Clean Your Mind Clear The Clutter

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Cleaning our minds from the clutter can help us on our journey to deeper thinking. A beautiful walk in the morning can do just that. I walk almost every day during the school year with @ehordyskiluong. We share ideas,  get inspired, and think about innovative and creative ideas. We vent if we need to  (not often). Talk about our families, but mostly we clear our minds of the clutter so we can begin each new day fresh.

As we enter this six weeks of #IMMOOC , I am sure we will discuss all the new things we are learning on our walks. We will refresh some of our old ideas like Walking Talking Counselling.

We have discussed getting treadmills in our counselling offices and allowing those students who are interested to walk , problem solve and share and grow with us. We are interested in what you think. We would love you to share your ideas , thoughts , and possible resources.

Another way to clear the clutter is to build in a lunch time for yourself. I recommend to all new counsellors that I supervise to get out of their office for lunch, leave their phone behind and clear the mind so they are ready to go for the afternoon. Self care is a necessity in our profession.

Our minds when in a relaxed state says Daniel Goleman are ready for optimal performance that is why many times throughout the year Erin and I also start our day with 10 minutes of headspace which is an amazing way to clear the mind.

Wishing you all in #IMMOOC some amazing connections, new ideas and ways to help your students, but don’t forget about you. Clear the mind. Clean the clutter and have fun along the way.

Here is the link  and questions to think about for week 1.

 

A School Counsellors Mindset

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We are School Counsellors

  1. We chose this profession. It is the best profession ever. All professions have struggles. Focus on the positive. Work towards making things better by being an advocate for other School Counsellors. Join your professional organization, have a voice on twitter and /or write a blog celebrating all the amazing things that happen in our profession.
  2. Self care is so important to what we do. We can’t help others if we don’t help ourselves.
  3. Embrace your professionalism. You were trained well. Be ethical. Consult, consult consult.
  4. Model a positive attitude towards work each and everyday.Your students will notice and feel it when you set the tone in your school and in your offices.
  5. Be a good digital citizen. Be authentic , but if you need to vent do so privately and  with colleagues in counselling who understand. Never vent online.
  6. Connecting and collaborating makes us better at what we do.  Collaboration has made me better at what I do. It actually makes the work I do easier. Share , connect and collaborate. It will make you a better professional.
  7. Passion and purpose help our students. If we wake up with the mindset that we have an awesome responsibility to help others today knowing that each and everyday we have an opportunity to make a difference. We don’t always see the fruits of our labour , but that’s ok because we know that the small things we do can have a huge impact.
  8. You are you. Be the best version of yourself. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to any other School Counsellor. Continually focus on professionally developing yourself so that you impact students in a positive way.
  9. Live every day One Day At a Time. Easy to say , not easy to do. Focus all of your energies on making this the best day ever. Just for today I will … laugh.
  10. Maintain gratitude for the work that we do. Being grateful for what we do rather than focusing on the things that we are not happy about is always a great state of mind. We chose this profession. I am grateful everyday that I did.

 

How do you thank someone? … You can too …

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Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. It is hard to believe three years has passed since ETMOOC. I personally have learned so much in the last three years thanks to my ETMOOC PLN and especially Alec Couros. How do you thank someone who has made such a difference ? For us in ETMOOC it was by helping to create something that will hopefully make a difference for Alec, his family as well as future educators.

According to Harvard Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy people judge you on two criteria when they first meet you .

  1. Can I trust this person?
  2. Can I respect this person?

Alec Couros  @courosa has earned the  trust and respect of so many , but especially those of us in ETMOOC and as a result we wanted to do something special for him. Thus the Mario Couros Memorial Bursary .

Please take time to read the criteria below and if you feel like you too want to thank Alec by contributing to an award that honours him and his dad who meant the world to him, then please do so. Several of us plan to work hard this year to promote and get others to contribute to this award and we hope YOU will join us.

