Autumn Wellbeing

Autumn Wellbeing

The clocks are changing this weekend here in the UK.

For a few days at least the mornings will be slightly lighter but the evenings will draw in quicker too. Your Autumn wellbeing becomes a focus.

Autumn is a challenging time of year. The shorter, greyer, damp days, drain us of joy and leave us missing the sunshine of a few weeks ago. We tend to spend more time indoors and even our diet changes dramatically during the colder months. 

All of these factors can create a lethal cocktail of mental ill health if we’re not careful. This can spiral if we then fall into the self medicating trap of trying to cheer ourselves up with comfort food, sweet treats and alcohol.  

What can we do to maintain our Autumn Wellbeing?

In no particular order, why not try these easy wellbeing tips to help you beat the Autumn blues:

Drink hot drinks

We naturally drink more warm drinks in colder weather but scientists have now proven that drinking a warm drink has the same effect on the body as a hug. It calms your nervous system and reduces anxiety. Maybe the old British stereotype of putting the kettle on in an emergency isn’t as daft as we thought!

Get outside

I am as guilty as anyone of looking out at the drizzly, grey weather and talking myself out of going for a walk, but when I make myself I know I always feel better. My daughter and I have been going for a walk a couple of nights a week, only for about an hour, but we have both noticed how much better we feel, physically and mentally.

Get moving

If you don’t want to go outside at least get moving. Go to the gym or just dance round the kitchen. Anything to get your body moving, the blood pumping and release all those happy chemicals! 

Embrace the Hygge Life

There is a lot of talk about hygge at the moment. In short it is that cosy feeling you get when you are snuggled under warm blankets with a cuppa and the fire on. Embrace this beautiful feeling by lighting candles, snuggle under big soft blankets, grab a good book and a cuppa and spend a few indulgent minutes in this comforting state.

Eat well 

It is easy to slip into comfort eating at this time of year. That’s fine as long as you choose healthy comfort food. Choose casseroles, curries, stews and lots of green vegetables over take aways, fatty and sugary foods.We are what we eat and this is particularly true in the colder months because our body stores more energy.

Read more  

Screen time is known to affect our wellbeing. Switch your screens for a good book and watch how much better you feel. There is nothing better than snuggling under a blanket with a good book either is there.   

Have a long soak   

A warm bath is a great way to relax your muscles and calm yourself down too. Why not add some sea salt and lavender to really cleanse and calm your body and mind?  

Laugh  

Laughing is proven to improve your mental wellbeing so find a good comedy on Netflix and enjoy a really good giggle. 

Spend time with friends and loved ones

There is nothing quite like spending time with people who make you feel calm, happy and loved. So much the better if they also make you laugh or encourage your to dance!

What changes can you make to ensure this Autumn is sparkly and happy? 

Other relevant blogs: 

Life is better when you live in the moment

Mindful Planning

 

Anxiety in Teenagers

Anxiety in Teenagers

Imagine a girl. She could be younger than you, she could be older than you. But it needs to be someone you know. You may not know them well, but you know them.

Imagine the perfect student. A social outsider. She has friends, but doesn’t exactly conform to teenage stereotypes. She reads. She doesn’t go to parties. But that’s okay. People don’t like her any less for it. She’s clever. Passes every exam. She gets her head down, and she works. She puts in the effort she needs to in order to succeed. She smiles. She laughs. As far as the world is concerned, she’s happy.

Imagine you saw her today. Maybe you spotted her in the corridor. Maybe she came to see you, or perhaps you came to see her. She smiled at you. She helped you solve that problem you’ve been having. Maybe she calmed you down; stopped you from crying. All she did was help you, and you feel nothing but gratitude towards her today. She didn’t just appear happy, she made others happy too.

She’s just a happy person. Radiating positivity. Or so it seems.

