Curated For You :
Taking Care of Ourselves + Others
"With each new day comes new strength and new thoughts."
Eleanor Roosevelt

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
―  Lori Gottlieb,  Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Dear SPARK Family - including brand new members!

We are thinking of you and your families. While we have a duty to practice social distanci ng to protect our community, we also have a duty to support our mental health in order to promote our overall wellness and resilience. The following are resources that may be of help. We will update this list as needed - feel free to send any recommendations to

Here is are some thoughts of how to stay resilient during a challenging time (more details in the resources below):

  1. Practice self care + calming practice - resources below to help with this. This is highly individual! Do what brings you comfort. Breathing, meditation, spiritual practice, cup of tea, yoga can all be helpful.
  2. Look to the heroes - as Greater Good Science says, when we focus on those who are helping (healthcare workers, public servants) "we feel what is called moral elevation—a warm feeling inside that inspires us, fueling optimism and a desire to act altruistically ourselves."
  3. Communicate w/your kids as appropriate - HERE is a great resource by Dr. Kristen Aberle, SPARK team member and Licensed Psychologist.
  4. Practice compassion - a powerful practice "acknowledges our vulnerability and it brings out our strengths so that we can be a lamp, a bridge, a source of medicine to the hearts of others and ourselves..." (from J. Kornfield's excellent meditation.)
  5. Focus on what you can control- As the AFSP recommends "separate what is in your control from what is not. There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those." Wash your hands. Eat healthy. Sleep.
  6. Maintain social connections, especially during social distancing - email, call, and video chat with friends and family. Use this as a time to catch up with others (find time to laugh and feel joy).
  7. Limit the news - think of this as a healthy diet for your mind - watch your intake. You deserve to protect your mind from overwhelm. (And limit exposure to people who overwhelm you with negative news.)
  8. Exercise if you can - moving helps relieve stress and affirm a feeling of strength.
  9. Get outside - fresh air and sunshine do wonders. Nature has a unique ability to calm and show that after the storms of life, all will be well.
  10. Practice Gratitude - Gratitude refocuses us on what is going right in the world. It also helps us recognize the heroes around us.
  11. Work on a productive project - (declutter the house, bake, create...) Action is an antidote to anxiety.
  12. Derive comfort from common humanity - the Benson Henry Institute suggests deriving comfort from the fact that we are all in this together and there are experts across the globe helping.
  13. Get professional help if needed - resources for support are below.

Important General Resources for MA Residents
  • - Governor announced (on 3/15) that Massachusetts residents can dial 211 at any time for real-time COVID-19 information, resources and referrals (translation offered in 150+ languages more here). Also, Mass 211 offers information and referrals for social services (childcare, mental health, housing, food, utilities, etc) for all of MA today, and all year!
  • Mass Department of Public Health COVID-19 website.
  • Town of Natick COVID-19 info- coordinated town, school + BOH site.
  • Town of Westborough COVID-19 information.
  • Also, HERE are contacts for local boards of health throughout Massachusetts.

Resources/Contacts on Mental Health

  • Network of Care Massachusetts. - A new, searchable database of mental health and substance use related programs made possible by MetroWest Health Foundation. and Blue Cross Blue Shield MA and  the CF Adams Charitable Trust.
  • INTERFACE is a mental health referral service that is free to all Natick, Westborough and Walpole residents as well as residents in 50+ communities across MA. Go here for info or call at 888-244-6843. (hours are M-F, 9 to 5)
  • Call 911 - For mental health emergencies.
  • For other urgent mental health matters, you can call Emergency Service Program - for Natick and MetroWest Boston call Advocates 24-hour access number: 1-800-640-5432. Go here HERE for contact info in other areas.
  • Mass211 is also open 24/7 - 365 days a year and can provide info on social (including mental health) services.
  • Call2Talk - is a 24 hour hotline that is a free resource for anyone who needs to connect during this challenging time. Call (508) 532-2255 or Text C2T to 741741
  • Alcoholics Anonymous - Online Intergroup - Email, chat, audio, and forums meeting in a variety of languages are offered. (info at on meetings + COVID-19.
  • Therapy Matcher - Free confidential and personalized referral service for social workers across MA.
  • Best Online Therapy Programs of 2020 - includes best for teens, peer support, etc.

© 2020 Christine Fortune Guthery + SPARK Kindness, Inc., All Rights Reserved
Articles/Resources About Supporting Kids/Teens
Resources to Promote Self Care + Calm
Here are some resources:
Books + Websites on Mental Wellness and Families
In terms of books, we recommend:
  • Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents by Lynn Lyons (here)
  • Self Compassion by Kristen Neff (here
  • UnderPressure by Lisa Damour 
Helpful Websites:
More Resources to Promote Self Care!
Listen to the cellist Yo-Yo Ma's #SongsofComfort - beautiful!
How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus (MGH) - 2 mins
Our Collective Duty
Every time we do something that helps our community grow more kind, resilient and welcoming, we SPARK Kindness . Together as families, schools, organizations, coaches, artists, faith and community leaders, we can make sure that no one feels alone, bullied, unsupported or unconnected.
© 2020 Christine Fortune Guthery + SPARK Kindness, Inc., All Rights Reserved
SPARK Kindness is a community convener, educator, resource, and friend—and the biggest fan of our shared strengths. Join us in Natick and our growing network of communities.