Welcome. My name is Lori Ash and I am the Guidance Counsellor at Gilbert Plains Elementary and Gilbert Plains Collegiate.  I have been teaching for the most part of 25 years and have been Guidance Counsellor for the last 5 years, this being my first year at GPCI.  I have a Master of Education degree major in Guidance and Counselling.  My passion is helping others live their best life by learning and understanding their emotions and how the brain works.  Knowledge is power!
     This platform is designed to provide you with information on mental health and well-being.  Our brain is just as important as any other organ in our body.  We need to keep it healthy!  I will be sharing all sorts of resources and ways to help you manage everyday stressors.  Click the subscribe button to receive updates.


self care
Self-Care Bingo
It is important to take care of ourselves.  In Grade 8, we are participating in a blackout self-care bingo game.  The intention of this game is to demonstrate and show the importance of taking care of ourselves.  Everyone has mental health.  What do you do to take care of your brain?  Give the bingo game a try.  You may find a new activity enjoyable!  
week 7
May 21, 2020
Better late than never!  Here is Week 7 of weekly activities.  This week you will focus on strong emotions, how to identify them, and regulate these emotions.  There is a fun gratitude scavenger hunt!  Daily gratitude can increase a person's mood and mindset.  It is a good way to set your day on the right track.  Find out more about work (school) and home balance.  All of us need to have balance.  It is best learned now.
Enjoy these activities, which can be found under Counselling Weekly Activities page, as a way to encourage balance in your life!
Mrs. Ash
week 6
May 13, 2020
Hi everyone!  Another week of mindfulness activities have been uploaded.  We are on Week 6 - May 11-15.  Enjoy activities that focus on being calm, practicing gratitude, the 8 dimensions of wellness, how thinking of others is an act of kindness during this time, and  for something fun, learning about what a calming room is.  Having fun and doing activities that you enjoy help us stay calm and focus on the positive.  A Word document of the activities can be found under the page titled Counselling Weekly Activities.  Have fun, relax, and enjoy!
Mrs. Ash

May 8, 2020

     As we transition into our "new normal", we may feel big emotions along the way.  Fear, anger, frustration will pop up.  They may be felt towards family members, co-workers, and friends.  Conflicts will occur and it is our job to respond to these conflicts in a way to not cause damage to our relationships.  We need to honour others' feelings, be respectful, and understanding of another's perspective.  Yelling, being physically aggressive, and verbally disrespecting someone will only hurt yourself and your relationship with the person who it is directed at. That person will begin to form a different opinion of you.
     We need to deal with the strong emotions and conflicts properly.  Check out my page titled Solving Conflicts.  It includes information on how to manage our big emotions and what steps to take in order to solve a problem so you can keep your relationship in-tack.
     Remember this is a stressful time.  Work together to support one another.  We are all in this together.
Mrs. Ash

May 6, 2020

     Check out a new week of Counselling Weekly Activities.  We are on week 5!
     Also this is the beginning of Mental Health Week from May4 -10th.  The Canadian Mental Health Association's focus for this week is what it actually means when someone says "I'm fine".  There are many different meanings to this and much is left unsaid.  The idea is for everyone to #getreal with what they feel.  Check out my page on Mental Health Awareness for learning and understanding about mental health and mental health illness.  Stomp out that stigma surrounding mental health!!
Remember we are all in this together!
Mrs. Ash

May 1, 2020

     Big Life Journal is a website that provides science-based journals that help kids develop a growth and resilient mindset.  Their journals are engaging and help children embrace challenges and change confidently.  Big Life Journal is providing free resource titled My 2020 Quarantine Time Capsule.  This resource will give you a taste of what the journals are like.  It is a way to record this time period.  I have put the link under the Covid-19 page I created but I will also provide it here:
     There are free webinars and on-line events being provided for parents to help support your child's mental health.  I will put more information under my Mental Health Resources page. 
Take care!
Mrs. Ash

Week 4
April 28, 2020
Another week of activities are available under the page Counselling Weekly Activities.  We are all busy, however if additional activities are needed to encourage healthy, social-emotional well-being, these activities are a good place to start.  
I have also included Meaningful May calendar from Action for Happiness.
Just another way to include a daily activity to increase happiness.  
Pick and choose what would work for you and your family.
We are all in this together!
Mrs. Ash

April 22, 2020

More Resources
     I am always adding more resources to my pages.  Today I added more under Covid-19, Worry and Anxiety, and Mental Health Resources.  I added a link that I have found quite useful - Youth Mental Health Canada.  They have a Facebook page that has links and helps as well.  The link is below:
     Please subscribe or check back regularly for more resources to help you and your loved ones through this trying time.
     Remember, we are all in this together!
Mrs. Ash

