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GRCS Weekly Social Work Support — May 5, 2020

GRCS Weekly Social Work Support

May 5, 2020

This weekend gave us a glorious taste of what most Michiganders daydream all winter — warmer temps, budding green leaves, blue skies, and days spent outdoors. Typically around this time of year, that “so close but so far” feeling begins to sink in. Add “quarantine fatigue” to the equation, and it’s no wonder parents, teachers, and students alike are feeling like they’ve hit a wall with off-campus learning, social distancing, and staying at home.

In school, when a big project is broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks, we’re using a coping skill called “chunking.” At the start of off-campus learning (and staying home) we mentally prepared for a three or four-week “chunk” of time; it felt do-able. Now, in our seventh week of off-campus learning and multiple rounds of extended stay-at-home orders, there’s a collective loss of energy.

This loss of energy is best explained in an article psychologist Maggie Mulqueen wrote. She explains “without chunking, we get overwhelmed and our brains tend to shut down. We stop learning, stop remembering, and — most importantly — lose motivation.” Mulqueen uses the concept of “chunking” as a way to cope.

Quick Tip of the Week: Commit to a "chunk" of time

  • Choose a timeline: “Find ways to divide the unknown duration of this pandemic into personally tailored “chunks” of time” (Mulqueen). Focusing on a day, a week, or a month at a time can help us get through it more easily. 
  • Act as if you feel motivated: Actions influence emotions. Ask yourself, “What would I do if I felt motivated right now?” Then, try those things!  Here are some other tips to try. 
  • Practice positive self-talk and self-compassion: Talk back to negative thoughts or doubts. Treat yourself like a good friend with encouraging words and thoughts! 
  • Pair something challenging with something you enjoy: Adding something fun to a task that is tough can boost your mood and can be motivating. 

Know that low motivation is a valid and expected emotion to be feeling right now.

As we quickly approach the end of the school year and navigate “chunking” the unknown timelines that are before us we can go forth together with reassurance. “He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together,” Colossians 1:17

In Christ,
Grace Boyle (gboyle@grcs.org) & Casey McMahon (cmcmahon@grcs.org)
GRCS Social Workers