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News

It Takes a Village…

I pride myself on being an independent woman and a professional, to a fault at times. Western society places a high value on self-reliance. It has been ingrained in me since I was a child. If my first year of motherhood has solidified anything, it is that at times you are going to need support…

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Why Do We Fixate On the Bad?

Do you ever find yourself dwelling on something negative that happened a few days ago, even though most other aspects of your week were really positive? Turn on the news and you will see overwhelming negative content dominating TV, print, and online media. Why? Because negative news coverage grabs more attention (viewers) than positive content….

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Encouraging a Self-Motivated Child

After a well-deserved summer break, the return to school required everyone to get back to structure and routines. This left many students, teachers, and possibly parents in a complete brain fog as the shift happened so quickly. And, as the excitement of the new school year drifts away and schedules get filled, some parents might…

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Is It Risky to Talk to Your Child About How They Are Feeling?

I love this time of the year. Spring brings sunny weather that warms our skin and rejuvenates our souls. I’m back to relaxing in Sofia parks and enjoying the view of downtown from my balcony. There is a pleasant buzz developing at school. Students and teachers alike know that a long vacation is around the corner, and there are signs that we are getting closer: we just enjoyed spring break, 12th-graders have completed classes and their graduation is a calendar page away. Prom tickets are being sold and prom dresses are being bought. There is a lot going on, but many of us have a bit more bounce in our step.  I was looking to match this sunny vibe with my article this week (counselors rotate in to discuss an aspect of wellness in each Weekly Howl). As I was mulling over ideas, however, an interesting article on teen loneliness and depression caught my attention. (“‘It’s Life or Death’: The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens” in The New York Times….

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The Power of Perspective

Perspective. This word has been on my mind recently. I have a new perspective on many things as a new mom. My little son, Orion, has a frequently changing visual perspective now that he has learned to roll over on his own. I look at things at AAS a bit differently sometimes from my perspective as a counselor than my colleagues who are classroom teachers or administrators. This week is parent-teacher conferences. The purpose is to share school and home perspectives to find the best way together to support our children’s growth. Perspective is an important wellness concept for many reasons, including helping us cope with uncomfortable feelings and supporting effective problem solving….

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The Science of Habits

Hang on, we’re gonna get sciencеy here and talk about the brain and stuff.  The new year has come and gone and you’re 6 weeks into your resolution to be a new and improved you. My informal research, composed exclusively of my annual failed resolutions, indicates that most of us have found it too difficult to stick with the routine and have likely given up and moved on. Why is it so hard to start a new habit, stop a bad one, and ultimately make it last? Humans are creatures of habit. We perform many of our mundane daily routines – getting dressed, making coffee, driving to work – on autopilot. These routines (habitual behavior) are done so without thinking. They’re reflexive and goal oriented….

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Persevering During Difficult Times

The AAS student body is smack dab in the middle of exploring our monthly characteristic trait for January: perseverance. It is a fitting theme for this time of year as we are also in the middle of one of the longest, uninterrupted stretches of our academic calendar. Not to mention, many of you have also dealt with unexpected quarantines, having to miss work, and the struggles of virtual learning. If we can just hunker down and persevere until break arrives at the end of February, everything will be fine, right? Well, not exactly. The ability to show perseverance and patience through difficult times is a vitally important skill for everyone to learn and try to master. However, trying to “white knuckle” your way through life by sheer perseverance alone during difficult times is not always the answer. A key component of successfully persevering through difficult times is living a balanced lifestyle. Finding the right balance between the different responsibilities we have in our lives, big and small, can be challenging, especially considering the hectic lives many of us live….

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The Science of Gratitude

Many of us have become used to the uncertainty, but the current state of the world continues to take its toll on our health and well being. So what can we do to help ourselves feel a little better? I emphasize the ‘little’ here, because there is no one thing that can fix things, but rather a collection of little changes that can amount to a noticeable difference in how we feel.  Positive Psychology research has demonstrated that focusing our attention on things that we are thankful for – expressing gratitude – leads to greater overall happiness. Gratitude is appreciating what we have and not continually wishing for more or focusing on what we lack. Better yet, it is expressing that gratitude in an intentional way….

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Overcoming Anxieties

“Are you nervous about having the baby, Ms. Lindsey?” This was one of the first questions I was asked this week by one of our fourth graders while I visited classrooms to introduce Mr. Kevin, who will be filling in for me while I am on maternity leave. I found myself pausing for a moment and then emphatically agreeing. Even though I have been a school counselor for thirteen years and know a lot about parenting strategies and child development from a professional angle, my husband and I have never been parents ourselves and will be in a few short weeks. I feel the anxiety in me along with all of my other feelings about impending parenthood.  ​​​​​​​Anxiety is a common struggle we face for many different reasons. Things that may seem easy to one person may cause huge anxiety in someone else….

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Building a Community of Wellness

When someone scrapes their knee, breaks a bone, or catches a cold, it is easy to offer support and sympathy because there is something tangible for us to see. However, it becomes harder when what requires care and compassion is something invisible. There are things that one may be going through inside that even a close friend or a family member may not realize. This illustration by Hazel Mead shows a class of children and the different things on their mind entering the classroom. Some are simple kid wonderings and others are bigger issues they are trying to sort through.  Today (10 Sept.) is World Suicide Prevention Day, which is one of many annual reminders on why it is important to support mental wellness. How can we support mental wellness as an AAS community? …

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In Partnership: The Importance of the School-Family Relationship

After reading last week’s column about relationships, I reflected on one of the most critical relationships for a child’s success: the relationship between a child’s family and their school. When the relationship is a partnership, we see the child grow and thrive so much more in their school life; unfortunately, when the relationship is fractured, the opposite is true. Often we are tempted to see school as school and home as home, but the two are intertwined for our kids. They do not shut off one part of their life when they get into the other setting. Many parents have likely seen the impact of a conflict or a bad day at school carry over into the child’s attitude at home. Similarly, at school, we often see behaviors and learning habits impacted by things happening outside of school that are on the child’s mind, their health, or their eating and sleeping habits. …

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