October 24-27, 2023
Why Mental Health Week? While the importance of mental health is year-round, SPMS Mental Health Week is an opportunity to bring awareness, provide resources and offer simple coping strategies that students may choose to incorporate into their lives immediately or at some point in the future. Middle school adolescence is a period of rapid change, growth and development. If it feels like you’re experiencing whiplash from the dramatic shifts in your student’s moods or behaviors, there’s a reason for that and it is perfectly normal!
Download the Mental Health Week EBook 2023
In planning the activities for the week, we structured the activities around four themes: Exercise, Nutrition, Mindfulness, Sleep, Connection, Nature, and Gratitude. We created an e-book of resources gathered from existing SPUSD sources, our community of parent experts, and trusted online sources, to provide a broad overview of adolescent brain development and how these ideas relate to mental health and wellness. This e-book is meant to be a collection of resources and a place to start if there is something you would like to learn more about.
The ultimate brain hack! Engaging in physical activity that requires your full concentration allows your brain to take a break from things that might be worrying you. Word Workout (Monday and Tuesday) will link positive phrases with fun and quick physical movements, The Upstanders will get kids moving with play, and a series of Workout Challenges will be led (Thursday and Friday) all to encourage students to get moving as a way to manage feelings of stress and anxiety.
Healthful Smoothies – Highlighting the importance of good nutrition and how it impacts our moods, students will get to make Healthful Smoothies while learning how certain ingredients affect brain function, emotions, and even academic performance.
Sensory Station – Learn how tapping into your five senses can help achieve focus and well-being in even the most challenging circumstances. Students will practice touch, sound, smell and more as simple grounding strategies for wellbeing.
Breathwork – Students will have fun with party favors while practicing breathing techniques that can help them regain executive functioning in any situation.
Shred Your Stress – Students will write down a worry and then put it in the shredder! *Encourages acceptance of situations outside of one’s control and perspective.
Stress Balls – Students will make homemade stress relief balls out of balloons and rice.
Relaxation Station – Emphasizing the importance of sleep and sleep hygiene, students will practice relaxation techniques in our amazing Relaxation Station that features a shaded tent and galaxy projector!
Connect with the Upstanders – Our awesome Upstanders will have some great ways to connect through play with some fun lunchtime activities. Come by and say hello!
Art Cart – The new Art Cart provides a point of entry for kids to access the Wellness Center on campus while also providing a creative outlet and opportunities for connections. Launched earlier this month, the cart will be a reliable touchstone and health-and-wellness resource for kids throughout the year.
Gardening on Campus – This year we will revitalize the existing on-campus garden area with activities that include planting and nurturing flowers and herbs. Though the neurological mechanisms for its benefit are still under study, research consistently demonstrates that spending time in nature confers psychological, emotional, and physical benefits.
Puppy Love – We’re so grateful for our animals! On Friday, October 27, Dog trainer and SPMS parent, Toby Bangar, and her “Service Dogs-in-Training” will be on campus during lunchtime to give kids a little lift. Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.
Gratitude Tree – Write down the big – and little! – things you’re thankful for and tie it to a tree. Expressing gratitude is associated with a host of mental and physical benefits. Studies have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood and immunity. Gratitude can decrease depression, anxiety, difficulties with chronic pain and risk of disease.
In addition to the above, students will receive raffle tickets for participating in the various activities. Prizes include: At-home exercise kit, At-home yoga kit, At-home sleep kit, Art Kit, Terrarium, Board Game, and more!