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You’ve got a knot in the pit of your stomach and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to hide the fact that your palms are sweating. Does this sound familiar? Anxiety affects 1 in 8 children just like you, so rest assured that how you are feeling isn’t abnormal. What is it exactly that you are experiencing? How can you feel better? Keep reading to understand your body’s reaction and learn some tips to calm it down.
Why Do I Feel Like This?
Believe it or not, the anxiety you are experiencing has a specific purpose: protection. Unfortunately, this survival mechanism can sometimes go a little too far. When you are in danger, your body triggers an alarm to alert you to the situation. This is why you might feel uneasy walking home from a friend’s house when it is getting dark. Sometimes the alarm goes haywire, and you feel anxious when there isn’t any immediate danger. Something as small as a thought, such as worrying about your math test or having to present a project in front of the class, can trip the anxiety alarm. When there isn’t anything to fight or run away from (think the fight-or-flight response), you are left with physical symptoms such as sweating, fast breathing, shaking, queasiness, racing thoughts, and an overall feeling of panic.
Anxiety isn’t a fun experience, but thankfully there are several ways you can calm your stress and keep your anxiety at bay.
Relax Your Mind and Body
There are several ways to combat anxiety, but the best place to start is with the culprit – your mind. You probably have several TV shows that you love to watch as you lounge on the couch or a favorite video game, but all the action and stimulation could be making you more tense. All that screen time can leave you feeling revved up rather than relaxed. You don’t have to completely unplug from the world of electronics, but on those days when your anxiety is taking its toll, opt for relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or yoga. You might feel a little silly, but deep breathing relaxes one of the major nerves that run from your diaphragm to your brain, giving your body the message that it needs to loosen up and relax.
Take Care of Yourself
While it’s important to take care of your brain, don’t forget about the rest of your body. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, nourishment, and exercise. There will be times when you feel anxious, so the key is make sure you are strong enough to face your anxieties head on. Try to get 8 – 11 hours of sleep each night, and limit your screen time right before bed to help you wind down. Although bedtimes aren’t fun, do your best to go to sleep, or at least be in your room, at the same time each night to get your mind and body on a sleep cycle. Pair a good night’s rest with healthy foods and exercise. Tap into your favorite activities to get your heart pumping such as sports, playing with your pet, or fun games like tag or hide-and-seek.
Don’t forget to spend time with friends and family, as doing things with people you are close to not only strengthens those bonds, but also makes you feel supported and safe. Whenever you are feeling anxious, talk to someone you trust who can listen and help you cope. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your anxiety is stemming from test anxiety or a hard time understanding certain concepts, talk with your parents about the possibility of hiring a tutor. Perhaps the anxiety you feel before a big sports game leaves you feeling unable to participate. Talk with your coach about how you are feeling, and ask for some pointers. They are there to not only support you, but also help you be the best athlete and person you can be.
If you feel like you can’t manage your anxiety on your own, talk to your school guidance counselor as well as your parents about how you are feeling. They will be able to put you on the right path to the treatment you need. In the meantime, continue using coping techniques to calm your anxiety and tone down that anxiety alarm.
This blog post was written by Noah Smith. Noah loves sharing his travel advice on WellnessVoyager.com. He tries to take one big trip each year. He’s currently saving up to backpack through Europe.
Good news! It seems as though lawmakers in Trenton have added a budget resolution to delay implementation of the new fiscal code directly impacting special education private schools until July 2018.
Please show your support once again and contact Gov. Christie TODAY to support this resolution. He has the power to veto this and we can't let that happen. A phone call, tweet, or email showing your support for the delay is critical. He has until JUNE 30 to sign it so we need your support today! The information on contacting Gov. Christie is below.
Thank you once again for your support of Celebrate the Children!
CONTACT THE GOVERNOR TODAY TO EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR BUDGET RESOLUTION 1163
WHEN: NOW!! Not later than Friday, June 30
1) call: 609-292-6000
2) E-mail: use this form: http://www.nj.gov/governor/contact/
STEP 1 – TOPIC: Education
STEP 2- SubTopic – Special Education
SUBJECT LINE: Support Budget Resolution 1163
3) Tweet: @govchristie #support1163 #specialeducation Support budget res 1163 to delay fiscal code for private special education schools.
WHAT TO WRITE/SAY: (you can copy and paste this message)
Dear Governor Christie:
I am the parent of a child with severe disabilities who is placed by my school district at a state approved private special education school.
I am writing to you to urge you to support Budget Resolution 1163, which delays for one year the implementation of new fiscal code designed to reduce funding for more than 150 state-approved private special education schools.This month, the State Board of Education adopted 82 pages of complex fiscal code for special education schools that serve roughly 10,000 children with disabilities so severe and complex that public schools cannot provide an appropriate education to them. The implementation date of this code is slated for July 1. This gave schools just 17 business days to review the new rules and make necessary changes to come into compliance.