Imagine the same girl, only behind closed doors. She sits in her room every night and cries. Yes, she’s clever, but sometimes the amount of stress she puts herself under can crush her. A weight on her shoulders. Yes, she’s got friends, but sometimes the amount of people around her can be so overwhelming, she breaks. Another weight on her shoulders. She solves your problems, but she has her own too. The weight of all of this builds and builds until she can’t take it anymore. It pins her to her bed every morning, and she can’t move. The sheer thought of moving outside of her bedroom makes her shake, and cry, and her hope deteriorates. Everything slows to a halt. She stops going to school. She stops eating. She stops moving. She sees no one, and does nothing but cry. It’s hard for her. She says nothing. 

It doesn’t take long for people to notice. Her parents. Her parents, who do nothing but help her, and have all of the resources to do so, notice. They try their best to calm her down, but nothing works. Her friends. They know that she’s not herself anymore. They want to help. Her friends who were far away, they talked her off the ledge. Her friends close to her came to her house, they made sure she was okay. They cared.

But nothing helped. It was as if she was trapped in a box. She knew how to leave. She could get out. But she didn’t want to. The box made her sick. But she couldn’t leave. She hated it. Every second. But she couldn’t leave.

This girl is me. I’m fifteen years old, and I struggle with anxiety. Living in a household where every person is able to help, but nothing works is unbearable. I try so hard. It’s horrible. But things look up. Talking to someone helps. No one is as perfect as they appear to be. Everyone suffers. So check up on that person. Make sure they’re okay. Sometimes that’s all they need.

The author of this incredibly articulate and self aware piece is my daughter, Laura.

 I wasn’t sure whether to post this blog. There are many voices in my head today as I type, all with conflicting opinions. One voice says I need to protect my daughter. One says it’s professional suicide. Another voice says that it’s important to be authentic and share my experiences. Yet another tells me this post will really help many people. I have always been honest about my mental health journey, and it is an ongoing journey, it is not possible for anyone to have sustained and infinite good mental health. 

I have also been honest about my struggles whether that is confidence, anxiety, physical pain… but this is different. This feels like the worst pain I can imagine. I am having to stop myself from feeling like I have let one of my children down in the worst possible way. Remind myself that I can’t make anyone do anything against their will.

I have watched from the sidelines over recent years as my kind, caring, talented, witty, intelligent daughter has slowly descended into an ever increasing state of anxiety.  I have loved, and supported her every way I know how but she’s a teenager and as we all know, teenagers have to learn their own lessons sometimes.   

Laura has always been fiercely independent. She didn’t want help with anything as a toddler and that has never changed. She is capable and works things out for herself you can’t tell her anything, she has to work it out.

She is an incredible young woman. I know I am biased but: 

  • She has amazing friends
  • We have never been called into school
  • She makes her teachers smile when they see her
  • Her teachers have fought over her throughout school every time she has had to make decisions about which subjects to focus on
  • I have never had to ask her to do her spellings, reading, homework of any kind
  • If anyone is ever upset or needs support she is there
  • When she had her first residential at 7 years old she was a little bit worried, but once we arrived at the coach another little girl was crying and Laura immediately began comforting her and completely forgot about her own worries 
  • She uses social media to support other young people and help them with revision techniques 
  • She sings like an angel! 

She is a teacher’s dream, a parent’s dream. Don’t get me wrong she has her moments just like anyone but I couldn’t be more proud of her. 

She cares, deeply, maybe too much.     

Anxiety isn’t a sign of weakness it is a sign of caring too much.  

Unfortunately I have seen it all my life. People who are caring and compassionate and feel a responsibility to make sure everyone else is happy, who then give too much and forget to care for their own needs.  

I spend my life trying to prevent anyone from feeling the way my own daughter is at the moment. 

I teach techniques and strategies and show people the signs to look out for. I know what you should eat, how you should live and exactly what to do to prevent anxiety getting too severe. Thank goodness I do because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to support Laura the last few weeks. Now that she has acknowledged that things have got too much, we have talked about it, and we have talked a lot. School have been amazing and we are slowly coming through of the worst of it. 

