Tips For Easing Back To School

Here we go again. 

Another school year is about to begin (well here in Ontario that is). 

Another school year in the midst of a Pandemic and now kids and parents are once again facing those same fears, stressors, uncertainties and anxieties they did at the start of the last school year (but maybe a bit wiser).

Parents are worried about their children’s health and if they will be safe in class or how long it will be until they receive that email from their school board letting them know that schools are shutting down ONCE AGAIN.

And many, MANY kids are feeling those same worries as well which is making the transition back into the classroom this year even more trying on their mental health and wellness.

Here are some tips that I wanted to share with you on how to try and make this year’s transition a little bit easier.

Get back into a routine, especially with your older kids. 

But give them time to adjust.

Change can be very scary.

Help them lay out their clothing, knapsacks ready and lunches made all the night before if possible. The less chaos there is in the morning the better. 

Check in with your child(ren) regularly. Daily, if not more. Ask them questions. Listen intently.

Let them know that what they are feeling is okay and that you are there for them. 

It’s been a very LONG time since many children have even seen the inside of a classroom or a school yard.

Let them know that it’s okay to feel scared and nervous.

Reassure them that they are not alone. 

The unknown of what’s to come can sometimes be the hardest.

None of us truly know for certain what is going to happen this coming school year.

Promise them though that you will get through this together. 

Focus on what is in their control right now.

Watch out for any sudden changes in their behaviour.

And lastly, if your child is dealing with any type of mental health issues, communicate this to their teachers or caregivers right away.

Working together from the start will help to ensure that your child’s needs are met and that their feelings are always validated and hopefully it will ease whatever bumps in the road that may lie ahead feel a bit less scary for everyone. 

Wishing all the teachers, caregivers, administrators, parents and students a safe and successful year ahead.

#backtoschool #mentalwellness #transition #change #herewegoagain #fuckyoucovid #mentalhealth #suicideawareness #communicationiskey #youarenotalone #youareenough #ouryouthmatter #childrensmentalhealth

Good Mental Health is a Balancing Act

I’m overwhelmed. 

No I’m like freaking beyond overwhelmed right now. 

I’ve reached my tipping point and I’m finding it real challenging to keep my balance in check.

Good mental health is a balancing act. 

It takes a lot of trial and error. 

I know my weaknesses.

I know my limitations.

I know what makes me happy. 

I struggle to accept help from others.

I struggle to set boundaries. 

I struggle to say no.

I’m overwhelmed.

No I’m like freaking beyond overwhelmed right now. 

I’ve reached my tipping point and I’m finding it real challenging to keep my balance in check.

Balancing one’s mental health is “learning to find a way to do the things we have to do and the things we want to do without changing the hours in the day.”

I can’t find my balance right now. I’m tired.

I’m feeling hopeless.

Quick to anger.

Anxious.

Guilt.

Sadness. 

I’m an organizer, a fixer, a multi-tasker. 

But I can’t concentrate.

My brain is scattered.

I can’t complete a simple task.

I’m overwhelmed. 

No I’m like freaking beyond overwhelmed right now. 

I’ve reached my tipping point and I’m finding it real challenging to keep my balance in check.

Good mental health is a balancing act. 

It’s not something that can be achieved in a day.

My mental health depends on it and so does my mental wellness.

I’m deserving of both. So are you. 

But it may take a lot of trial and error in order to get there. 

How do you balance your mental health and wellness?

#mentalhealth #mondaymotivation #mentalwellness #depression #anxiety #balancingact #overwhelm #vulnerability #itsoktonotbeok #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #selfcare #hopelessness #suicideprevention #blogger #trialanderror

Focus on the Road Ahead

I took this picture of Maggie yesterday afternoon. 

All I focused on in that moment was capturing the perfect shot of her cuteness overload which I did, even if my pleas to her to smile pretty for the camera were ignored over and over again.

I couldn’t wait to share the pic with Rich and the kids in our private family group on Snapchat. 

But later that evening something other than Maggie’s cuteness overload kept pulling me back to this picture.

I couldn’t put my finger on it right away but then suddenly it hit me.

Suddenly the picture took on a whole new, deeper meaning. 

Suddenly I saw past her cuteness overload. 

Suddenly I was fixated on a much bigger picture. 