Governor, my child’s school needs more time for a careful transition.
I urge you to support budget resolution 1163 calling for a one-year delay in the implementation of the fiscal code affecting state approved private special education schools for students with disabilities.
Dear Senator Pennacchio,
I am your constituent living in Montville, NJ.
My developmentally disabled daughter, Rose, is only 17 years-old and therefore unable to vote, but she too is your constituent. It is the highest calling of your responsibility as an elected official to take care of our society’s most vulnerable, and this includes developmentally children.
Sadly, while Montville Township can rightfully boast of the quality of the education provided by its school system – it cannot provide for the extraordinary needs of my daughter. I look to the positive and recognize what a great leap it is for our society, and humanity as a whole, that we now see the potential waiting to be unlocked in children like my beloved daughter. Our efforts to educate them elevate all of us as a society.
I’m grateful to live in a community like Montville where education is so highly valued. Montville Township pays for my daughter to attend an exemplary school for children with neuro-cognitive disorders, Celebrate the Children in nearby Denville, NJ.
At this time I must reach out to ask you to help my daughter, and all the vulnerable children in her private special education school. The children, and we their families, are alarmed that the new fiscal codes implemented for private special education schools will effectively force them to close their doors forever. These codes, (N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-18) will negatively affect the quality of the services my child must have in order to learn and become a productive citizen in the longterm. As a community we can’t lose sight of this imperative longterm goal of education.
Further, these code were adopted just this June 8 – with the demand that the schools see they are implemented by July 1st. This is patently unfair. Just 17 days, in one of the busiest school months of the year, to implement more than 80 pages of changes - is simply impossible.
Dozens of organizations opposed these new codes. Scores of parents drove to Trenton to testify; more than 800 individuals wrote to the Board to express their concern, and more than 2,000 signed a petition for the implementation of the rules to be postponed. Given that we are all not just parents, but caregivers as well, this an extraordinary amount of time and effort.
As your constituent, and the voice of my daughter Rose – I implore you Senator Pennacchio to demand more time to see these codes implemented.
I join thousands of other advocates across New Jersey in asking you and all your colleagues for more time. Please support the budget resolution calling for a delay in implementation. This will give schools time to make necessary changes, and prevent avoidable disruptions. Please understand, “disruptions” for children like my daughter Rosie are major issues for them and therefore, us, the families.
In advance, I send my profound thanks,
Jeannie M McGuire
Montville, NJ 07045
Printed with permission. Please feel free to share or copy, paste, and personalize for your Senator.
I've had a problem with my hip for the past year. I tried everything alternative to surgery that I could think of: physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and deep tissue massage. While all of this was wonderful and may have delayed surgery for a while, it came to the point this past summer where the pain and lack of mobility was getting to be too much. The pain increasingly got worse and I finally gave in and decided to get hip replacement surgery - something I was terrified of.
I never had major surgery in a hospital in my life. I had three children but I did so as natural as I could - never even had an epidural - even though I had them in the hospital. I had to surrender and trust this doctor and hospital basically with my life. I had to trust that this would be the best decision I could make for myself and that was really hard for me. The world would tell me every horror story possible about why this could possibly not be a good choice - and I had to stay focused and not be swayed by what I heard or read or saw. Time passed and the time for surgery came - I had to surrender and trust.
I woke up from the surgery feeling amazing - my experience in the hospital was amazing. Everyone was kind, efficient, and really cared about helping me get better. I was up walking that night with hardly any pain - certainly much less than I had before the surgery. I learned to go up stairs, get in and out of my car, and go from a walker to a cane within a day. I was home the day after surgery. There was recovery of course, learning my limitations, and learning to let my body heal and just slow down. I had to let others take care of me (boy was that hard!!!!). Many times I had to look at things and tell myself - "not yet". I also had to take things much slower and give myself extra time and figure out how to support myself through difficult movements. Physical Therapy was so hard and painful, but my body was responding, and I was able to SLOWLY move easier.
This whole experience made me a better teacher at Celebrate the Children. I looked at my student's through different eyes. I knew how it felt when my body wouldn't work the way I wanted it to. I now understood what it was like to have to look at a location and figure out how I could get there and how long it would take or if my body could do that yet. I understood how hard physical therapy was and making my body move the way it didn't want to move and the processing time involved. I understood the frustration, the fear, and foreboding of certain situations and movements. My body heals and gets stronger every day and many movements are much easier than even before the surgery. I am thankful and grateful for the whole experience and feel so much more connected to our students and how they often feel. Now I can let them know I understand.
Paula Paglione, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Fine motor skills help students develop and strengthen the small muscles in their hands, fingers, and thumbs to complete tasks such as writing, cutting, buttoning, zippering, and many life skills. The development of fine motor skills are important for completing tasks throughout our daily lives. It is very important for students to have the opportunity to work on these skills every day. Each morning students unpack and walk over to the fine motor station to choose from a variety activities based on classroom themes and season. These activities are a great way to regulate and engage students as well as strengthen some of these skills. They are also highly motivating and can be done individually, with a peer, or small group. It is also a great way to spend down time in the classroom.