About the award :

The Mario Couros Memorial Bursary will help newcomers to Canada in reaching their dream of being one of tomorrow’s educators by providing financial assistance to pursue their Education Degree at the University of Regina. Mario came to Canada from Greece on December 14th 1957. He lived, worked and raised his family in Saskatchewan. He wanted to make a life and a difference for his family. Mario was a volunteer, a caring supportive father, grandfather, a loving husband and an extremely hard working man. He was a great role model for his children and others as he continued to be a lifelong learner with a fabulous work ethic until his passing. This award is dedicated in his memory.

It is also a tribute to his son Dr. Alec Couros who continues his father’ s legacy by inspiring and encouraging others to pursue their educational aspirations and follow a path to life-long learning.

The bursary will make a meaningful impact by breaking down the financial barriers to higher education and encouraging outstanding academic achievement. By contributing to this bursary you will enable Education students to focus on what matters most : their education.

The goal is to raise $ 25.000 to create an endowment that will allow for a permanent bursary at the University of Regina ‘s Faculty of Education. Your contribution to the Mario Couros Memorial Bursary will live on in perpetuity in memory and honour of Mario’s legacy. 

To donate online:

  1.                    Go to http://www.uregina.ca/giving
  2.                    Click the Donate Now button on the right side
  3.                    Click the In Honour/In Memory button

Enter your donation information and click add to gift basket.

Please ensure you enter Mario Couros under the second tab and continue to payment

If you would like any assistance with contributing please contact Erin Werner at 1-306-585-5432 or erin.werner@uregina.ca .  Those from other countries may wish to do so if they have difficulty contributing.  If you need a paper copy just email her.

You too can help !  Consider letting other educators know they can contribute to this important fund. Each contribution can and will make a difference. Alec has 99.5k followers . If each person following @courosa donated $ 1.00 we would have more than we need to keep this fund alive and help young people who want to be educators.

A very special thank you to all those in ETMOOC that have volunteered to promote this fund and all those who have already committed to contributing. I am so grateful for you . Kindness flows in ETMOOC ‘ers

I look forward to many more years of connecting , growing and learning with all of you. I think my heart is bigger today because of all of you.

Have you or someone you know been impacted by @courosa or @gcouros ?  You may want to really consider contributing. This post yesterday by @gcouros on “Has twitter changed our view?”  is very thoughtful and thought provoking. Twitter has most certainly changed mine for the positive. #lifechanging #friendshipsIneverwouldhaveimagined #grateful

REMINDER:
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE ! Truly think about donating, even if only a small amount and pass this on to someone who you think would contribute. TOGETHER we are better!

Please consider blogging about this award and sharing on twitter , facebook and google plus . YOU too can help to make a difference. Thanking you in advance. There truly are so many good people in the world and if you have taken time to read this blog post to the end and contribute. I know you are one of them.

Please let us know you have contributed by either DM ing me at @sspellmancann or by posting in the comments section so we can acknowledge YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coping Skills Just 4 You for Teens Ideas from A-Z

When it comes to coping it really does matter what you have to cope with: Check out my haiku deck on coping skills here: How You Cope depends On What You Have To Cope With. Understanding how stress impacts you can help you cope. Below you will find some strategies that may help you . Use the strategies that work best for you.

ABC’s Coping Skills for Teens:

A: Attitude: Your attitude matters.

Allow yourself extra time to get up in the morning and get to places. Being 15 to 20 minutes early can reduce your stress level.

Allow 10-15 minutes a day for YOU time. Time to wind down, time to reflect, time to let go of your worries,

B: Books : A book on the topic you are trying to cope with can help. Beliefs- what you think matters. Challenge your thoughts about the topic that stresses you.: Be positive! Books can be healing!

Be a person who can say NO and not feel guilty. It is OK to say no to things that are not healthy and things you really don’t want to do. It’s also ok to give yourself a break and say no to something.