Suddenly my mind shifted gears.

For much of my illness over the last seven years I have found myself focused on the past. 

I wish I could change a lot of things that happened to me in my past but I can’t, no one can.

At least though I have learned from my past.

So as I took a deeper, more meaningful look at the picture of Maggie as she stared mesmerized out the front window of my car I suddenly felt my presence in her place in that moment and that maybe my desperate unanswered pleas to get her to look at the camera and smile for mommy was by no means an accident.

Maybe she wasn’t actually ignoring my pleas at all but instead along with all that cuteness overload, deep down inside she was there to remind me in that moment just how desperately I too need to stay focused on the road ahead.  

My recovery depends on it.

There has to be a reason why the windshield is so big and the rearview mirror is so small? Right?

Afterall it’s not what you leave behind that truly matters, it’s where you’re journey is headed next that does. 

#stayfocusedontheroadahead #beinthemoment #adogspurpose #shesmorethanjustadog #infrontofyou #rearviewmirror #theroadahead #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #myjourney #blogger #author #advocate #snapchat #pictureperfect

Spiritual Healing

Tonight Rich and I participated in a spiritual healing service via Zoom with Rabbi Fryer Bodzin and some of her congregants from Beth Tzedec Congregation. The last time we participated in a service it was in person just 10 days prior to the lockdown in March.

We all long for some kind of connection in our life and many of us need that connection more than ever before but what we often forget is how important it is to make time to find that same connection within ourselves as well.

For the past few years I have been doing a lot of “soul searching” by trying to take a step back and re-examine my life in the hope of finding true and meaningful ways to replenish my soul and find strength in God.

Thank you Rabbi for giving of your time to allow for us to ask ourselves difficult questions and to find some strength, continuation and renewal within our soul.

#spiritualhealing #strength #connection #soulsearching #youareenough #forgiveness

Wishful Thinking- The Long And Winding Road To Menopause

***I wonder how many men will read this!***


Seriously, like what the f*ck? I figured I was well on my way, just minding my own business, no complaints and thinking “Wow, what’s all the hype about cause this thing called Peri-Menopause ain’t so bad”, but then BAM, outta nowhere my so called “friend” stopped by for a very unwelcomed visit.

OK, so maybe it wasn’t completely outta nowhere but it’s been 6 months already since her last visit and it was probably more like wishful thinking on my part that we had parted ways for good!  But if I had to venture a more realistic guess as to why I haven’t seen nor heard from her in all these months, I figure she was just trying to keep to proper social distancing practices. 

But uninvited or not, I could feel her coming from miles away days before her arrival this week. It’s a feeling you never forget, and for anyone who ever questioned whether PMS (Pre-Menstral Syndrome) is real or not, I’m here to share with you that it is.

PMS does not affect all women in the same way and for many women, they may only experience some minor discomfort each month. For me though, long before I was ever diagnosed with Depression, I suffered with an array of emotional (and physical) symptoms before my “friend” would pay me a visit which is why I knew she was on her way again.

The physical side of PMS really sucks, but for me who already deals with so much emotional upset in my day to day life having the added emotional unrest makes it that much more difficult and often scary for me to handle. 

As I said at the start of my blog, I thought I was well on my way to an easy, almost flawless transition into Menopause even though I was still at least 6 months away from a true victory, but then again, I should have known better because although my hormones are ready, I knew I probably couldn’t escape that easily, that is, not without experiencing at least one hot flash along the way!

Feel free to share your journey.

#pms #menopause #thechange #perimenopause #postmenopause #moodswings #depression #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough 

Man Plans, And God Laughs

The other day I posted a blog titled “Socially Distanced Holiday Traditions” where I talked about how difficult the holidays have become for me over the last many years and how this year many of those social pressures, obligations and expectations that so often make it difficult for me to enjoy the holidays in the first place had been decided for me due to Covid-19. 

Sadly, it almost felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could actually take in the beauty of some of our holiday traditions this year without all the added anxiety from too many social pressures, obligations and expectations. 

I felt way more in control and much less guilty than in holidays past and I was also looking forward to spending some (socially distanced) quality time with other family too, even if it meant having to freeze our asses off in the crisp Fall-like weather in order to do so.

