Health and Wellness » Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness

Welcome back San Carlos families! I am Korah Guilar, the Interim Director of Wellness. My background is in Educational Psychology. Here is more information about myself. To start off the school year, I am also including a parent back-to-school jitters/socialization document that I've created to help our nervous learners (and parents) as we get started.
If you or your family should need any support, please reach out to me at [email protected]. Wishing you all a great year!
Korah Intro 
Welcome to San Carlos School District's Health & Wellness Program! Our district is extremely fortunate to have a program designed to ensure that all students, staff and families are provided the tools to nurture and protect our health and wellbeing. At SCSD, we believe that an environment of inclusivity and intersectionality is necessary for a healthy, thriving community.  To achieve this, we need to hear diverse voices and opinions, and to listen with empathy. If you are interested in being a part of our District's Wellness Committee, please reach out to [email protected] and I will update you on future meetings! More information coming in January:
hi Image
8realms imageWe also utilize the 8 Realms of Wellness to frame our work (when age-appropriate.)  The 8 Realms of Wellness include:
Emotional: An awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our feelings, and our ability to manage effectively through challenges and change. For students, staff, and caregivers, this may look like journaling at the end of each week to check in on how they are doing.
Spiritual: This means something different to everyone.  In general, this means expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life, including one's morals and ethics, and understanding yourself and your place in the world.  Please note, spirituality and religion are NOT the same thing. For students, staff, and caregivers, this may look like volunteering at the school garden once a month to connect to nature and help the environment.
Environmental: Feeling connected to, and taking care of, the environment.  Additionally, this means ensuring you are getting outside in nature regularly.  For students, staff, and caregivers, this may look like exploring a new park once a month with their family.
Financial: Having an awareness around your finances, and ensuring you are spending in appropriate ways.  This may not be applicable to students currently.  For students, this may look like saving half of what they making walking the neighbor's dog for their future.  For staff and caregivers, this could look like developing (and sticking to!) a manageable budget.
Academic/ Occupational: Expanding your knowledge and creating networks to support lifelong learning and ensuring you feel connected to and engaged with your class material.  For students, this may look like forming a study group with friends to support each other’s learning.  For staff and caregivers, this may look like noticing moments when you make a positive difference in a student or colleague's day, and holding onto those.
Social: Building healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with those around you.  For students, staff, and caregivers, this may look like eating lunch with a new friend/ colleague several times a month.
Physical: Developing awareness around, and taking care of, our physical body.  This category includes movement, sleep, nutrition, staying safe physically, hygiene, and immunity.  For students, staff, and caregivers, this may look like developing a consistent evening routine.
Intellectual: Being open to new ideas, thinking critically, and finding ways to be creative.  For students, staff, and caregivers, this may look like completing an activity twice per week that stimulates your mind in a new way (watch a documentary, do a crossword puzzle, read a book.)
  • 2023 Holiday Note from Interim Wellness Director, Korah La Serna Guilar

    As my temporary position here comes to a close, and I return to my private practice, I’d like to thank you for letting me be a part of this community, in this unique role. It has been a pleasure to work with our learners and to be a part of their wellness journey! Below are my parting thoughts on the holidays:

    Holiday break can be a misnomer for some. It can often be a time when we feel like we must “catch up” on our To-Dos or when our exhaustion catches up with us, and we get sick. 

    Rather than dole out the platitudes for a relaxing or joyful time with loved ones, I’d like to wish for you to use this time to meet your needs in whatever way works for you this holiday season. This winter may look the same or different from previous years, but nevertheless it will undoubtedly feel like not enough time on some days, or perhaps too much time on other days. That is because every moment is different, and the best way to spend it is to be present. 

    In moments when you are feeling tired or overwhelmed, note your needs, search your tool kit, and know the moment will pass. When experiencing moments of joy, savor them knowing that they too will pass. Either way, let go of any expectations that the entire break will be a certain way, or how you think it is “supposed” to be. Whether you spend two weeks laughing and zipping around from place to place or crying into your mug of peppermint latte (or maybe there’s time for both?!), consider these steps to help reduce stress. (Even the best of times can be stressful.) Also remember that Care Solace is a free resource that helps students and families/loved ones connect to mental health counseling if that is something of interest.

    Let’s offer ourselves space and grace over the break. We can create boundaries and set our rhythms, but we must be ready to be flexible. Unexpected things may happen! Conversations with loved ones and strangers may fuel us or drain us. Let’s try to remember that sometimes the things we didn’t plan for can be the most beautiful or impactful –in hindsight.

    When in doubt, remember that nature therapy is free (and doesn’t necessarily have to mean a hike in the woods). Research shows that just a quick walk outside, to listen to a squirrel, pick a leaf up off the ground, scoop up a handful of snow, or build a winter sand-castle is extremely beneficial to our parasympathetic nervous system. Putting down our phones, and taking five minutes to be present, outside, or taking 3 deep cleansing breaths can lower our cortisol levels and boost our immune system. *Bonus if there is a 4 legged friend to share a quiet moment with to bump that oxytocin. See the list of local events and activities: Bay Area Holiday Fun, San Mateo County Events, San Francisco Holiday Events

    Wishing you a very healthy 2024!