Be a person who knows how to wait, read a book online or have a book with you that you can devour while you have to wait somewhere. It not only makes the time go faster, but it is a wonderful way to pass the time.

Breathe just Breathe

Brain: Your brain is amazing. Click here to find out what you should know about your brain.

C: Caring and compassion make a difference: Helping others helps you to focus on others, not on your own problems. Volunteer with other students with special needs. You will not only feel better , you will make a difference.

Care about yourself. Write a positive message to yourself on a mirror with an erasable marker. Write a positive note to yourself on a card and carry it around in your wallet.

D: Decide to reach out and ask for help if you need it. Reaching out is a strength not a weekness.Your School Counsellors are there to help.

E: Express your feelings . Feelings are neither write or wrong. It’s what you do with them that matters. If you hurt yourself or someone else then that needs to be changed. So write down your feelings.Tell someone how you feel. Draw your feelings in an Art journal. Find some great ideas for Art Journalling on pinterest.

Exercise is always helpful. You might only need to exercise 7 mins. each day. You can do it! Find an app that helps you exercise.

F: Focus on your strengths

Find great strategies. There are so many coping strategies. You need to find one that works. Brainstorm a list of 20 that work for YOU.

Failing Does Not Mean You Are A Failure

If YOU Have Never Failed You Have Never Lived

G: Give yourself a break. Try these brain breaks:

H: Hope . It is so important to maintain a hopeful perspective.

I : Invite others to help you : Kids Help Phone, another adult, find someone who can really help you.

J: Just be yourself.

K: Kindness is always a good thing . Do a Random Acts of Kindness for someone else today.

L: Listen to music . It soothes the soul.

M: Mindfulness matters. Focus on your breath. Here are some tips for teens.

N: Naming game : 54321 .   54321 Coping Technique and I would add an extra 1 One thing you are grateful for. 543211.

O: Open your mind to new ideas strategies.

Overcome Obstacles

Check out these tips for overcoming obstacles here

P: Positive self talk matters. make sure you are speakig to yourself the way you would speak to your best friend.

Q: Quite your mind. Be still!

R: Relax:

Remember there is more to you than…

S: Strategies : Sleep matters so take care of yours. Some tips here.

T: Toxic stress is not good for you. Get rid of it. Train your brain to go to a safe place. Your safe place might be a beach, a room that you like to go to. Your space is unique. Find one that works for you.

Trust: that your negative feelings will not last forever. Develop positive connections with people that heal and help not hurt and harm.

U: Understanding your coping skills matters.

V: Visualize what you want.

Virtual bubble wrap enjoy click here.

W: Watch a funny show to get your mind off all the serious stuff.

X: eXtra special. That’s the way you need to treat yourself. So start today.

Y: YOU MATTER . Remember this always.

Z: A-Z another list. Please share your coping skills and strategies Thanks for adding your ideas below.

Remember:

The Smallest Good Deed is Better Than The Grandest Good Intention

(Alateen) Children of Alcoholics … Soft Is The Heart of a Child

The following is the first in my series of resources and information on various topics for School Counsellors from A-Z.

1. What is Alateen?

Alateen is a group for children of alcoholics. Approximately 6.6 million children under the age of 18 in Canada live in a home with at least one alcoholic parent. So when discussing this with students you can assure them they are not alone, although to them it may feel like it. Children of alcoholics often hear the messages don’t talk, trust or feel. School Counsellors can help these young people change those messages. Here are two great videos about how Alateen can help.

One teens story:

I was so scared at home. I never knew if my dad would be drinking when I got home from school. Actually I never knew what to expect. Mom was always threatening to leave dad and all four of us (my brother and sisters) would often line up at the door to leave, but we never did. None of my teachers ever knew that there was alcoholism in my home. They often told me how lucky I was that I must have had great parents. I guess that was because I behaved so well in school, trying to be the perfect child so no one would find out my secret.

