Taking Care Of Your Mental Heath During Lockdown – Message from our School Counselor

The global pandemic has produced feelings of fear and panic. For many, these overwhelming feelings and the lockdown experience have resulted in a crisis situation. In addition to physical health concerns, much has been predicted about our future economic status and an increased need for mental health treatment. Although all of us know we need to “practice self-care” or “take care of our mental health”, we struggle to practically apply this concept even in the best of times. Now, during a crisis, it becomes even more difficult. Stress and happiness affect our physical health, relationships, and productivity. This means mental health care is even more important during crisis times, such as now. Below are a few practical tips for maintaining your mental health.

  • Give yourself time to grieve what was lost. In this instance, it could be birthday parties, special events you had planned, work projects, finances, or anything you were counting on or looking forward to that never happened as a result of lockdown.
  • Look for opportunity. Think about and take advantage of the opportunities created by the situation. These will be unique and specific to you and works both in business and family life. Social distancing, for example, has fed the remote occupation trend while giving family members the opportunity to share more of their lives with each other.
  • Focus on the positive. Sure, there might be plenty of negative, however, it is the positive that gets your attention. This means you would focus on what you did accomplish today, instead of what you did not.
  • Give yourself permission to get things wrong while adjusting to so many changes simultaneously.
  • Set small goals that are realistic, measurable, and able to be accomplished in a short amount of time while at home.
  • Say good morning to the people in your household. (This has been scientifically proven to affect overall daily happiness.)

Lastly, self-care should not feel like a chore. If you have to make time for it, and that causes you stress, then it is not self-care. Some of you may read, or paint, or play games on your phone while others won’t find those things relaxing. Doing the dishes might give you peace because it brings needed order to a messy house but it may stress someone else out who views it as another daunting task. You know what brings you peace and calms the chaos in your mind. Do that.

Mrs D Butt

Northwood School Counselor


Letter to Matrics from Old Boy and Deputy Head Prefect 2018, Nicholas Deeb

Good day to the Northwood Knights, Old Boys and to the community of Durban North.

During this time of national disaster and under the effects of the lockdown imposed on our country, it is easy to slip into despair and to feel depressed with our circumstances. It is important to be mindful of both your mental and physical well being during this time, because as the days blend together and it becomes increasingly difficult to find interesting ways to pass the time, you may find yourself slipping into a rut and neglecting to look after yourself and those you care about.

Fortunately, this is all easily avoidable if the lockdown is approached with a positive attitude. One of the main reasons I was asked to write this article was to help spread positivity through Northwood’s social media reach. I believe that it is crucial to maintain healthy relationships within the school, as well as the greater community, and that we endeavour to support and uplift one another despite being physically distanced from each other. In time, this pandemic shall pass, and when everything has settled and we are blessed with the ability to go about our lives as we so un-appreciatively did before the lockdown, we will surely hope to have maintained and even strengthened our relationships, be they with family, fellow knights and friends, teachers and coaches or other community members. I am privileged to know the bond that one forms with the brotherhood that is Northwood and I feel that if we, as current Knights and also the Old Boys, can make an effort to extend that support and friendship and care to whoever we have contact with during this time, it will only serve to strengthen the bond between Northwood and the Durban North community.

On a more personal note, I have found that breaking my day down into parts and ensuring that I “visit” all the important aspects of my life on a daily basis has helped me very much in coping with the lockdown. First and foremost, comes time for reflection and prayer – I feel that in this time of panic and confusion it is more important than ever to have faith in God and to be grateful for the blessings we have. Aside from obeying the rules of the lockdown, the most helpful the majority of us can be is by praying for an end to the pandemic. Spend time with your family and any other people around you, invest in those relationships and take this time to heal any grievances if needs be. Be kind and compassionate; everyone is taking strain from the current situation and conflict can only worsen that strain. Other than this, it is vital to keep both mentally and physically active. The endorphins released from physical activity are a much-needed rush during what can be a very slow day and is also key to staying healthy. This coupled with a consistent, appropriate sleeping schedule will give your immune system the best chance to protect you from illness. Perhaps even more important than this though, is staying mentally active. This lockdown is not to be mistaken for a holiday; just because we are all away from school, university or work doesn’t mean that we should stop exercising our brains. When we emerge from lockdown and go back to normal life we cannot afford to be behind academically and to not have engaged our brains for however long it may last. I know that this can seem quite daunting to some and you might not know where to begin, especially students in matric. When I realised that this is the case, I decided to do something about it and in my own way support the Northwood brotherhood. After contacting some of my fellow Old Boys and getting them on board, we have approached the matrics of 2020 to offer our experience and knowledge in any areas that they require assistance, be it regarding academics, university or life outside of school. I encourage the matrics of 2020 to take us up on our offer – my details have been broadcast via Northwood’s social media platforms, so please feel free to contact me.

