Coronavirus survival kit



Mindfulness is also Yorkshire Grit. With that in mind, Mrs Lay put together a fantastic Coronavirus survival kit. During this time of uncertainty it is very easy to become stressed and anxious especially if we are isolated or even ill. There are lots of different ways to help ourselves and others to get through this, from simple health advice to mindfulness, which can restore our well-being.

Coronavirus Survival Kit - Isolation



For many of us this is the first time that we have experienced an enforced isolation. We are used to the freedom of going out, having fun, meeting others and being in control of our day. Under isolation we are forced to spend long periods of time at home. This can have an effect on our mental health. For some, loneliness can trigger depression or anxiety. The lack of routine and connection with others can affect even the most positive of people. It is natural to worry about family members and be fearful of the uncertainty of what will happen. Making good choices and keeping our lives balanced is key to getting the most out of our time in isolation or help you to manage if you are feeling ill. All of the following suggestions are about self-care, looking after yourself and others.

What can you do if you are in isolation?

  • Keeping some sort of routine is essential. The temptation to stay in bed, spend hours on social media or playing online games till late can seriously affect our mental health. We know that many games have been designed to draw players in and keep you engaged for a long time. What we recommend is some structure to your day. Choose when you work, eat, sleep and play. Also, keeping a healthy diet with plenty of water will help our mental and physical health. A life which is unbalanced could leave us vulnerable.
  • Do something new. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone and doing something new works wonders for your brain. It can spark happy hormones which can break the monotony of staying inside. Do some cooking (if allowed!) or take up photography. Achieving something everyday boosts our self esteem and increases our happiness. Also, don’t allow school work to pile up until it becomes unmanageable…sometimes starting is the hardest part but you will feel so much.
  • Do something for someone else. Research shows that we can feel happy if we do something to help someone else. Perhaps you can help your parents as they may be feeling stressed and worried. It could be something simple like offering to make them a drink or spending time together. The little things like this matter and make a difference. Plus, the effects of a positive action often leads to a positive return!
  • Go for a walk in nature. Research shows that just 15 minutes spent in nature can significantly improve our state of mind. Even if this is spent in the garden, you can focus on the beauty of plants and trees and feel energised from the fresh air. This can give you a sense of peace.
  • Get creative! Research shows that being creative in some way can really stimulate your brain. Simple mindfulness colouring, art and craft can calm your brain and relax your body. You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy art. Use this opportunity to do the things you never have time for, e.g. practise your musical instrument or write a song, make a model of your favourite car or make a collage of pictures and words. There are lots of ideas online (e.g. here and here).
  • Fill your mind with positive entertainment! We have so much choice on tv, youtube and netflix. Sometimes it’s fun to binge watch your favourite programmes, providing it doesn’t dominate your whole week. Choosing what you watch and listen to is very important. Watching crime or horror could encourage anxious thoughts. It’s very hard to detach our emotions from what we choose to fill our minds with. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a variety of programmes and music to listen to. Choose comedy, documentaries to extend your own learning, calming music as well as energetic songs. Don’t forget, this is a perfect time to read a good book too!
  • Connect with others  – using facetime, skype, phone or email etc in a positive way can help. Connecting with others is an important part of life for everyone. Disconnecting from other people (family of friends) could lead to unhealthy negative feelings which are hard to change. Remember – everyone else is suffering too. Think about how nice it would be to brighten up someone else’s day? Helping each other at this time is more important than ever before. Not everyone will be happy to be at home. Some may have to help parents or look after siblings. Everyone deserves to have a sense of belonging and this is an ideal chance to build friendships rather than knock them down. Remember, be the friend you would want someone to be for you. Don’t leave anyone out or use social media to spread hate. So, no cruel words allowed! If you see it, report it!
  • Mindfulness techniques – just like in the Yorkshire Grit Mindfulness programme we provide in school, practise the art of focusing on the moment and choosing positive thoughts to help ourselves to become more resilient (stronger) when we face life’s challenges.

