By Danielle Schroeder, MA, RCC firstname.lastname@example.org
“A global pandemic adds several more layers of logistical and emotional overwhelm to the already overwhelming time of parenthood.”
What is Fear?
Fear is a natural response when we experience a sudden threat to our survival. Fear is fuelled by feelings of loss of control, powerlessness, helplessness, dread, hopelessness, & isolation when faced with the unpredictability and uncertainty in life. Our fear is often greatest immediately following the threat when the harsh reality strikes and we feel our “normal” predictable life shaken up. This is moment when our survival mechanisms kicking into gear to determine “AM I SAFE?”
Fight/Freak out-flight-Freeze Response
This is our survival mechanisms that prepare our BODY to either fight or run from danger. It is important to note that this response is INSTINCTUAL (**NOT RATIONAL**) and often comes on very intensely as a surge of energy from inside of us that needs to get out somehow. Adrenalin and cortisol levels increase dramatically, producing hyper-vigilance and hyper-arousal. Breathing quickens, heart races, blood pressure rises, perspiration covers the skin, and muscles tense. A “fight/freak out” response usually looks like yelling, slamming doors, picking fights. A “flee” response usually looks like running away, keeping really busy, distancing yourself. A “freeze” response usually is experienced as going numb, shutting down, dissociating. When we are in fight-flight-freeze we shut down part of our thinking brain and as a result get more FEARFUL & REACTIVE. We call this a DYSREGULATED SYSTEM.
Examples of Dysregulated Behaviours in the Pandemic
•Catastrophizing (going to worst case scenarios)
•Freaking out/Losing it on our kids
A panic attack is an intense wave of fear characterized by its unexpectedness and debilitating, immobilizing intensity. Your heart pounds, you can’t breathe, and you may feel like you’re dying or having a heart attack. It can be very frightening. It’s peak usually lasts for about 5-10 minutes. The best way to get through a panic attack is to get ourself into a safe space, ideally with someone you trust who can be by your side offering you some calming words of reassurance, and supportive touch to help ground you until the peak passes. As you are riding the intense waves of physical sensations it helps to hear yourself or someone else saying “this is a panic attack” “this will pass” “keep breathing”.
Self-Reflection Exercise #1: What are my triggers?
Your trigger buttons are essentially anything that makes it more likely for you to lose it-on your partner, your kids, family members. Some common triggers right now for people might be:
•Anytime you think about all the uncertainty attached to the pandemic
•Worry about loved ones
•Worry about finances
•Worry about what the future holds
•Difficult conversation with someone
•Hard time of the day
•Watching/listening to the news
•Certain people in your life
Once we can get to know what our triggers are we can start to do things to help reduce our triggered state.
Take a moment to reflect on, then write down:
1. Since the Pandemic started, what have been ‘my trigger buttons’ that have caused me to go into a super-high anxiety state (fight/freak out, flight or
2. When I am triggered what does that look like? Do I tend to mostly fight’/’freak out’ (yell, pick fights with others), freeze (go numb, shut down), or want to ’flee’ (run away, keep really busy, distance yourself) to protect myself?
“There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people. Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety. I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as smaller groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.”-David Kessler
Sometimes what we think is fear is actually ‘anticipatory grief’ which are feelings of loss we carry about what this threat means in terms of our current life and our future. It’s our mind going to the future and imagining the worst (“what if…”).
When does Fear become Immobilizing?
Your fear becomes immobilizing when it becomes such a constant companion throughout your days, and in the months and years following that it interferes
with your ability to enjoy life:
•You feel anxious, worried, and afraid all the time.
•Consumed by thoughts of worst case scenarios.
•Feel powerless to change how you feel.
•Feel that family and friends become impatient with your fearful
preoccupation. They feel helpless to know how to help.
How Does Fear Diminish?
Once we can accept that it is not about getting rid of the fear, but learning how to live with fear, we start to regain a sense of control in our lives. We need to not be alone with our fears. And we need an action plan/roadmap-a sense that something is being done about our fear. For example, in our current situation with the pandemic, the more daily updates and information we receive from our local and national leaders the more we can start to gain some sense of direction. It also helps to create structure and routine in our day to day lives as a way to help us feel more in control as we adapt to a rapidly changing situation.
Strategies to Help with Fear & Anxiety
“What do I do when I feel I can’t handle what’s going on? Where do I look for my strength and in what do I place my trust?” -Pema Chodron
How Do I Talk to Myself When I’m Stressed and Afraid?
