08 February 2022

5 ways to better mental health online

Being online can present lots of great opportunities to connect, learn and share what’s important to you, but it comes with challenges too. If social media or the internet has ever made you feel stressed, envious or lonely, or experience feelings of lower self‑esteem or social anxiety, know that you’re not alone. Here are five tips on how to look…, 1. Avoid doomscrolling, Pay close attention to how social media and online content is influencing your emotions, thoughts or actions. How does it make you feel? Does reading the news make you feel informed or stressed? Does seeing photos of your friends at a party make you feel good or envious? Do you check your phone first thing in the morning to learn about breaking…, 2. Be mindful, There are loads of great online tools and content that can help support all aspects of mental health and wellbeing. From meditation apps to help you relax and focus, to platforms that help you develop your sense of identity and self, stay connected and support one another. There are lots of great online learning tools where you can try something…, 3. Protect yourself and others online, Check the privacy settings on all your social media profiles. Keep webcams covered when not in use. Be careful when signing up to apps and services online – especially providing your full name, address or photo. If you are concerned about something you have seen or experienced online, you should talk to a trusted adult like a parent or teacher,…, 4. Choose kindness, Use social media for good, by sharing positive and supportive content and messages with your friends, family and classmates. For example, you could reach out to let someone know you’re thinking of them or add a positive comment on a post they shared. If you find yourself responding to a message or post with something negative, pause and consider…, 5. Stay present and connected IRL, The lines between the online and offline worlds can feel increasingly blurred, making it hard to live in the present moment and satisfy our innate need for human contact. Do you ever find yourself interrupting what you are doing so you can post it on social media, or scrolling through your friend’s stories rather than calling or meeting up to see…
26 July 2021

“Green” parenting tips

Climate is extremely important for the lives and wellbeing of people on the Earth. To prevent the negative consequences of climate change, we all need to rethink our lifestyle and everyday choices. It is more important than ever to educate a new generation that cares about the environment. Hence, UNICEF and the Austrian Development Agency have…, For 0 to 3-year-old babies,   1․ Use reusable nappies Parents use around 5-6 disposable diapers for their newborn per day, all of which ends up in the bin and decays for a hundred years. Using reusable nappies will not only save the nature but your financial resources too. 2․ Breastfeed UNICEF recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their…, For 4 to 6-year-old children,   1․ Switch off the lights Teach your child how to save energy. In order for children to appreciate it, they need to understand where it comes from, so have a discussion with your child to explain where electricity comes from. Try to get them on board to switch off the lights as they leave a room. 2. Adopt a pet Children love animals very much.…, For 7 to 12-year-old children,   1. Plant a garden Having a small family garden is wonderful. Not only will you have your own green space to have fun in, but your child will learn the value of growing his or her own food and appreciate nature. In turn, you will not only save money but will reduce pollution from food packaging. 2. Explore the outdoors Both greener views and…, For 13 to 16-year-old children,   1․ Walk or ride a bike Travelling by car is comfortable and fast, but harmful for the environment. The role of automobile transport in air pollution is enormous. If your teen’s school is not far, accompany him or her on foot. If he or she already goes to school on his or her own, offer to go by bicycle. Walking and cycling are not only good for…
08 June 2021

