Relieve Stress With Mindful Breathing

Yoga nidra or yogic sleep is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, like the “going-to-sleep” stage, typically induced by a guided meditation. There is evidence that yoga nidra helps relieve stress and connects us to our parasympathetic nervous system. 

Progressive muscle relaxation is a method that helps relieve that tension. In progressive muscle relaxation, you tense a group of muscles as you breathe in, and you relax them as you breathe out. You work on your muscle groups in a certain order. 

The focus on body release and body parts, creates a focus for the mind, easing anxiety Nadi Shodhana, also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing, can have a profound impact on your body, mind, and nervous system. This is a simple and powerful tool, which can be used by most people as a simple and effective practice to clear the mind and calm the whole self.

Here, Humewood parent, Health and Wellness Committee member and Trauma Informed Yoga Therapist Joanna Morrison has provided a series of guided mediation recordings to help tame the stress.

Yoga Nidra

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Nadi Shodhana

Family Mental Health Resources


When we shared our Family Health and Wellness Toolkit back in the winter, it’s safe to say we didn’t anticipate being in the same situation at the end of the year. Alas, here we are. Lockdowns, virtual school, repeat.

With another school year slipping away, it’s clear that the pandemic is taking its toll on our kids.

With that in mind, our Health and Wellness committee has compiled a list of resources geared to supporting the mental health of young people.

Community Mental Health Resources 

Kids Help Phone
https://kidshelpphone.ca/

With access through Text, Chat and live phone calls, support is available 24 hours a day. Confidential conversations with a real person. 
Call 1-800-668-6868
Text – 686868

Crisis Services Canada 
1-833-456-4566 or text 45645

Connex Ontario
https://www.connexontario.ca/en-ca/

Children’s Mental Health Ontario
https://cmho.org/covid19/
https://cmho.org/how-the-pandemic-impacts-childens-mental-health/

Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) represents Ontario’s publicly-funded Child and Youth Mental Health Centres. We advocate for investments, policies, and programs for children, youth, and families seeking mental health services in Ontario. Our goal is to promote a coordinated and high-quality system of care that puts children, youth and families first.

Mind Beacon
https://www.mindbeacon.com/

Now Free for Ontario residents! Therapist Guided program.  

Canadian Mental Health Association
https://ontario.cmha.ca/

Children’s Mental Health Agencies in the GTA 

SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health 
SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health provides a full range of mental health services for infants, children and youth (to 18 years of age) and their families. 

They provide a comprehensive range of early intervention and prevention programs, as well as child and family therapy, outreach, and intensive services. Individual and Family Therapy Services are available to children and teens (infancy to 18 years old) and their families who are experiencing difficulties related to behavioural and social-emotional functioning in the home, community child-care setting and/or school.  

To learn more about Family and Individual Services, call the intake department at 416-924-1164, ext. 8708 or email us at intake@sickkidscmh.ca

Child Development Institute
https://childdevelop.ca/programshttps://childdevelop.ca/programs/family-violence-services

York Town Family Services 
https://www.yorktownfamilyservices.com/

Child & Family Centre: (416) 394-2424
Shelter for Women: (416) 394-2950
Crisis Line: (416) 394-2999

Yorktown Family services has a – What’s Up Walk-In®
The What’s UP Walk-In is a brief therapy service that is accessible without appointment during designated times across the City of Toronto. Therapists at Yorktown and partner agencies work from a single session model which values building on client skills and resources to achieve results quickly. This city wide project is designed to provide a well-known, easily accessible therapy across the City.

Family Service Ontario https://familyservicetoronto.org/our-services/programs-and-services/walk-in-clinic/

Skylark Youth
https://www.skylarkyouth.org/
https://www.skylarkyouth.org/what-we-do/programs-counselling-services/walk-in-clinics/

Virtual Walk-in Clinics meets a real and urgent need. Skylark Youth provides free mental health services for children, youth and their families – no health card required and no appointment necessary.

For more information about the ‘what’s up’ walk in go to https://www.whatsupwalkin.ca or email whatsup-wellesley@lumenus.ca
F
or the Central Toronto Youth Wellness Hub walk in at Yonge and Eglinton call 416-482-0081 and press 5. The Central Toronto Youth Wellness Hub offers walk in counselling services in conjunction with a number of other services provided by partners including Case Navigation, Psychiatry, Primary Care, Housing and Education.




