In uncertain times, it’s easy for stress and anxiety to take over our emotions and color our daily interactions without us even recognizing that it’s happening. That’s why it’s important now more than ever to establish some healthy routines that allow us to check in with ourselves and be aware of our physical and emotional wellbeing. This is helpful for us as individuals in order to recognize our capacity and practice self-care as needed, as well as for us in our roles as mentors so that we are capable of being fully present and compassionate.
Some of you may be reconnected with your mentees and are actively exchanging messages. Some may be sending messages but not hearing back from your mentees. Other mentors are still waiting as Mentor Directors and schools work on locating students. And some of you may just be in a space where you’re feeling overwhelmed by current circumstances, unsure of whether you have the capacity to be there for your mentee. These are all completely normal and valid spaces to occupy. Regardless of where you find yourself on this spectrum, we have some tips that can help make navigating this new landscape easier for all of us.
- Focus on what you can control.
- Set a routine (get plenty of sleep, eat healthy balanced meals, drink plenty of water).
- Stretch and build time for movement in your day.
- Go for a walk around the block.
- Try some of the free yoga videos you can find online (YouTube has tons!).
- Try meditating. The app Headspace is offering free meditations.
- Take time to connect with friends & loved ones in whatever way feels good to you.
- Distractions are good! Books, music, movies, puzzles, games…whatever you like!
Tips for Supporting Your Mentee
- Follow their lead on any questions they may have.
- They may be worried about loved ones getting sick, or they may be simply missing their friends at school. Whatever the case, focus on their feelings and help them identify the emotions they may be experiencing.
- Answer any questions they have in calm, factual ways that are age and developmentally appropriate.
- Maintaining routine and structure is helpful for kids, too. Your check-ins can be immensely reassuring.
- Remind them there are many adults working hard to help people get better soon.
- Focus on what they can control.
- Review effective hand washing techniques and healthy habits.
- Share some of the positive coping strategies you use, like calming breathing exercises or any of the activities in our list of tips.
As a reminder of the importance of familiar structures, now is a good time to think about the end of school year transitions and whether you and your mentee would like to reconnect in the fall. This could be a good opportunity for them to exercise some control over an aspect of their lives in a way that they haven’t been able to lately. If you haven’t been able to connect with them, it’s still best practice to write an end of the year closure note and give it to your Mentor Director so that we can share that with your mentee when we do reach them. Even if the school year closure happens late, we still want that closure to occur and to be a positive experience as much as possible.