Dear Holy Angels Community,
Hi Everyone, this is Mrs. Jenn. Hope everyone had an enjoyable 3-day weekend! According to the news reports we are seeing on tv and internet news, New York City is on the road to recovery. Hospitalizations are decreasing, non-essential construction is back and what life was like before the pandemic, is slowly being restored. We have a long road ahead of us as we continue to socially distance, wear masks and gloves, sanitize and wash our hands; which can stir up feelings that we might all be too familiar with at this point, STRESS. Stress is a feeling we experience that causes physical or emotional tension. It also can create a feeling of nervousness. It is important to know what situations and/or people cause stress for your so you can learn ways to cope or deal with stress. I am going to share H.O.S.E. with you which can help narrow down where your stress might be coming from.
Stress can feel like the pressure of a fire hose to the face. Difficulty concentrating, the inability to think clearly, sweaty hands, blurred vision, headaches, belly aches, and heart thumping are all symptoms that can be experienced when a person experiences stress. If you noticed any of these symptoms or feel a dip in your mood, there are 4 questions to consider with H.O.S.E.:
- H: AM I HUNGRY?
- O: AM I OVERSTIMULATED?
- S: DO I NEED SLEEP?
- E: DO I NEED EXERCISE?
H: Am I hungry?
Hunger affects mood. When we haven’t eaten for a while, our blood sugar dips, and this triggers the release of hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline — the same ones that are released during a stress response. Sometimes a snack is just what our kids need to improve their emotional regulation. At predictable times each day, try taking a healthy snack break with your child — a time to connect with them and with your own body.
O: Am I overstimulated?
Every parent knows about the meltdowns that happen after school, after a long outing, or at the end of a long day. There’s only so much our brains and bodies can take in, and we all need downtime to recharge. As a parent, if you feel yourself on “overload,” ask yourself if you can take ten minutes to step away. Turn off the news, take a walk around the block or a warm shower, meditate or pray, drink a cup of tea, snuggle up with your child to read a favorite book, or sit in nature. Tell your kids what you are doing. “I am listening to my body and it needs a little break.” Help them take similar breaks.
Play is also a great way to relieve stress and build connection. Give your kids unstructured play time, free from too much adult direction. But also find some time to play with them — to toss a ball, color together, tackle a puzzle or play a game. Laugh! Be silly! Research shows that just being in the presence of a compassionate, safe adult can help kids calm down. As families, we can be “that person” for each other.
S: Do I need to sleep?
As the child psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour said, “Sleep is the glue that holds human beings together.” When we are sleep-deprived, we are less emotionally resilient. In stressful times, it is even more important to preserve good sleep routines for ourselves and our children. Routines help cue our brain that it is time to settle down. For example, Daniel Tiger uses this strategy song to help kids follow a bedtime process.
E: Do I need to exercise?
Little bodies and big bodies need to move. Neuropsychologist Wendy Suzuki says that “exercise is the most transformational thing you can do for your brain” because exercise boosts mood and improves focus and cognition. It helps us be responsive instead of reactive. As Dr. Suzuki further stated “When [kids] run around, their brains are getting a bubble bath of good neurochemicals, neurotransmitters and endorphins… Adults need this, too… Even if it’s just a walk up and down the stairs or a walk around the block. That is a surefire way to make your work more productive. It’s how humans were built. We were not built to sit in front of a screen all day long. Our bodies and brains work better with regular movement. It’s better than coffee.” Movement time can also be a time to connect with our kids — from a family dance party to a family hike.
Love and care to you all!