First and foremost, we need to be aware of any negative self-talk happening. We need to STOP saying to ourselves “You should…”. We need to practice KINDNESS towards ourselves and how we might be struggling, repeatedly saying to ourselves, “I’m doing the best I can right now”
Three Strategies to work with Fear:
1. Focus on ways to SELF-REGULATE in super-high anxiety states
2. DISTRACTING from the fear
3. FACE THE FEAR with honesty and curiosity
Self-regulating helps you learn to listen and understand your body’s signals in moments of super-high anxiety and fear. It helps you gain (or regain) a sense of control over your emotions, behaviour, and overall life, teaching you to tolerate uncomfortable sensations in your body. Self-regulating is what enables you to move from super-high anxiety states, to calmer more clear-thinking states. You learn to develop appropriate, mature ways to respond to these intense body signals = LESS REACTIVE!
a) Top-Down Approach - Reassuring self-talk (Cognitive mode):
Saying to yourself-
“This is going to pass”
“One day at a time”
“I am OK for now”
**Unfortunately this approach doesn’t always work in super-high anxiety state**
b) Bottom-Up Approach
Research has found that patterned, repetitive rhythmic activity (body mode) can be the most effective way to self-regulate when in a super-high anxiety state. This includes activities such as:
Repetitive meditative breathing
Doing your self-regulating activities in predictable, small doses throughout the
day (say for 5min every hour) is considered the most ideal way to keep your
anxiety levels consistently lower. Rather than just once a day for a longer period
What Can we Do as a Family to help each other regulate?
One of the most effective things you can do as a family is to create daily routines and structure that includes self-regulating activities. Structure and predictability build RESILIENCE. Also offering each other reassuring messages throughout the day can help a lot. An example could be, “We are safe, we are solid as a family, and we can get through this, one day at a time” MOST IMPORTANTLY, stop watching too much news!! When you do, have it very structured and stop at least 2hrs before bed!!!
1. Spend Time with Someone you Trust
Let them know you are feeling fearful/afraid and ask them to help you take your mind off of it.
2. Do Something Physical.
Releases tension and shuts your mind off.
3. Come back to the Present Moment
Anytime we can come back to the present moment we are reminded that, “right now I am safe, we are safe, we are OK for right now.” Some examples of things that bring us to the present moment include, a) name five things in the room. “There’s a computer, a chair, a picture of the dog, an old rug, and a coffee mug,”
c) Use your senses and think about what they feel. The desk is hard. The blanket is soft. I can feel the breath coming into my nose.
4. Do Something Creative
Art, music, writing, cooking, gardening, cleaning, or creating beauty, will bring you into the present moment and gives you something more positive to focus
5. Do something Comforting
Anything that makes you laugh. Things, activities that are familiar or remind you of your childhood (e.g. favourite movie growing up, comforting foods)
6. Turn Towards Faith or Spiritual Practice (if you have one)
Often brings comfort and gives you a larger perspective to focus on.
Exploring your Fear with Honesty & Curiosity Why face our fear? Why not just distract ourselves all the time? How does facing our fears help and not make them worse? Facing the fear helps the fear have less control over you. It also highlights which fears you can do something about. This helps minimize feelings of helplessness and loss of control. Facing our fear helps you build trust in yourself to handle whatever life brings your way. You learn that fear most often lives in our mind (connected to the past or future) and ISN’T ACTUALLY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.
Self-Reflection Exercise #2: What am I most afraid of?
Write a list all of your specific fears:
Fear of…getting really sick,
Fear of…my parents getting sick
Fear of…losing my job
Fear of…being isolated
Fear of…the future
***Writing down your fears DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE GOING TO HAPPEN. Most of what we are afraid of never happens.
Naming your Feelings
Our emotions need motion. When we can name our feelings we are able to take what is sitting inside our head and heart out. This helps us feel it, and move
through it. It’s important we acknowledge what we go through. We tell ourselves things like, “I feel sad, but I shouldn’t feel that; other people have it worse.” We can — we should — stop at the first feeling. “I feel sad.”
Self-Reflection Exercise #3: Naming your Grief
Write Down all the Losses you are carrying
Loss of…social connection
Loss of…a future that feels predictable and safe
Find a mentor, or counsellor
If you find you are finding it difficult to manage your fear, anxiety and loss it never hurts to reach out to a trusted mentor or counsellor who can help you explore and learn about what you are struggling the most with. When we aren’t alone with our fears they feel less scary. Sometimes when we say them out loud to others we realize they aren’t as menacing as we thought they were.