I was embarrassed and ashamed that my dad drank too much. I was also angry a lot (meaning almost every day) . I was angry with both my mom and my dad. Sometimes I was angrier with my non alcoholic mom because I did not understand why we stayed and put up with the drinking. I saw her reaction to his drinking and that had an impact on me.

Often times I would also throw my dad’s alcohol down the sink or hide it around the house so he could not find it. Little did I realize that doing that was just making me sick emotionally. I often felt irritable and unreasonable, but I never knew why. I was in denial about alcoholism being in my family.

Here is a journal entry I wrote in the first few weeks I decided reluctantly to go to Alateen, because I thought it was their problem, not my problem.

“ I wish I could work out my problems. I hope Alateen will help. Mom really doesn’t care about anyone but herself (at least that what she’s pretending to do). I think she needs me as much as I need her, but how do we solve this problem? I depend on mom and dad. I am not mature. I get mad at every little thing without wanting to. I hope Alateen will help with this too. I would try to help myself if I knew how. I remember thinking about killing myself, but I would never go through with it because I was too scared and I did not want to really.”

I’m so grateful I did not go through with harming myself because Alateen did work. Actually my whole family got help. I learned everything I could about how alcoholism affects families and things slowly, but surely got better and better. I recognize that alcoholism affects everyone in the family each to a different degree. Today, I look for the good in everyone and everything. I recognize that I don’t know where I would be today if it were not for Alateen. If you are a teen living with a parent who drinks too much Alateen can help. Reach out!!

There are young people we see in our offices with similar stories. Children of alcoholics often keep their parents drinking a secret, but teachers and School Counsellors can often spot that something is wrong and reach out to these students. Sometimes students show up in our offices sad and scared because mom or dad had been drinking on the weekend and they are feeling helpless and hopeless. Recommending Alateen can help. As School Counsellors we can identify these children using CAST Children of Alcoholics Screening Test.

CAST Children of Alcoholics Screening Test

You as a School Counsellor should not underestimate your ability to have a life long impact on children who are living with a loved one with an addiction. You may be the first person in this child’s life that they have felt safe enough to share what is happening . You may be the one to give them permission to share openly what they have been feeling and going through. This can be life changing.

Things children of alcoholics need to know:

  • They are not alone
  • Their parents drinking is NOT their fault. They did not cause it ,they cannot control it and they cannot cure it.
  • Alcoholism is an illness. You do not need to feel ashamed.
  • Alcoholics can and do recover.
  • There is hope and help for alcoholics and their family.
  • They can live a happy and productive life whether their parent is drinking or not.
  • They can be resilient.
  • They need to understand alcoholism. If their parent had diabetes they most likely would learn all they could about the disease.  They can learn and understand about alcoholism as well.
  • The only person they can change is themselves.
  • It is not a dishonour to their mom and dad to talk and tell the truth.
  • Reaching out takes courage and strength.
  • You as the School Counsellor are there for them.

Sentence Completions for Children of Alcoholics:

  1. As a child of an alcoholic I …
  2. I feel …
  3. I wish …
  4. I want my mom …
  5. I want my dad  …
  6. I wish …
  7. I plan to …
  8. I want to change …
  9. I need to learn to …
  10. It would help me if I …

RESOURCES:

Soft is the heart of a child . As a School Counsellor you can make a difference in the life of a child dealing with addictions . I am sure many of you already do. Please keep up the life saving work.

Please stay tuned for my next Counsellor Talk on Bullying.

