On this page, you will be connected with resources that will help our school community grow together. Resources shared here aim to encourage a growth and shift in mindset and foster positive mental health and overall well-being. These articles also appear in the weekly GWSS Principal's Blog.

2021-2022 Mindset Matters

Thank you to Ms. Kelly Mactaggart (GWSS Guidance Counsellor)

for sharing these insightful and inspiring articles with us.

January 9, 2022

Mental Health Supports for Students

HDSB Social Workers, along with the Mental Health and Addiction Nurses, will be offering a series of mental health and wellness sessions for students each month.

Each month, a new topic will be covered in a 45-minute Google Meet with the intention of providing strategies to improve sleep, boost mood and manage stress. These 45-minute drop-in sessions will be offered several times in the month. Whether you are dropping in on your phone or joining us from home, make yourself comfortable and listen in! These short mini-sessions will be offered virtually during the school day and after school.

Drop in Wellness Session Topics:

January: Stress Busting - This time of year can feel challenging and stressful as the semester wraps up. This session will provide ways to help deal more effectively with feeling “stressed out”

February: Healthy Relationships - Friendships, Family, or Dating: learn about managing conflict; communication; healthy boundaries; safety

March: Forming Healthy Habits - Learning the importance of building consistent routines and how to form healthy habits for overall wellness, so it lasts!

If students are interested in signing up for any or all of these sessions, please use this link to register:

Mini Topics Jan-March Sign Up

December 19, 2021

Benefits of Yoga

Looking to stay active while reducing your stress during the holiday break? Give yoga a try! The following articles explain the benefits of yoga followed by a 20 minute workout.

9 Benefits of Yoga

Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity

Yoga for Complete Beginners - 20 Minute Home Yoga Workout!

December 12, 2021

What Are the Holiday Blues?

The holidays can be a joyous time with loved ones, but can also be an emotional and stressful time.

According to verywellmind.com, “Feelings of sadness that last throughout the holiday season are often referred to as the holiday blues or holiday depression. The holidays are usually viewed as a time of happiness and rejoicing. But for some people, it can be a period of painful reflection, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and depression.”

The following articles offer some strategies for helping those that feel overwhelmed and stressed at this time of year:

What we know about the holiday blues

Here are the people most prone to the holiday blues and how to help them

Stay well :)

December 5, 2021

HDSB Mental Health Resources

The Halton District School Board has many valuable resources for parents and students to support their mental health. Click the link below to access these resources which cover areas such as stress and anxiety, racial injustice, and support for LGBT+ groups:

Mental Health and Well-Being

Stay Well :)

November 28, 2021

HDSB Social Workers, along with the Mental Health and Addiction Nurses, are continuing to offer a series of mental health and wellness sessions for students in December and January.

A topic will be covered in a 45-minute Google Meet with the intention of providing strategies to boost mood and manage stress. These 45-minute drop-in sessions will be offered several times in the month. Whether students are dropping in on their phone or joining us from home, they can make themselves comfortable and listen in! These short mini-sessions will be offered during the school day and after school.

Mini Info Topics:

December: Managing Difficult Feelings - Sometimes our emotions can be overwhelming. This session will offer some tips on how to manage our intense emotions.

January: Stress Busting - This time of year can feel challenging and stressful as the semester wraps up. This session will provide ways to help deal more effectively with feeling “stressed out”

If students are interested in any of these Mini Info Topic sessions, please have them sign up using this form: Sign-up for Mini Info Topics.

November 21, 2021

Reaching Out for Help

Sometimes reaching out for help by just talking to someone is the most difficult step when dealing with a personal issue or crisis. Students and parents should reach out to a supportive person they trust when they need help. This article provides general guidelines on how to do this: Reaching Out For Help

If you or anyone you know is struggling or in crisis, here is a link to community supports in Halton: Halton Community Supports

Stay well :)

November 14, 2021

Social Media

Social media entertains us, engages us, and connects us. There are positive aspects of social media, but there are so many negative ones: cyber-bullying, social isolation, negative self-image, and addiction are just to name a few. In a Pew Research study, 45% of teens admit to being online “almost constantly.”

The following article from Columbia University not only describes how teens’ mental health is affected by social media, but it offers strategies on how to have a healthier relationship and mindset when handling its overwhelming presence:

Is Social Media Threatening Teens'

Mental Health and Well-being?

November 7, 2021

Self-Care Activities & Strategies

November can be a tough, long month but it doesn’t have to be! Self-care is essential to avoid the November blahs.

Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Its benefits are better physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. Research suggests self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer, and becoming better equipped to manage stress.

Common examples of self-care include: maintaining a regular sleeping routine, eating healthy, spending time in nature, doing a hobby you enjoy, and expressing gratitude. Self-care can look different for everyone, but to count as self-care, the behaviour should promote health and happiness for you.

This article provides specific activities and strategies for self-care. Here's to a happy November!

October 31, 2021

Preventing Seasonal Depression

It’s the beginning of that time of year when we have to put those heavier coats on and we start noticing the darker mornings and earlier darkness in the evenings. In a week (Nov. 7 @ 2am) we will turn the clocks back an hour and, although we appreciate the extra hour of sleep, we will notice the lack of daylight even more.

Knowing this is approaching, why not get a head start with some strategies on how to prevent potential seasonal depression? Eating and sleeping well are even more important at this time of year, so take the tips provided HERE and enjoy the fall while it lasts!

October 24, 2021

Time Management & Organization

Why do we procrastinate? This article explains reasons why we may procrastinate and offers tips to avoid it. There can be a significant impact on our mental health if we allow things to pile up in our lives. Time management and organizational skills can really make a difference in reducing our very long lists of things to get done.

Time management and organization are skills that need to be acquired and worked on consistently. Developing a system of organization and using time wisely and efficiently can lower stress levels, lead to a sense of focus, calm, and ultimately have a positive impact on our overall well-being. This article provides 10 concrete strategies and tips to help maximize time and build focus which in turn will lead to greater organization and efficiency!

October 17, 2021

Post Secondary Pathways

Grade 11s and 12s have started feeling the pressures involved with thinking about their post-secondary destinations. For those students interested in university, the University of Waterloo and McMaster University offer some tips when making decisions about programs.

How to Choose a University Program

5 Tips for Picking a University Program

Need help choosing a pathway? This article offers some interesting ideas to establish a mindset about possible career journeys. The more self-reflection the better!

October 10, 2021

The Importance of Extra Curriculars

As a staff, we have noticed the tremendous student interest and turn-out for clubs this year. GWSS has so many options for students. There is something for everyone!

Joining a club is not only important for student engagement, but for overall mental health. Being part of a club improves social development and instills a sense of belonging. It can improve self-esteem and build on a student’s interests. Positive habits are also developed in terms of time management, community involvement, and following through on goals. Our clubs and councils list is updated daily on our website and we encourage all students to take a chance and get involved.

How Important are High School Clubs?

Benefits of Extracurricular Activities for Kids

October 3, 2021

Pre Pandemic Return to Routine & Self Care

This article discusses how we may feel exhausted and anxious about returning to “normal’ pre-pandemic activities and routines. Many of us learned how to slow down and embrace time at home with our families and may feel like we are losing that quality time now with school and work ramping up. The article suggests how we do not have to abandon our old “normal” with our new “normal”, but prioritize self-care to live more balanced lives.

On the topic of self-care, this article explains how exercise benefits mental health. Just 15-30 minutes a day of moderate exercise can boost our mood!

2020-2021 Mindset Matters

Thank you to Ms. Jayme Francis (GWSS Guidance Counsellor)

for sharing these insightful and inspiring articles with us.

June 20, 2021

We've Made It… You Are Doing a Good Job!

This has been a school year like no other. The challenges and emotional ups and downs have been unprecedented and yet here we are...we have all made it! Any time we come out on the other side of a significant challenge it is so important to really pause and reflect on how we did it. To think about what we learned, what carried us through the hardest moments and what we can take away as we move forward. Self-reflection allows us to grow and this growth has a direct impact on our mindset. We can, and have all done really hard things this school year and it is so important to recognize and celebrate this fully.

This short video reminds us that we are all doing a "good job" and we need to honour that and a warning you might want to grab some tissues before watching! As we head into a well-deserved summer break I encourage you all to continue focusing on your mental health and well-being and I wish you all a relaxing and rejuvenating summer and always remember that #mindsetmatters!

June 20, 2021

Resilience...It's a Mindset!

The words resilience and well-being are very common these days, especially when looking at how we are all managing through these times of lockdown and uncertainty. This article, written in "pre-pandemic times" explores the difference between resilience and well-being and makes some very interesting and helpful distinctions between these two words. Both of these terms and concepts are important to understand, however as this article echos, now more than ever it is crucial to understand and focus on growing our resilient mindset. This article serves as yet another reminder that our mindset truly does matter!

