#mentalhealth

Take TWO Minutes

Eric Jensen writes, “Some of the smartest things teachers can do are the simplest.” In a culture where we tend to over complicate, this is a fabulous reminder.

When I am working with teachers, staff, and administrators the statement I hear over and over again is, “there is not enough time.” And I get it!  Planning, learning standards, constant additions of a new curriculum, new apps, new resources, preparing students for testing and all while managing the diversity of students and balancing demands of personal and professional life. There is a lot going on. 

So I understand when I am introducing the benefits of breath, movement, and mindfulness that the first response is often, “and how am I going to fit that into my day?” And my answer is, “taking 2 to 5 minutes at the beginning of any lesson plan to breathe and move, prepares students for learning, increases student focus, and decreases behavior challenges that arise during teaching time.”

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Are You Ready to Put Your Baggage Down?

Most of us have accumulated some emotional baggage. It may appear in the form of anger, shame, guilt, judgement or a variety of other “dark” emotions that weigh us down, prevent us from moving forward or cultivating a sense of well-being.  The weight of past trauma, choices made we later regret, words never said to a loved one who has passed, the secrets of our childhood that still cause us pain, addiction, abuse, a relationship we never healed – these are heavy burdens.

The Weight

Carrying this heavy emotional baggage around can create a barrier to making healthy lifestyle choices, can interfere with our significant relationships, keep us stuck in old habit patterns and interfere with achieving our professional goals and personal desires.  Holding on to this emotional burden has a direct and lasting impact on our well-being and how we show up in our jobs, in our relationships and with our families.

We may try to shove these “dark” and heavy emotional memories and wounds to the back of the closet believing that when they are buried and out of sight they are no longer impacting our lives.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

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What is the Measure of Our Wellness?

The greatest gift we can give to ourselves, and to those around us, is our own well-being.

Diane L MacDonald
Founder, Education Alive

I am excited about the upcoming months.  Education Alive is gaining momentum and I am looking forward to speaking at the NYC Elementary School Principals Association, the NYS Council of School Superintendents and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. I am passionate about helping schools build communities of wellness and mental health that ignite the potential of each and every member of the school community and excited about what lies ahead in this journey!

As we explore the tools and strategies to support the wellness and mental health of our students, we must also examine our own health and wellness.  Our personal well-being exerts an influence on the well-being of all the people in our care, and the culture of our homes, our schools and our communities.  Wellness begins with us! 

What is Wellness?

With that in mind, how do we measure our wellness? What defines us as well, as mentally healthy? 

I believe that it is essential for us to measure our overall wellness beyond the usual parameters of physical health, our fitness level and the absence of injury, disease or illness. Wellness is a multi-dimensional state that is embodied in the overall quality of lives and our sense of well-being. Wellness is an active process of growth, change and making choices that leads us toward the life we desire and define, for ourselves, as successful.

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