Our kids are grieving: How to help


With multiple losses in our kids’ lives over the last year, grief has arrived in our homes with bags packed to stay awhile.

Grief is most commonly associated with the mix of involuntary feelings that a person has around the death of a significant person in their lives, however, grief can be experienced anytime there is meaningful loss(es).

Children’s mental health helpers are seeing how multiple pandemic related losses are impacting our children in a variety of ways and are calling on caring adults to access tools and supports to help the kids cope. The encouraging piece is that children’s grief is better understood now than ever and there are great resources and guidance for parents supporting the grieving child. 

On Monday, May 10, Certified Child Life Specialist and Grief Counsellor Heather O’Brien talked about what children’s grief can look like, how to help kids get to know it, and how to help kids process the grief they are all experiencing. 

Here is a copy of her presentation, along with some resources she shared following that session:

ABOUT HEATHER

Heather O’Brien is a Certified Child Life Specialist and Grief Counsellor who has been working in children’s mental health for over 20 years. Her community private practice focuses on supporting children, youth and adults in times of illness, disability, end-of-life, transition and grief.  With a passion for creating a space for exploration, understanding, release and support, Heather uses her ability to translate difficult concepts into language and metaphors that even young children can grasp. In addition to individual and family counselling, Heather also has a passion for group work and teaching adults how to support and companion the grieving child/youth.

 

Humewood Virtual Trivia, Thurs. April 1, 7:15 pm

Do you know your three-pointers from your hat-tricks? You know your Carlton the Bear from your Ace and Diamond? Well, dust off that knowledge because it’s time for Humewood Virtual Trivia, Toronto Sports edition.

Join Humewood families on Thursday, April 1 at 7:15 pm for this FREE community building event.

Here’s how to play:

1. REGISTER TO PLAY
Register here to let us know you’d like to play. Once you’ve registered, we’ll send you the Zoom link.

2. JOIN THE ZOOM CALL
The trivia is a two-screen event. Join the Zoom call to hear the questions (and see other Humewood families!)

3. GO TO KAHOOT.IT TO PLAY
On a second device, like a phone, go to www.kahoot.it. This is where you will enter your answers. To join the game, simply enter the Game Code you see on the Zoom call.

4. SLAY WITH YOUR T-DOT SPORTS KNOWLEDGE
There will be three winners who will win Humewood swag and – more importantly – bragging rights!!

5. HAVE FUN!!!

Get ready for Wine Survivor 2021!

WINE SURVIVOR, Humewood’s favourite wine fundraiser is BACK for 2021!

What is Wine Survivor? It’s kind of like the famed game of elimination, except the prize is a whole bunch of wine, split between the final three contestants who have not been “voted out” of the game. There are also many one-off draws along the way.

More details on how it works can be found below, but first, some important dates:

FINAL REGISTRATION due
Friday, February 12.

FIRST DRAW,
Sunday, February 14.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Register Here

How To Play

To become a Wine Survivor contender, all you need to do is buy in for $40* ($20 goes to the Council and $20 towards the prize pool). Your entry is valid for the duration of the game… until you get eliminated! There is no limit to how many entries into the game you can buy – the more entries, the more chances to win (and the more funds raised for Council)!


*NEW THIS YEAR* – Due to Covid, we are not collecting bottles of wine this year, so all prizes will be in the form of gift cards.

LCBO or Soul Provisions
YOU GET TO CHOOSE!


Like Survivor, all players are looking to win immunity. Once the game begins there will be nightly draws.

The first name drawn will gain immunity for that evening’s draw. 
The next 4 names drawn are “voted off” (eliminated).

For those being eliminated for the first time, fear not! You get to make one of two choices:

  1. Accept your fate and remain eliminated from the game.
  2. You can buy back into the game for $20.

    If your name is drawn for a second time, sadly your time in Wine Survivor will have come to an end and you will be automatically eliminated. The tribe has spoken!

The Essential Details

REGISTRATION
Register for Wine Survivor here.

IMMUNITY AND ELIMINATION
*New This Year* – Immunity and elimination will take place on nightly Zoom calls at 7:30 pm. We’ll be using the website Wheel of Names to add a little excitement.

BUY BACK
Eliminated players can buy back into the game by 5PM of the day after their elimination to stay in the game.

In addition to buying back on the website, players who buy back MUST email game hosts Lisa and Moe at  Humewood.winesurvivor@gmail.com to confirm their buyback.