Week of April 20th
April 20th, 2020
    What's New?  I created a page titled Counselling Weekly Activities.  These activities are not mandatory.  They are fun activities to create positive mental health.  Each day has a focus, a quick activity, and links attached to do the activities.  
    Check in with yourself and your loved ones to see how everyone's emotions are.  Think to yourself: What emotions am I feeling right now?  Acknowledge that it is okay to have these emotions - whether they are emotions we like having such as joy, happiness, excitement; or negative emotions such as anger, sadness, loneliness.  What can I do to make my day the best I can?  Doing a temperature check like this can help you identify early whether there are negative emotions you need to check and not let rule your day. 
     The Manitoba government has create a Mental Health Virtual Therapy Program.  This is another tool for ages 16 and older to receive mental health support.  Click on the link below to access it.
     Constable Gord Olson, with Manitoba ICE Unit, has created a Facebook page which contains videos of his presentations on on-line safety.  Prior to this crisis, I was making plans with Gord to come and present to our schools.  He has a wealth of information on the law and how it pertains to online safety for our children and for the parents.  Please visit his Facebook page by clicking on the link below:
     We are all in this together!
Mrs. Ash
April 14, 2020
Mountain View School Division has put together a collection of phone numbers and links related to mental health.  I have created a page titled Mental Health Resources which includes links if you are in crisis as well as how to find this information on the MVSD website.  A local Help Line has been created by the division as well.  How to access that is also on the website.
There are other well-being links, including examples of daily schedules and other helps.
Please take a moment to check it out!
We are all in this together!
Mrs. Ash

April 8, 2020

     Self-care is a crucial part of everyone's lives.  It is quite often looked at as being selfish or self-absorbent.  It is not.  It is being aware of what you need when you need it.  It is about taking care of you.  After all, only you can take care of you.  That was said to me years ago, when I came to school sick - I could not function, my head was full, my throat hurt, and I was coughing and sneezing. A former colleague asked me why I was at school.  She said for me to stay home and take care of myself, after all who else is going to take care of you but you!  She was so right!  From that day forward, whenever I felt sick, I realized that my body is trying to tell me something - for me to put it first and take care of me.
     Now I practice self-care daily. I find that I am not as sick; I feel genuinely happy and content, and I am able to handle daily stressors more easily.  I encourage everyone, especially during these times we are in, to practice self-care.  Figure out what works for you.  Check out my page on Self-Care for suggestions.  As the saying goes you can't pour from an empty cup!
     What do you do for self-care?
Mrs. Ash

April 6, 2020

Patience As We Learn And Grow
   As you know, the Minister of Education has announced an indefinite suspension of all classes.  With this announcement comes many questions, fears, and worry - Will I get to graduate?  How is this going to affect my grades?  When will I get to see my friends?  The list of questions is endless.
   We are all learning how to change and "roll with the punches".  Life throws us many curveballs and we need to learn to be understanding, patience, and be resilient during this process.  
   So how do we be resilient during times of uncertainty?  One way is to embrace the change.  Accept it and make the most of it. We cannot change the situation we are in.  That is out of our circle of control.  
    Model resiliency.  Show your child the proper way to bounce back.  Check your emotions.  It is okay to show and identify when you are upset, scared, frustrated.  It is normal to have these emotions.  Acknowledge them and then show how to change your mindset.  These are important skills children need to know how to do.  Below are a couple of articles about resiliency:
    So have patience as we learn and grow from this crisis.  Take it slow, breathe, and focus on what's important - you and your family's health and well-being!!
Mrs. Ash

March 27, 2020

Growth Mindset and Challenging Thoughts
We are at the end of the first week of students working from home.  Check yourself.  How are you doing?  How are your kids doing?  It is easy for our mindsets to turn negative and challenging.  I created a page about Challenging Thoughts.  Take a look through it.
Are you finding many of your thoughts are self-defeating, meaning you are putting yourself down before you begin a task? Or maybe it is during a task and you give up?  Having a growth mindset increases a person grit and resilience.  We all need resilience to get through our present times.  I have provided information and links about this on the Growth Mindset page.  Take a look through it and help yourself and your children develop a more positive outlook!
Next week is Spring Break.  Take care and stay healthy!
Mrs. Ash

March 25, 2020

How to Feel Less Anxious 
Anxiety in many people is at an all time high during a crisis.  We have to remember to keep ourselves balanced and grounded during this time.  There are ways we can help ourselves out.  We need to stay informed with trusted sources.  Allowing ourselves to get caught up in all the Facebook posts or tweets on Twitter can cause more worries and anxiety.  Check reliable sources such as the World Health Organization and government websites for accurate information.
Stay calm.  During a time like this we may find ourselves in common thinking traps like catastrophizing.  Catch yourself before going down the path of unhelpful or extreme thinking.  Be mindful of the negative chatter and change the negative into a positive.
Reach out to friends and family.  This is a good use of technology at this time.  Video chat a family member or set up a watch party.  Make a connection with someone who you have not talked to for a while.
Do something you enjoy.  Do more of a hobby you really love or try something new!  It could be reading, watching your favorite show, cooking, baking, puzzles, knitting, sewing, drawing - the list is endless!
Get some exercise or physical activity.  Any kind of movement will boost the serotonin (the happy hormone) levels in your brain increasing your sense of well-being.  Go out for a walk (keeping social distancing in mind) or a run, try meditation or yoga, try the endless exercise videos on You Tube.
During these times, still maintain balance - exercising, sleep, nutrition, work, and play.  Don't let your day be consumed by the next headline!