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DOE publishes “Healthy Habits for Well-Being”

Resources for wellness during this public health crisis

For Immediate Release
March 18, 2020

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CONCORD - The New Hampshire Department of Education has published “Healthy Habits for Well-Being”, a resource for students, parents, and educators for how to stay strong in the current anxious environment.

The handout builds on the 5 Signs campaign of ChangeDirection. It includes steps everyone should take for self-care, and instructions on identifying the 5 Signs that someone may need help.

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut also submitted an op-ed column for New Hampshire newspapers and websites to promote “Healthy Habits for Well-Being” and to encourage New Hampshire residents to practice self-care through this public health emergency.

“One of the lessons learned by others who have gone before us through difficult circumstances, is the importance of self-care. The elements of remote instruction and remote support are themselves built on the foundation of the individuals supporting and engaging this learning environment,” Edelblut wrote. “This includes our students, families and educators, among others. In order to weather this storm, we must make sure that this foundation is sound. How that happens is not necessarily easy, but we do know what needs to happen in difficult times to keep the foundation strong.

Health Habits for Well-Being
Editors: See op-ed below for your consideration.

Protecting wellness as well as health
By Frank Edelblut
The circumstances we find ourselves in are extraordinary. We all recognize that the situation on the ground may get worse before it gets better. Even with that, I think we can all be proud of the incredible response by our families and education leaders who have willingly stepped outside of their comfort zones to make sure that New Hampshire students can continue to pursue bright futures.

For some time, our educators have been actively engaged setting up our remote learning environment. The intensity of those preparations picked up greatly this week, as all public school students will be receiving remote instructions across New Hampshire by Monday morning.

This learning environment is built on the foundations of remote instruction plus remote support for our students. Educators have been connecting with one another exploring ways to translate learning objectives to this new delivery model. They are stretching their creativity and digging into new resources to find ways to creatively engage students.

With this pace of change, mostly focused on setting up remote instruction and support for students, it could be easy to lose sight of what is happening around us. It could be easy to lose sight of the incredible people who are laboring alongside us to stand up this important activity, or to miss the fact that our children are waking up in the morning and we don’t need to rush to get ready for the early bus. Try to find opportunity to be present and enjoy special moments with the important people in your life.

One of the lessons learned by others who have gone before us through difficult circumstances, is the importance of self-care. The elements of remote instruction and remote support are themselves built on the foundation of the individuals supporting and engaging this learning environment.

This includes our students, families and educators, among others. In order to weather this storm, we must make sure that this foundation is sound. How that happens is not necessarily easy, but we do know what needs to happen in difficult times to keep the foundation strong.

The Department of Education has published a “Health Habits for Well-Being” for resource for students, parents, educators, and really anyone, for how to stay strong in an environment that is creating anxiety for so many. This resource is based on work by ChangeDirection and outlines the habits of emotional well-being. These include things that may seem obvious, but sometimes need to be relooked at.

Take Care of You: Eat well, sleep and be active. We don’t often think about how important these basic activities are to our mental health – but they are critical.

Check In: Reach out and talk with family and friends, including talking about how well you may be doing emotionally. If needed reach out a professional, your doctor, a counselor or faith-based leader.

Engage and connect wisely: Pay attention to your relationships. We can’t be healthy if our relationships are not.

Relax: Be active, go for a walk, work in your garden, go dancing, listen to music or whatever eases your mind.

The steps our society is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are extraordinary. We have closed down most of our public interactions, from sporting events and concerts to school buildings and restaurants. Physically, we are more isolated from each other than any time in memory. But in a way, we are also joined together as never before. We are all going through this together. We have to look out for one another. So let’s keep in touch, by phone, email or social media. And this crisis has given us an unparalleled chance to spend more time with our families.

I would not downplay the seriousness of this public health emergency. COVID-19 is contagious, and for those with existing health problems, very serious. We must work to flatten the curve of this virus’s spread in order to give our health care workers and health care system the time they need to fight it.

While we do so, be sure to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally. Because wellness is as important as health.

Frank Edelblut is Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education.