No child should ever have to suffer like this. No-one should. Yes school is important but it is never more important than your wellbeing.

 

We have started going for long walks together. We talk about anything and nothing and the idea of her writing this came up last night while we were walking. I thought it might help her to get her thoughts down on paper. She has now decided that she would like to start a blog. Even while she was off school she was posting on her social media accounts being completely honest about how she was feeling and offering to talk to anyone feeling the same way. She has always been a book worm and loved writing so I think it will really help her to have a place to write and empty her thoughts. 

As parents we are only responsible for our children to a point.

 We are responsible for providing for their basic needs; food, shelter and love. But we are also responsible for making sure they are independent, free thinking creatures who can survive without us. So if you are a teacher who’s child won’t read or do their homework, a police officer who’s child has been in trouble with the law, a dietician who’s child won’t eat anything healthy, or an expert in wellbeing who’s child is struggling with anxiety be kind to yourself. Know that we are not in charge of our children. We can only hope that we have taught them enough for them to make good choices but ultimately those choices are theirs and theirs alone.

Top tips for helping an anxious child

Lots of hugs – just being with your child and allowing them to sit, cry, talk.

Keep talking – they may not want to talk but keep communication open. It may mean texting or sending little notes at first but they will open up and feel comfortable talking eventually.

Don’t judge – it is easy with an adult’s perspective and all the stresses that come with adulthood to see whatever they are worrying about as unimportant. It isn’t to them. 

Care for them – imagine how you would behave if they had flu, treat them with the same level of kindness; let them rest, wrap up in warm blankets, eat what they feel like eating, watch TV all day. 

Be patient – they will get through this but it won’t happen over night. Give them time to find strategies that work for them.

Breathe – breathing is the quickest way to calm down your nervous system so take a few deep breaths together, when you hold them concentrate on keeping your breathing slow and calm and they will mirror that eventually.

 

 

I have a dream…

I have a dream…

The 25th September is World Dream Day.

This is a new one on me. Every day seems to be some international day now everything from cheese to children is celebrated on a special day of the year.

If I’m honest I can get a little jaded with it all, but when I saw dreams it immediately pricked my interest. When I looked into it more it total inspired me.

I am a big believer in dreaming.

I love my sleep and can never seem to get enough, but that isn’t the sort of dreaming we’re talking about here.

World Dream Day is about Martin Luther King type dreams. The aspirational kind. The kind that inspires action. The type of dreams that can change the world.  

I have always believed that if you want something enough you can almost always make it happen. The most difficult thing is often working out what you want enough to manifest it in your life.

I always wanted to make a difference to children and teachers, I am only at the start of my journey in the scheme of things but I never stop dreaming of what I can do next to make my dreams a reality. Whether it is thinking of new ways to support you or what resources I can create. The thing I struggle with is recognition and as a result if I’m not careful I get so far and then pull back a little so that I’m not too visible. That’s something I’m working on because I know I can’t help more people until I can be brave enough to be seen.

Teaching children the importance of dreaming big is something I am very, very passionate about. Children are capable of totally immersing themselves in the most incredible dreams. 

They have no concept of the hard work and statistical probabilities of their choices and often disregard reality completely. It is so powerful!

If a child wants to be an astronaut that’s what they are going to be. They don’t know how many hours of rigorous training and testing they will have to go through or how statistically improbable it is. Thank goodness! If they did, we would never have any astronauts! 

By believing whole heartedly that they will be an astronaut they start a magical chain of events which might just lead them to fulfil their dream, as long as no-one puts up a barrier to that dream along the way.

When we are told we can’t do something, or something is hard, we start to build a wall between us and our dreams.

We need an incredibly supportive network of friends and family to believe in our dreams and help us to make them a reality. Alternatively, we need to be very stubborn and have lots of self esteem. (One of the many reasons we should always build a child’s self esteem!).

