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Back To School Self-Care

back to school

Summer is almost over and the “Back to School” season is right around the corner. Students are probably getting overwhelmed and planning their back to school self-care routines but what about the teachers? I know you are expecting some self-care tips for all the students out there but this time’s different. As someone who works in education, I know how important self-care can be during the school year. So, today I wanted to share some tips to keep all the young teachers and support staff going through the year.

One of the biggest things I struggle with during the year is asking for help when I’m getting overwhelmed. Working in education, especially Special Education, is no easy task and it’s certainly not always easy to ask for help. Being a teacher, or support staff is a really stressful job. You might feel like you can’t ask for help but I promise that it’s okay. Asking for help has been one of the most difficult and helpful things I’ve ever learned.

Another tip I’d like to share with you is learning to practice mindfulness. This can be as simple as practicing meditation or conscious breathing exercises. Mindfulness might also come in the form of positive affirmations or acknowledging how you’re feeling. For me personally, acknowledging how I’m feeling throughout the day, week and even the year as a whole is a HUGE part of my self-care routine. I never really did that before and it made me feel like I was drowning. Now, I feel so much better about acknowledging my feelings. It allows me to reflect and take action, and it can do the same for you!

The final thing I’d like to share with you is an important one. Learn to set and maintain your boundaries during the school year. I know sometimes that school days can be stressful but don’t take your work or your stress home with you. It won’t do you any good there. I have done this all too often and it is so not worth the consequences that come with it. Your home life after school is for you to relax and take a breath, not for you to stress about work. Leave that stress in the classroom!

Back to school self-care is going to look different for every teacher and staff member out there. But no matter how you do it, remember to keep up with it because it work wonders for your mental health. It’ll keep you from getting burnt out too fast.

What self-care practices are you utilizing for the Back to School season?

Read the National Education Association’s article the Importance of Self-Care As a Teacher to learn why it truly matters.

Check out our Back To School Podcast here on TurningPointCT.org! 🙂

Stay Active In The Summer!

Summer is one of the best seasons to stay active in! The weather’s great, there’s a little more free time for some of us and it’s just an overall great time to really get out there and adventure! There’s a huge variety of activities that you can do in the summertime! With that being said, I’d love to share some of my favorite summer activities. Some of my favorite activities during this season are hiking, swimming and just really getting out to explore.

Let’s start with hiking. In the last couple of years, I really got into hiking. It kept me active in so many ways and I loved every bit of it. Hiking in the summer can being a little bit crazy because it can get pretty hot and uncomfortable if you don’t dress properly. Through hiking, I’ve seen so many beautiful views and I can’t wait to see more. It’s also helped me to maintain my weight and keep a clear headspace.

Now, swimming is an obvious summer activity! I mean, come on, all the beaches are open and the weather’s amazing. You just can’t pass it up! I mean the water is refreshing on your skin and nothing beats beach hair. Swimming is also a really great way to keep your heartrate up while also improving the strength of your lungs. It’s also a really great way to relieve any stress that you may be having.

Getting out, staying active and exploring in the sun can do wonders for your mental health too! Did you know spending time in the sun helps your body produce more melatonin at night? Producing more melatonin allows you to sleep better and even feel better as a whole. Give it a try if you haven’t!

Check out Smithsonian Magazine’s article How Exercise Boosts the Brain and Improves Mental Health right on their website!

Read Kailey’s post Adventuring Alone here on TurningPointCT.org to see how her adventures are keeping her active!

We Need Snow Days, Not Remote Learning Days

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In the last two years, several things have changed about how we run our school systems. Due to COVID-19, many schools had to change their protocols, how their teachers teach and so much more. One of the big things that seems to be affecting a lot of people are snow days.

We spent over a year doing remote learning, which with no doubt, has burned our students out. We finally got back to going to school in person and feeling somewhat normal but it seems remote learning has taken over our snow days.

