Annie O’Shaughnessy, a renowned educator and speaker, delivered an impactful workshop on the adverse effects of chronic stress experienced by youth and educators during the pandemic. The presentation, titled “Sustaining a Relational School,” emphasized the need to shift the concept of “self-care” from an off-hours activity to something integrated into the daily routine of students and educators.
Recognizing the toll that prolonged stress can take on mental and physical health, O’Shaughnessy urged school leaders to go beyond simply providing self-care resources and instead incorporate self-care practices into the school day. By placing “self-care” in the “with” quadrant of the social discipline window, O’Shaughnessy emphasized the importance of creating an environment where self-care is a shared experience between educators and students.
During the workshop, O’Shaughnessy explored various strategies to help individuals understand the impact of stress on the brain. Participants learned about moment-to-moment techniques to ground their nervous systems, enabling them to better manage stress and promote overall well-being. Additionally, the circle process was introduced as a tool to destigmatize mental health challenges and foster open discussions surrounding these issues.
The workshop was designed to benefit educators and leaders working with students of all ages. O’Shaughnessy’s approach emphasized the significance of creating a relational school environment where self-care is prioritized and integrated into daily routines. By doing so, educators and students can work together to address the challenges posed by chronic stress and promote overall well-being within the school community.
O’Shaughnessy’s workshop served as a reminder of the importance of self-care, particularly in the context of the ongoing pandemic. By incorporating self-care practices into the school day, educators can ensure that students receive the support they need to navigate the challenges of these uncertain times.