June 13, 2021

What if We… Don’t Return to School as Usual

As we begin to get a clearer picture of what school may look like in September it is also interesting to reflect on how much has changed in the world around us as well. Thinking ahead to a new school year with optimism and excitement also provides an opportunity to pause, reflect, and perhaps reset and reinvent what the world of education can and may look like for students.

This article asks some very good questions and encourages us all to think about how education may, and in some cases should, change to more accurately reflect our world. This article challenges our mindset around education and encourages us all to really stop and think!

June 6, 2021

Get Outside!

As the outside world around us continues to become colourful and alive and the weather consistently improves it seems like a great time to remind ourselves of the many health benefits of getting outside!

Many of us find ourselves indoors and in front of a screen for many hours of the day and now more than ever we need to make a conscious effort to seek out and immerse ourselves in the great outdoors. Enjoy reading this article and then Get Outside!!

May 30, 2021

Focusing on Building Resilience and Beating Pandemic Burnout

This article explores a phenomena that we are likely all familiar with: pandemic exhaustion. It is important to acknowledge how tiring and difficult this last year has been and even more imperative to focus on how we actively work to not allow pandemic exhaustion to become full blown burnout.

Feel like you need some help bolstering or building your resilience? Try the 20 tips outlined in this article and you might find yourself amazed at the impact this change of focus can have on your mindset!

Finally, here are 30 small tasks to complete daily throughout the month of June to help you improve your well-being and clarity of mind. (note: this resource is from June 2020 but it is still highly relevant so I thought it was worth the re-share!)

May 23, 2021

Self-Care & Mindfulness

Self-care is always important, however in times of stress and uncertainty self-care becomes crucial to maintain our physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. This article reminds us that these are unique times and that we need to make sure we afford ourselves extra self-care.

Here are some excellent mindfulness exercises for you to explore as a way of finding some grounding and quiet space.

May 9, 2021

Gratitude Attitude… Give it a Try!

As the days of lockdown and the pandemic drag on it becomes very easy to get trapped in a negative and hopeless mindset. It tends to feel harder to find the positives in our day to day lives. Making an intentional effort to have a growth mindset and actively choosing to focus on the positive and the good, however small it may be, can have a huge and powerful impact. This video clip offers some insight into the daily practice of gratitude and also highlights the power of a "gratitude attitude"!

Here is a great resource to support your well-being and gratitude practice daily and although this is from May 2020, it is still very relevant and useful!

Finally, as we reflect on developing a gratitude attitude, it seems very appropriate to acknowledge and appreciate all the Moms and important motherly figures in our lives this Mother's Day weekend. This short video reminds us of the power of being in the moment and choosing gratitude, even amongst all the busyness and chaos of daily life. Grab a few tissues and enjoy!!

May 2, 2021

The Way We Talk to Ourselves Matters!

Self-talk is the constant narrative that is running in our heads. This narrative is powerful and has an impact on how we see ourselves and how we interact with the people and world around us. This article explores self-talk and its impact on our physical and mental health while also offering some very practical steps to improve the way we talk to ourselves. It is important to acknowledge that showing ourselves compassion and patience is powerful and we need to remember that we deserve to care for ourselves in this way.

April 25, 2021

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

As students wrap up quadmester 3 and begin gearing up for quadmester 4 they may be finding this shift a little difficult. It is important to recognize that this lack of motivation and lack of excitement about what's to come is a very real and valid emotion.

This article identifies and explores the notion of "languishing" and the presence of this dominant emotion for many of us in our lives right now. This article validates how we may be feeling and offers some suggestions how to move through and cope with these feelings. Students and families may find this helpful as we gear up for yet another quadmester start up. I really encourage you to allow yourself time and space to honour and validate your emotions and to find ways to do what you need to be well and move forward in a positive manner. We CAN do this and always remember #mindsetmatters!

April 11, 2021

Finding Relaxation and Calm in Difficult Times

We've made it to April Break! I am sure that most of you are looking forward to a true break from the routine this coming week. It has been a long and hard few months and we have all earned some time to truly unplug, relax, and recharge. The articles linked below offer some suggestions and tips for self-care and I strongly encourage you to give yourself permission to reconnect and to tune into what your mind and body need over the next week. Self-care is a key element of good mental health and a healthy mind can help us deal with the challenges we encounter in our daily lives.

