During this stressful time, Foxcroft School recently shared the following information with our students, parents, and alumnae, and felt that it may be helpful to our wider community, as well.

At this time, you and those around you are probably well educated and likely even over-exposed to information regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. While being informed about protective measures and community policies is extremely important, let’s take time to check in about our mental wellness practices. 

It is natural and normal to feel confused, worried or stressed about what you are hearing on the news or while standing in line at the grocery store. It’s concerning to read social media posts about worst-case scenarios or see photos of people scrambling for supplies. 

The uneasy feeling you might be experiencing could be your brain telling you, “Hey, something’s going on. Pay attention so you can make responsible choices.” You have the ability to listen to your brain and body and employ effective coping skills, protective physical health measures, and responsible social behaviors. 

It is a deliberate choice to activate these skills that you’ve been developing your entire life, and healthier and more productive than “overestimating dangers or underestimating your ability,” as noted psychologist Lisa Damour writes in her article titled “5 ways to help teens manage anxiety about the coronavirus” recently published in the New York Times, to navigate this experience in a rational and functional manner. 

There are people in your life and community — family, friends, loved ones, neighbors, coworkers — that are available to support you. As we remind our girls, you should also remember that throughout your life, you have gained independence, resilience, grit, coping skills, and a sense of who you are and your role in our society, all things that will help carry you through this extraordinary time. 

So when you are feeling overwhelmed, what can you do?

• Take steps to keep yourself healthy: Eat fruits, veggies, protein, complex carbs, limit caffeine, drink lots of water, and exercise.

• Go outside! (Unless officially instructed otherwise) 

• Keep things in perspective.

• Don’t expose yourself to or spread false information.

• Set limits for exposure to news sources, including social media.

• Scale back from checking your phone continuously — take a break! 

• Plan out your day for academics, exercise, entertainment, meals, and sleep.

• Enjoy some time with your family. (Unless officially instructed otherwise). Engage in conversations, play games, go for a walk, play with a pet, get creative! 

Life throws curveballs and stressful events our way, and that’s when we reach into our toolbelt and remember that even though things might be temporarily uncomfortable and uncertain, we can and will activate our coping skills, adaptivity, and healthy behavioral approaches.  

And, if you are experiencing a mental health emergency please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line.