Engaging with Hope & Inspiration
“Hope is being able to see that there is a light despite all the darkness.”– Desmond Tutu
During these more fearful and uncertain times it is necessary for each of us to find ways to connect to our hopefulness. Often this can be done by thinking about the small things each day that gives us a feeling of hope or inspiration. Something as simple as the beauty in nature, can uplift and inspire. Tributes such as applauding and banging pots and pans every night to nurses, doctors and medical professionals fighting the coronavirus can also offer glimmers of hope. “Showing gratitude and appreciation can help give these workers a much-needed boost to continue working,” says Dr. Boulos. “Giving gratitude also helps individuals feel better and makes this difficult time more bearable as we can see hope at the end of the tunnel.” (http://health.sunnybrook.ca/covid-19-
During these times of uncertainty, it has given us a time to reflect on what should've, could've, would've been or could be. It is only natural for us all to feel the anxiety within the community, media, our parents, our children. I would like to take this opportunity to spread some positivity. We will get through this, as humankind has in the past, so will we. It will only make us stronger as a family and community. During the plague while in quarantine, William Shakespeare wrote great plays that we still study to this day. Newton discovered gravity and calculus, while great artists such as Evard Munch emerged. Here is a social story you can share with your children to help them understand better what and why. And that good things can come about just by listening and looking more closely, hugging more tightly and spending quality time together, creating memories that will last.
We are super thrilled to launch our summer themed camps this year!
There are new EXCITING themes that will engage your child's senses while making a memorable summer experience!
Stay tuned for upcoming contests, deals and more!
To learn more about about all camps, click below.
Are you looking for childcare for school-age students?
WOLO will be offering Before & After School Care starting September 2019 for school-age children at Charles Dickens Elementary School.
We love working with children and families!
We have very limited spaces available for September 2019-2020 and are currently making offers to students on waitlist.
We are accepting students on the waitlist for 2020-2021 and if you need care for September 2019, please email us to inquire.
For more information on the program and fees, please request a welcome package only by email email@example.com.
For space availability, please only inquire by email.
Wonder Of Learning Organization
1346 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC
“WOLO” also known as Wonder Of Learning Organization is a School of Arts & Child Care Centre located near Knight and Kingsway in Vancouver, BC. Our School of Arts offers the exclusive Happy Keys Piano group piano program, preschool-age enrichment classes, a dance program and language programs for ages 2 & up! Our child care center preschool-prep and kindergarten prep with flexible hours to match your needs!
Give WOLO piano lessons a try...
before you decide to go onto private lessons or one of our group piano lessons!
Our Happy Keys Piano Program is tailored specifically for all ages in a fun and engaging experience!
We also specialize in preschool piano lessons, group piano lessons and beginner's piano lessons!
Our programs all lead to Royal Conservatory Music Exams. A great time to try out for piano lessons before you commit for lifelong learning!
Our popular 4 lessons for $99 is back for the summer!
The best thing is it is drop-in which means you get to choose the times and dates that work conveniently for you. This pass is conveniently called the "Summer Flex Pass" which you can purchase online here.
This also allows you to try out different teachers and make the right choice for your child! Don't miss out for our 2019-2020 school year!
Want to give us a try? Register now!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 604-829-1346 to get started!
Location: 1346 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC
You've probably heard of us somewhere...
Perhaps you drove by our storefront.
Or, you've heard us on Facebook. Or, through word of mouth!
But you might be just wondering...what is WOLO? Don't you just offer childcare?
Yes, we do happily! But, we also offer summer camps for school-age kids and preschoolers!
While we might be new into the summer camp scene (since 2018), we are happy to be offering our second year of camps!
Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Why should you send your child to WOLO summer camps when there are so many camps in Vancouver?
By no means do we claim we are better, we just want to share with you why you should try us out!
#1 WOLO CLASS SIZES ARE SMALL FOR CAMPS: Our camps can take a maximum of 16 kids this summer! We highly focus on encouraging kids to participate, being a part of the community and building strong friendships! There are more opportunities for the teachers and children to share their interests and build on the connections. We have a lot of AMAZING fun and the kids get to build amazing new friendships!
