Ask Daniela!

Need some advice? Ask Daniela!

In this new UJA Teens Newsletter feature social worker, Daniela Aptowitzer will tackle your questions about friends, family, school, and more! To have your question answered in an upcoming newsletter, submit them to askdaniela@ujafed.orgAll questions will be kept completely anonymous.



I can't believe we are doing online school again! It is so hard to be focused online and I just don’t want to do anything! I feel “meh” most of the time. A lot of the time I just want to lie in my bed and play games on my phone. I know I should be doing more, my parents tell me all the time, but I just feel so blah. I don’t even want to respond to any of my texts. This is SO hard. What can I do to get out of my funk?



I am with you! This online life is so very hard! It is great that you are able to identify that you are struggling and that you are motivated enough to seek out some support.

Two things that can help you manage the challenging reality of living in an online world:

1. Nothing changes, until something changes.

The most important thing to remember is that you can make a change, if you alter even something small, it will have ripple effects in the rest of your life. For example, if you make your bed in the morning, there is a much greater likelihood that you will feel more accomplished, ready for the day, more motivated to tidy the rest of your room, and likely feel more relaxed and in control. Check out this short clip: Navy Seal Admiral Shares Reasons to Make Bed Everyday

2. It takes work to be self-aware and know what you are feeling.

Here is the dictionary explanation of “meh.” If you aren’t prone to checking in with yourself emotionally (which most people are NOT), then it is something that you need to plan to do (just like working out, getting your haircut, spending time with a friend). By taking the time to ask yourself what you are feeling, why you are experiencing that feeling, and choosing what you will do with the feeling, you are helping yourself learn how your experiences impact your feelings and actions. To learn more about this, check out this short video: Emotional self awareness and here is a link if you want to practice your own self awareness: Practise self-awareness with this creative workbook - Kids Help Phone

The reality is that this is a very hard time for so many people. Anything you can do to bring happiness is great. The bigger challenge is “catching” the positive feelings. For some reason, it is much easier to identify negative things in our lives. It can take real effort to keep an eye out for the positives in our lives, but that effort pays off. Resist the urge to distract yourself from your feelings, but rather sit with the feeling, understand it and feel like you are in control of your feelings, rather than them being in control of you. 

Be good to yourself as you manage these challenging days.


"Ask Daniela" will be back in our April issue - until then, send your questions in to


About Daniela

Daniela Aptowitzer is a social worker who works with children, teens, young adults, and parents for the past 19 years. Currently, Daniela is the School Social Worker at Montcrest School, an independent school in Toronto. Daniela previously worked at Jewish Family and Child Services, serving youth, parents and families of the Jewish community for 15 years. 

For the past 7 years, Daniela has worked at Camp Northland B’nai Brith as their Director of Wellness, supporting campers, staff and families before camp as well as spending all summer onsite. Daniela has a lot of experience working with youth of all ages, focusing on relationships, self-confidence, anxiety and ADHD.