Prolonged Stress? Oh Yes! Achieving Homeostasis While Staying at Home

Excerpt from our responsive curriculum.  This session helps participants reflect on how their minds and bodies are responding to the prolonged stress and uncertainty of the pandemic. They will explor...

Here are some activities you can try with the teens in your life from our latest responsive curriculum to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Viewing the Havdalah ritual as a metaphor (10 minutes)

We can’t wait for this period to end but perhaps there are things we have appreciated about this time, or things that we hope our community and society learns as a result.

We can borrow wisdom from the Havdalah ritual. Havdalah literally means “separation” —and here we are, in a period of real, physical separation from each other, and an experience so separate and distinct from our day to day lives. Havdalah marks the moment of separation between Shabbat—a period each week that is distinct and separated from the rest of the week—and the mundane, day to day of our school or work week. Yet each week when we mark that separation, Havdalah help us hold on to some of what makes Shabbat so special and different, to bring with us as we create a hopeful new beginning of the “normal” week ahead.

Invite participants to take out a piece of paper (scrap paper is fine) and something to write with. Instruct them to divide the paper into two separate pieces by folding down the center and ripping it in two. Then say:

  • On one piece of paper, write one thing that you are looking forward to having end, to separate very distinctly from, when this crisis period ends. (Give everyone a moment to write.)
  • On the other, write one thing you hope to hold onto—either for yourself, or for society—as we move into a new, and hopefully, better, normal.

Ask participants to share what they would like to hold onto.


I want you to tuck these pieces of paper in your desks, nightstands, or somewhere near you in your room where you can easily take them out as reminders for yourself—when you’re feeling really “over” this. You can remind yourself both of what you are going to get to leave behind as soon as this ends as well as what you are enjoying about it now and what you hope to bring with you to make a better normal.

This Too Shall Pass (10 minutes)

Share the story of Gam Ze Ya’avor (This Too Shall Pass), which you can find in different versions: one here, another is here.

(Note: The story is often attributed to King Solomon who also is traditionally credited for Ecclesiastes/Kohelet which includes the famous line, “To everything there is a season” (which has been set to music by the band, the Byrds).

  • What stood out to you in the story?
  • In what ways might it apply to the current pandemic?

If you are interested in viewing the full curriculum, please e-mail Sarah Fox.