Diana J. Smith

How one school district tends to students’ emotional health during coronavirus pandemic

SADDLE BROOK, N.J. – Three months ago, the Saddle Brook school district was making steady progress toward social and emotional learning as part of a district initiative.

In-class yoga, mindfulness mantras and coping strategies for anxiety were part of the daily routine.

Then came the pandemic.

Virtual learning separated children from schoolmates and teachers as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and other health experts noted a surge in stress and depression. Next came the killing of George Floyd and racial tensions that heightened anxiety for many families. 

“I’m glad that we were in front of social and emotional learning, that we had this wellness initiative in place, because we had already been talking about it and doing it,” Superintendent Danielle Shanley said.

To address a complicated new reality, the entire faculty worked together to keep social and emotional learning at the forefront.  

“My concern was the kids

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Wellness in the COVID era

Before long, wellness will be measured by more than the macabre checklist of curve-flattening behavior that’s defined life under Covid-19. Soon our well-being will demand more – the presence of a positive, not just the absence of a negative.

It’s a golden opportunity to restart life down a healthier path. But how? Before the coronavirus, 2020 actually had been a good year for wellness in medical journals. As we regain mobility, these studies are worth recalling. Wellness is closer than you might think.

According to leading lights, our long-term welfare is tied in no small part to having friends, exercising regularly and drinking coffee. Laughter, lunges and lattes – could it really be that simple? I think so.

Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal cited a Harvard study focusing on the importance of male friendship. According to the research, the single best predictor of a man’s health and

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Home workouts dominated during the pandemic. Will the trend change the fitness industry?

Active Californians turned to exercising outdoors or at home when Gov. Gavin Newsom directed gyms to close on March 16. Many fitness centers debuted live-streamed classes during the coronavirus pandemic; sporting equipment sales boomed as living rooms and garages became makeshift gyms.

As gyms started reopening in June, business owners and customers sought a new normal that may point to lasting shifts in the industry. Prior to the pandemic, many frequented the gym for access to specialty equipment, but some people have now bought their own gear, and online options have emerged as a viable alternative for group fitness businesses.

Austin Walsh bought new dumbbells, resistance bands and running shoes since his gym closed. His home setup — in the bedroom, since his wife does barre workouts in the living room — isn’t perfect, but it seems safe.

“The most elusive piece of equipment is an Olympic bench press

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Women’s health and fitness most at risk if leisure facilities stay closed

Ongoing closures of gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres are “disproportionately” affecting women, according to Sport England, which warns gender inequalities have been exacerbated by lockdown.

The Government-formed body expressed concern to MPs that the clock is being turned back after women’s sporting participation was boosted by last year’s football, netball and cricket world cups.

Activity levels were at record highs pre lockdown, but “less women than men” have been able to be active as families were placed under pressure by Covid-19.

“We’ve seen an exacerbation of inequalities that existed before lockdown,” said Alison Donnelly, executive director of communications and marketing at Sport England.

The Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee praised Donnelly over the Sport England-backed This Girl Can campaign, which was first developed in 2015 to promote sport and activity among women, and since then has inspired four million women to act.

“In terms of

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