Buy back into Wine Survivor here.

RANDOM DRAWS
Every Wednesday is Wine Wednesday and the immunity winner also wins a $20 gift certificate (aka “bottle of wine”) and a gift certificate for 2 popsicles from Soul Provisions.

There will also be random draws (e.g. Valentine’s Day Wine Winner) for $20 gift certificates and gift certificates for 2 popsicles from Soul Provisions.

WINNERS
The Top three winners are usually drawn when there are 5 to 10 contestants left in the game.

* Grand Prize: 60% of prize pool
* 2nd Place: 35% of Prize pool
* 3rd Place: 15% of Prize pool

At the end of the competition, all players who are in the Deadpool (those voted off the island) will have a chance to win a gift card (to the LCBO or Soul Provisions of course) to drown your sorrows or taste buds over being voted off the island.

Prize pool depends on how many contestants play Wine Survivor. All prizes to be paid by Humewood Parent Council.

PLEASE DIRECT ANY QUESTIONS TO LISA AND MOE AT humewood.winesurvivor@gmail.com.

Family Health & Wellness Toolkit

There’s no denying that 2020 has been One. Crazy. Year. Life has been upended and we’ve all been faced with a reality that no one could have ever anticipated. And let’s be honest, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster!

Among it all, however, we’ve also seen amazing displays of compassion and the strength of both our Humewood and greater St. Clair community. We’ve also seen the immense dedication of our teachers and school staff, and we’ve been amazed at just how resilient our kids are, whether in adapting to virtual school or diligently following new protocols. 

That said, we know that keeping life going with so much disruption and keeping it together (or doing our best to do so) takes its toll. That’s why Humewood School Council, in partnership with Humewood’s Wellness Advocate, Mr. Polak, have formed a Health and Wellness Committee. 

In preparation for the holidays when we’ll all hopefully have some time to be more relaxed, the Committee has put together a health and wellness toolkit. From meditation practices to mindful family activities, from teacher resources to articles and kids’ books to help us process the seemingly endless barrage of coronavirus news, here you’ll find a compendium of calming ideas. 

FAMILY WELLNESS

Family Meditation

Find a quiet spot in your home. Choose one person to lead the meditation (rotate family members if you can).  Sit in a comfortable position on the floor or on the couch or in a chair. Some family members might enjoy blankets, head pillows or eye pillows if available.

  • Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain
  • Breathing out, I feel solid.
  • Nothing can move or distract me.
  • In breath MOUNTAIN, out breath SOLID
  • Repeat the above three to five times.
  • Enjoy the feeling. 
  • Allow yourself to feel comfortable or uncomfortable. 
  • Try not to change how you feel.
    Take 10 breaths in and 10 breaths out. 
  • Rest for as long as you need.

Notice your breath moving in and out of your body.  Don’t try to change it.  Close your eyes if that feels comfortable. 

Reflections:  How did it feel to lead the meditation?  How did it feel to receive the meditation?  What did you enjoy or not enjoy about this experience?  What did you notice about your body?  What did you notice about your breath?

Free 10 minute meditation playlist 

Five Finger Meditation

Great for adults and older children, this meditative practice can be done together. Choose one person to lead the practice.  Take turns with each other.

Read how it’s done>

Grounding Breath

Here’s an activity that you can help you find calm and your natural breathing rhythm.

Click for full instructions>


MINDFUL FAMILY ACTIVITIES

Create a Nature Altar

Go for a family walk, and everyone has to pick up one or two things that they feel connected to.  Stone, leaf, pinecone, piece of ice or snow, leaf, stick..anything!  When you get home, talk about what everyone has chosen and why.  Find a space in your home, to display your treasures. 

Reflections:  What is an altar and why do we have one? Why are your objects important to you?  Why did you choose them?  How are you connected to what you chose?

Find Your Stone

This cooperative game helps your family cultivate mindfulness and connection.

See how to play here>

What Makes Me Happy

Make a family collage or gratitude box of the different things that make you happy. 

Here’s how to make it>


FOCUS ON THE GOOD

Sometimes it’s all about the right mindset. These resources are dedicated to helping you focus on finding the good in life. 

Greater Good in Action

Discover science-backed practices for more resilience, connection, and well-being, with step-by-step instructions on how to implement them in your life.