Inevitably at some point in our lives a well meaning family member or teacher will inadvertently say “That’s never going to happen” or “Do you know how few people make it?” when a child says that they want to be a footballer, popstar, actor, brain surgeon… whatever it is. There will always be someone who tries to be “realistic” and “prepare them for real life” by deflating a child’s dreams a little. It is rarely done out of malice and often done in a protective way. It may be that that person had big dreams and someone squashed theirs and they never made them a reality. 

Realistically, most children who want to be astronauts, footballers or popstars don’t end up doing that. More often than not it is because they change their mind along the way though, not because it isn’t possible. The same way most children who want to be nurses, teachers and train drivers don’t end up doing those jobs either. It isn’t our job to squash their dreams though. As adults it is our job to help them believe that they can achieve anything they want to. To encourage them to dream big. The bigger the better!

There have been so many inspirational young people over recent years; Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai and Jack Andraka to name just a few.

These teenagers have changed the world for millions of people. If they hadn’t dreamed big and been brave we would never have heard of them and nothing would have changed. 

We all change the world, just by existing, but we can choose to make a bigger difference. Whether it is in our own little life, our own community, or for the whole world. Dreams don’t have to be big and bold. Your dream might be to create a litter free environment for the children at your local park. It might be that you want to do a half marathon or climb a mountain. You might want to learn to paint, or dance or play golf. Whatever your dream is, why not take some time this week to work a little towards your dream and support a loved one in their dream too.

Working together on shared dreams and goals is a wonderful way to strengthen relationships and support another on their journey.

Dream big and be bold in your dreams. You will never regret the things you tried to achieve, only the things you weren’t brave enough to attempt.

 

Want to read more about dreams, check out these blogs:

Following your dreams

The importance of following your passion

Goal Mapping for Kids

Arrive at school feeling calm everyday.

Arrive at school feeling calm everyday.

At this time of year many of us are trying to get back into that school morning routine. 

Having a routine makes such a difference to how smoothly your morning goes and if your morning runs smoothly you arrive at school feeling calm. It is as simple as that. 

For as long as I can remember I have had the same routine on a school morning. It goes something like this:

  • Brush teeth
  • Shower
  • Hair and make up
  • Get dressed
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Make lunches
  • Make breakfast
  • Eat breakfast
  • Leave for school

It sounds simple enough doesn’t it?   

That’s because it is.

While I’m doing all this my children are going through the steps in their morning routine too so that by the time breakfast is ready they are dressed and ready and have their bags packed. We have breakfast together and off we go.

There are sometimes deviances if there is something unusual happening but most days if you arrive at my house at 7:40am I will be emptying the dishwasher. If you arrive at 7:15am I will be putting on my make up.  

You might be thinking “What are you some kind of control freak?”  Well, no, I’m really not, I just know that if I do everything in the same order every morning then I don’t forget to do things. The children feel happier because they know what is happening too.   

There is nothing worse than dashing round grabbing at random objects, flying out of the door and wondering if you have remembered everything. It is stressful and feels icky. 

So when does my morning start?  

Well, it actually starts the night before. Not in a big formal way but if there is anything I know I need with me for the day that isn’t normally in my work bag I make sure I put it in the night before. I also make sure the children put anything they need into their bags. I plan in my head what I am going to wear the next day and sometimes even how I will wear my hair (sounds daft but some styles take longer than average and I need to allow longer to get ready). Then I make sure I am in bed and asleep at a reasonable time. Being tired makes everything take longer in the morning and I am much more likely to forget something or knock something over. By getting enough sleep I am making sure I have time to recharge and also helping my morning routine run more smoothly.

By planning ahead a little I can stay in bed until 7am (I love my sleep!) and still be ready to leave the house by 8:15am.  

