Tag - stress

Back to School Checklist
Which ‘P’ Do You Choose to Be?
Put Down The Phone
Can Your Work Life Be Your Social Life?

Back to School Checklist

By: Jessica Bickford

Pencils… check!

Notebook paper… check!

Erasers…. Check!

Endless stacks of back to school forms… check!

Plans and lists are being made…but the real question facing families with school aged children is: “How are you helping prepare your child for the stress that a new year can bring?” 

While there is no formal checklist for this, I’ve compiled some snippets from some of Healthy Lamoille Valley’s go-to resource websites. We hope you check them out and talk about them as a family!

Parentupvt.orgLearn which students are most at risk of substance misuse, how to prevent misuse, and how to respond if you think your child might be trying alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.

Website excerpt:

“We all know how important fitting in is when you’re a teenager. And drinking or drugs can seem like an easy way to make new friends and find a place in a new school. Teens can also feel pressured if they’re looking to fit into a group of kids who are drinking or using drugs. And some teens who’ve always been seen as “the good one” may even try to use drinking or drugs to change their image.

That’s why it’s so important to talk to your child and monitor your child’s behaviors, friends, and activities regularly—especially during times of transition.”

Ryanpatrickhalligan.org – Practical suggestions relating to technology and cyberbullying. John Halligan came to Bishop Marshall and Stowe schools last spring to share Ryan’s story with students and parents. If you couldn’t make it, you can now rent John’s parent presentation at this site as well.

Website Excerpt:

“If your child is under 13, you do have the option to have these accounts deleted since most of these services have an age and parental consent requirement per the Federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

      • Have them share with you all their user account names and passwords.
      • Make certain they never have and will never share their passwords with anyone, even a friend. Explain the risk of someone impersonating them and ruining their reputation
      • Remove the technology (cells phones, tablets, iPods, computers) from the bedroom, specifically, when it is time to sleep.”

Teens.drugabuse.gov – It’s important to give your kids resources as well. This one is designed for teens, but also has links for parents including researched based scientific facts about various drugs.

Website Excerpt:

“Another teen from Croatan High School in North Carolina submitted:

My best friend of 7 years has smoked cigarettes, smoked marijuana, and tried other drugs since she was 11. She has dealt with social services, law enforcement, and was sent to a foster home for 3 months. She has been back home for a month and says she’s going to change. I love her and don’t want her to go back down the same road again, but she doesn’t want to hear it when I talk to her about drugs. How can I help her?”

Healthvermont.gov – State, county, and school district data helps you to know what struggles and strengths your student encounters daily. Many of Lamoille Valley’s Middle and High Schools have student “Getting to Y” groups looking at this data and planning ways to help their classmates who may be struggling.

Website Excerpt:

“The YRBS was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disease, injury and social problems among youth. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, include:

  • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence
  • Physical activity
  • Nutrition
  • Weight status
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Sexual behaviors

The survey is part of a larger effort to help communities increase the resiliency of young people by reducing high risk behaviors and promoting healthy behaviors. Vermont collects student responses every two years from nearly every high school and middle school in the state.”

Was this information helpful? Do you have other resources you’d like to share? Share in the comments section below or message the author at: jessica@healthylamoillevalley.org.

Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Which ‘P’ Do You Choose to Be?

By: Michele Whitmore

I am a positive person. In fact, people often ask me how I stay so positive. My response is that I choose to be. There are days when it would be much easier to choose the other ‘P’ (pessimism), but as I have learned from many others, the easy way is not always the right way or the best way when making a decision. Here are a few tips that I have used to help me stay on the positive path.

  • Whether your day will be a positive one or not is a choice we all make before getting out of bed. So, first thing in the morning, make the decision to have a positive day. Sure, some things may go south, but try not to let that impact the rest of your day.
  • Live life simply. Don’t try to keep up with anyone but yourself.
  • If your life is feeling a bit dysfunctional, remember: we all have our own challenges or dysfunctions. It’s kinda normal. And it’s ok.
  • Find time for self-reflection or self-improvement. Our lives are busy; we often over–schedule ourselves. It’s important to take time each day to “meet with ourselves” – check in, breathe deep, shut off your mind for a few minutes, and just be.

We all have this choice to make every day. Choose wisely and own it.

Michele Whitmore is the Associate Dean of Students at Johnson State College. She works closely with Student Service Departments within the College to provide purposeful events to students that will strengthen their professional leadership, personal growth, life skills development and social engagement. Thus far, the College has provided educational programs that cover LGBTQ issues, alcohol and drug use, sexual assault prevention, socio-economic struggles, and healthy choices related to eating well and being fit, to name a few.

Michele writes about the outreach and program opportunities that enhance the wellness of a campus community.

Put Down The Phone


I often wake up at 3 a.m., stressing about something. And I do the absolute worst thing you can do: I reach for my smartphone and read through my Twitter account and favorite blogs. It was in the wee morning hours that I saw this article from the Cleveland Clinic. It pointed out how stress affects your body.

Cortisol, the hormone created by stress, affects so many parts of your body. It can affect your muscles and joints, your heart and lungs, your skin and hair, your stomach and your neck and shoulders. Prolonged stress weakens your overall immune system, not to mention does a number on your mental health. To make matters worse, when you are stressed, you tend to exercise less and slide on the healthy eating. So many of aches and pains and flare-ups of all sorts can be stress-related.

My immediate thought: “Blog post!” Really. Then I thought I should turn off the phone and go back to sleep.

I’m still working on breaking the blue screen habit before bedtime (and at 3 a.m.) along with managing my stress in general. What do you do to manage your stress?

Can Your Work Life Be Your Social Life?

By: Lynda Marshall

Workplace wellness

Worried that your boss will see you chatting to the guy at the next desk? Concerned that your employees spend too much time socializing at work? Relax. Those water cooler chats are actually a good thing—for people and for businesses.

Socializing at work is good for people. It’s perfectly natural that we develop relationships in the place we spend the most time—work. Employees with positive workplace relationships are happier at work, and happier people are more productive, more creative, and generally more successful. Social interactions stimulate the production of oxytocin, the so-called “love” hormone, which can lower cortisol (the “stress” hormone) and blood pressure, induce feelings of optimism, and increase self-esteem. Employees then respond to stress better. Social interactions also allow employees to relate to their coworkers as human beings, which promotes better communication and trust.

The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to get friendly. Not TOO friendly, but that’s a different blog post…

Interested in learning more? Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, has a great TED Talk on this subject.

Socializing is good for business, too. Higher productivity and more creativity are important parts of a successful work culture. Don’t forget, that an employee’s attitude will invariably spill over into his or her interactions with customers and clients. Happy employees tend to stay at their jobs longer, which helps businesses save money. Bottom line? Encourage your employees to get to know one another—it’s “work” that will pay off.

Here are a couple of good pithy articles on this topic:



Lynda Marshall is the Human Resources Director & Compliance Officer at Lamoille County Mental Health Services in Morrisville. She manages human resources, acts as risk management, oversees employee wellness, and edits a community newsletter.

LCMHS is celebrating 50 years as the designated mental health and development disabilities services agency for Lamoille County. LCMHS serves children, adolescents, families, and adults, including individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Its programs help individuals gain independence and enhance the quality of their lives.