The last weeks of school before summer break are often emotionally charged for everyone! Students, teachers, and parents alike are processing the growth and challenges of the whole school year, as well as mentally preparing for the great shift into summer mode. For many, it’s a mix of complex feelings–excitement about upcoming plans, dread of isolation or boredom, gratitude for friends, sadness around goodbyes, uncertainty about the immediate future, pride of accomplishment, and myriad more. For some, who appreciate and need the structure and security of school, the idea of impending summertime can create a lot of anxiety. All of us can benefit from having some calming-down strategies in mind to manage all these big emotions!
Here you will find a few resources dedicated to calming down and changing brain states, to inspire further exploration into personal peace-bringing.
Check out Stop, Breathe and Think for some practice with mindfulness. The website and mobile app (android/iOS) invite the participant to do a guided self check-in. The site suggests some curated meditations based on the answers to the check-in, or offers a meditation timer for self-guided practice. The site is easy to use and…well, not at all stressful!
Calm.com is perhaps the most aptly named website ever encountered by this writer. It continuously displays beautiful audio/video images of the calmest, most soothing scenes and sounds most people can dream up. Visitors can choose to simply watch and browse different images, or participate in a guided or open timed meditation. There are also android and iOS apps for it. Lovely, really.
For a brain break/state change, head over to Incredibox. The web-based app invites participants to create layered beatbox audio loops by pointing, clicking and dragging different voices and effects into place. It is mesmerizing, surprisingly complex, and fun–the perfect way to help restore balance between left and right brains, especially when the left has been in overdrive.
Sometimes a whole group or class can benefit from a state change–a chance to move, interact, and switch up the emotional state. Well-chosen and debriefed team-building activities can serve to release tension and foster connectedness. peacefirst, a national non-profit dedicated to helping young people grow into peaceful leaders, offers a beautifully searchable Digital Activity Center. Populated with hundreds of different activities, the Digital Activity Center allows a search to be tailored to the age of the group, the desired theme, the type of activity, and/or the skill focus. Each activity includes materials lists, handouts and excellent debrief questions.
Of course, if you’re not near a computer or don’t have your smartphone handy, there is the old tried-and-true belly breathing–no technology required. Here is a 2.5 minute reminder about the simple de-monstering merits of belly breathing with Common and Colbie Caillat…also Elmo.
Hang in there for this last week, amazing AISD teachers and students…we are #AISDproud of all of you!
(Thanks to the SEL team for contributing resources and ideas for this post!)