January’s character education theme was compassion, so it was very meaningful to end the month with Mental Health Awareness Week. The stressors of school and an overwhelming schedule can put pressure on mental health so it is important to have a community that provides a support system on which to lean. Students are learning to recognize signs of stress and anxiety in themselves and others. They are given tools to start meaningful, supportive conversations to build a sense of self and resilience to help manage life’s highs and lows.
Many activities took place at Crestwood this week for Mental Health and Awareness week. Starting on Monday, students and teachers took the opportunity to de-stress, relax and embrace their creativity during an Art Mindfulness session. The goal of the session was for students to recognize how they are feeling through mindfulness and express those feelings with colours on paper.
Unfortunately, due to the snowstorm on Tuesday, we had to cancel our Jack Talk that was scheduled for the whole school. This talk focused on Mental Health Awareness, ending stigma, identifying warning signs, and methods and resources for helping those in need of support. A rescheduled date will be announced as soon as it has been booked.
On Wednesday we had three very friendly dogs join our CPC family during both lunch hours. Students were able to spend time socializing and relaxing with our furry friends and their other peers. The overall mental health benefits of this activity include lifting spirits and lessening depression, providing comfort, increasing socialization, and reducing anxieties and loneliness. Our students certainly took advantage of this by spending an hour with Babe, Butler, and Tessa!
On Thursday morning the Mental Health Committee made nutritional smoothies for CPC students before school started. Loving yourself, or self-compassion, is so important to one’s mental health. There is nothing better for one’s state of mind than a healthy breakfast to start off your day.
There are a few things that are important for all of us to recognize, not only during Mental Health Week, but throughout our daily lives. It is important to be able to recognize within yourself when you are stressed or struggling, without becoming judgmental or over-reactive. In addition, always be compassionate, supportive and understanding towards others when they are experiencing a difficult time. Ultimately, remember that everyone makes mistakes and experiences difficulties at some points in their lives. We are never alone!