But none of that ended up happening because just hours after posting my blog the other morning, Jacob came home from work feeling sick for the second time in just over a week (after being perfectly fine only hours earlier). This time though he had many more flu-like symptoms than the last time. He complained of body aches, chills, a dry cough and he felt warm to the touch so off he went again for yet another Covid test and then we waited, and waited some more in anticipation of his results while he lay locked away (again), alone in his room in the basement for what felt like an eternity (I’m pretty sure though it felt even longer for Jacob).

It was hard to think positively (or to think of much else) knowing what the outcome could be and knowing just how shitty he felt (I lay awake that entire first night convincing myself that I too had Covid! #anxietysucks). It was the longest 48 hours ever but thankfully once again his results came back negative. 

The whole situation made me think of the Yiddish adage “Man Plans, and God Laughs” and just how much life is truly so unpredictable and how quickly unexpected changes can occur in your life; big or small (which is basically the journey I’ve been on for 6 years now!).

I had the best intentions and the best laid plans for the first time in many years when it came to a holiday celebration and as I mentioned above I was actually looking forward to a much less overwhelming Rosh Hashanah this year. In the end it may of still turned out to be another very overwhelming holiday while we waited for Jacob’s results but at least we got to enjoy some quiet family time together (with Jacob on Facetime) and lots of delicious festive food (I think Jacob is secretly starting to enjoy being waited on hand and foot 🙂 even if the first chance he got to be released from what’s beginning to feel like a dungeon he bolted for the nearest exit up the stairs and to the kitchen!).

#shanatova #roshhashanah #happynewyear #youareenough #manplansandgodlaughs #goawaycovid #familymatters #itsgonnabealongwinter #wearyourmask #washyourhands #togetherapart #secondwave #socialdistancing

A Fresh Coat of Paint

Rachel has been hard at work prepping her new classroom before the start of the Fall semester and her first term in University. It may not be the ideal situation or one that many of us would have chosen for our children but to quote the Schmuck himself (AKA: The President of The United States) “It is what it is!” 

So for now Rachel is trying to make the best of a pretty shitty situation by creating her own oasis in our living room and claiming it as her new workspace and art studio, starting by adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls. 

A fresh coat of paint can be beneficial to our mental wellness and can bring with it a calming effect and a sense of comfort and ease. Having a clean and orderly space, reducing the amount of clutter in it and being surrounded by bright, natural lighting can also become a healing sanctuary for our mental wellbeing. 

I’m just not so sure that Maggie is thrilled with Rachel trying to take over her favorite spot in the house where she sits on her throne and keeps a close watch on the goings on outside but that’s for the two of them to work out! 

#interiordesign  #ryersonuniversity #nextchapter #classof2024 #onlinelearning #onlineclassroom #afreshcoatofpaint #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #youareenough #childandyouthmentalhealth #mindfulness #makingthebestofashittysituation

Concentration

I’m tired, actually let me rephrase that; I’m exhausted. I feel like I could sleep for days right now and my eyes are burning (well maybe that’s from my allergies!). I have trouble finishing a sentence or even finding the words to finish a sentence sometimes which could also be why I haven’t been able to write for several days. My level of concentration is at the bare minimum and I feel as though I have the attention span of a toddler. I not only have a difficult time putting together a full sentence without getting overwhelmed but I find that I am forgetting my thoughts while I’m in the middle of them. If I don’t write everything down right away, even the simplest or most mundane thoughts, you might as well just forget about it cuz I will for sure.

Focusing and concentrating on life has been incredibly difficult for me over the last many years, especially since I did ECT several years ago for my depression (which basically did nothing more than fry my brain), my ability to take in information and retain it has grown increasingly more impaired over time. I’ve always thrived on being able to multitask and was always up for any challenge but nowadays I need complete silence or next to no distraction to do most things anymore, including driving and watching TV. I find I need silence in order to talk my way through whatever task, activity or conversation I am involved in (even technologically) because otherwise there is a good chance I will miscomprehend it, misunderstand it, miss important information or stray far from the intended focus or destination.

I’m wrapping up my Initiative this weekend (for real this time) as the last bit of orders get delivered to me later today and once that is all said and done maybe as I refuel my tank I should start with a simple, mundane activity to help increase my ability to concentrate more; do you think concentrating on my tan could work?