Mental Health Week

#TVDSBstrong - Mental Health Week 2020Below are some fun and easy activities for Mental Health Week (May 4-10, 2020) and beyond. 

These activities are designed to enhance one or more of the social-emotional learning skills as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Education (Identification and management of emotions; Stress management and coping; Positive Motivation and perseverance;  Healthy relationships; Self-awareness and sense of identity; Critical and creative thinking).

We have included a variety of activities so that you can choose those that match the age, interests and goals of your audience.

Our Creative Class - TVDSB Student and Staff Art Contest - Click here for details

Activities
  • Take 3 deep, slow breaths. Notice your belly and chest expand as you breathe in through your nose. Breathe out for as long as you can and feel your stomach and chest contract as you do.
  • Choose a day/time this week to go device free.  Plan activities you enjoy so you will not cheat!
  • Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for today – big things and little things. 
  • Tell someone why you are grateful to have them in your life. Be as specific as possible.
  • Try something new like bird watching, baking, making playdough or learning a new card game.  Journal about the experience.
  • Start with a slow, deep breath. Notice 3 things you can see. Notice 2 things you can feel. Notice 1 thing you can hear.
  • Notice when you laugh (even a little chuckle).  Let it grow. Laughter decreases stress.
  • What is a small act of kindness or generosity you can do today?
  • How have you taken a set-back and turned it into an opportunity for growth?
  • Close your eyes and smile.  Really smile – you should feel it beside your eyes.  Notice how you feel when you smile this way. Notice how you feel when you see other people who smile ‘all the way to their eyes’. 
  • Go outside! Feel the breeze and the warmth of the sun on your skin.
  • Notice 8 beautiful things during your time outside. Sketch them, journal, or create a media presentation.
  • Take 5-10 minutes to watch the sky or clouds. Take slow deep breaths while you watch. Do you notice any shapes? What thoughts pop into your mind while you are enjoying this moment? 
  • Sit with your back against a tree. Feel the steady strength of the tree as you breathe slow and deep.
  • Watch a sunrise or sunset.
  • Sit quietly and watch for birds. Notice the size, shape (body, beak, feet, tail, wings) and colours of each bird.  What sounds do you hear? Would you be able to recognize this bird just by its song? 
Scripted Mindfulness Activities

Mindful Music - Choose a song that you love.  Listen to it very carefully, like you've never heard it before. Notice every instrument including percussion and vocals. You may need to listen multiple times to hear all the layers of the song.  What images, sensations, thoughts and feelings arise while you listen to the song?  Do you now understand better why you love this song? Did you notice something new?  Embrace the rhythm and move to the music! 

Mindful Walking – Go outside and slowly notice the sounds, smells and sights around you. Can you hear birds? Look to the sky and watch the clouds –their texture, shape, colour and movement. As you walk, pay attention to which part of your foot meets the ground first. Feel how your muscles work. If it’s warm enough, take of your shoes and socks and feel the earth under your feet and the grass between your toes. If it’s there, feel the breeze or the sun’s warmth on your skin. For a different experience, try mindful walking indoors.

  • Check out this link for a demonstration by Cosmic Kids HERE

Mindful Eating – Choose one meal or snack (or even one bite!) to pause and notice every detail of your food. First, look at the colour, shape, and texture with deep curiosity, like you have never seen this food before. Some foods make sounds so listen closely (apple seeds may rattle when shaken, raisins crackle when kneaded by your fingers). Next, if appropriate, feel it with your fingers to notice the temperature, texture, firmness. Then smell and notice how your body reacts. How would you describe the smell? Finally, place the food on your tongue and take a moment to notice any sensations before you bite. If you didn’t feel your food before, do so now with your tongue. Slowly chew and marvel at the various ‘layers’ of flavour. Notice how your tongue and teeth work together seamlessly as you chew.

Coffee with Kelly - New episodes every day during Mental Health Week (May 4-8)

Episode 1: Dr. David Tranter

TVDSB's Mental Health Lead, Kelly Appleby, sits down with author David Tranter, a professor at Lakehead University, a researcher and co-author of the book The Third Path: A Relationship-Based Approach to Student Well-Being and Achievement.

Episode 1

Episode 1 (Extended Conversation)

Episode 2: Mony Madlol

TVDSB's Mental Health Lead, Kelly Appleby, sits down for an extended chat with Mony Madlol, a student at Oakridge Secondary School, to talk about the mental health and well-being of boys and young men.

Episode 2

Episode 2 (Extended Conversation)

Episode 3: Holly Painter

TVDSB's Mental Health Lead, Kelly Appleby, sits down for a chat with Holly Painter, a TVDSB educator with an incredible talent for poetry. Holly shares her passion for promoting mental health and well-being in the classroom (both virtual and in-person!).

Episode 3

Episode 3 (Extended Conversation)

Episode 4: Mike Cywink

TVDSB's Mental Health Lead, Kelly Appleby, sits down for a chat with Mike Cywink. He has a passion for supporting the well-being of FNMI students through a variety of programs in TVDSB schools. Mike brings knowledge and passion to the conversation about well-being from an Indigenous perspective.

Episode 4

Episode 4 (Extended Conversation)

Episode 5: Mark Fisher

TVDSB's Mental Health Lead, Kelly Appleby, sits down for a chat with Mark Fisher. He is the Director of Education for the Thames Valley District School Board. Mark is courageously leading TVDSB through this exceptional time and shares his philosophy and commitment to the well-being of the TVDSB community during this time and beyond.

Episode 4

Episode 4 (Extended Conversation)

TVDSB Mental Health & Well-Being Resources

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