…there’s no better day to write my first post.
I feel like things have not quite gone to plan today. Now so far, so normal. I’m sure this happens to lots of people lots of the time. Still, bear with me and let me give you a flavour of the last twelve hours or so.
8.15am: inspiring form time – the vision was for me to inspire my form to talk honestly, openly and warmly to each other about mental health with a powerful presentation from me (borrowed heavily from the the Time to Change website ) about Time to Talk Day. This did not quite go to plan. Who was I trying to kid? The older teens were still half a sleep or catching up with last minute homework so, at best, they humored me.
11.00am: ambitious lesson plan – I’d anticipated an intense ten minute reflection time for the younger teens on their recent assessment.
Hopefully they would appreciate my helpful comments, adopt the Growth Mindset (watch this TED talk for more info on this – The Power of belief — mindset and success | Eduardo Briceno) I’ve been banging on about recently and resolve to do much better next time based on my feedback (Assessment for Learning in teacher speak). It would be an inspirational time for us all. Yeah right…. the little Cherubs immediately started working out their percentages and shouting across the classroom comparing results, comments disregarded and mindset well and truly FIXED. Ms Dweck would not have been impressed.
5.00pm: cuddles with the little ones before a calm bath and bedtime – I’d hoped to be home by this point enjoying cuddles, giggles and generally playing with my three tots. In actual fact I found myself still at school running to the car to ensure I got home in time to relieve the childcare. The ache in my heart when I berate myself for what could possibly appear to be putting other children before my own (commonly known as working mother’s guilt from a teacher’s slant) was growing and I just wanted to get home before the meltdowns (their’s, not mine – honestly) started.
6.45pm: mindful meditation – doing a meditation once there are three sleepyheads tucked up in bed can be a reinvigorating way to embark on the evening. However tonight was a tricky one…. my mind was everywhere. I kept catching myself thinking about the day or making plans for the evening and trying to gently take my mind back to my breathe….. however, importantly I was at least trying to do this in a NON-JUDGMENTAL way…..
….and I guess that’s the point of this post.
We must all be kind and gentle to ourselves just as we would be to our friends.
Mindfulness reminds us to be non-judgmental, it encourages us to befriend ourselves and it trains us to catch us being overly harsh on ourselves before it is too detrimental to our wellness.
There would have been a time when days like this may have sent me into a spin so it is paramount to acknowledge that unchecked negative thoughts can bring about a ‘black dog day’ (to borrow Winston Churchill’s phrase). Undoubtedly living mindfully can help us recognise the power of these thoughts before it is too late.
Because after all thoughts are not facts…. and that is the important thing to remember. Still, we’ll save that discussion for another day.
So it is definitely #timetotalk, especially when one considers that one in four adults will suffer from problems with their mental health in their lifetime and there are strategies out there that can help if we just start to share with each other what works for us.
Oh and just to finish, as I’ve already mentioned my meditation was not a ‘textbook’ practice. My mind was ‘like a monkey’ but there was also a minor disturbance in the room. It was my eldest son who had crept in to to see mummy ‘doing her meditations’; as he left he popped a blanket over me to keep me warm.
I savored that little moment of love from my five year old little boy and started my evening reflecting that life doesn’t always have to go to plan for it to still go well.