July Coalition Meeting – Self Care: Relax, Relate & Release

Wow! What a year 2020 has turned out to be for us! We have hosted virtual coalition meetings since April and this month was no exception. We had a great coalition meeting with Dr. Marguerite Morgan of Arbor Circle. We started out with a couple of fun ice breaker questions. Our first question was if age is only a state of mind, which category best describes your state of mind right now? (A) Cheeky Child, (B) Tormented Teenager, (C) Mad Mid-Lifer or (D) Groovy Grandparent. Our second question was: what’s the strangest thing you did while attending a meeting online? (A) Watch Netflix, (B) Other, (C) Wore Pajamas, (D) Ate Breakfast or (D) Brushed My Teeth. Do you know where your answers would fall? It was fun hearing everyone’s responses!

Dr. Morgan presented on self-care and reducing stress. Her presentation was interactive, informative and engaging. Dr. Morgan began her presentation with having everyone introduce themselves, number of children and something they do for self-care. Our parents rock and they have some amazing things that they do for self-care, including playing an instrument, exercise, reading, napping and more! She expressed to us the importance of stretching. Stretching helps with peace, tranquility, mental calmness, relaxation and releasing tension. She engaged the participants on the zoom call by demonstrating various stretching techniques. Our parents were encouraged to mimic the stretches and follow along with Dr. Morgan.

She also discussed staggering statistics regarding how COVID is affecting individual’s mental and physical health – 35% of Americans feel anxious & depressed right now and suicides are up 80%.

Dr. Morgan noted that many people are suffering the loss of events & gatherings due to COVID. Many of the participants on the call spoke of their own losses including birthday celebrations, weddings, baby showers, funerals, anniversaries, children’s sports, family reunions, graduations, trips and more.

Dr. Morgan emphasized the need to relax our bodies and minds to be able to carry out the tasks of parenting. Often it is not the actual disease that kills you, but how you manage the disease.

Lastly, one of the most impressionable things she left us with at the meeting was to relax, relate & release: our body let’s us know what we need. We must be able to identify the signs of stress so that we can appropriately deal with it. Some signs of stress that she noted were headaches, grinding teeth, hives, isolation from relationships, nagging, anxiety and mood swings. However, she did not leave us with the signs of stress without providing some amazing ideas to calm our stress. To help relieve stress she suggested drinking tea, staying hydrated with water, filling up a long sock with rice and heating it up in the microwave (love this idea as there is no sewing required!), warm rag on your neck, soaking in a lavender bath or using lavender lotion (for the men sandalwood is a great essential oil to calm and relax).

Overall our participants left with a wealth of knowledge and activities they can do to help relieve stress.

Photo by Madison Inouye


Funding from the Office of Great Start within the Michigan Department of Education supports the implementation of Great Start.