Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Mental Health Moment for Me (and Apple Watch)

I tried to take most of August to chill and recharge. Life didn't totally let me have that, but whattayagonnado, we're all dealing. I got to the Cape (my own state) and with a COVID test satisfied Maine's requirements to venture there. The test was not relaxing, but Maine was. I hiked the Beehive at Acadia, something I said I'd never do due to a rather debilitating fear of heights, not a great thing for a hiker to have. Good growth mindset lesson I shared with all my students, though!

Somewhere in between those I cashed in a bunch of Bitcoin that had been languishing, going up and down. It was close to my original investment and I was sick of looking at it, and thought it would justify my splurging on an Apple Watch.

I had avoided buying an Apple Watch, mostly due to thinking it was going to be all about Notifications. I dislike Notifications; they are the enemy of mindfulness. But a few friends and some research convinced me (an Apple Guy at heart, anyway) that it was helpful for exercise motivation and tracking and that it might help with mindfulness and stress reduction "during this difficult time" (sigh).

Exercise has truly kept me sane since March. But the Apple Watch is providing even more motivation. I added a friend who shares his workout activity and I enjoy comparing (competing). I kept social media notifications shut off on the iPhone and those mirror on the watch, so the only extra pings I get are those reminding me to be active, which is helpful.

Apple Watch kind of gameifies activity with the use of rings. 

My Rings now...

Red is Move, based on a calorie target you set, Green is Exercise, based on being in your target heart rate (measured by the Watch) for 30 min daily, and Blue is Stand, standing for a minute or two 12 hrs of the day. I am annoyed by the tyranny of Stand, and it's causing me to put my laptop on a shoebox during telepractice sessions. But the others I am getting used to, and I know now what kind of workouts fill the ring, etc. And for me, a workout always fills my brain with good chemicals and makes me feel calm.

I'll let you know about some other good apps for self-regulation (like Breathe) the next time, but let me know in the comments if you have faves. Talk to you after Labor Day, I'm squeezing some more summer next week (after therapy sessions and an all-day presentation). I hope all are doing well and weathering the uncertainties of opening school so far. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

"Personality Quiz" Activities

National Geographic Kids has a great page of personality quizzes i.e. what ____ are you? (ice cream flavor, planet, dinosaur). Each has just a few questions and provides an opportunity for expressing opinions, describing oneself, thinking figuratively, interpreting photo scenes, and developing vocabulary. 

Great for group work! I'll be adding National Geographic Kids to the Teletherapy Resource List. Thank you to my colleague Danielle Stalen for this cool idea.