Remember, #mindsetmatters now more than ever!

Five Tips for Relaxing during Difficult Times

9 Practices To Help Maintain Mental Health during a Lockdown

(this is an older article, but the tips and info is still very relevant!)

April 4, 2021

Understanding the Impact of Stress and Power of Intentionally Choosing Gratitude

Understanding how the stress of the last year has had an impact on our lives and our bodies is an important step in further understanding how to manage this stress and its impact. This article explores what scientists are calling "Covid Stress Syndrome" and offers some simple and effective ways to manage the stress and anxiety many of us face every day.

One very effective way to diffuse the stress of the pandemic is to make an intentional choice to focus on the positive things that have happened this year in your life. Actively choosing gratitude can have a profound impact on our stress levels, mindset and overall sense of well-being. This short video explains the science behind gratitude and the direct positive impacts it can have on your health.

March 28, 2021

Season of Change and Growth

The arrival of Spring and the beautiful weather this past week have both been a much needed reminder to pause and acknowledge our appreciation and gratitude for the predictability of season change and renewal--particularly in such an unpredictable time! Acknowledging this period of new growth and change in nature can be a helpful way of connecting to the idea and possibility of growth and change in ourselves and in our personal lives as well. This period of hope, growth and renewal is a great time to take a closer look at our routines and habits and to make a commitment to grow and change in our own daily lives.

The articles linked below offer some tips for changing and improving self-care and although many of the ideas are small and subtle, the impact can be dramatic and profound. Seize and enjoy this time of growth and rebirth and remember #mindsetmatters always!

The science of self-care: How tiny habits make a big difference

Practicing Self-Care When Time is Hard to Find

March 21, 2021

The Power of Resilience and Positive Mindset

To say that our resilience and ability to be positive has been challenged in recent months is an extreme understatement! This year has presented challenges and situations that many of us could never have imagined possible. Ironically however, it is in fact our resilience and ability to change our negative mindset that has, according to one researcher, served us better than we might realize throughout the long months of the pandemic. Our adaptability has driven us to seek new and safe ways to connect socially with others and this has led to a level of happiness that may not have been anticipated in the midst of a global pandemic. Read more about this study and the findings here.

In April of 2020 Brene Brown offered some tips for coping during the pandemic. One year later these tips are certainly worth revisiting as a way of reminding ourselves that we are much more resilient than we give ourselves credit for!! #mindsetmatters

March 14, 2021

A Year of Living with COVID-19

This past week marked one year since our world changed dramatically, in ways none of us could have imagined. The post-Covid world has brought about so many changes in almost every element of our daily lives.

This anniversary is likely bringing up a wide range of emotions and it is hard to ignore the sense of loss many of us may be feeling. However in contrast, it is important to acknowledge that perhaps this past year has led many of us to a new sense of appreciation and gratitude for what does remain in our lives and a newfound sense of hope for what is to come.

This news clip explores the simple question "What are you looking forward to?" with Canadians from across the country and it is safe to say that this question has become one filled with emotion and deeper meaning.

And while we patiently wait and contemplate what we are all looking forward to, this article offers some great tips to help us intentionally work towards developing and maintaining a positive attitude and outlook, even when it's hard! #mindsetmatters

March 7, 2021

The Importance of Meaningful Connection

Finding common ground and meaningful connection with others during times of hardship and social isolation is one way to help shift our mindset to a more positive and hopeful perspective. Recognizing and empathizing with others helps us to understand and process our own experiences and this in turn helps us to connect more deeply with those around us.

This article takes a closer look at an ancient greeting and the power that lies within truly acknowledging and honouring the presence of others.

This article provides some simple but meaningful ways to stay connected to others when being physically together isn't possible.

And finally, this article offers some tips to foster hope in our daily lives. #mindsetmatters

February 28, 2021

Pursuit of Wellbeing

This article thoughtfully explores the notion of happiness and highlights how the constant and sometimes competitive pursuit of happiness can actually lead to negative feelings and disappointment.

The author offers the pursuit of well-being as a much more gratifying and realistic goal. This perspective encourages us to think about happiness as a by-product of well-being and a journey rather than a final destination. #mindsetmatters

February 21, 2021

The Value of Rest

Rest comes in many forms. There are different types of rest that our body needs and having a better understanding of what our body really needs will allow us to have a truly rested mind and body. Giving ourselves permission to value and prioritize rest will ultimately enable us to be healthier, happier and more productive.