The Science of Happiness podcast

Learn research-tested strategies that you can put into practice today. In each episode, a guest tries a specific practice for well-being or connection, and shares their experience.

The Science of Happiness course

While you’re home, try our online, self-paced course, offering skills to boost resilience and well-being in your life. Results from tens of thousands of our students show that it helps them reduce stress and feel more connected to others.

The Greater Good Toolkit

Made in collaboration with Holstee, this toolkit includes 30 science-based practices for a meaningful life.

PROCESS THE NEGATIVE

It can be hard to focus on the good when everything you read just seems so… bad. Because who among us hasn’t lost good time to a depressing doom scroll?

As we’ve likely told our kids 100 times, you can’t control what’s happening around you, but you can control your response to it. These articles offer some perspective on processing the hard truths of the current news cycle.

Parenting during covid 19 (Psychology Today)

Walking in Nature Aids Emotional Regulation (Integrated Listening)

7 Ways to Feel Safe in Times of Intense Fear (Integrated Listening)

The Science of Slow Deep Breathing (Unyte)

The Science Behind Expressing Gratitude Will Surprise You (Fast Company)

How to Hold on to Happiness When Your World Collapses (Psychology Today)

Coronavirus Sanity Guide (Ten Percent Happier)

ArtsWave Edition of Mindful Music Moments

Mindful Poetry Moments and the On Being Project (The Well)

READ YOUR FEELINGS

Big Feelings Come and Go Storybook

Find it here>

The Story of the Oyster and the Butterfly

Find it here>

Safe and Sound: A story about a little girl who overcomes fear.

Find it here>


WELL-BEING RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS

As part of the Greater Good Education Program, Greater Good in Education offers free research-based and informed strategies and practices for the social, emotional, and ethical development of students, for the well-being of the adults who work with them, and for cultivating positive school cultures.

Browse the resource library here>


ADDITIONAL FAMILY RESOURCES

Practices for parents and kids

A Loving Space for Kids’ Emotions: Show love to your children by helping them process emotions.

Pleasant Events Calendar for Kids: Help children cultivate self-compassion by planning enjoyable activities.

Reminders of Connectedness: A subtle way to induce kindness, particularly in kids.

Superhero Motivation for Kids: Use pretend play to encourage children to persevere through difficulty.

Body Scan Meditation: Feeling tense? Feel your body relax as you try this practice.Big Life Journal: kids 4+: activities, resources, posters, printables, podcast, blog

Videos for parents and kids

These Questions Can Help You Connect (Even When You’re Apart): Researchers designed conversation prompts to help people feel closer. Will it work for 10-year-olds Zuri and Greer?

How to Help Your Child’s Compassion Grow: Parents can encourage their kids to practice kindness and caring toward themselves and others.

How to Help Your Kids Feel Loved: Loving bonds between parents and kids can help kids grow into compassionate adults.

Train Your Brain to Be Kinder: Boost your kindness by sending kind thoughts to someone you love—and to someone you don’t get along with—with a little guidance from these students.

[Photos: Unsplash]

Join us for a Virtual Family Trivia night on Dec. 16, 2020.

Do you (or your kids) know your Ariel from your Moana? Your Cruella from your Captain Hook? Then join us for our Disney family trivia night!

Hosted by neighbourhood pub, The Gym, this is a perfect way to virtually connect with the Humewood school community while testing your trivia chops!

Join us on Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 7:00-8:00pm.

We’re asking for a minimum donation of $5, but any amount is greatly appreciated. All funds will go to Humewood School Council.

Tickets for this fundraising event can be purchased here:

Give the gift of healthy habits with My Starry Chart

We all know that chores can be a chore. But they don’t have to be with My Starry Chart, a 3-in-1 educational kid’s calendar, healthy habits chart, and skill-building game for kids ages 3-10.

This reinvented chore chart motivates and empowers kids while teaching skills like goal setting and math while also building character skills like helpfulness, gratitude and kindness.

Plus, it’s the creation of a fellow Humewood family and they’ve got a special offer for Humewood families (and your friends!)

Use the promo code Humewood10 at mystarrychart.com for 10% off your purchase. 20% of sales will automatically be donated to the school.

This beautiful calendar makes taking on new responsibilities fun, simple and a wonderful bonding experience. The calendar design and sticker format keeps kids engaged, and as a result, they stick to their healthy goals (and chores if you choose to use it in that way).

Find out more at www.mystarrychart.com.