Taking care of one’s self is important too – Episode 31

MetroWest ES teachers take a few moments to meditate.

Give yourself permission to pause.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world as we knew it and especially in the way people interact with one another. During the worldwide lockdown, extroverts struggled psychologically, while introverts said they were in their happy place.

Introvert memes read: “I’ve been practicing for a pandemic my entire life” and “Introverts: flattening the curve since forever,” (amongst others) to poke fun of themselves and extroverts’ sudden interest in “what they do for fun.” While they provided entertainment on social media feeds, it wasn’t overly funny for those extroverts who craved human interaction.

However, a positive from pandemic life may be that people now realize the importance of self-care. The forced pause has helped people understand that life can be overwhelming and it’s healthy to do yoga, meditate, journal or read a daily devotional. Science has long shown the benefits of these types of activities on one’s physical and mental health.

One of the six objectives in OCPS’ 2025 Strategic Plan is Student Social and Emotional Well-Being. With that in mind schools throughout the district are creating spaces, like Zen Dens with lower light settings, relaxing music and aromatherapy, to help faculty and staff improve their well-being. You know, “you have to practice what you preach.”

MetroWest Elementary not only has a Zen Den, but they also have various self-care activities each Friday. Teachers are loving it.

Additionally, the Student Services Psychological teams created a self-care course. They originally designed and conducted this as face-to-face training, but have since adapted to a self-paced Canvas course, “Self Care and Resiliency Strategies for Educators,” OCPS employees can access.

Here’s a snapshot of MetroWest’s Zen Den

Now – don’t over consume the news and instead go take care of yourself.

Book recommendations

Practicing Mindfulness by Matthew Sockolov

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

The little book of self-care by Adams Media

ABOUT THE GUESTS – (This episode was recorded Dec. 9, 2020)

Lisa Coffey headshot

Lisa Coffey worked as a school psychologist for 21 years and worked in student services administration for the last six years. She became the Director for Social Services this year. She is a proud graduate of the University of Florida for her Bachelor’s degree and the University of South Florida for her Master’s degree. Self-care and supporting others during difficult times has been an area of focus for her.  She works with the National Association of School Psychologists on the School Safety and Crisis Response Committee.  

Christine Ventura headshot

Christine Ventura is a School Social Worker at MetroWest Elementary School. This is her second year. She is a graduate of Metropolitan University Bayamon Puerto Rico. Christine is a self-professed social person who loves hugs and being close to people. When the pandemic started it was hard for her and she started feeling depressed. She knew she needed to take care of herself and she started meditating and taking time for herself. She had never done that before and now she says she cannot live without it.

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