The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many areas of our lives. One of the biggest effects it has had is on the job industry and the strain it has put on both employees and employers when it comes to burnout & stress. Jobs in which employees needs to interact with people face-to-face were already stressful before the pandemic, but now with the looming threat of catching COVID-19, it's even more stressful.
There are many reasons why an employee may experience burnout such as lack of control, unclear job expectations, dysfunctional work dynamics, extremes of job activity, lack of social support, work-life imbalance, and heavy workload or working long hours.
Teachers are facing many stressors currently when it comes to the pandemic. If a teacher becomes infected with COVID-19 they face many days out of the classroom which in turn can cause stress on the teachers and administration who may be already experiencing a shortage of teachers. This is the same situation that our healthcare system and service industry are facing as well.
Below are resources that can help both employees and employers with job burnout and stress:
Civic Engagement means "working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make that difference." NY Times.
Civic engagement includes actions such as voting, volunteering, attending town hall or neighborhood meetings, serving as an AmeriCorps member, and advocacy & activism. In order to be able to successfully engage with your community, there are certain social and emotional skills that people need to develop and acquire. For instance, you would need to be able to communicate effectively with people who may be different from you, or you would need to be able to resolve conflicts in nonviolent ways.
Integrating SEL & civic learning in schools is easy and beneficial. When students develop their own self- and social-awareness to analyze and reflect on issues they care about in their schools and communities, they are more likely to become interested in learning about these topics. When students develop the relationship skills necessary to be able to work in a team and have important conversations, they're more likely to succeed in becoming civically engaged within their own community.
Below are resources to learn more about Civic Engagement and SEL:
You Can't Have Meaningful Civic Engagement Without Social and Emotional Skills
SEL & Civic Learning
Prepare Students for Civic Engagement Through SEL
The Future of Civic Engagement is SEL by Committee for Children
January is National Mentoring Month, a month to raise awareness about the positive effects of mentorship and how it can empower young people to change the world.
Our late Executive Director and co-founder, Matthew Smith, was a mentor to many people in the community. A mentor can be defined as a trusted guide, coach, or counselor who gives advice and guides others whether through work or life in general. Volunteering is one huge way to be a mentor and it has proven benefits for both the volunteer and the person being served. We all need a mentor in our lives; to give us knowledge, wisdom, support, and to help us succeed.
To honor Matthew's memory, consider these resources below on mentorship and how you can become a mentor to young people in your community.
ACE's Life Skills Education Program Volunteer Opportunity
Anytown Alabama Social Justice Teen Leadership Summit 2022 Staff Intern
The Dannon Project Volunteer/Mentor
Big Brothers, Big Sisters E-Mentorship
24 Reasons Why Mentorship is Important
7 Tips About How to Mentor Someone
During the holidays, feelings of grief are experienced by many because the holidays are centered around family and those we love. The holidays can exacerbate the feelings of loneliness, grief, and depression, especially now when COVID-19 has taken so many of our loved ones. 36% of Americans don’t feel like celebrating the holidays this year due to feelings of grief and loss (Experience Camps/Harris Poll survey). Grief is a universal, understandable response to loss, but everyone processes this feeling drastically different. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Whether you are grieving, experiencing loneliness, or know someone who is grieving during the holiday season, read these additional resources.
Grief & the Holidays: Dealing with the Pain
Grief and Loss Throughout the Holiday Season
Dealing with Loneliness During the Holiday Season
9 Self-Care Tips for Anyone Spending the Holidays Alone
Ways to Support Someone Who is Grieving
How to Help a Grieving Friend
American Counseling Association: Grief and Loss Resources
Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights is a religious holiday celebrated by Jewish people. This year Hanukkah is observed November 28 through December 6, 2021. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple. Learn more about the history of Chanukah here.
The Hanukkah celebration is marked by the lighting of one candle on the menorah, a nine-branched candelabra, on each night of the festival. A new candle is added to the menorah each night and lit from newest to oldest, while reciting blessings as each candle is lit.
Traditional Hanukkah foods are typically fried in oil and include items such as potato pancakes, or latkes, and jam-filled donuts, or sufganiyot. Other holiday customs include playing with a dreidel, a four-sided spinning top, and exchanging gifts.