Coping Skills for Adolescents

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Picture by Julia C

Coping Skills

  1. REACH OUT it is important to reach out to friends , family, and people you trust.
  2. REALIZE SMALL STEPS MATTER when you are trying to cope it all depends on what you have to cope with every small step you make towards being able to cope matters.
  3. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS if you are trying to cope with something serious the process to feel better could take a long time and you may require supports. Set realistic expectations of yourself.
  4. REMEMBER TO BREATHE breathing helps. You can learn breathing techniques that can assist you in life. Ask your School Counsellor to help you.
  5. REMEMBER TO NOURISH YOURSELF drink your water and eat things that make your brain work better.
  6. REVIEW YOUR SELF TALK what you say to yourself matters. Learn new ways of talking to yourself that are helpful and positive.
  7. RECREATION CAN HELP you may like to do Art , exercise or any other recreational activity like music that can heal and help you.
  8. REMIND yourself that there is hope and help. You can …
  9. REFLECT on what has worked in the past and what could work in the present and future.
  10. REACH OUT FURTHER you may need to see a School Counsellor or therapist. It is OK to seek help. For more serious concerns you may need a Psychiatrist or other helping professionals to work with you on a team. YOU MATTER,  so you need to know reaching out for as many supports as you need is a sign of strength.

A: Attitude: Your attitude matters

B: Books : Read a book on the topic you are trying to cope with can help.

Beliefs Challenge your thoughts about the topic: Be positive! Books can be healing!

C: Caring and compassion make a difference:  Helping others helps you to focus on others not on your problems. Random Acts of Kindness lead to greater happiness for you and others.

D: Decide that you need to take care of yourself.

E: Exercise is always helpful. You are able exercise 10-15  mins. each day. You can do it!

F: Find great strategies that work for you. Ask your friends what works for them.

G: Give yourself a break. Say to yourself I am more than … my grades, my size, etc.

H: Hope . It is so important to maintain a hopeful perspective . Help others ! When you help others less fortunate you help yourself.

I : Invite others to help you : Kids Help Phone.

J: Just be yourself.

K: Kindness is always a good thing.be kind to yourself. Do a Random Acts of Kindness for someone else today.

L: Listen to music . It soothes the soul.

M: Mindfulness matters. Focus on your breath.  Here are some tips for teens.

N: Naming game: 54321 Exercise.

O: Open your mind to new strategies. Try a positive method of coping that you haven’t tried before. maybe try painting and get in the flow. It can make a difference.

P: Positive self talk matters.

Q: Quite your mind. Be still!

R: Relax:

S: Strategies: the more you have the better.  Here are 99.

T: Trust: that your feelings will not last forever. Feelings are neither right nor wrong they are just feelings. It is what you do with them that matters.

U: Understanding your coping skills matters.

V: Visualize what you want.

W: Watch a funny show to get your mind off all the serious stuff.

X:  A to Z  list.

Y: YOU MATTER . Remember who matters.

Z: Get some zzz’s

You can learn to cope. Connecting with the right people can help you cope in an effective manner. Hopefully the above list will give you new ways of coping and if you have a great way of coping please share your ideas!

Teen Mental Health and Wellness Matters

It is always time to talk about mental health and wellness when it comes to students. This year we held our second Mental Health Symposium with Dr. Alec Couros, but throughout the year we hold small events that inform students about the importance of their own wellness.

Last year our theme was Living Aware, Living Informed , Living Empowered. We want our students at Bishop Carroll High School to feel fully empowered and we want them to be good digital citizens by posting to the hashtag #empowerBCHS

Take a look at some of the great things our students have to say:

Click here to find out more information about our symposium last year.

Our theme this year was Living Fully Alive. We really wanted students to think about all the reasons they could and should want to live. Click here to learn more.

We wanted students to leave with resources which you can find by clicking here.

We also want to continue the dialogue and have students learn more about mental health literacy. Thanks to Dr. Stan Kutcher we can .

When it comes to mental health we need to :

1) Know how to obtain and maintain good mental health

2) Understanding mental disorders and their treatments based on the best scientific evidence

3) Decrease Stigma

4) Know when and where to get help , know what to expect when you get help and having the tools to empower us to get the best care possible

Take a look at his fabulous website to find out more Teenmentalhealth.org. We hope you will join us in our work . You can collaborate anytime with us on the topic of mental health and wellness by contacting @sspellmancann . Go ahead make a difference for teens , because mental health and wellness matters.