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An exercise to reduce your anxiety today

I'm excited to share a new strategy with you today. This strategy is proven to decrease anxiety and take us out of our fight or flight mode and into our rest and digest mode. 

It's simple. It's quick. And when used daily over a period of time, it becomes more and more effective. 

Also, it's free!

Ready for the anti-climactic announcement?

It's focused, intentional breathing, also referred to as breathwork. It's using our breath to support our body. 

Stick with me. I know it can seem silly, but there's a large amount of research to back up the practice, so give it a try, and see if it's a practice you'd like to add to your daily self-care and detachment practices. 

Let me share how it works:

1) Open a YouTube video. 

2) Follow the prompts for one minute. 

That's it! Pretty easy eh?

Let's try one. You just breathe in as the shape builds, and exhale as the shape goes away. Sit up straight. Focus on the shapes. Let everything else pass in and...

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How to Physically Express Anger about Teaching

 
I often reflect on what resources would be the most helpful for you, and today's tool came from one of those times of reflection on my own burnout recovery journey.

When I would experience a burnout event (something that made me feel even more deeply ready to quit), I would feel so much anger. I would feel angry about budgets, emails, administrators, curriculum, policies, data collection, committees, drama...you name it, I was angry. 

Anger exists to signal us that there's been an injustice that needs to be righted.

Unfortunately, sometimes we can't right all the injustices. We have to process the anger through expressing it, and that's hard. 

As I studied the science behind why we feel anger and how it can be resolved, I realized I needed to be able to physically express the anger I was experiencing. 

Just throwing or hitting isn't enough though. You need to verbally express what you're angry about and why it's unjust. It helps us express our anger at the same...

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Guided Meditation for Stressed Teachers

 
 
Today I want to give you an easy win by providing you with a guided meditation for emotional self-care.

The guided meditation is provided in video format so that hearing folks can close their eyes and listen, and Deaf and hard of hearing folks can read it.

You could listen or watch during your lunch break, during your kid's baseball practice, or cozied up on the couch. My favorite things to do is lay in bed to listen. It's soooo relaxing.

via GIPHY

If you haven't done guided meditation before, you're in for a treat. It's a mindfulness practice that can help you learn to listen to your thoughts and body more intentionally. You'll relax and listen or read as I guide you through thinking about giving yourself compassion for the stress you're experiencing. 

Guided meditations are one of my favorite emotional self-care practices, so I'm excited to share with you.

Guided meditations are one tool that is available each month through the Teacher...

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Teacher Anxiety and Student Outcomes

I'm coming at you this morning with some doctorly advice from an MD. And it's not doctorly advice about the pandemic...never fear!! That's not my lane, and I'm staying in mine. 

The past six months I've been making some really big changes in how I engage in medical selfcare, a sub-category of physical selfcare. 

I found out I had an autoimmune disease back in April, and there was a long list of things I needed to do to help my body recover and thrive.

I usually struggle with routinely taking pills and supplements, feeding myself well, and prioritizing my body, but the past six months have been drastically different.

I have taken 20+ pills and supplements daily. I've cut gluten, dairy, and soy from my diet. I've cooked at home more than ever. I have absolutely rocked it, and I've been so proud of myself. (This blog is not about praising myself so bear with me.)

Then came the six month bloodwork.

Nothing changed!

I sat in my doctor's office in...
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How Little Issues Become Catastrophic When We're Burned Out

I got married to my husband in 2015. I was still working full-time in the classroom at that time, and was also working on my PhD. I honestly don't even know how I had time to date anyone, much less decide to get married!! I swear half our dates were like "hey come over and help me cut out all this stuff I laminated" or "wanna go to the PTA carnival with me (and get put to work haha). He was definitely my teacher side-kick.

 

Everything went awesome until our honeymoon. By the fifth day, I was in tears, had gone out for solo coffee, and was on the phone with my best friend Carri, who also happens to be an expert in counseling.  

 

After the conversation, I took a picture because I wanted to remember the moment. Noteworthy as I look back is the wait staff at the hotel assuming my husband was coming with me and setting two places.

 

 The conversation went something like this:


Me: Carri, I can't do this! Like...I think I've made a mistake. I had no idea...