5 Fun Springtime Fine Motor Activities
2. Easter Egg Sorting
3. Yarn Wrapped Tulips
4. Egg Counting Hole Punch Activity
5. Rainbow Patterning
Sam Losurdo, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Watching the Oscars, we saw many talented actors recognized for their great work. It got us thinking... Although daily life does not dole out awards, it is important to recognize the accomplishments from small gains to major milestones in our children/students to even ourselves! Celebrate the Children's core value is to "celebrate" the child. But how do we do that on a daily basis? How do we empower our children by building their self-esteem? How do we do this for ourselves as caregivers? How do we keep a positive outlook with our glasses half-full or better yet knowing we will have the opportunity to refill it?
It is important to nurture our children but also ourselves during this journey. From the Nurtured Heart Approach by Howard Glasser, here are a few ways we can give recognition to our children:
1. Active Recognition also described as "Kodak moments" - providing a verbal snapshot of what you observed. (i.e., "I see you...”). Catch them in the moment!
2. Experimental Recognition also described as "Polaroid Moments" - providing verbal feedback of what you see and what it says about the person. (i.e., "I see you... and what that shows me is that you are ...")
3. Proactive Recognition also described as "Cannon moments" - recognizes the rules not broken. (i.e., "I am impressed that you ... instead of ..... That really takes control to make a choice like that!").
4. Creative Recognition- creating success by building the environment for the child to start succeeding! This sets a culture of building and supporting the process while the child learns to get to the end goal. Start with simple doable tasks (i.e., "I need you to do...." then recognize).
We thank the Nurtured Heart Approach in broadening our positive self-esteem toolbox which builds a person's "inner wealth". We are thankful for our dedicated parents who collaborate and advocate for their child's needs. We would like to challenge all the caregivers, staff and parents including ourselves, to nurture a child's heart as well as their own heart! For our nurturing caregivers who model advocacy on a lifelong mission of supporting their child with the goal of empowering their child and believing in them, we hope these tools become an everyday resource. Each day, practice the above tools of recognition on your child and self. As we reflect, although the Oscars are a great accomplishment, the inner wealth gained from our supportive community that we have had the pleasure to work for has enriched us so much more!
Resource: Nutured Heart Approach- Howard Glasser-
-Student and Family Support Services, Celebrate the Children
National Random Acts of Kindness Day will be celebrated on February 17th. This is a wonderful day to take time to show others your appreciation, or just show you care to random strangers. This is also a nice time to teach children about compassion for others without the expectation of receiving something in return. There are many ways to show your kindness:
It is always important to remember that the act itself is not what truly matters, but rather the intent behind the act.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” (Aesop)
Happy National Random Acts of Kindness Day!
-Michelle Rehse, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Most children love to play in the snow this is a wonderful opportunity to engage with your child. Aside from building a snowman, having a snowball fight, or going sleigh riding there are so many other activities you and your child can take part in and create new memories and experiences.
I hope you are able to enjoy some of these activities with your child in these long cold winter months and create some new memories.
Tara Dolan, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Obstacle Course - Use couch, cushions, pillows & blankets and encourage your child to climb over under and through to go on scavenger hunt. This promotes motor planning, postural stability, and visual spatial and fine & gross motor skills.
Sledding - Pull your child on a sled. Provides movement and works on core stability. You can also have your child pull you on the sled. This is great way to provide heavy work.
Building a Snowman - Rolling large snowballs is another way to provide heavy work to the body. Add as many body parts as possible and asking your child to identify body parts. You also add a hat, scarf, boots and mittens.
Snowball Target Practice (indoor and outdoor activity) - Have child crumple up old newspaper or recycled paper and have a “snowball fight”. This promotes hand strengthening, eye hand coordination, visual spatial and encourages playful interactions.
Occupational Therapy Department, Celebrate the Children
"It’s not unusual to hear Nicholas Brahm singing a song for all the woods to hear when he’s hiking. He’s not picky with his song repertoire. It could be Jingle Bells (in July), or a car commercial jingle he’s heard on TV or a heavy metal Kiss song. Whatever pops into his eleven-year-old head. He memorizes every jingle and song he hears and feels moved to express himself when he hikes. Yet he has no other functioning speech.
Perhaps this is Nicholas’s way of expressing the joy that he feels while on the Trail, in the woods. Singing is sure-fire proof that one is a happy soul, for he has no other way to express himself verbally. Singing makes Nicholas’s father, Rick, thrilled because Nicholas is autistic, and out here, on the Trail, Nicholas shines the brightest. And so, the New Jersey Sussex County family returns to the A.T. again and again."
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.