Virtual mental health week helps students reduce stress



When times get tough, it’s always nice to have an excuse to relax.

Mandy Wong, Page Editor

For the first time, Amador students can participate in a virtual spirit week during California’s “Student Mental Health Week” from Monday, May 4th, until Friday, May 8th.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the California Association of School Counselors (CASC) sponsored California’s first ever Student Mental Health Week.

Amador’s counselors have provided daily activities that students can explore as part of a virtual spirit week to learn more about mental health.

“I love that CASC encouraged a virtual spirit week to go along with Student Mental Health Week. This gave us an opportunity to share some fun spirit days with activities and “coping skills” to go with each day,” said Student Assistance Program Specialist Monica Wharton.

This spirit week focuses on ways that students can cope with stress. As students are affected by this pandemic, caring for their mental health may take a backseat. 

“Participating in virtual mental health week is helpful for students during this time because it reminds them to practice self-care. It also provides ideas on what they can do to give themselves a mental break,” says support counselor Jennifer Yu.

Counselors push out the daily activities and resources in Google Classroom (code: 5tspidj). Students can share photos of themselves participating in the spirit week to Classroom or social media with #CA4studentwellness.

Spirit week started with Music Monday. Students were linked to Spotify Playlist ‘Happy Hits’, filled with upbeat pop songs to lift moods. For fun dressing up, students could dress in a T-shirt with their favorite band, or even dress up as a musician.

“I think my favorite Spirit week day so far has been Music Monday – I even dressed up my dog in a Green Day t-shirt! Music is such a great way to unwind and relax and I love the Spotify playlist that went along with Monday’s activity,” said Wharton.

The second day was Cruise Day Tuesday. As many are staying inside, Cruise Day Tuesday explored the power of visualization. Guided visualizations allow the mind to imagine being elsewhere, like a sandy beach. Following the theme, students could deck out in vacation attire.

On Workout Wednesday, students were encouraged to reduce stress by getting active. Students could follow this  workout video from 1983, while wearing workout gear.

On Thinking Cap Thursday, counselors shared 30 journaling prompts, which can help sort out thoughts.

“I like Thinking Cap Thursday because the activity is journaling and I always like writing things down. Journaling can help you sort out troubling or overwhelming thoughts,” said support counselor Jennifer Yu.

Today is the last day of Mental Health Spirit Week. Flannel Friday is all about “”hygge,” Danish for feeling cozy. Students are encouraged to wear cozy socks or snuggle with a plushie and try practicing hygge.

The beauty of online spirit week is that students can always go back and access material from past spirit days.

“[There is] the added benefit of students being able to access the slide-decks, information sheets and any resources in their own time and as needed,” said Wharton.

Virtual mental health spirit week exposed students to various methods of reducing stress to live a calmer life in quarantine.