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Counselor's Corner: A Positive and Healthful Summer

Dear parents,

I write you here with our last weekly parent wellness letter for the semester. In reflecting back on the semester, I am amazed at all that has happened in our world. As has been mentioned previously, it is worth emphasizing just how well you all have handled the challenges presented! It has not been easy, and you have shown tremendous resolve and resilience. Bravo!

As we look ahead to the summer months, I wanted to take a moment to offer some guidance on structuring a positive and healthful summer -- for your child and for you! -- understanding that we will continue to be navigating impediments presented by the coronavirus.

I appreciate this article, which I will summarize and elaborate upon briefly, because of its simplicity. That’s the key, in my opinion: keep it simple. Intentionally dedicate yourself to some basic principles -- this “universal prescription” -- in guiding each day:

  1. Move. Get out and exercise every day. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week for adults and about 60 minutes for 6 to 17-year-olds. Go for walks. Run. Exercise. Swim. Bike. It makes a difference.

  2. Nourish. Be sure to eat healthy meals. Involve the family in planning and preparation. Given that so many of us are living a more sedentary lifestyle, more closely watching what we eat will keep us feeling well.

  3. Connect. Carve out time each day to communicate with others, especially those outside of your home. Zoom. Text. Phone. If you are in a part of the world where you can abide by social distancing expectations and go for a walk with others, then do so!

  4. Be. Make sure that you are putting time aside for agenda-less, unstructured, free time. Our brains and bodies need time for processing and relaxing, especially now during this time of heightened stress and anxiety. Binge-watch a show. Play video games. It is okay!

I want briefly to build upon this last point in a different way. I don’t know about you, but more now than ever, my newsfeed seems full of self-help advice, productivity hacks, and other tips on how to “get ahead” and even “re-invent yourself” during the COVID-19 shut-down. These suggestions are replete with college courses, self-help webinars, training and certification programs, and a host of hobbies and skills you can learn. Resist the hype! You do not need to do any of these things… and nor do your children. It is far more important to recharge and heal than it is to trudge ahead or to add those stressors to your life. In fact, one thing that we would encourage is to recognize this period of time as an opportunity that you may never have again to forge a stronger relationship with your child. As such, consider this piece providing 20 questions to engage with your teen. When this is all over, you will be far more appreciative of a stronger connection with your child than any of the rest of it.

Be well. Stay safe!

Jeff, Katelyn, Paula, Mary, and Eileen

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