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Plop, plop. Fizz, fizz. Oh what a relief it is!

If you’re of a certain age you’ll remember this headline and you’ll probably be able to sing the jingle as well. For the youngsters among you, it was the tagline in the 1970s for a popular antacid Alka-Seltzer. Just for fun, you can watch Speedy sing it right here.

Before you think I’ve lost the plot here’s my point: the return to in-person, on-campus learning was one of the most welcomed events of the past 18+ months.

All of us – parents, teachers, students, staff – anticipated the wonderful relief and stress reduction that would accompany the return to ‘normal’. A simple plop, plop, fizz, fizz and we’d all be right back in the swing!

In general it’s all panned out remarkably well and we’ve done our very best at MAC to accommodate individual reactions and needs. At the same time we can all acknowledge that there’s been stress associated with the change.

And that’s OK. We’ve been experiencing a fourth wave and the frustration that we all experience with the lingering impact of COVID can be wearing. A global study found 42% of people have experienced a decline in mental health. Specifically, 67% of people are experiencing increases in stress while 57% have increased anxiety, and 54% are emotionally exhausted.*

Our experience at MAC has been that when we approach this reality with empathy the results are actually very encouraging.

I think part of that is due to the willingness and determination of our community to build upon its resilience with compassion and gratitude.

We’re also fortunate to work with young people for whom empathy seems to be inborn. Once again we all can learn from the children.

In a study by Lund University, children as young as two demonstrated an appreciation that others hold different perspectives than their own. And research at the University of Virginia found when people saw their friends experiencing threats, they experienced activity in the same part of their brain which was affected when they were personally threatened. People felt for their friends and teammates as deeply as they felt for themselves.*

“…when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.” Daniel Goleman

I am so grateful to everyone who is contributing to the overall experience of wellness at MAC and for their constant awareness of our mutual responsibility to care for each other.

*www.forbes.com

Author: MacLachlan College

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