Routine is so important in order for children to feel safe and secure. What we forget is that it also makes most adults feel the same way. If you know that you always do the same things before you leave the house then you don’t have to worry about whether you have forgotten to do something. 

We have all had those days when something happens which we aren’t expecting; someone rings or you have to take the car to the garage on the way, everything suddenly feels wrong and we panic.

 

Those days are always going to happen. There will always be a day when you have to take into account something different, but if you can keep your routine as similar to usual as possible you will feel calmer and happier leaving the house.

Allow plenty of time to get to school

It always amazes me how many people are running late, every day. If you know that you are always pushed for time, get up a little bit earlier so that you aren’t dashing round every day. There is nothing worse than being stuck in traffic knowing you need to photocopy those worksheets for first lesson! You will feel so much calmer if you do!

When you arrive at school

When you arrive at school, make sure you allow time to do all the preparation you have to do, but also to have a few moments to chat with colleagues, or have a hot drink, before the children arrive. I appreciate that this can be difficult if you have your own children to drop off but if you can do more preparation the night before to enable you to have those few minutes of calm before the bell it really does help you to feel more calm and collected.

Take a few deep breaths

When the bell rings, take a few seconds to take a few deep breaths and really collect yourself. Being in this calm and contented place when the children come in will set the tone for the whole day. The children will pick up on your mood and will mirror it back to you. It’s like magic!

Quick recap

Be organised – plan and prepare as much as you can the night before.

Get enough sleep.

Routine – have a workable morning routine and stick to it.

Allow plenty of time to get there so you arrive at school feeling calm.

Take time to collect yourself.

Breathe!

 

You’ve got this!

Remember calm happy teachers, have calm, happy classrooms.

 

Do you want to read more about creating a calm and happy classrooms?

Check out these old blogs:

Back to school, are you ready to create a calmer, more focused classroom?

Dedicated or dangerous? Is your work ethic killing you?

 

 

 

Passion Projects – why they are so important

Passion Projects – why they are so important

I’ve had a very interesting few days combining work and passion projects.

In just over a week I have:

  • Visited The Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital in Chelsea to help deliver a cheque for money raised through an amazing local project
  • Had a meal out with good friends
  • Spent a beautiful three days in Rome with my gorgeous husband
  • Led some training with some trainee teachers
  • Supported several teachers through challenging times
  • Planned my work for the Autumn term
  • Had a picnic with my daughter
  • Been to the doctor and made two big hospital appointments for myself
  • and much more…

No two weeks are ever the same in my life anyway but the last month has really highlighted how busy and diverse life can be sometimes.

What I have been really grateful for this month has been the perfect balance of work and play. We have celebrated my daughter’s birthday, Father’s Day, a family Christening… but I have also led two big training sessions and done lots of really life affirming work too. 

Being passionate about your work is brilliant. When you enjoy your work it makes life joyful. There is little need to “work life balance” because it is all just life. 

However much you enjoy your work though, it is still important to balance that with none work activity too. 

My husband and I are both fortunate to love our work. Don’t get me wrong there are times when it is stressful (like when I have a scary new project on that takes up every minute of the day and every brain cell in my head), but it means that we don’t get that Sunday evening sinking feeling. Everyday is great.

If you’re not careful though, every day is a work day.

 I’m sitting writing this blog at 9pm on a Friday evening because I haven’t been able to get on my website.  

I run training sessions and workshops on weekends and evenings. 

Taking calls and answering enquiries regularly happens on weekends and evenings, because that’s when you are free to get in touch. 

Does it bother me? No. Not at all.

I LOVE my job. I am passionate about Calmer Classrooms and helping teachers and children to live happier calmer lives.

Do I sometimes get carried away and forget to rest?  Not any more! 

I used to forget to rest, I used to work every day. I felt that if I didn’t do some work every day I wasn’t giving it my all.  

It wasn’t sustainable or sensible though. 

I meet teachers every week who love their job so much that they give it everything. They are passionate about supporting children’s learning and they try to give 100%, all the time. They eat, sleep and breathe teaching. 

