Recently, I have noticed an emerging and consistent theme in the conversations I’ve had with friends, colleagues and many others. Just this week I was on a Zoom meeting, catching up with friends from around the world (literally); friends from India, Kong Kong, the Netherlands, Italy, South Africa and England, and this is what they had to say…
“I’m worn out”
“I’m feeling run down”
“Not another Zoom meeting!”
“I wish I knew where this is all heading”
“This COVID is catching up with me.”
“I’m just over all of this”
This meeting really was a collection of individuals from around the globe, and the feedback of us all feeling ‘tired and fatigued’ was powerfully consistent. My friend from Mumbai said that the situation in his country is very depressing at the moment, especially in the densely populated slums. Over 15 000 people are diagnosed with COVID-19 a day in India. There is little hope for an easing of their current lockdown restrictions. The communities I work with are becoming less optimistic with worry, fear and fatigue creeping into the tone of their voice. How’s that for perspective! We are so blessed to be living in Australia.
With these thoughts, I offer the simple perspective of “let’s hang in there together”-keeping our eyes on the coming school holiday break, we need to stay patient and positive, yet be sensitive to the fact that many in our community are fatiguing and people need help. You yourself may need help, and I encourage you to reach out and connect with others.
Over these past three months our school has communicated a consistent message about how we can stay resilient and strong. Research highlighting five ways to promote wellbeing in challenging times is certainly worth revisiting as we start to feel a sense of fatigue. This research identified five behaviours that people can undertake to stay emotionally, socially and psychologically healthy. These behaviours are;
- connecting with others
- being active
- being aware and present in the moment
- ongoing learning, and;
- giving and helping others.
My School Counsellor (Ms Catherine McKersie) wrote an excellent article which summarises this research here.
“Giving and Helping Others Performing acts of kindness to others has shown to have benefits for your own well-being. Research has shown altruistic behaviour activates the area of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust and means your brain releases endorphins. Giving your time, giving your words, giving your attention to listen to someone at this time can mean so much to that other person. But it can also be good for you. Reaching out to someone can mean taking a risk. If you let someone know you are worried about them and ask them how they are going - even if they say they’re ok, your gesture has let them know someone cares enough to reach out and try to make that connection." Ms Catherine McKersie’s (School Counsellor)
Here at Claremont, we are mindful that this research applies to children, as much as it does to adults. Our teaching, activities, opportunities for involvement and other educational priorities will continue to focus on these five points right up to the final bell next Friday afternoon. One focus this coming week will be the act of helping others, and being mindful of those who are in need and less fortunate than ourselves. I am delighted that our Year 6 student leaders are organising a number of charity fundraising activities for us next week, to help the Salvation Army ‘Red Shield Appeal’ culminating in our school uniform free ‘Go Crazy Mufti day’ next Friday. Whilst the students' fundraising target is $400, I encourage our parents community to dig deep and to be generous. Rather than just giving your children some extra gold coins, encourage your children to have a baking or craft sale this weekend or to do some extra jobs around the house, so that they are actually making a conscious and deliberate act to earn some gold coins for their Mufti Day. I believe that this is where a sense of satisfaction, a healthy mindset, and healing can be found. In other words, it is good to be ‘strategic’ in our generosity, and there are many benefits not just for the recipient.”
I am excited for all that next week has to offer and am confident that our school is very well positioned to handle whatever challenges, big or small, might be ahead for us all. We can more than just “hang in there” - we can have an excellent week filled with new opportunities for learning, nice surprises, growth, lots of fun, and much happiness together, empowered by knowing that our loving and merciful God is with us each and every day.
Jesus said - “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” Matthew 11:28-30
Mr Doug Thomas