By the end of 2020, several school districts across the country decided that there would no longer be snow days. Instead, students would have a remote learning day, which meant having to attend school and each class virtually. This also meant sitting for almost 8 hours in front of a computer screen. I mean seriously, how can that be good?

Many students struggled to pay attention because they were distracted by things going on in their home. It was really hard to convey hands on material through a screen. By the time we got back to in-person sessions so many students were falling behind but with time, they improved. The in-person sessions really made a difference.

Personally, I did not enjoy watching my teacher struggle to make our lessons work or watching my students struggle to understand the material because I wasn’t physically there to help them. My students have earned their snow days and so have our staff members.

So what if we have to have a snow day? At least our students and staff are getting a well-deserved break!

Check out Sorry, Kids. Snow Days Are Probably Over. from The New York Times, really great read!

Read Sasha’s post How COVID-19 Has Affected My Life As A High School Student right here on TurningPointCT!

And The Baker’s Gonna Bake, Bake, Bake!

Happy Self-care Sunday everyone! I hope that you’ve all had a great week and a restful weekend. Self-care is such an important part of maintaining your mental health. I often found myself putting other people and their needs before my own, and that really takes a toll on your mental health. You have to remember to take care of YOU too.

Gluten-free chocolate chip coconut scones, yum! 🙂

There are so many different forms of self-care that people practice. One of my favorite personal forms of self-care is baking. I’ve loved baking since I was a little girl, my dad used to bake a lot when I was growing up. The warm, delicious aromas of fresh baked goods has always been soothing to me. If I was having a bad day, the smell of fresh brownies being baked would always turn my day around.

When I was old enough to bake on my own, I baked as often as I could. It was mostly simple treats like cupcakes or brownies but I absolutely loved it. I must have baked something at least once a week, it was just my way of relaxing. Baking gave me a a chance to just focus on myself and what I was making, plus my family always enjoyed the treats I made.

These are my ‘famous’ tres leche cupcakes, my friends and family always ask me to make these!

In the last few years, I’ve learned to make so many new things. Things that I never thought I’d be making. I’ve made so many different kinds of breads, scones, muffins and more! I could list everything I’ve ever made but that’s just so many! I amaze myself every single time I try a new recipe and it comes out better than expected.

This is my favorite form of self-care because it’s something that genuinely brings me joy when I am having a hard time. I think I’ll always love baking, I mean how could you not?

Two fresh loaves of homemade brioche bread, this is definitely one of my favorite bread recipes to make!

What’s your favorite thing to bake? 🙂

Bullying Isn’t Cool

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Bullying affects people of all ages. It can take a toll on your mental health. Eventually, it becomes too much for some people. Bullying also deals heavy consequences. Consequences that may never turn around. Bullying isn’t cool and I’ll stand by that.

I’m no stranger to the world of bullying. Unfortunately, I’ve always been on the receiving end of said bullying. I’ve dealt with bullying almost all my life. From middle school to high school, and even a few times in my adult life. It does not leave you feeling great at all. Honestly, it leaves you feeling broken and like you’re just not doing something right. You wonder what you did to deserve the things happening to you.

The worst of the bullying I ever got was definitely in high school. For weeks, I dealt with relentless bullying my freshman year of high school. This girl and her friends bullying me were in the senior class at the time. They made my life an absolute hell. At first, it was all verbal. They just called me names and said rude things to me. Then they started throwing sharpened pencils at me on the bus. Eventually, they even got their friends to bother me during the day too. As a result, I was miserable and it really wasn’t helping the current state of my mental health. Because of these people, I was mortified about having to ride the bus to school. The thought of it made me sick to my stomach.

The whole situation made me feel like I was stuck. There was nobody else for me to turn to. Nobody was listening to me. I was dealing with it all on my own. And slowly falling apart in the process. I decided to tell the principal what was happening. Though, telling the principal really only made things worse for me. Eventually, the things they said to me got way meaner. Then, everyone in the senior class started calling me a “snitch” everyday. In the end, I was running out of options.