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How My Emotional Dysregulation Almost Ruined Bedtime

Last night was a bit rough at my house. We are in the middle of potty training my son. He's started to become more independent with taking off his pants and putting them back on, so we've been allowing him to experiment and own his learning. He does a lot of pants off, pants on, pants off, pants on. Tonight, we weren't watching closely enough and he put his shorts back on, but not a pull-up.

A bit later, we looked around and his pants were wet, as were the floors throughout the living room and hall. Oops!

I threw him in the tub while my husband cleaned, and it was time for bedtime. In retrospect, my husband and I needed to be more calm as we handled the mess. We didn't scold him or express disapproval towards him, but we were flustered.

We didn't regulate our own emotions well, and that didn't allow our son to co-regulate in a healthy manner.

Co-regulation occurs when parents provide warm interactions in combination with modeling and coaching that help toddlers “understand,...

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Are you guilty....really??

boundaries guilt selfcare Aug 30, 2021

A few weeks ago I shared with my email list that when I was a teacher I went to work sick a lot. As someone with an autoimmune disease, I was rarely contagious, but I could never find a sub. I worked with deaf and hard of hearing students and subs were really intimidated by accepting jobs in a classroom where they couldn't communicate with the students directly.

If I had to be out, I always felt what I thought was "guilt". I couldn't take a physical or mental health day without feeling like a bad teacher that was letting down my students and my co-teacher.

What I was feeling was not actually guilt, so let's talk about what guilt is.

Emotions, in general, exist to give us information about what happening in our world. For example, anger tells us that injustice is happening, sadness tells us we're experiencing a loss of some kind, and fear tells us we're in danger. So what does guilt tell us?

It tells us that we've done something wrong that we need to make amends for.

So let's think...

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What My Toddler's Diarrhea Taught Me About Teaching

parenting teacher burnout Aug 07, 2021
This morning I was making my son's lunch and he was playing in our sun room.

He came running around the corner, grabbed the broom, and took off. I smiled because he's so adorable and has a love of cleaning.

I got everything in his lunchbox and called for him to come to me so we could do his hair. He yelled, "hold on mommy. I clean" and I headed around the corner to scoop him up and haul him to the bathroom.

I came around the corner and there was diarrhea from one corner of the room to the other, and he was trying to sweep it up with the broom. 🧹 
 
Lucky for me I was still barefoot and slipped right in it. 🤦🏻‍♀️
 


First, if you've been following me long enough, you know I don't do smells. Right after I saw it, the smell hit me right in the face, and I started heaving. Of course, my son with all his empathy starts saying on repeat "U ok mommy? Mommy? You ok?"

I yelled for my husband and I swear it took him 5 minutes to arrive, which in this situation was a really...
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Your Intuition is Rarely Wrong

Hey Caregiver!
 
Listen to your intuition: A case story from my life
 
Recently I moved to a new town and my son started at a new daycare. We went from a large metropolitan area to a small town. The differences in the daycare we came from and the ones we looked at here were drastic. The ones here are cheaper (yay for a raise!), their facilities weren't as kid-friendly, and their curriculums not as strong. However, I figured as long as my son was happy and safe, that's all I cared about. I've never been big into the ABCs and 123s for littles. Kids learn best through play and I'm all about it!
One local daycare had been recommended, and most of the reviews were good, so we decided to enroll. I had concerns about the playground and there weren't many toys (like 3), but I told myself they were probably just cleaning them (In hindsight I should have asked.)
 
 
Fast forward three weeks and my son was hysterical the minute we turned onto the street to go to...
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Emotional Safety and Media for Toddlers

I was reminded today about how much influence something as simple as a nursery rhyme has on emotional development. My son loves listening to music on Spotify and watching their accompanying videos on YouTube. We have playlists for Blippi, CoComelon, Bluey, and more!
 
I recently noticed that my son has learned full verses for some of the songs we listen to and watch depictions of on TV. I only found this out by overhearing him sing them while he was playing or in the backseat. This week we've heard Jingle Bells (like what?? He hasn't heard that since December), Baa Baa Black Sheep, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Three Little Kittens (the ones with the mittens).
 

He's recently started internalizing some of the messages....
and here's how I learned that:

Today we had the music playing and I was cleaning the house. My son loves to clean and joins me with his Melissa & Doug cleaning set. Best gift ever from his Aunt Teri. We finished up cleaning and I started making...
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