Wednesday, 25 March 2020
Dear Teachers and Staff,
We are aware that you will be inundated with advice and guidance at this current time and, whilst we do not want to add to your workload or inundate you with more things to think about and do, we thought it might be helpful to offer you a few tips on ways you might support the emotional well being of your pupils, staff and their families at this extraordinary time.
Anxiety and Uncertainty:
With all the changes and uncertainty happening around us, levels of anxiety are going to be high. Here’s what we would recommend:
Change and Loss:
All of us have had to adapt to considerable change in a very short space of time and change very often comes with a sense of loss. Children may not be able to see grandparents or friends that they love, they may not be able to play out or go on the holiday they were so looking forward to. For us adults, as well as so many practical losses that we have to confront, the loss of being in control is a significant aspect that we also have to come to terms with during this time.
Any experience of loss takes time to process; it is not a one-off feeling that we experience and move on from. The grief cycle involves complex feelings including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It is not a linear trajectory of feeling, and we can go in and out of all of these feelings at different times. Knowing that some of these feelings might occur, indeed that they are normal, allows us to prepare, emotionally, for their potential arrival. In this way we are less likely to be ‘blind-sided’ and overwhelmed by a tumult of potentially strong and unfamiliar emotions.
As ever, having somebody safe who is able to simply hear our emotions and acknowledge them for us, is fundamental to helping us stay emotionally well at this time. None of us can ‘fix’ this at the moment, but we can hear how it feels and there is great healing power in just being heard.
With so much change and turmoil occurring, it can feel like we are in emotional free fall. The best anti-dote to this feeling of helplessness is to practice ‘grounding’. This involves mindfully ‘feeling’ the security of our physical bodies in the world, whilst practising a positive mind-set.
Mindful grounding is similar to the ‘Calm Time’ experience we practice in the Kipsy stories. It involves focussing on the physical sensation of having our bodies centred in the physical world. Children (and adults) can be encouraged to do this in the following way:
These are unprecedented times and there is so much that is unknown for all of us. We hope that these few tips will help you and the children in your care to feel more emotionally in control over the next few weeks and months. Self-care is also very important, and often the thing we neglect the most when we are caring for others. Please do try to rest and unwind when you can, and allow yourself the space to acknowledge your own fears and emotions as you guide yourself and others through this highly uncertain and turbulent time.
We wish you all well over the coming weeks and months, and look forward to the day when we can join you, your lovely staff and children once again.
With best wishes,
The Making Me Team