    Korah La Serna Guilar



    Ahora que mis funciones temporales aquí llegan a su fin y regreso a mi práctica privada, me gustaría agradecerles por permitirme ser parte de esta comunidad, en este rol tan único. ¡Ha sido un placer trabajar con nuestros estudiantes y ser parte de su viaje de bienestar! Permítame compartir mis pensamientos sobre las vacaciones, a continuación:

    En lugar de repartir tópicos sobre un momento relajante o alegre con sus seres queridos, me gustaría desearle que utilice este tiempo para satisfacer sus necesidades de la manera que más le convenga en esta temporada feriada. Estas fechas festivas pueden parecer igual o diferentes a años anteriores. Puede ser que algunos días parecerán que no tienen suficiente tiempo, y/o quizás otros días se sentirán con demasiado tiempo, la mejor manera de pasarlo es estando presente, dado que cada momento es diferente.

    Para algunos el término vacaciones puede ser un nombre inapropiado. Dado que a menudo suele ser un momento en el que sentimos que debemos “ponernos al día” con nuestras tareas pendientes o en otras ocasiones nuestro cuerpo reacciona a nuestro cansancio, y de alguna manera se pone al día con nosotros y nos enfermamos.

    En los momentos en los que te sientas cansado o abrumado, te invito a que tomes nota de tus necesidades y busques tu kit de herramientas, dado que este momento pasará. Pero también cuando vivas momentos de alegría, saborealos sabiendo que esto también pasará. De cualquier manera, deje de lado cualquier expectativa de que todo este tiempo festivo será de cierta manera, cómo cree o “se supone” que debe ser.  Ya sea que pases dos semanas riendo y yendo de un lugar a otro o llorando en tu taza de café con leche de menta (¿o tal vez haya tiempo para ambas cosas?), considera estos pasos para ayudar a reducir el estrés. (Incluso los mejores momentos pueden ser estresantes). Recuerde también que Care Solace es un recurso gratuito que ayuda a los estudiantes, las familias y los seres queridos a conectarse con asesoramiento de salud mental si eso es algo de interés.

    Ofrécete a ti mismo un tiempo de gracia durante estas fechas. Recuerda que podemos crear límites y marcar nuestros ritmos en el día, pero debemos estar preparados para ser flexibles. ¡Pueden suceder cosas inesperadas! Las conversaciones con seres queridos y los desconocidos pueden alimentarnos o agotarnos. Tratemos de recordar que a veces las cosas que no planeamos pueden ser las más hermosas o impactantes, en retrospectiva.

    En caso de duda, recuerde que la terapia con la naturaleza es gratuita (y no necesariamente tiene que significar una caminata por el bosque). Las investigaciones muestran que simplemente una caminata al aire libre, escuchar a una ardilla, recoger una hoja del suelo, recoger un puñado de nieve o construir un castillo de arena es extremadamente beneficioso para nuestro sistema nervioso parasimpático. Dejar nuestros teléfonos y tomarnos cinco minutos para estar presente, afuera o tomar tres respiraciones profundas puede reducir nuestros niveles de cortisol y estimular nuestro sistema inmunológico. *Extra, si hay un amigo de 4 patas con quien compartir un momento de tranquilidad para aumentar ese impulso de oxitocina. Vea la lista de eventos y actividades locales: Diversión navideña en el área de la bahía,Eventos del condado de San Mateo,Eventos festivos en San Francisco

    ¡Les deseo un 2024 muy saludable!

  • Korah La Serna Guilar
  • March 2021: Mindfulness Reset

As we maybe, potentially, hopefully start to gently emerge from this pandemic, which correlates with the end of winter (or “winter”, as a person who recently moved here from Boston, this felt like a stunning extension of fall!), it can be a really lovely time to take a moment to pause, check-in, reset.  During this pandemic, many of us developed habits we don’t love, we have become cranky and irritable and endlessly exhausted and burnt out, which makes complete and total sense.  And, maybe we can find some space to notice how we are now, remember how we were before the pandemic, reflect on what we learned during these past two years, and think about how we want to be moving forward.  This is a check-in that you can do by yourself, with your partner, and also with your students.  Take some time as a family to reflect on how you’ve grown as a unit during this time, maybe processing the tougher moments you experienced together, and decide what are some of the good things that came from this, and some of the habits and patterns you’re ready to let go of.  As an example, something great that came from this time for myself is realizing that there’s more out of my control than I thought, and to focus more on the present, and less on the far away future.  Something I’m hoping to let go of is the incessant doom-scrolling; I am trying to remember that there will always be something upsetting and infuriating happening in this world, and I don’t need to spend a large majority of my waking moments reading about whatever the current event may be.  As we welcome in spring, I want to leave with you the below photo.  Many of us had incredibly busy brains pre-pandemic, and now they’re overwhelmed and maxed out for a large majority of us.  Thinking about what you want to keep, and what you want to let go of, can be a helpful way to begin stepping into our awareness, and slowing our minds down.  So can meditating; here are some family-friendly meditations you can share with your students, and here is a free app you can download to use yourself (or also with your young ones!).
  • February 2021: Parent/ Caregiver Mental Health Forum

    The Mental Health Forum for Parents and Caregivers took place on the evening of January 24th, and the presenters were Matt Reddam, a community wellness advisor and clinician, and Angie Murphy, a trainee at One Life Counseling in San Carlos.  Here are some highlights:


    Please share some high-level thoughts surrounding mental health and what you’re both seeing in your work.

    o   Even in the most harmonious of situations, people are continuing to really struggle.

    o   We don’t have best practices, research, or a manual that says how we should be doing emotionally.

    o   We are all continuing to start, stop, and restart our healing and recovery processes.