Are you that teacher?  

I’m hoping that as time goes on, and there is more emphasis placed on wellbeing in schools, that fewer teachers will feel that this level of dedication is necessary.  

Being dedicated isn’t a bad thing. We need passionate, dedicated teachers. But we need teachers who live outside school. Who have a passion for things other than education so that they children they are teaching can see that they are people, not teaching robots. 

Children love nothing more than feeling like they are being let in to your life and sharing your passions outside school can give them inspiration for hobbies and pastimes that they might enjoy. 

No matter how passionate you are about teaching, you need to have other things in your life.  

I don’t know a single teacher who doesn’t go on holiday a find themself thinking “ooh what could I use that for at school” as they stare at the museum shop.  

I can still remember taking photos round a castle in Germany of all the amazing tessallating patterns in the roof tiles, heaxagonal bricks, piles of wood… 

As teachers we never completely switch off from school. But we have to try.

 

What do you do to make sure you switch off from school?

Finding a passion project can be the key to taking time out.  

Whether you love playing for a sports team, crafting, amateur dramatics, playing in a band, helping with Brownies or raising money for a local charity, passion is the key to dedication.  

The same passion that drives you to spend lots of time creating magic for your class, can fuel your desire to make sure that you take time away.  

It might be that you want to always be able to take your daughter to football, or that you want a date night every week. Perhaps you love crafts and decide to create cards or soft toys for a local charity. If you are passionate about something, you will always make time for it.  

It’s no good saying; “Well, I quite like playing golf so I will go for a round sometimes”. That isn’t passion and it won’t ensure that you stick to it. 

What are you passionate about? 

I am passionate about lots of things; spending time with my loved ones, travelling, singing and at the moment I am really looking forward to getting into rehearsals for my big passion project for 2020, The Real Full Monty. This will take up much of my spare time once rehearsals start, but I will be with my husband and son for most of that time (my husband is their media man and producer and my son loves coming and being part of it) but I will make sure I spend lots of time with my daughter too. She is doing her GCSEs next year so there will be lots of escape time for her. 

This amazing project is raising money for three charities that are really close to my heart and will provide me with untold therapy. I am already starting to face some of my body confidence issues (a residue from my pre-op Acromegaly days), but it will also be my “me time”, time with friends and the perfect passion project for a year when I not only have my daughter taking her GCSEs but my son doing Y6 SATs! 

Without passion projects we drift from day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, without spending any time doing things we really love. It might be that your passion is music gigs. I wonder how many teachers manage to get to festivals at this time of year? Perhaps you are making time to watch the Women’s World Cup (I know I am, I’ve never been that interested in football but I’m really enjoying this tournament!). Whatever you are passionate about, make it a priority.    

When you give yourself permission to do things you enjoy, you return to work feeling refreshed and with renewed enthusiasm.When you have a passion project you feel better and you work better. Click To Tweet

  

 Why not read my other blogs in this subject?

Passion – Why sharing our passions is so important in teaching

The importance of following your passion

Teaching, a calling not a job

What do you make a priority in your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life is better when you live in the moment.

Life is better when you live in the moment.

How often do you live in the moment? 

Life is busy. 

We have created a culture where busy is important and the busier you are the more valuable you must be.

We are so busy that we are constantly either ruminating over something that has already happened, or worrying/planning something in the future.

Our obsession with social media has only made the situation worse. We are so obsessed with documenting our lives that if we’re not careful we forget to live them.  

We can’t drink a coffee or eat a meal without taking a carefully framed photo of it to post on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat so our friends all know we’re drinking coffee.  

I want you to know that if you are a user of these platforms and like to take photos of what you are doing, I’m not judging you. Not at all. 

When my children were little and I was home alone a lot at one point I realised I was commentating my life in the form of Facebook updates: “Kate is feeling tired and wishes the kitchen would clean itself.”, “Kate is about to change her 5th nappy of the day and thinks it would be good if someone else would cook tea tonight”.

