But in the midst of planning for potential online delivery and developing plans to support students with disabilities and at risk students and families, how do teachers practise self care and manage their own mental wellbeing?
Manage the news cycle
The flow of information is important in uncertain times, but it can become all consuming if it’s not managed carefully. Take in the important details, find a couple of reputable sources of truth and stick to them, and avoid the 24 hours news cycle, particularly if there are young people watching alongside you. Accurate information is useful but the perpetuating of myths and rumours and repeated imagery of the same situation playing out multiple times can be damaging.
Back to basics
Take a moment to reflect on what you have around you – is there enough in your world for right here, right now? Although it can be tempting to try and plan for every eventuality that could occur in the coming months, sometimes it can help to look around and consider the day to day routines and tasks that are essential to daily living. As yourself – have I got enough food for this week? Do I have a safe place to live at the moment? Can I take half an hour for a spot of exercise outdoors or a walk and a stretch?
Worry about money is a frequent issue for people at the moment, and this comes not only from employment uncertainty for people who are employed casually or on contracts, but also for those who are trying to pay a mortgage and manage the cost of food, bills and healthcare. A weekly budget that sets out you will get through the next week, and then the next month or two can help make this picture clearer. This can be a good time to set aside some cash so you have a small buffer that can be dipped into as needed, and can be accessed readily.
Manage the communication flow
In families, classrooms and workplaces everywhere, the virus is topic number one. While it is important to discuss, it is sometimes useful to take a communication break so that it does not become overwhelming. Make a list of other conversation topics to use and remind yourself that people have differing capacities for talking about a distressing and complex issue.
This could be a good time to think about how you manage social media, so that there is more of the positive and less of the misinformation and toilet roll memes flooding your feed.
Online community groups can be a great way of using social media positively, offering shopping help for those who are house bound through to sharing resources with people who suddenly discover they need something vital.
Time to smile
In the darkest of times, a smile makes all the difference. Social isolation is physically the healthiest option right now, but smiling across that 1.5 metre divide can provide the warmth and comfort that normally comes with closer contact and human companionship. Smile, and others will smile back. It feels good.