Coronavirus surival kit - mindfulness techniques



Mindfulness is simply changing your focus to the present. We cannot change what has happened, what is happening around us or what will happen in the future. We know that worrying doesn’t help. In fact worrying actually stops us from living productively. It is important to acknowledge our feelings as there is no point trying to hide how we truly feel. In mindfulness we teach the importance of being honest with ourselves. The following mindfulness activities will help you to refocus on the positive things in life.

Mindfulness activities

  • Being thankful. It sounds so simple but this is probably the most effective technique there is to help us regain our focus. It is so easy to focus on the negative and simply ignore the good. All you need to do is to think of 3 things that you are thankful for. It could be a person, pet, something good about your day, something good about you or even something as simple as a nice song you heard on the radio. Do this as often as you can. You know it’s working when you find yourself actively looking for something good during the day!
  • Deep breathing. When we are anxious or scared we often breathe very shallow (our bodies are equipped to panic in the face of danger). However, we can calm our anxious brain by taking a deep breath. Place a hand on your abdomen and breath deeply in through your nose, filling your lungs from the bottom up so that your hand lifts on your stomach or abdomen. Hold the breath in for 2 seconds, and then slowly release it all the way out. Breathe normally but focus on your breathing. Notice how it feels. This will help you to feel grounded.
  • Listening. Often we are so busy we forget to stop and listen. By doing this we can choose to listen to sounds near or far. This is a great idea when going on a walk or sitting quietly in the garden. In the classroom at school we listen to koshi bells. Here’s a recording on Youtube of Koshi bells and the ocean to help you to feel calm.
  • Looking. Similar to listening, we forget to notice the world around us. It is easy to live inside our heads, which is never a good idea because negative thoughts can dominate our thinking. Instead, distract yourself from worries by choosing to look at the colours and textures around you. Look into the distance and look right in front of you. Just two minutes of this can help you feel in control.
  • Observe your thoughts. All of us have an internal dialogue but sometimes we engage with this so much that it can change how we feel or how we behave. Take notice what your inner voice tells you – is it helpful or is it making you feel low? We don’t have to listen to this voice. This is not the truth but our own fears. Don’t allow it to stop you reaching out to others etc. Remember, thoughts are not real. We can choose to ignore them. This is most important when you are trying to get to sleep at night.
  • Write a diary. Research shows that writing a diary can be very helpful. It can help us to offload our worries and to help us find solutions. If you are concerned that other people might read it, write in some sort of code or destroy the diary after you have finished it.
  • Keep active. Research shows that exercise (whether walking, running or sport) can greatly improve your mood AND improve your immune system. Even if you don’t feel like doing any exercise, once you get going often the motivation will kick in. This is probably the most effective method to help with sadness and depression (even doctors prescribe it!)
  • Mindfulness meditations. This can be a simple bodyscan to help you relax all of your muscles from your head down to your toes. You can also access online meditations to help with anxiety, worry, sleep problems etc. (we will start adding links soon).

Coronavirus survival kit - I need help!



If you are struggling in any way, talking or sharing your worries is very helpful. We should never be afraid to open up. Emotions are our body’s way of telling you that you are not okay. Just as Jessie J sings in one of her songs: ‘It is okay not to  feel okay.’ Talking to family and friends is the best choice. However, if that isn’t an option for you there are websites especially designed for students and young people. They can offer guidance or even one to one support. Our school promotes the service offered by ‘Compass Buzz’ which provides confidential support.

Other helpful Websites:

Young Minds

Childline

Websites to help you with meditation

Meditation for Teenagers Stress & Anxiety – Guided Meditation for Teens

Guided Meditation for Teenagers | YOUR SAFE PLACE | Kids Meditation for Sleep & Relaxation

13 Minutes Body Scan Meditation For Teens and Adults/ Mindfulness For Children

Ocean Escape (with music): Walk Along the Beach Guided Meditation and Visualization

5-Minute Meditation You Can Do Anywhere

Meditation for Teenage (1 of 2} MAGICAL Journey

Meditation for Kids | Guided Meditation for Anxiety & Worry

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