How To Make Sense of School & Friends – KNOWING WHEN YOU NEED A BREAK [Social Skills 7]
Your body is like a car, a bus, a train – you need to check that it is running smoothly.
By checking how you are feeling, you can tell – all by yourself – whether you are starting to feel frustrated or overwhelmed.
In these situations, you need to pull over the car, the bus, the train (whatever you are driving), & let your engine – your mind & body – Cool Down.
If you catch yourself, you can stop your engine OVERHEATING – or in this case becoming really overwhelmed, frustrated & angry.
That is when you use your relaxation & stress management strategies – so, how can you tell if you are starting to feel overwhelmed? These could be Signs for you:
– when you are tired/feeling tired
– when you are hungry
– when you are feeling angry
– when you notice you are getting red in the face or feel hot
– when you are feeling frustrated
– when you notice your body, or parts of your body, us getting shaky
– when your hands get sweaty
Can you think of any other signs that you notice when you feel you are getting overwhelmed?
[when a car gets overheated, there are instruments & parts of the engine that react which tells you that it is overheating – the human body might not have instruments, but there are signs of overheating – or feeling overwhelmed – such as:
– feeling tired
– shaky feelings
– feeling nervous
– feeling sweaty
ANY OF THESE SIGNS MAY TELL YOU IT MIGHT BE TIME TO TAKE A BREAK.
Here are some strategies you might find useful to COOL DOWN
– practice deep breathing (slow down & notice the breath – you can do this alone or when with other people – see if you can do it without them noticing)[you can do this even when in the classroom, believe it or not]
– close your eyes & think about a calm scene – a lake, the ocean, the woods
– if at home, take a short walk & have a glass of water (do this at recess/lunchtime if at school)
– listen to music [listen to music during recess/lunchtime if you can – if you have an iPod & can take to school]
– if at school, look out the window for about a minute – concentrate on something peaceful (like a tree or a cloud)
– take a short walk (home or school) or sit for a while in the library so you can calm down
– do some exercise outside the classroom – star jumps, sit-ups, push-ups, burpees
– squeeze a stress ball
– visualising a thermometer – remember that – going down as you slowly calm yourself down
– try to refrain from playing computer games and not use your cell phone as this is not usually a good way to calm down
– try to figure out & rank the level of your problems (see previous social skills posts) & remember that most problems do not last long & will soon be over
What strategies will you use? do you have others?
write them on a card, on a piece of paper (& keep it where you can see it) or place it in an electronic device
[practice these even when not overwhelmed/stressed so you know they work & so you can use them when you really need them]
sometimes it is hard to cool down, but you don’t want to do anything that makes the problem worse – Socially – for you –
here are some things you might like to try/avoid when you feel angry/overwhelmed:
– talk to other people, including friends & teachers, is usually a bad idea until you feel calmer because you might say things you don’t mean – however, if you feel you can ask another person, in a polite way, for help, then do so
– don’t stay in a crowded room if you can avoid it – if it’s possible
– don’t express your anger in physical violence – instead exercise or relaxation/stress management strategies is a much better idea
Source: Blythe Grossberg (American Psychological Association)