Resources on the Importance of Religious Freedom
A Brief History of Anti-Semitism
Your Right to Religious Freedom
Religious Freedom: What’s At Stake If We Lose It
Teaching About Freedom of Religion
Understanding Other Religious Beliefs
It's the week of Thanksgiving and this holiday is usually associated with thanks and gratitude. Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation or thanks; the state of being grateful. Some people may use gratitude as a way to form new relationships, strengthen current ones, help apologize to others, and make amends; but there are many useful ways to implement this positive emotion into your life.
7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude
Resources to utilize to strengthen understanding and application of gratitude.
What is Gratitude and Why Is It So Important?
11 Classroom Activities to Teach Students Gratitude
Your Guide to Cultivating Gratitude in the Workplace
13 Most Popular Gratitude Exercises and Activities
8 Gratitude Activities for the Workplace to Try Today
Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier
28 Benefits of Gratitude & Most Significant Research Findings
How to Be Thankful When You Don't Feel Thankful
International Day for Tolerance is observed on November 16 as a time to celebrate open-mindedness and listening. Tolerance may be defined as accepting others who are different in their race, culture, habits, and beliefs. Ways to participate in International Day for Tolerance includes reading about different cultures, listening to neighbors with opposing point of views, and participating in events of remembrance or advocacy. There is importance in celebrating this day because it’s educational, brings others together, and reminds us that tolerance is a constant effort.
Tolerance is an important skill to develop, because people will not always agree on things. It's human nature to have differing opinions and thoughts. However, there is a big difference between tolerating different opinions and accepting others' race, culture, habits, and beliefs. It's important to be mindful that acceptance is actually the end goal to creating an inclusive society rather than just tolerance.
Eight Tips to Build Tolerance in Your Life
Resources for teaching and developing tolerance:
How to Teach Your Kid About Tolerance
The Importance of Teaching Tolerance: 9 Ways to Create an Inclusive Classroom
How to Deal With Low Frustration Tolerance
What is Distress Tolerance?
Teaching Social Acceptance in School
World Kindness Day is observed internationally on November 13 to advocate the importance of being kind to yourself, each other, and to the world around you. The objective of World Kindness Day is to spread kindness with small gestures.
Consider these small acts of kindness to participate in World Kindness Day:
Empathy is best defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of one another. Empathy is considered one of the most important components of emotional intelligence.
Nine benefits of being empathetic --
World Kindness Day
7 Benefits of Empathy in the Workplace
5 Activities for Building Empathy in Your Students
20+ Strategies for Teaching Empathy
5 Exercises to Help You Build More Empathy
100 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
National Stress Awareness Day is observed every first Wednesday of November as a day to focus on reducing stress. International Stress Management Association is a charity that promotes knowledge about stress, resources for stress management, and well-being nationally and internationally.
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension which is the body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. The body reacts to stress by releasing hormones that makes the brain more alert, causes muscles to tense, and increases pulse rate. There are two main types of stress: acute stress -- short term stress that goes away quickly, and chronic stress -- stress that lasts for weeks or months. There are many common health problems that are associated with chronic stress, such as -- high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and/or anxiety, skin problems (acne or eczema), and menstrual problems.
Stress is known to cause many types of physical and emotional symptoms.
Signs of too much stress:
Frequent aches and pains
Lack of energy or focus
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Use of alcohol or drugs
17 Highly Effective Stress Relievers for everyone!
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Take a Walk
Get a Hug From a Loved One
Eat a Balanced Diet
Make Time for Leisure Activities
Develop a Positive Self-Talk Habit
Reassess Your To-Do Lists
Obtain Social Support
Cut Out Things That Add to Your Stress
Stress and Your Health
Top 10 Stress Management Techniques for Students
How to Help Children and Teens Manage Their Stress
Adults who are emotionally intelligent are self-aware, emotionally literate, practice emotional self-regulation, and model prosocial behaviors. When adults possess these skills, they are able to effectively collaborate with colleagues. Adults need to feel empowered, supported, and valued. Adults who work with children need to be able to model these skills, so it's important that adults practice and develop these skills.
SEL for adults must include opportunities for learning, practice, collaboration, and modeling strategies. Resources for activities and more information include:
SEL for Adults: Self-Awareness and Self-Management
A Comprehensive Guide to Adult SEL
CASEL: Strengthen Adult Social, Emotional, and Cultural Competence
Why Continued Adult SEL is Needed
CASEL: Strengthen Adult SEL
10 Activities for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) for Your Learners and You
SEL Activities for Employee Performance Management
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