Speaking of Brain Health During a Pandemic

Shannon McJannet


I hope this finds you all healthy and well and rested and all caught up on episodes of Ozark. Or perhaps just showered and fed (who says Hawkins Cheesies are not a suitable supper once in a while?), but still caught up on Ozark? For some families, this “stay at home period” has been a great chance to just slow down, reconnect with each other, cook meals together (anyone else putting on the “quarantine 15”?) and appreciate the things that sometimes get missed during the rapid pace of “normal life”.

But for others, this has been really difficult. Being at home with our families during summer vacation is one thing – but this is different. We aren’t going away on holidays, to swimming pools or playgrounds – we are confined to our homes. We aren’t on a completely “free time” schedule – many of us are trying to help our kids continue with their education from home plus all the regular house-hold tasks (can anyone say “dishes”?). We, as parents, are also not on holidays – we may be trying to figure out how to work from home while looking after our kids and helping them with school, or continuing to go out to work while our partner is at home with the kids, or maybe we are trying to figure out how to pay our bills after being laid off or unable to start our spring/summer jobs – while looking after our kids and helping them with school. The stress of it all can become really overwhelming sometimes.

So it’s important to do our best to try to take care of our basics every day:
  • Try to get outside – just that fresh air in your lungs, the feelings of the changing of seasons, the awesome vitamin D we might snag a shot of can all really help to clear our heads, shift our thoughts and just sit still for a moment
  • Move your body energetically – kitchen dance parties used to be my kids favorite (now they just roll their eyes and laugh at my moves – ugh!); walking your dog, playing an active Wii video game (does anyone have those anymore?) or if you’re more adventurous – there are literally millions of guided online exercise ideas at your google fingertips
  • Put some healthy stuff in your body – drink water as often as you can (it’s amazing how much better that one thing can make you feel) and try to include some fruit, veggies and whole grains into your “Hawkins Cheesies” supper plans (I have done this a few times – just so you know…)
  • Take some time to just sit still and breathe – you know I am a big believer in the power of mindfulness (superpower, actually); just slowing down and focusing on your breath or your senses or a sound in the distance can just help reset your stress level and help you keep going
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep – this is the most important “recharge” of your day (your 2nd superpower); if you’re having difficulty with this (which is often the case in times of stress), seek out ideas to help get sleep back on track (refer back to my previous newsletter article on sleep)
Although we are not doing any direct student counseling in the school division right now, I am available to parents for support, sharing ideas, and connecting your family to any resources you might need right now. If you are needing some support, you can email me directly at shannon.mcjannet@sunwestsd.ca.

Please remember that I only check my email during work days/hours – so if the support you need is more urgent, please reach out to a 24/7 service like:

Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)
SK Health Line (811)
Saskatoon Mobile Crisis (1-306-933-6200)

Take good care of yourself and each other. Hope to be able to see your kiddos face to face soon!
Shannon McJannet

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