    How to differentiate between average behavior for this age group and pandemic experience versus serious concern to visit a professional? (What is a normative response to an abnormal situation?)

    o   It important to trust yourself; if you believe you need help, or believe a loved one does, trust that feeling.

    o   There is no checklist indicating “these are the signs of pandemic-related mental health issues.”  This shows up differently for each person.

    o   You don’t need to wait until there’s a crisis to get someone help/ to get help yourself; even if what you’re feeling is similar to how others are feeling, you’re still allowed to get help.


    How to talk about, and support, students on topics such as grief, death, and loss.

    o   Mental health symptoms and trauma are both things that can be diagnosed and treated.  Grief and loss are part of the human condition; one does not “stop” grieving, they develop a relationship with the grief.

    o   The most important thing we can do is hold the space for them and validate whatever is brought up.  If you’re grieving too, it’s okay, and even encouraged, to say “me, too.”

    o   Some important don’t’s: don’t try to cheer up someone when they’re sharing about grief, please don’t say “get over it” or “time to move on.”  Grief looks and feels differently for everyone, youth included.


    How do I take care of myself while taking care of everyone else?

    o   If you’re not caring for yourself, you can’t care for anyone else- think about the airplane line about putting on your oxygen mask before putting on someone else’s.

    o   Schedule time for yourself- write it in your planner, develop a routine; have a plan to ensure it happens.

    o   Fit it in in time increments that work for you.

    o   Know that your loved ones can likely tell if you’re burnt out and stressed, stating it can help normalize this for them, and help get you the support you need!

    o   A note about scrolling on the Internet- ask yourself, does this charge you up or calm you down?  Try to prioritize moments that help calm you down.


    What if I can’t afford mental health treatment?

    o   Please check out Care Solace, who can connect you to a provider who takes your insurance, so that insurance is paying for most of the sessions.

    o   Look into community health clinics, and virtual/ telehealth options.  Additionally, trainees and associates can be more affordable folks to see.

  • December 2021: Holiday Note from Wellness Director      
We made it to the holiday season, and we appreciate all you have done to support our students and community in being fully in person this year.  We know how much this means to everyone!  I wanted to take a moment to share some things to keep in mind during the next few months, as you are all hopefully planning on taking time to rest and rejuvenate.
Holidays bring up a lot of emotions for everyone.  You may be feeling overjoyed with excitement to celebrate with loved ones.  However, this season may be challenging or grief-filled for you for a wide variety of reasons.  It may be a mix of both.  Please be gentle with yourself and others, recognizing that we all have varying events happening in our personal lives.  Care Solace is a free resource that helps students and their families/ loved ones connect to mental health counseling if that is something of interest.
COVID, cold, and flu cases continue to rise as we approach the colder weather.  We know how arduous and draining the safety protocols have been, AND they exist to keep us all safe and healthy.  Please continue to keep your kiddos home if they exhibit symptoms of feeling ill.  We know this impacts your ability to work, do tasks around the house, etc., and we see all your hard work and love for the community when you continue to support us in this.
We hope you get to have fun with your families this season!  Here are some great lists of activities to do in the area to explore: Bay Area Holiday FunSan Mateo County EventsSan Francisco Holiday Events
Continue to wear your masks, physically distance when possible, wash your hands, while enjoying the festivities.
As more of our students are getting vaccinated, we feel hopeful to see where we are in 2022.  Happy holidays, friends, thanks for being part of this community with us.
  • October 2021: Health Tips from Nurse Page and Nurse Jen

The SCSD Nursing Team learned in our county-wide nurses’ meeting last week that respiratory illnesses in schools are on the rise, and that a winter surge of the COVID-19 virus is expected. Please refer to this link for suggestions on how to protect you and your family against the COVID-19 virus. The county health department reports that they have seen quite a few enteric (intestinal) diseases such as Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (Shigellosis most commonly), animal bites, hepatitis and vector borne diseases ((disease that results from an infection transmitted to humans and other animals by blood-feeding arthropods). 

Some tips to stay healthy and safe during cold and flu season:

  • Avoid close contact.
    Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
    If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose.
    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.
  • Clean your hands.
    Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Practice other good health habits.
    Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to our SCSD Nursing Team if you have any questions or concerns about the health and safety of your student(s).  We can be reached at 650-632-8300 or 650-832-4201. We would be more than happy to help!


Nurse Jen and Nurse Page