March 23, 2020
The Coronavirus has forced unprecedented adaptation in our personal and professional lives, producing anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. To support our ability to deal with these changes in a positive manner, and to continue making progress on our goals during this time, we will be sharing a few brief wellness strategies each week. Although these are targeted to support you, please feel free to share with other adults or children in your community!
One simple and excellent RULER strategy that is always available to us in managing our stress and anxiety is intentional breathing. This can be very helpful when responding to stressful stimuli as your best self, allowing us to create some space in our mind and body before selecting a helpful response. This process, also known as the RULER Meta Moment, will be described in more detail next week.
Breathing is an important part of the second Meta-Moment step - pause. In this activity, you'll practice intentional breathing to help create space between stimulus and response. This activity can be done individually or in a group with a facilitator reading this guide.
- Begin by answering the following: Where are you on the Mood Meter? What word best describes where you would plot your current emotion on the Mood Meter?
- After plotting yourself on the Mood Meter, check your posture. Are you sitting up or standing tall? Or, are you slouching? Try adjusting your posture so that you are sitting comfortably–upright with your chest open.
- Next, place your hand on your chest or abs where you feel your breath. Try breathing in slowly for three seconds, then breathing out slowly for three counts. You may find it helpful to inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Or, you may say a simple mantra silently to yourself while you breathe, such as “in” while inhaling and “out” while exhaling.
- Repeat as many times as needed.
- Now, plot yourself again on the Mood Meter. What word would you use to describe your emotion? Have you noticed any changes in your mood after completing this exercise?
Remember: the more that you practice breathing exercises, the easier and more useful they can become.
How Can We Support You
We want these supports to be responsive to your needs, please take a moment and complete this survey to inform our planning.
Last week the Yale Center on Emotional Intelligence (the creators of RULER) shared some excellent guidance on Managing Anxiety Around COVID-19: Tips for Your School Community.
RULER is an approach to building emotional intelligence skills that is used broadly in Highline Public Schools. If you are one of our RULER schools and need assistance logging in to your school’s RULER Online account, please email Doug Judge.