This article explains the different types of rest that every person needs and this article reminds us of the importance of truly appreciating and valuing rest in our everyday lives. Cozy up, enjoy these articles and then make sure to give yourself some time to truly rest this weekend!

February 14, 2021

Staying Positive

Shifting our mindset to remain positive can be exhausting and difficult, especially when the world around us is filled with ongoing and at times overwhelming challenges. Some of us may be feeling the fatigue of the last year and it is common to fall into focusing on failure and the negative things happening in our lives.

The articles below offer some tips for remaining positive and embracing and learning from failure during these challenging times. The power of a growth mindset can shift us from a "never" to a "just not yet" outlook and this can make all the difference in our overall mental health and well-being. Mindset Matters, especially when things are hard!

Five Ways to Stay Positive through Lockdown

How to move on after failure & rebuild your confidence

February 7, 2021

Back to School 2.0

As we all prepare to return (yeah!) to a more normal and familiar version of school, it is important to shift our mindset back to a more consistent routine. It might be helpful to think about this as a "Back to School 2.0" to revisit this article that was shared earlier in the year that discussed supporting teens' emotional well-being as they return to the classroom… many of these things discussed are still very relevant!

Here are some other resources that you may find helpful as we pivot once again!

6 Self-care Steps for a Pandemic

HDSB Well-Being and Mental Health resource page

January 31, 2021

Reducing Anxiety, Stress, and Worry

Feeling the winter and lockdown blues? Feeling restless and tired of screens? Feeling like you need to take some time for yourself and your mental health? This article offers some tips and concrete reasons to embrace the winter weather and get outside! Your body and your brain will thank you!

This is another resource that provides 10 tips and things to do to help you and those around you 'bounce back' and reduce any Covid-related stress and anxiety that might be surfacing.

January 24, 2021

You’re Doing a Good Job

Our new 'normal' right now can feel very difficult and monotonous for sure. We are inherently social beings and so this time of social and physical distancing can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. It's important to acknowledge these feelings, while also acknowledging that this won't last forever. Remember that this time apart is so that we can be together again, safely, soon!

This video serves as a great reminder to all of us that we are all doing "a good job", in all the roles we are playing right now, even when it's hard and exhausting. Enjoy this beautiful song and I really encourage you to take the message to heart...and maybe grab some tissues before watching it!

Remember, your mindset really does matter.

January 17, 2021

Growth Mindset

Focusing on a flexible and growth mindset as we face the challenges that lie ahead of us will help us as we respond in times of stress, anxiety and uncertainty.

This article explores the growth mindset and the impact of having a growth vs fixed mindset can have on our overall functioning, well-being and progress. With so much beyond our control right now it is imperative to focus on that which we can influence and change and our mindset is a great example of something we CAN change. Mindset truly does matter and sometimes even the smallest shift in how we view something can have the biggest impact.

January 10, 2021

Beginning 2021 with Realistic and Simple Intention

New Year's resolutions can be a bit of a trap--that which is designed to help us be successful can actually be the very thing that leads to disappointment, frustration, and a sense of failure. It is perhaps better to think of this time of year as a period of refocusing and readjusting of priorities, rather than just a time of reinvention or redesigning.

This article highlights several things that can lead to a healthy "you" and provides the science behind the thought; oftentimes when we understand the "why", the follow through becomes more intentional.

This article similarly outlines ways to reduce stress so that we are able to live happier and healthier lives. There is a lot happening in our world right now and the best way to cope is to practice self-care and self-acceptance daily. Calm and resilience begin at home with our own mindset. Be well and all the best for a mindful 2021.

September 20, 2020

Tips to Support Your Child’s Mental Wellness and Prepare for the Start of the School Year

Heading back to school is always a time of transition, but this year the changes will be much more far-reaching for most of us. Not only are parents and students being asked to make sense of a whole new set of back-to-school rules: we’re also having to cope with high levels of uncertainty—the fact that there are still so many unknowns. Click here for some tips to support your child's mental wellness and prepare for the start of the school year.

The 2020 Back-to-School List for Teens’ Emotional Well-Being

Back to school and return to routine can bring about a mixture of emotions in the best of times, never mind during a pandemic! Families are likely feeling this back to school season very differently indeed. It is important to acknowledge the impact on our mental health during this time of significant change and to focus on ways to be proactive to protect our well-being. Here are a few resources to help you and your students navigate this new normal together!