I know! 

As soon as I realised I was doing it I took a long look at myself and stopped it. I was home alone a lot and social media was my way of staying in touch with the world and letting my friends and family know I was ok. 

Social media has a role to play in modern life and I use it a lot, mainly for business these days but I do still pop on for personal reasons sometimes (it is harder to update now the children are older). 

As a business owner social media is essential. Most of my contacts found me online. I have to make sure I update all my platforms regularly.

I’m useless at it. Some people seem to manage to take photos everywhere they go. They post amazing photos of them doing their job or with people they are working with. 

I forget. 

This photo is the only photo I took last Saturday. It was taken on my drive at 11:35pm when I got home. 

 

So what? You might be thinking. 

There are lots of days we don’t take photos.  

The difference is, I had an amazing work day. I was up early to drive to Spalding, Lincolnshire. I delivered two great workshops to groups of amazing people, many of whom I had never met before but I know through social media. I then spent the rest of the day with two of my favourite people, Taz Thornton and Asha Thornton-Clearwater and I didn’t take a single photo.  

I should have had photos of my workshops. Most of my work is in schools where it is impossible to take photos because of child protection. This was a beautiful workshop in the most idyllic setting and no-one will ever see it.

Part of me is sad that I didn’t remember to take any photos. I know that a business mentor would be furious that I haven’t capitalised on the situation.  

I’m glad.  

I’m glad that I was enjoying spending time doing what I love, with amazing people in a stunning location. That I was so present, listening so carefully to those people and enjoying their company so much that it never crossed my mind to take out my phone and post a photo to social media. 

My Dad is the most amazing documenter of our lives. Before taking photos of food was a thing he was taking photos of meals (with the people, not just a plate!) and he has the most incredible collection of photo albums. I can see myself on holiday in France in 1984 and know what I was wearing to go to Le Mans. I have often worried that he takes so many photos that he forgets to enjoy being in the present with his loved ones. It is his gift to the family though and he loves taking photos.

Interestingly, the one time of my life he didn’t document was my time in hospital with my tumour. There is only one photo to my knowledge of that week that I was in hospital and that is of my daughter sitting watching Cbeebies by my bed. This isn’t the only time he didn’t document. He didn’t snap a photo of me crying after I fell off my bunk bed and broke my collar bone either.

He was present. He was far too busy making sure I was ok. Worrying about my wellbeing. He didn’t care about documenting it. 

Life is a gift. It is our most important purpose to live it. 

We recently took my son to the Natural History Museum. He loved it. It was an amazing day out. We sat outside having a drink and an ice cream after we had looked round (it was at Easter before Noah started building his Ark!) there were lots of families doing the same thing. Some sitting at tables, others on the grass, but when I looked at all these groups everyone was staring at a screen. Families with the children eating an ice cream and both parents staring at their phones. We are missing out on so much living by obsessively sharing our lives with others and checking what other people are doing.

We get stuck in a cycle and we can’t get out. 

More worrying for me is the effect this has on our mental health. 

We don’t share the struggles, the difficulties. We share the highlights. This leads everyone to believe that we are living perfect lives and to question their own lives. 

As teachers we are constantly looking for evidence to document a child’s progress. We take photos and photocopies of work and if we’re not careful we forget to just enjoy watching the learning process. Seeing a child suddenly grasp a concept or achieve something for the first time is something to be celebrated, and yes it needs to be documented, but enjoy the moment first. 

When you are with your loved ones, enjoy every moment. They are precious and you never know when the last time you will get to spend that magical time with them will be. I have had a few wake up calls recently and I am pretty good at being present. Make the most of every moment you have. Enjoy being where you are and if you manage to take a few photos, great, but if you are too busy enjoying yourself, that is great too. Sometimes our memories are more important than our photos.

 

 

 

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