Finally, I decided to reach out to my family. One of my cousins knew the mother of the girl picking on me. Apparently, she had a conversation and let her mother know what she was doing. Then the next day, the girl who was giving me a hard time, walked up to me after we got off the bus and apologized. I had been waiting for that stuff to stop for weeks. I knew I should have felt better but I didn’t. “I’m sorry” didn’t mean anything to me. After that, the bullying subsided for a while and things got a little better but I still haven’t forgiven those people or even the ones who wouldn’t help me.

I dealt with that bullying for weeks before someone stood up for me. Honestly, I just wish someone had stood up for me and kept it from going as far as it did. We shouldn’t just standby and let people get picked on. We have to stick up for them when they can’t. Bullying isn’t cool. We should be taking steps to prevent and stop bullying from happening to other people. We have to do better.

You can read more about National Bullying Prevention Month here!

SMART Recovery Spanish

Teen Suicide PSA United Way

Podcast: How Culture Shapes You

This weeks podcast is with Adrianna , Cindy, Emma, and Nahjeera . We had a special guest Woodeline, who is Adrianna’s aunt. Woodline is a 23 year old student at  CUNY Medgar Evers College. She came into talk about her experiences in life and gave her views on the topic of how does your culture shapes you as a person.

Everyone had different ethnicity and different views on current topic questions.

Emma is half Brazilian and Colombian. Adrianna, Woodeline , and Cindy are Haitian American . Nahjeera is African American.

Everyone gave their input about how if you act differently because you need to change your identity or show less of your culture to the world, everyone gave their honest opinion about how they show  themselves to the world.

We hope you enjoy this podcast click here to watch

What is your culture? How do you define your culture? How has it shaped you as a person?

To check out our Summer Interns other podcasts, click here

Summer Check In Video

Hey guys! We are here with the TurningPointCT interns: Adrianna and Nahjeera along with Eliza and Adrianna’s aunt Woodeline!

We left the office for a little while to go across the street to The Norwalk Green and enjoy the sunlight and Summer air.

At the start of every SMART Recovery meeting we all check in with highs and lows- now we are at the Norwalk Green to hang out and check in about our Summer!

How is your Summer going? What is your low and your high of the season and break? Check in with us on this post!

 

To see more of our interns check out our YouTube page here

and listen to their other videos and podcasts in our media room here

New Story: Nahjeera’s Journey with Self-Harm, Depression and Anxiety

Hey guys! We have a really great new story about depression, anxiety and self-harm.

Nahjeera is a senior in high school and this Summer she is interning with us at TurningPointCT.org

Her journey will mean something to anyone who has ever felt alone- she talks about her struggles with depression and anxiety, and how she used self-harm to cope with things.

Nahjeera also talks about her hope and recovery– how she no longer self-harms and instead helps other people at her school who might be struggling, too.

If you have ever felt alone, know that you are not. Check out our stories page to read about other young people just like you.

Click here to read Nahjeera’s story

And, click here to talk to Nahjeera and welcome her to TurningPointCT.org. Join TurningPoint to reach out to peers like Nahjeera.

Furthermore, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, or self-harm, visit this website. Here you can find information and resources to make the most out of your treatment.

Vaping Podcast

In this podcast we spoke about vaping and smoking. All of us are in high school, some of us just finished our freshman year and Nahjeera is is graduating this year.

Emma, Adrianna and Nahjeera all vape, but Cindy doesn’t and really does not like smoking.

We all talked about why we vape, and when we started. Some of us were in middle school when we started, and others tried it and then stopped for a while.

We spent a lot of time talking about why people vape, including our friends. Vapes come in a ton of flavors, and a lot of us only do it for the taste, or because friends suggested it for stress. Eliza lead us in a conversation about why our friends like to vape, and if we want to stop.

our views on vaping and smoking, why we smoked and why don’t.