Strategies to Cope with Grief

1. Understand That Not Everyone Will Know How To Help You, Unfortunately, because there is a lot of misinformation out there about dealing with loss, a lot of people simply won’t know how to help you. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get their support, just don’t be hurt or too disappointed when they are not able to give you what you need. Some of the difficulties encountered by people around…, 2. Take Responsibility For Your Recovery, In our society, we have come to believe that everyone else or events (outside of our control) are responsible for what we feel. We often make statements like “he made me so angry” or “I can’t believe she did that to me, she ruined my day.” The same lack of responsibility can apply to the grieving process. However, by making others responsible for…, 3. Accept That Your Life Will Likely Change, It is important to remember that we are forever changed by the death of someone we are very close to. Our life will be forever affected, but the good news is that grief can also produce significant psychological and spiritual growth, depending on how we handle it. We can heal from the loss and the more severe pain will fade, but it will forever…, 4. Talk About How You Feel, More important than anything else when we grieve is to be able to be open about your feelings to someone else you trust and value (or more people if we can). Healing will not and cannot occur if you keep all of your feelings inside. This may be very different for anyone who is not used to talking about emotion, but is equally as beneficial. The…, 5. Develop A Line Graph Of Your Significant Loss Experiences, Throughout your lifetime you have likely experienced a number of events that are considered losses. Take some time to write these out on a line that is based on the time in your life they occurred. For example: Dog died (1990) Moved to Edmonton (1994) Friend died (1998) Grandmother died (2003) Breakup with girlfriend (2008) Mother’s death (2010)…, 6. Write Your Loved One A Letter, Part of the reason we can get stuck in our grief is because the relationship we had with our loved one is in some way emotionally incomplete. To try and complete the relationship, it can be very helpful to communicate unacknowledged aspects of the relationship through a letter. These might include things that we have done or said, or didn’t do or…, 7. Participate In Grief Rituals, There are a number of rituals that can help you in the grieving process including the funeral or memorial service, wakes and prayer services. There are other more unique rituals that you may decide to develop such as visiting the cemetery or lighting candles on special days. These can all be healthy aspects of your grief. However, some rituals can…, 8. Find Comfort In Your Spiritual/Religious Practices, One of the great benefits of having spiritual or religious beliefs is that they can provide one with great comfort in dealing with any kind of adversity, particularly when it comes to issues such as death. Depending upon your beliefs, you may strongly feel that your loved one is going to a better place or will transcend the realities of their…, 9. Focus Your Energy On Self-Care Activities, To cope with anything that is highly emotional, particularly grief, it is essential that you focus on basic self-care activities. These include getting adequate sleep, ensuring that your diet is healthy and balanced, exercising regularly, and building fun activities into your day. When people are grieving, self-care is often neglected because…, 10. Reduce Some Of Your Expectations For Yourself, After a loss, it is very helpful to re-evaluate the expectations you place on yourself, in terms of a variety of life activities. If you are working, consider reducing your work hours for awhile. If you are taking five courses, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to take four instead. If you are used to doing a lot of volunteering, maybe this semester you…, 11. Hold Off On Making Major Life Decisions Or Changes, When you’re grieving and in a lot of emotional pain, it tends to be a bad time to make major life changes or decisions. Our ability to see issues or situations clearly is often compromised, given all the potential feels, symptoms, or reactions we may be experiencing. Letting things settle down first, if possible, can avoid potential choices that…, 12. Allow Yourself Any Potential Happiness, Although the overriding feeling of grief usually involves sadness, as the days, weeks and months progress, you may have moments or periods of happiness again. Don’t feel guilty when you do. You don’t need to feel bad all the time to honor the deceased. In fact, there is a very good chance that they would want you to start to enjoy life again.…, 13. Understand The Likely Impact Of Anniversaries, Birthdays, Holidays, and Milestones, Major events such as anniversaries, birthdays or holidays have a way of intensifying our feelings and memories of our loved ones who have died. Memories of past celebrations naturally have a way of reminding us even more vividly of what we have lost. Since these tend to be days where we have spent time in the past with our loved ones, we realize…, 14. Honor Your Loved One In Some Creative Or Meaningful Way, Expressing yourself in a creative way may be a very important part of your healing journey. The type of expression this could take might vary significantly based on what you feel might be personally meaningful. It might involve creating some type of artwork, whether this be a picture or sculpture of some kind. You also might want to meet with…, 15. Spend Some Time On Your Own If You Need It, Alone time may be an essential part of your healing journey. Death has a way of getting us to reflect on all the things we know and value. It gets you to question your own mortality and sense of life meaning and life goals. This process may require some real reflection on your part, which sometimes can only be done on your own.  , 16. Be Patient With Your Grief, Realize that dealing with a loss is neither easy nor entirely predictable, and the length of the grieving process is hard to estimate. Depending on the many factors previously outlined in this handout, the length of the grief you experience could be weeks, months or years. Trying to speed through the process is unlikely to be helpful and may…, 17. Seek Professional Help, If your grief feels like it is just too much for you to handle, don’t be afraid to ask for some professional assistance or support. This might be through your school counselor or a psychologist. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and anyone can struggle with the overwhelming experience of grief.   UNICEF assessed the extent of…
08 June 2021

