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Before we left school for the April Break, I had a really interesting conversation with my teaching partner, Paula. Our conversation had us wondering: right now, are we all caught in a perpetual stress cycle?

In Ontario, the Coronavirus numbers are currently out of control. I write this post as we wait for Doug Ford to possibly increase restrictions. A press conference is coming up at 2:30, and anything is possible. We started the April Break being told that we would be returning to school on the 19th, and began it finding out that we’ll be online indefinitely. While I don’t always watch the daily press conferences, I do tend to read about them online. Everyone is weighing in. Politicians. Parents. Educators. Medical professionals. Community members. As I read the numerous tweets, I can’t help but notice the stress.

  • Sometimes I see it in the word choice. Angry words. Scared words. Sad words.
  • Sometimes I see it in the GIFs. Head slapping. Falling over. Being surrounded by flames.
  • Sometimes I see it in the text. Statistics shared. Comparisons of facts. References to weeks, months, or even a year before.
  • Sometimes I see it in the photographs and video recordings. Graphs with steep upper limits. Wobbly voices. People sick and dying. Broken hearts.

When we look more closely at stress behaviour versus misbehaviour, I can’t help but wonder if all adults are feeling and speaking from this position of stress.

  • Is it because we’re worried about the data?
  • Is it because we’ve seen what’s happened elsewhere, and we know what could happen here?
  • Is it because we’re concerned about our own health and safety, and the health and safety of those that we love?
  • Is it because there are so many unknowns?
  • Is it because the messages keep changing?
  • Is it because the wrong choices could have life-altering consequences?

If ever there was a time that we needed Self-Reg, I wonder if it’s now. I find myself, reading for pleasure more, enjoying an extra cup of coffee, texting with friends, and avoiding newscasts. I know what makes me feel calm, and these choices allow me to better process the more stressful news that seems to be coming my way. Next week, when I start teaching again online, my ability to self-regulate will also impact on our students’ ability to do the same. In the midst of this constant stress cycle, how do you self-regulate? What impact does this have for you and for others? I anticipate that more stress-charged reports will be on the way in the coming days … if not the coming hours. I have to wonder if noticing the stress helps us view words, actions, and people differently. What do you think?