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On May 18th, the official school reopening day, we see many faculty and teachers wearing their green ribbons, a symbol of mental health awareness. Our whole community is making an effort to break the stigma and make Qibao Dwight a stigma-free zone, where we accept each other for who we are with open arms and support each other through thick and thin! 



For this Mental Health Awareness Month, we organized daily activities and resources for students and faculty to use before or afte class to promote mental health and build community. 



On “Mindful Monday”, pay close attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they’re happening. Being present in the moment takes practice. When your thoughts drift away from being “present”, just notice it and gently bring your attention back without criticizing yourself. Research has found that regular practice of mindfulness, even for short periods, can provide a variety of health benefits, such as improving your focus, decreasing anxiety, reducing depression and boosting your immune system.

 

Muscle tension occurs when a person has any sort of emotional or physical stress. We all experience various degrees of muscle tension and may feel that tension in different areas of our body. On “Tension-free Tuesday”, try a progressive muscle relaxation practice (PMR). It is one of the easiest and most effective relaxation techniques that has been proven to relax your mind, relieve stress, and reduce symptoms of certain types of muscle tension. PMR is based upon the simple practice of tensing and tightening of one muscle group at a time, which allows tension to flow away from you as each muscle group relaxes.

 

Self-care is a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being. It is vital for building resilience toward different stressors in life. On “Wellness Wednesday”, do something for yourself! There are different dimensions of self-care, such as, physical, social, mental, emotional, and spiritual self-care. Research shows wider ranging benefits of self-care, which include, better productivity, improved resistance to disease, better physical health, enhanced esteem, as well as increased self-knowledge. Many of us may complain about not having time for self-care but the good news is many self-care practices don’t require a lot of planning. The trick is to find what you genuinely enjoy and what fits with your life and values. 

 

On “Thoughtful Thursday”, do one kind and thoughtful thing for someone else. Kindness is not only one of our QD Seven Virtues, but also an important human strength that can have a lasting impact on our wellbeing. Research shows kindness strengthens immune system, improves cognitive performance, increases energy, lowers heart rate and we are more likely to live a longer and more satisfied life.


Many of us already know that exercise is good for our physical body, but it also has many mental health benefits. On “Fitness Friday”, create and carry out a fitness routine. Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Many people exercise regularly because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. Research has found exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety and more. It promotes changes in our brain, which may include, neural growth, reduced inflammation, releases endorphins that energize our spirits. As a result, we may have shaper memory and thinking, higher self-esteem, better sleep, more energy, and stronger resilience. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. In fact, modest amounts of exercise can make a difference.


Our Physical Health teachers, Mr. Marco Legorreta and Ms. Wang Rui also generously offered a meditation session and a yoga session for faculty to help them destress and recenter. we want to say thank you to all the teachers who have acted quickly and efficiently to move academic classes online and at the same time provide organization and structure, care and understanding.

 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. May will pass but mental health awareness should not stop here. As everyone work together to break the stigma associated with mental health, we can learn to educate ourselves, family and friends about be aware of the importance of how we talk about mental health all year around.