#2 ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES ARE INTEREST-BASED: Our camps involve our camper's input! What does this mean? This means on the first day of the camp, we talk to the children about their interest and if there is anything they wish to do at camp in relation to the theme of the week. This allows children to be actively engaged in what they want to experience at WOLO! For example, if they love sports, we will do more sports. If they love art, we will cater our camps to do more art. If they want to make cupcakes in stead of muffins, then that's not a problem! While we have an outline each hour and day of the week, we invite kids to create a more enriching experience through their ideas.
#3 GROUP PIANO LESSONS: Whether you've already started piano lessons or your child may be interested in learning the piano, each week includes at least two engaging and educational 45-minute group piano lessons with piano teachers. Plus, if they are interested in practising, they are welcome to jump into any of the private piano rooms during free play time to practise! What will your child learn during their week here? They will learn about rhythm, musical alphabets, beginning staff, fingering, play theory games, do compositions and of course learn to play songs!
#4 WOLO CLASS SIZES ARE SMALL FOR CAMPS: Our camps can take a maximum of 16 kids this summer! We highly focus on encouraging kids to participate, being a part of the community and building strong friendships! There are more opportunities for the teachers and children to share their interests and build on the connections.
#5 SPECIALIST TEACHERS: Our enrichment program includes specialist teachers. For example, piano will be taught by a piano teacher, dance will be taught by a dance teacher, yoga will be taught by a yoga teacher and so forth! We are super excited! Also, our team of camp leaders have experience working with children and are actively pursing education or interested in teaching. Lastly, our team of Directors have worked in summer camps before and have fond memories of bringing that aspect to our camps!
Come join WOLO!
We are currently offering an amazing deal!
Buy 1 Camp & Get 1 Camp at 50% OFF!
Purchase by June 30, 2019!
Call 604-829-1346 or email email@example.com for more information!
WOLO SCHOOL OF ARTS x HAPPY KEYS PIANO PROGRAM 2019
We are super EXCITED to offer our summer group piano camps! All programs will follow the interest of the group. Please read below to see if you qualify!
Click on the photos to register and view dates / times!
Photo by Pixabay
Birthdays and parties are fun at any age, but few of them compare to the excitement of a child’s birthday party. From games to gifts, cake to candles, there is nothing like seeing the joy in a birthday girl’s or boy’s eyes.
That doesn’t mean that children’s parties are all fun and games — especially for the parents. The stress of planning and paying for a child’s celebration can sometimes be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Are you looking to throw the party of the year on a shoestring budget? Think it’s impossible? Think again! These tips will guide you — and your budget — in the right direction.
Decorations can be the perfect way to set the stage for an incredible party. Your child — and all his or her guests — can feel excitement and anticipation just from the decor. However, embellishments shouldn’t break the bank. Try these decoration ideas to stay within your budget:
Food and Drink
Birthday parties need to offer more than just the traditional cake and ice cream to feed guests. Unfortunately, food and drink can often take the largest chunk out of your budget. Not only will you want to make sure kids and adults have enough snacks, but also you may need to account for food allergies. It’s a good idea to ask guests to inform you about food allergies when you send out invitations. Once you know how many guests to expect and how to balance various needs, you can plan a budget:
For those parents throwing a party with themes such as superheroes or princesses, you can take any one of the ideas above and give it some extra flair. For example, you can add food coloring to the finger foods to pull in superhero colors including red and yellow for Superman or red, white and blue for Captain America. For the make-your-own station, consider adding toppings that look like crowns, wands and other princess items.
Keeping kids entertained — no matter the age— can be a big challenge, especially on a budget. However, there are many ways you can use the very things you already have. For example, if you’re throwing a rock ‘n’ roll-themed party, you can host a “battle of the bands” with your Rock Band video game. Just remember kids like to be interactive and engaging with the people and activities that are entertaining them. Some ways you can create this engagement include:
Even if your party doesn’t have a specific theme, you can help your guests have a good time without going over budget by hosting scavenger hunts, talent shows, bookmaking workshops, backyard obstacle courses or a movie night.
Entertainment-themed birthday parties are about making memories. Get creative and thoughtful with these unique ideas, and your child will have a blast at the next birthday.
By Lillian Brooks
We've created a program brochure to give you a quick overview of all our permanent/school-year programs and seasonal classes at WOLO! This program will be launched on February 20th and you will find all our programs until end of the school year! Stay tuned.