Some people smoke because of popularity or  as a coping mechanism. We also talked about how advertising makes people smoke more, and why some of us wouldn’t try certain flavors, like tobacco.

A lot of our friends in high school vape, and we talk about how addictive it is and if we think we are addicted.

We all talked about how we would quit if we ever decided to, and how we could help our friends quit if they asked us for help.

If you have ever vaped and want help, or just want to hear about it from the perspective of a high school, then check out our first summer podcast!

 

 

A few months ago, Eliza and Diamond (our SMART group facilitators!) were at one of our high schools, talking about vaping during lunch. To check out what that was like, click here.

Vaping Podcast

 

In this podcast we spoke about vaping and smoking. All of us are in high school, some of us just finished our freshman year and Nahjeera is is graduating this year.

Emma, Adrianna and Nahjeera all vape, but Cindy doesn’t and really does not like smoking.

We all talked about why we vape, and when we started. Some of us were in middle school when we started, and others tried it and then stopped for a while.

We spent a lot of time talking about why people vape, including our friends. Vapes come in a ton of flavors, and a lot of us only do it for the taste, or because friends suggested it for stress. Eliza lead us in a conversation about why our friends like to vape, and if we want to stop.

our views on vaping and smoking,why we smoked and why don’t.

Some people smoke because of popularity or  as a coping mechanism. We also talked about how advertising makes people smoke more, and why some of us wouldn’t try certain flavors, like tobacco.

A lot of our friends in high school vape, and we talked about how addictive it is and if we think we are addicted.

We all talked about how we would quit if we ever decided to, and how we could help our friends quit if they asked us for help.

If you have ever vaped and want help, or just want to hear about it from the perspective of a high school, then check out our first summer podcast!

 

 

A few months ago, Eliza and Diamond (our SMART group facilitators!) were at one of our high schools, talking about vaping during lunch. To check out what that was like, click here. 

 

This podcast also appears in our media room, here.

Growing Up: The Coming of Age Podcast

growing of age podcast

In this podcast we talk about coming of age as teenagers and growing up. Also we explain our experiences and stories of coming of age.

Check out TurningPointCT’s newest podcast- our Summer Interns are here! And they are introducing themselves and taking about Coming of Age. What does that mean? What defined coming of age for you? How do you navigate growing up and becoming a teenager or a young adult? Click this link to watch their podcast, or if you would prefer to watch it as a video, check out this link!
Please welcome Adrianna, Cindy, and Nahjeera to the TurningPointCT team and check out their very first podcast and video!

 

If you want to say hi to us go to our forum here

We need your help! Donate today to TurningPointCT.org

We are asking for your help! 

Donate to TurningPointCT.org today or on Giving Day (Thursday, February 28)!

 

TurningPointCT.org is Connecticut’s peer support community by and for teens and young adults. We’ve got your back!

 

Our website offers a safe space online to share your story, talk about your problems, get information, and connect with resources. Our staff runs SMART Recovery support groups for teens in Norwalk and Fairfield… with more to come! We connect with other young people at schools and colleges across the state through speaking events, workshops, and resource fairs.  Whatever you’re struggling with–mental illness, addiction, homelessness, bullying, family problems–we’ve been there too.

Help us raise $10,000 to support our small part-time staff of young adults in recovery to be able to keep reaching out to schools, making connections with young people, improving our online support, and running support groups! We want every young person to know that they are not alone.

Donate to TurningPointCT.org today or on February 28th–Fairfield County’s Giving Day.

 

Click this link to Donate today, and share this page with your friends and family so we can reach our goal.

 

Giving Day runs from 12:00am to 11:59pm on Thursday, February 28th. Help us to reach our goal of raising $10,000. 

