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Pause.Breathe.REFLECT.Relax.Repeat

I read an article this week about the dangers of toxic positivity on teachers’ health and well being, and it really resonated with me.  So often (too often) teachers put on a brave face, a stiff upper lip, they get the work done.  Even during the best of times, there is a general experience of teachers everywhere that things are challenging.  But we continually rise to the challenge.

But what I want to posit to each of you is….is that working for you right now? 

And I want to give you a moment to just sit for a few moments, and ask yourself what do you need more of and what do you need to let go of? 

I KNOW that if you listen, you will hear that often quieted voice telling you exactly what you need right now.  You may not want to hear it, but it’s there waiting for you to pause and hear.

Now you may not want to hear it, but is the voice trying to help?  Trying to let you know something that you don’t have time to hear?

With this in mind, I want to offer you this self-care moment of REFLECTION.  By taking a few moments (literally!) to check in with ourselves, we may start to listen to that small, quiet voice inside of us that is trying desperately to be heard.

It’s not the voice of telling us to push through, put on a happy face, get it all done, put everything else on the back burner to do more with less.

Instead it may be a voice that is helping us to understand what is happening in real time and what we might need in this moment.

So, can you take a few moments right now to just REFLECT.  Check in with you.  Avoid the brave face you think everyone needs to see and just be true to you.

Can you allow yourself to…

Pause. Breathe. Reflect. Relax. Repeat

I don’t know what you are going to find, but I know the more we do this, the more we can start to hear ourselves and what we may need.  But we can’t move from toxic positivity to realistic reflection without pausing and making a little time for ourselves.

And right now it’s more imperative than ever.  In fact, I would say it’s dire for us to start listening for what we need.  Because we are the only ones who can provide that for ourselves.  

And then with this knowledge, we are the only ones who can PROVIDE the things that we need to care for ourselves.  But we can’t PROVIDE until we KNOW.

What is Reflection and why is it important in our wellness routine?

This week is devoted to giving you a few helpful hints for how to include reflection into your daily routine. Reflection is an important part of cultivating wellness because it gives us time to appreciate our previous day’s work, all that we experienced, and sort out what went well and what we could do differently. 

IMPORTANT: Avoid using reflection time as a way of bringing yourself down about what you didn’t accomplish.  This isn’t a time to criticize, but rather objectively reflect on your day finding gratitude in even the simple gifts of your life.  

Reflecting on things you are grateful for has been shown to:

  • Improve physical health
  • Improve psychological health
  • Enhance empathy and reduce aggression
  • Improve sleep
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Increase mental strength

BUT WHERE WILL I FIND THE TIME?

  • Do your reflection before you leave for the day so that it’s not something else you have to find the time to do or fit later on in your schedule.
  • If you are writing your reflections down, try to do them in the same place as your intentions.  That way you have everything in one place and your routine is more easily established.
  • Reflection shouldn’t be too time intensive.  Try just writing down 1-3 items of gratitude or observations.  Don’t dwell on them.  After writing it down, take a deep breath and move forward.

HOW WILL I MAINTAIN THIS ROUTINE?

Follow these simple steps for a simple way to integrate regular reflection time:

  • Set a timer.
  • Choose to either write down your reflections or just ponder for a select amount of time.  I always write mine down. I use one page for my intention in the morning and then use the corresponding page for the reflection.
  • Follow the same routine each day:
    • Take a minute to just breathe and get settled
    • Review your experiences without judgement
    • Identify an experience you feel pleased about and try to relive the experience.
    • Identify an experience you feel dissatisfied with and try to consider a more constructive approach
    • Write down one thing you are grateful for.

Here are some REFLECTION resources to get you started:

1. Here’s a mindfulness practice to support you with reflection specifically for teachers.

2. Here’s a one-page Daily Journal to download with the whole Teaching Well Self-Care framework, including a place for you to write down REFLECTIONS.

3. Interested in a full course for your self-care routine?  Here’s one that uses these four components as the framework.

Finding time to reflect can seem unnecessary, but it can be a powerful self-care practice to provide you with a few moments of respite and perspective.  If I can support you in any way,  please send me an email checking in.  It’s always great to hear from each of you and support you through finding your self-care moments.

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Danielle Nuhfer
danielle@teachingwell.life

Here are a few titles I go by...teacher, student, gardener, runner, nature-lover, writer and meditator. I care deeply about my own journey to wellness and want to inspire others to walk this path. Inspiring others to discover the value of mindfulness, positive psychology and other holistic health practices is my life's work.

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