I wish you all the very best in health and happiness during the coming weeks, may God watch over you and your families and I look forward to watching Northwood continue to grow and excel in the future.

Nicholas Deeb – Class of 2018

Helping Your Teen to Manage Schoolwork and Household Issues on Lockdown

Letter from our School Counselor

Families with teens experience high amounts of stress even in the best circumstances. Aside from rapid biological changes and keeping up with the latest social trends, teens have a developmental need to establish autonomy. Many parents notice these changes and search for ways to accommodate developmental needs, such as independence, while balancing responsibility and discipline. Unforeseen challenges can further complicate family matters and increase tension. Here are a few tips to help your family adjust to the unforeseen challenge of life on lockdown and reduce family stress.

General Household Issues

  • Have a family discussion that includes every member’s input. Discuss important issues that need attention for effectively maintaining your household such as chores, space, and family time.
  • Explain expectations and negotiate chore times as part of a routine or schedule instead of an on-the-spot demand. This is a far more effective approach with teens. An example is to say the dishes need to be done by 9h00 or before you watch TV.
  • Offer options where possible; “Would you like to mow the lawn or clean the bathroom?”


  • Take a similar approach to completing schoolwork; help them understand expectations and manage their time. Some teens will need a strict schedule while others do better with flexibility; you know your teen best. Set them up for success by working with their learning needs.
  • Discuss and agree on school expectations and goals ahead of time so you avoid a fight when a reminder is needed. Let them participate in goal setting with your advice acting in the background as a guide.
  • Subject tasks vary in difficulty and duration depending on individual strengths. Aim for task completion instead of tracking time. If he completes his maths in 20 minutes today, there is no need to force an extra 30 minutes; he may use an hour for tomorrow’s task.
  • Break down projects and big tasks into smaller goals to be completed each day.
  • Avoid studying difficult subjects longer than 45 minutes at a time or back-to-back. This effects their ability to retain information as long-term memory.
  • Make sure he takes breaks that include nutrition and/or sleep between long study sessions.

Mrs D Butt

Northwood Counselor

Letter to the Blue Army from our Head Prefect

28 March 2020

Letter to the Blue Army

Day 2 of the Lockdown, and today I thought about you. In the words of Charles R. Swindoll, “Battles are won in the trenches, in the grit and grime of courageous determination; they are won day by day in the arena of life.”

It is in the thick of the trenches that we all must dig deep. It is during these times of immense discomfort that we must unify as never before. Keeping positive even if all around us pandemonium reigns.
Adhering to instruction and commands in the thick of confusion and uncertainty is paramount, otherwise order and control is lost to actions bound by fear, resulting in chaos and mayhem.

It is only human, at times like this, to have our minds wander back to the places and things familiar to us. The shrill sound of the bell signaling the end of another school day, raucous camaraderie of binding war cries, metal studs on steps steeped in history and proudly run by so many before us.

….Come the day, and come the hour, feel the power and the glory, we’ll fight until we can fight no more….

The small and somewhat insignificant routines and arduous regulations like, having your name badge on, walking from lower campus to upper campus, will seem like a simple privilege, now that they have been taken away from us.

….Together standing tall, hearts of steel and heads of knowledge, now and never to be broken….

It is only a matter of time until we will be together again, sharing these simple pleasures we might have taken for granted, and wearing our blazers with pride and unity once more.

Vernon Matongo

Northwood Represent at Water and Sanitation Student Conference at ICC

Northwood students, Yasheel Pillay, Sanidhya Soni, Liaan Govender and Akeer Nursingh have done us proud in representing their school at the Water and Sanitation Student Conference at the ICC.
“I am honoured that we at Northwood have the resources and skills to have afforded them this ground breaking opportunity.
In a space of a few months, their innovation of a Water Saving App (WSA) as a strategy to improving sanitation, and piloting of it has gained recognition by relevant stakeholders in the province. Well done!”

Dr Pillay – Head of Life Science, Northwood

Dallas Hutton Water Polo Tournament

This February marked the 2nd Dallas Hutton U15 Water Polo Tournament since its revival from 2007. We had 13 teams participating in the Tournament, with emphasis on enjoyment, good sportsmanship, competitiveness and building good character. Thank you to all the schools, coaches, players, parents and sponsors who supported us and helped to make this weekend a great success.
Congratulations to Clifton on placing first, Grey College on placing 2nd and Michaelhouse on their 3rd place.

Final Standings:
1. Clifton
2. Grey College
3. Michaelhouse
4. Westville
5. Hilton
6. DHS
7. Clifton u14A
8. KES
9. Kearsney
10. Northwood
11. Maritzburg College
12. Glenwood
13. Invitational