Your donation may even help us get a bonus grant if you’re one of our first or one of our last donors on Giving Day! If we get at least 25 donations of $25 right after midnight when Giving Day starts, we can win an extra $1000. So think of us Wednesday night before you go to bed and just stay up a few minutes past midnight! If you miss that chance, then please donate Thursday night between 9pm and 11:59pm. If we get enough donations during that time period, we may even win a $2,500 bonus!

Whether you can give as much as possible, or you know people who care about mental health who can donate, we need your help. Click the link to give what you can, share this page, and ask your friends to give what they can.

Together we will raise $10,000 to support young people struggling with their mental wellness! 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

Click the picture to donate!

 

(If you want to learn more about Fairfield County’s Giving Day overall, click here.)

 

Life Skills: Communication

Watch as young adults from YasBiz discuss communication. Check out our videos here and submit your own.

Life Skills: Housing

Watch as young adults from YasBiz discuss their perspective on housing situations. Check out our videos here and submit your own.

Life Skills: Medication Management

Watch as young adults from YasBiz discuss medications and how to manage yours. Check out our videos here and submit your own.

Life Skills: Money Management

Watch as young adults from YasBiz discuss money and how to manage it. Check out our videos here and submit your own.

JOB CORPS EXPO

The Job Corps is offering a free career day expo and training in Stamford, Connecticut on August 17, 2017.

 

This is an opportunity to learn more about the Job Corps Expo and its affiliates. You also learn how to speak with counselors for career advice.

JULY: YASBIZ SUMMER WORKSHOP, WATERFORD, CT… BEACH, PIZZA, SMORES, ICE CREAM

April: Child Abuse Prevention Month

GAY SANTA AND YAS-SSS CHRISTMAS YOUNG ADULT MEETUPS!

Shout out to all my pals and gay friendly people from Gay Santa and YAS Meetups. I had a great time at both events.

You def need to check out this new feature!!! It was all love and sharing this Christmas… click here: https://turningpointct.org/resources/featured-events/

Recovery Community Open Mic

Recovery Community Open Mic – Hey everyone! Check out this KOOL Open Mic event on June 24th in Bridgeport, CT.

Its a free event hosted by CCAR, BRCC and YAF at the Bridgeport Recovery Community Center. Please see flyer HERE.
This is an an opportunity for all young adults in recovery to express themselves and their perspectives through music, poetry, spoken, you name it!

The event is open to ALL… bring family and friends and get ready for a sober afternoon.

 

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NAMI CT WALK 2016- Join Mind Over Matter

Join us for the NAMI CT walk this Saturday, May 21st!

We’ll be there alongside a few different young adult organizations. Join our young adult team and walk with us!

Here’s the link to join and/or donate : MIND OVER MATTER

“CT Strong, Turning Point CT, Advocacy Unlimited, Join Rise Be, InterCommunity, Jordan Porco Foundation, Connecticut Legal Rights Project, YAS Biz, Institute of Living and DMHAS Young Adult Services are all key organizations dedicated to advocacy and empowerment of young people with mental health challenges in Connecticut.” We’ll be walking in unison to stop the stigma around mental health, advocate, and of course to educate. Come have some fun!

NAMI Walk in Hartford May 21, 2016 at 9:00am

Bushnell Park
99 Trinity Street
Hartford, CT 06105

Need more info, Check out the official NAMI Connecticut Walk website –> CLICK HERE

Here you can check out any announcements!

Laugh for the Health of It!

Laugh for the Health of It – Meet us at the CCAR Young Adult and Family Center in Bridgeport from 3:30 – 5PM on Friday, MAY 13!

 

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SPACE IS LIMITED PLEASE REGISTER EARLY!!!

Please Call 203-840-1187 or email coordinator@turningpointct.org to RSVP

We’ll be “laughing for the health of it” at yet another young adult meetup, but this time with laugh exercise instructor Laura Le! Since her days as a stressed college student, Laura has explored many different relaxation techniques and laughter has proven to be one of the most powerful stress management tools!

