Welcome to Wellness Wednesdays!
Welcome to March Madness! We are sending out COVID19 information in a format that is geared towards Mental Wellness. It is now more important than ever to use your self-care strategies. Please send us ideas to share with our colleagues and families across the district. (WellnessWednesdays@Lawrence.k12.ny.us)
If you’re having trouble finding hand sanitizer at the store, you can make your own at home. This recipe is KID FRIENDLY! You’ll need the following ingredients:
- ⅔ cup 99 percent isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
- ⅓ cup aloe vera gel
- Essential oil (optional)
- Airtight container
In this recipe, isopropyl alcohol is essential for killing germs. The aloe vera prevents the harsh solution from drying out your skin, and the essential oil adds fragrance (although these oils may cause irritation in sensitive skin, so they're not necessary).
You can also change up the measurements as long as you keep the same ratio: ⅔ rubbing alcohol to ⅓ aloe vera gel. "Addition of aloe or essential oils to DIY recipes could contribute to difficulty getting the concentration correct," adds Debra M. Langlois, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan. However, per the CDC's recommendations, the DIY kid-friendly hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol for effectiveness.
To make the sanitizer, start by mixing the rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel. The ingredients should be stirred until smooth, then you can add drops of essential oil, if you’d like to add scent. Transfer the mixture into an airtight container; you might want to use a funnel to avoid making a mess.
You can use the DIY hand sanitizer the same way you would a normal one. “Hand sanitizer should be rubbed all over the surface of your hands and fingers, ensuring that there is full coverage,” says Schindler. “Keep rubbing until your hands feel dry.” She also notes that it can take up to five minutes for hand sanitizer to penetrate bacteria and become completely effective.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty
Human beings like certainty. We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening when and to notice things that feel threatening to us. When things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it’s normal to feel stressed. This reaction, while there to protect us, can cause all sorts of havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us.
A large part of anxiety comes from a sense of what we think we should be able to control, but can’t. Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19, known as the “Coronavirus”. We may feel helpless about what will happen or what we can do to prevent further stress. The uncertainty might also connect to our uncertainty about other aspects of our lives, or remind us of past times when we didn’t feel safe and the immediate future was uncertain.
In times like these, our mental health can suffer. We don’t always know its happening. You might feel more on edge than usual, angry, helpless or sad. You might notice that you are more frustrated with others or want to completely avoid any reminders of what is happening. For those of us who already struggle with our mental wellness, we might feel more depressed or less motivated to carry out our daily activities.
It’s important to note that we are not helpless in light of current news events. We can always choose our response. If you are struggling, here are some things you can do to take care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty:
- Separate what is in your control from what is not. There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those. Wash your hands. Remind others to wash theirs. Take your vitamins. Limit your consumption of news (Do you really need to know what is happening on a cruise ship you aren’t on?).
- Do what helps you feel a sense of safety. This will be different for everyone, and it’s important not to compare yourself to others. It’s ok if you’ve decided what makes you feel safe is to limit attendance of large social events, but make sure you separate when you are isolating based on potential for sickness versus isolating because it’s part of depression.
- Get outside in nature–even if you are avoiding crowds. I took a walk yesterday afternoon in my neighborhood with my daughter. The sun was shining, we got our dose of vitamin D, and it felt good to both get some fresh air and quality time together. Exercise also helps both your physical and mental health.
- Challenge yourself to stay in the present. Perhaps your worry is compounding—you are not only thinking about what is currently happening, but also projecting into the future. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Engaging in mindfulness activities is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control.
- Stays connected and reach out if you need more support. Talk to trusted friends about what you are feeling. If you are feeling particularly anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, it’s ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry and it can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with those trained to help.
We are in this together, and help is always available. If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741