Surround Yourself with Strengths Inspiration

In difficult times, especially, it can be comforting to reach out to others and to examine how they positively impact our lives.

The “Who’s at Your Table, Strengths Edition” is an exercise to examine who you allow into your inner circle and how they bring strengths to your life and elicit strengths in you.

Check out the video and let me know what you think! If you prefer a pdf, here’s a link.

Self-care is NOT Selfish

Before you dive into these words, take a look at this image.

Look at the water, replenishing this beautiful, living, growing, life-giving plant.

Is the plant selfish for being watered?

I think not!

Selfish is a word that is loaded with a ton of shame, at least for me.  And that, in turn, can add stress to an already difficult time we are all facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Do any of these resonate for you?

  • You need to take care of everyone else first.
  • Get all your work done, and then, maybe you can play.
  • You’re not allowed to rest until you collapse in exhaustion or sickness.
  • Taking care of yourself first brings shame.
  • Saying no is selfish.
  • When you do try to do something for you, your family seeks you out like a fierce game of hide and seek!
  • When you manage to sneak away, even to the bathroom for a luxurious solitary pee, or even bath, you feel reenergized, yet slightly guilty.

Here’s the truth:

(aka what I’ve learned in all of my training, research, and the school of life!)

You’re no good to anyone if you’re exhausted, sick, fried, resentful. 

Repeat after me: I am not my best self when I play the martyr.

Your loved ones deserve your mentally and physically healthy, refreshed self, and if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, you’re heading down a slippery slope without a helmet! And then, who’s going to be the superhero in your family?

Trust me. I was trained to care for others first. From a very early age I felt it was my job to be sure others were happy and not in conflict.

It’s not served me well. Autoimmune illness, check. Crash and burn, check. Shame spirals that overcome me at times, check. 

At 55, I am learning that caring for me is not selfish, it’s essential. I hope you learn this sooner, and have some extra bonus years of joy!

What will you do today for YOU? 

It can be as simple as finding a quiet place to drink your coffee and savor the birdsong, waking gently before diving into your to-do list! 

It can be a short mindful breathing practice, or maybe even a loving kindness meditation!

It can be treating your body with some gentle stretching and movement.

It can be slathering on some beautiful fragrant (safer skin care of course!0 lotion

It can be baking something that makes the house smell like your favorite holiday. 

It’s really up to you!

Let me know your thoughts on this concept of self-care/selfish?  And let me know what you will commit to today, even if it’s something that takes under 5 minutes! 

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

5 Tips to Survive and Thrive in May: The Longest Month in Teacher Life

If you are a teacher, I don’t have to tell you about May! It’s just past the mid-month mark, and I find myself counting down the days until the school year ends.

Don’t get me wrong! I absolutely adore what I do, and yet, the lure of peeing anytime I want, working out at any time of the day, and easily prepping and eating the delicious food that truly nourishes me without the temptation of sugar-laden goodies calling to me from the faculty room..these are some of my favorite things about summer!

Ok, so what am I here to say?! I’m here to share my top 5 list for surviving and flourishing with your students during this longest month ever!

  1. Don’t forget to breathe! I know it sounds superficial, but seriously, learning to stop and take deep, nourishing breaths has saved me on numerous occasions, from saying something I might regret to a student or in an email to someone, to helping me to take a moment to gain perspective. If you’re an iphone user, check out the app, Oak, which has a variety of breathing exercises you can do in under a couple of minutes.
  2. Have someone you can vent to or share humor with? Let them know that you might be sending a few additional texts their way! My coaching partner is absolutely hilarious, and sends me texts often. Yes, my abs hurt from laughing, but the endorphin boost? I’ll take that too!
  3. Get some sleep! You’re nodding off at your computer, hell-bent on getting those report card comments done. Guess what? You’re probably going to be more efficient by waking up at a decent time, getting to work, and cranking them out while you are more alert.
  4. Start a new habit that nurtures you: for me, it’s morning mindfulness practice, right when I get to school. I made a pretty sign for my office door, and put it up each morning while I take 10-15 minutes to breathe and settle. I use calm.com as it’s easy and free for educators!
  5. Practice gratitude! I know you’re shooting daggers my way right about now, but gratitude practice, during the toughest of times, is a powerful one. Check out Greater Good Science Center’s 3 Good Things practice and each day find 3 good things that happened.
  6. I know.. I said 5, but here’s a bonus: move! Yes, I said it, get moving! Walk, dance, run, skip if you must, but don’t let yourself get too sedentary. Walking boosts endorphins, and you need them at this busy time of year. Put some music on in your classroom and get those kiddos moving too! You’ll be amazed at how they’ll calm down afterward.

I’d love to hear your tips for thriving through the end of the school year! Please share!