It’s a FREE, FUN hour of: laughter exercise, hanging out, connecting with young adults, and snacks. Flyer HERE.

 

CCAR Young Adult and Family Program
2nd Floor
853 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport

Come lower your stress, relax and meet new people (or hang out with people you already know).

Introducing Our Newest Blogger: Kelly!

Introducing Our Newest Blogger: Kelly! – Learn more about Kelly and join her in discussion as she talks about life in college and dealing with anxiety, depression and OCD in her blog, “Daily Life as a College Student.”

She recently shared her inspiring story, which you can find HERE or at https://turningpointct.org/story/kelly-r/. In her story, Kelly tells us about her past and some of her future plans as she sets out to complete college and help other young adults who are struggling with mental illness.

“From getting through a panic attack to resisting the urge to do more than she really should, Kelly has been forthright about her everyday college experience and all the challenges that comes with being a passionate and dedicated student.”

Patchwork

Patchwork – This is a collective piece that looks like a quilt of ideas.

Each square is designed by Kim, Val, Shelby, John, and Nanii in 3 minutes.

 

Kim, Val, Shelby, John, and Nanii

Flip Me Upside Down

Flip Me Upside Down – This is a collective art piece completed by the young adult group.

Each artist contributed their own artistic talent to the picture, submitting their own touch to the piece in 3 minutes. This piece is called “Flip Me Upside Down” because the original artist started by drawing trees and hills, but the other artist turn the hills into trees.

Look from both angles and see the full image.
-John, Nanii, Kim, Val, and Shelby

Quieting the noise in my head

I’ve been very aware for many years that my brain does not stop. It goes and goes and goes and sometimes that’s great, and other times it is a battle. Its exhausting and I am learning I have to be willing to do a lot of work to take care of myself. When I say noise in my head, I mean more specifically all the self defeating, negative feelings I have in my head. The “I’m not good enough” and “What is wrong with me”, “Everybody hates me and wants me away from them”. All less feelings tend to amplify in times of darkness and isolation. Less meaning worthless, hopeless, helpless, etc.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling flooded with negative emotions often. Is this a minute to minute, life long process? I have found yoga helps, for that period of time throughout my day when I am practicing, my head receives some relief. Any other exercise, music, writing, reading, 12 step meetings. Connecting with others although I don’t always want to be around others. I spent a lot of years trying to numb out the trauma, the memories, the self hatred, THE NOISE! Those “coping skills”, attempts to numb myself were killing me no longer serve me anymore. Positive, solution mode only. How do we get rid of the noise just enough to keep moving forward each day? How do others not give into the noise?

I’ll Start Tomorrow

Happy New Year! It’s that time where people make resolutions to eat healthier, go to church more, learn a new language, etc. Unfortunately, most of the time these resolutions start to fade and the excuses we make up for why we “can’t do it today” are just as bad as Aunt Rita’s stale fruit cake.

Before we know it, we are pushing our resolutions back further and further until we say “Never mind, I’ll wait til next year!”
So how do we stop procrastinating and actually follow through with a real New Year’s Resolution?

Well, maybe instead of choosing a “I am going to lose 20 lbs” resolution, it’s time to think more about our attitudes and how we present ourselves. Last year might have been a bitter and angry year for you, perhaps this year it’s time to focus on positive. A simple change in how you react to things can make a bigger impact for a New Year’s resolution than the crash diet that never worked out.

I was on the train home months ago and I met this lovely young woman from Australia who was talking to me about how she made a resolution to be more BOLD. It made me think about how being bold can represent various features. Being bold could resemble confidence, it can resemble fashion style, it could even represent a firm stance on a situation.

This year, I plan to be more reserved. I don’t want to be an introvert or stop talking to anyone, but I want to let myself not worry about other people’s drama and opinions.

What is your Resolution?

BStigma-Free Ludlowe

Stigma

We Are YASBIZ-Winner of the Young Adults in Recovery Contest!