In what has certainly been a chaotic year, it’s good to hear reasonable, actionable advice like that from mental health professional and counselor, Jon Ebert. E-Therapy had the joy of sponsoring this October webinar presented by Mr. Ebert in cooperation with SchoolRubric. Clocking in under 9 minutes, Ebert presents Stay CALM! 3 Key Tips and Strategies for Mental Health Practices During the Pandemic and teaches us his CALM (connect, allow, look, make) strategy.
When we face the unexpected, as we did this year with the pandemic, school closures and all the rest, Ebert says it is important that we are able to adapt and respond in healthy and productive ways. To achieve calm in spite of life’s trials and struggles, it is important that we began with a focus on connecting.
“Connections are powerful when we find ourselves feeling stressed and overwhelmed. It’s so important to pause and reconnect with our environment,” reminds Ebert, “Our personal control and peace of mind can quickly be lost when we start to focus too much on what is to come.”
Connect with your present environment by resetting your thoughts. Start by “grounding”. When you feel overwhelmed, connect your senses to your present environment using these steps:
- Stop for a minute
- Identify 5 things you can see
- Identify 4 things you can hear
- Engage your sense of touch and identify 3 things you can touch
- Recognize the aroma of 2 things
- Identify one thing that you can taste
By adjusting your focus from the future to the present using grounding, you can ease anxious thoughts and connect with the here and now.
The second thing that we can do for ourselves is allow time for personal wellness. Teachers often overlook their own well being because they are so focused on supporting other people. While well-intentioned, we are doing those we care about a disservice if we allow ourselves to get rundown.
Some examples of personal wellness activities may include meditation, exercise, spiritual disciplines, or hobbies. Schedule time every day when you can reflect and recharge – even if it’s only for a few minutes. “The key here is that you want to release stress while addressing your own mental, physical, and emotional needs,” said Ebert.
The third way to help stay calm is to look at what matters and how we can influence a given situation. Problem solving around things that you can control well help to reduce frustration and empower you to take action rather than passively waiting for others to respond.
Even though the webinar’s title says there are 3 things to stay calm, Ebert stresses the importance of a fourth aspect of self care. Make time to talk to a professional if you continue to feel overwhelmed, are unable to respond effectively, and even feel detached.
“It is OK not to be OK. Everyone has battles that they are fighting and there are times when we all simply need a little extra support and perspective, “ said Ebert.
More self care posts
E-Therapy’s resident life coach, Cathy Hartenstein, has more words of encouragement for you. Check out these popular blog posts:
About the presenter
Jon Ebert is a licensed counselor who has worked with youth and families in the public and private sectors for the past 20 years. He spent the last 12 years focusing on mental health training programs and supports that help equip and empower teachers, not only in their personal life but in their daily work with students.