to someone who has done something that you are thankful for, no matter how small that act may seem. This is to create a habit of expressing gratitude, but also because when we let someone know that we appreciate them it reinforces their value and your faith in humanity. It takes work to make it a habit,
because in life it is too easy to become busy and forget to say those keywords that can make a huge difference in someone else’s day/life. As we were finalizing this week’s newsletter, the recent blog from Dr. Marc Brackett came through with a perfect message on re-thinking gratitude that perfectly complemented this idea. Please read Dr. Brackett’s blog on gratitude via this link and discuss among your friends and family what you are grateful for even amid this pandemic.

One way to work on being more grateful is to practice mindfulness, which is a process of centering and grounding yourself especially when dealing with tough situations and emotions. We have shared a number of resources over the past month regarding mindfulness and will continue to do so as we collaborate with our resident specialist, Ms. Marissa Lipovsky, to build a culture of wellbeing within our community. One of the most basic activities of mindfulness is focusing on your breathing. Although this sounds simple, in a situation where emotions are heightened and your flight/flight/freeze reaction takes hold of you, it is difficult to remember to take a breath in order to respond to the situation appropriately. Please continue to explore the benefits of mindfulness beyond this month and pandemic and enjoy a healthy breath every once in a while. As you take a moment to watch this video about how we encourage you to breathe, you can learn more about the technique highlighted on this link.

It is wonderful to continue seeing the ways our students and community are being creative and using innovation during this time of uncertainty. It is amazing to see how people make the most of their circumstances, and build their grit and growth mindset while others find this to be a very unsettling situation.

 

This past week we enjoyed the stellar Moshi’s Got Talent Show and appreciated all of the time and effort put into those performances. This is the time to try something different, or expand a talent you currently possess. Step out and be bold in this time of uncertainty. You may discover a new talent that may lead to an exciting new path in your life.

D1 students are finding creative ways to express themselves and share their journeys through the pandemic. The fourth edition of the UWCEA Student Magazine highlighted a variety of experiences that our students have faced recently, and some of their aspirations looking forward. As always, the Random Acts of Kindness show did not disappoint, and even added another voice to encourage and uplift us as we continue to persevere. Random Acts of Kindness Show Episode 3: A Special Beginning.

Take a deep breath, find something to be grateful for, and make the most of your day. Enjoy the gift of being present, it is well worth it!

Stay well and stay positive,

Your UWCEA Wellbeing Committee

P.S. As Mental Health Awareness Month in the US comes to a close, we continue to ask you to be mindful of the various mental illness concerns that are faced by people throughout the world. This pandemic has created an increased need for mental health professionals, and as a community it is essential that we remain aware and supportive of those who many times suffer in silence. Here is a video that was shown to the D1 classes about mental illness by those who strive to live a healthy life in spite of their diagnosis. Please continue to learn more about mental health and work to maintain your own as you find ways to help others who struggle in ways that most people don’t see.
#BeKindtoYourMind