Coping with Grief and Loss and How It Affects our Mind and Bodies

Grief can occur from a variety of losses, not just the loss of a loved one. Other losses might include: moving away from your home town or city, changing or losing a job, a relationship break-up, separation or divorce, loss of a close friendship, your parents divorcing, the death of a pet, a miscarriage or abortion, a major change in your health.…, Myth: Just ignore or bury the pain and it will go away in time., Fact: We move fastest through the pain of loss by acknowledging and experiencing it., Myth: Time alone will heal all wounds, including grief., Fact: Time doesn’t necessarily move us through the grieving process. It is what we do in this time that matters., Myth: Being strong (especially for others) is the best way to get through grief., Fact: Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and in touch with our emotions allows us to move through the grief process., Myth: It is best to grieve alone., Fact: The support of others can greatly facilitate the grieving process. Myth: If you lose something or someone, just replace the loss and everything will be fine. Fact: Many losses can’t simply be replaced, especially when it comes to relationships or people., Myth: The best way to cope with a loss is to just keep busy., Fact: It is most helpful to give yourself time to grieve, even if this means scheduling a time on a daily or weekly basis., Myth: Grieving usually takes about a year., Fact: There are many factors that affect the grieving process, and the time frame varies significantly., Myth: If you are not crying, you don’t care about the person who died, or the loss you endured., Fact: There are many responses to a loss and crying is only one of these, Myth: Grief appears in predictable stages that occur in the same order., Fact: New models of grief challenge the stage model, and see grief as involving numerous feelings and reactions that come and go like waves on an ocean., Myth: The goal of grieving is to “get over” or “let go” of the person who has died., Fact: Healthy grieving is more about how to stay connected to the person who has died and to learn how to integrate the loss into one’s life so you can move forward., Myth: Expressing tears is a sign of weakness., Fact: Tears are a healthy expression of your loss and serve the function of releasing our body’s tension and emotion. Lastly, consider seeing a professional if symptoms of grief are so severe that: You are having trouble functioning at home, work or school It is affecting your relationships Symptoms are not getting better despite several weeks or…
08 June 2021

Child regression: What it is and how you can support your little one

If you have noticed that your child has taken a giant leap forward (like finally mastering toilet training!) only to then take a step back (refusing to use the toilet!), you are not alone. Regression is common in growing children – especially toddlers. We spoke to Nancy Close, PhD, an Assistant Professor at the Child Study Center at the Yale…, What is regression? What causes it?, “I like to pair regression with the idea of progression,” says Close. “Most children have a very strong urge to move forward in their development (progression). There is a natural energy in children to explore, manipulate and master their world.” However, along with the excitement of being able to do new things comes stress. For example, a baby…, What do regressive behaviours look like?, Regression can vary, but in general, it is acting in a younger or needier way. You may see more temper tantrums, difficulty with sleeping or eating or reverting to more immature ways of talking. If a child has achieved something like getting dressed by herself, you may see a loss of some of those skills. “All of a sudden, your child cannot do what…, When does regression happen?, You will typically see regressive behaviours in toddlers and preschoolers, but it can really happen at any age – even with infants and older children. If there is regression in an infant it might not necessarily be as evident. A baby may be a bit clingier, need to feed more, be a bit whinier or cry more often than usual.  , Is regression common?, Rest assured, regression is common. In fact, it is to be expected and it’s very helpful to further development – think of it as your child’s way of preparing themselves for taking on more responsibility. “I see some children who may regress right before they’re about to make a big leap forward, or they regress right after they’ve made a leap…, How can parents help support their children through regressions?, Reassure your child. Let them know that they are safe and supported. Try to show them that you notice the regressive behavior without shaming them. Close suggests trying the following: “You are learning to do so many big boy things. That is such hard work. Sometimes you feel like you need my help.” Play can also be a helpful tool for working…, When should parents be concerned?, Some regressions can last for a few weeks, but it varies from child to child. Usually, if you can pinpoint what might be going on and provide children with support, they will be able to work through it. If it seems to be lasting longer than you think it should, around two to three weeks, Close recommends reaching out to your child’s healthcare…