A message about coping with change from our Counselling Department.

By now, many of you would have read about the plans that have been laid out by the Department of Education with regard to reintegrating back into school life. I, for one, have been waiting for the day that we can be back on campus and resort back to ‘normality.’ However, in reading about the proposed plans, coming back to school is going to look quite different from the way it was, and so the excitement seems to have been replaced with a bundle of apprehension and nerves. Aside from the realities of Covid-19 and the safety precautions that I know will be put in place to protect us, there is another reason that I think that my feelings have changed: and that has to do with my personal feelings of adequacy.

During lockdown I have watched some of the webinars on www.wellbeingincovid19.com, and one of the recent recordings spoke about what we, as humans, might experience as we begin to reintegrate post-lockdown. Some important research by Cohen and Sherman (2014) was presented, where it was said that one of the needs that we have is to feel adequate within ourselves. They went on to say that one of the reasons why we might find change so daunting, is that it can put our personal feelings of adequacy at risk. With the uncertainty of reintegrating back into school life, we might be wondering whether we have what it takes to cope with all of the changes and the ‘new normal’ of how schooling is going to take place. How am I going to adjust back into a school routine and structure? Am I going to be able to cope with wearing a mask all day? Will I be able to catch up with all of my work? Will I be able to get through all of the needed content with my learners? It is this very questioning of our ability to cope with the impending changes and the questioning of our personal adequacy, that we can end up feeling very unstable.

As in other posts that we have shared, it is important to identify our feelings so that we can move through them and heal, and it is equally important to put some good practices in place to continue to improve our well being during this time. One of the recommendations that Cohen and Sherman (2014) make is that we do things that affirm our adequacy, in other areas of our lives, so that as we face challenges we know that we are at least adequate in some aspect. Hopefully, these feelings of adequacy will build up our confidence for the changes that might be leaving us feeling apprehensive, nervous, and inadequate. For example, if you have a hobby that you feel you enjoy, spending some time on it and being aware of the feelings of adequacy that come along with it can be very helpful. Perhaps you are particularly good at putting things in order and you could spend some time doing this in your home/bedroom. Do you like cooking or gardening? Perhaps you could spend some time absorbing the feelings of adequacy that you feel as you pull out some of those weeds or make a meal. If you have a pet, giving them attention could be your ticket to feeling adequate.

Practicing areas in our lives in which we feel we are able and adequate can be incredibly helpful in helping us to push through, and even cope, when change occurs.

The WGHS Counselling Department