Tag Archives: resilience

A week of workshops

It’s been a week of workshops! Three this week: the first being a continuation of a series of workshops covering Mental Health. This week we looked at what is recovery from a mental health issue and frameworks that can be used to help someone on their journey to recovery. We explored a range of resources that can be of use to people with lived experience of mental health issues and those caring for them.

The second workshop was an Art Therapy workshop – continuing the theme of growth as Spring is just around the corner.

Each participant was given an outline of the circles and we did a short, but deep meditation based on the significance of the circle in all cultures and traditions. It was really interesting to see the diversity of designs that the participants created, the colours used and the insights that they shared with each other at the end of the session.

The third workshop for the week was about Resilience. Using Emotional Intelligence frameworks we explored personal experiences of resilience and strategies to build the resilience “muscle”. We talked about the role of self care in building resilience and about being creative – such as creating a Gratitude Journal or Gratitude Jar.


Emotional Intelligence

Strengths and VulnerabilitiesIt is accepted that IQ – the Intelligence Quotient – is fixed. You either have it or not. But Emotional Intelligence can be learned and that is why it is important to differentiate between an inherent weakness and vulnerability. To diverge slightly…. when I was training to become a homeopath, we learned that if you remove the cause (eg: poor sanitation) then health outcomes improve. When there are lifestyle changes made: such as choosing healthy foods, one’s vulnerability to poor health or disease is lessened.  Likewise with Emotional Intelligence Coaching: if you identify the vulnerability and remove or change the contributing factors, the possibilities are endless. There may be some adjustments to be made – both in mindset and in the physical body and it is similar to the aches and pains felt after starting a new workout at the gym as the muscles get stretched and adjust to new levels of fitness.

In my search for Emotional Intelligence related meanings I came across an article  that described four types of vulnerability:

  • Physical
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Attitudinal.

For instance, the dictionary definition of vulnerability states that there is “a capability or susceptibility to being wounded or hurt” which implies that it is a possibility, not necessarily a given that something will happen. Whereas weakness in one definition that I came across,  is portrayed as “a disadvantage or fault” often of character or a lack of determination.

Emotional Intelligence is not only being aware of your own emotional responses to a myriad of situations, but also being cognizant of the emotions of those around you. It’s how you manage your behavior, how optimistic or resilient you are and how you manage your stress. In your relationships, whether they are personal, social or business – it’s about how you communicate, manage conflict, build team bonds or inspire others to lead.

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5 steps to overcoming overwhelm

  1. When you are in overwhelm, it is helpful to think about what it is that you can do right now. By looking at the task as a whole and believebreaking it down into smaller, achievable tasks and thinking small for a moment, you will accomplish more. If there is a lack of movement in your life, consider how you can best use this time to move forward. When you have done that, look at today as the beginning of something new and positive, whilst letting go of the past.
  2. Declutter… you know the old adage…..” a tidy desk equals a tidy mind”…. But it’s more than that.. as you declutter; not only your desk, but your life… you free yourself to see a clear horizon and perhaps to answer your life purpose… Acknowledge that the journey is difficult at times. What skills, abilities do you already possess that will enable you to accomplish the tasks ahead? Look at what is positive in your life already……and try to go one day without any complaints….
  3. Believe in abundance. Trust that you can contribute to the Universe … to feel fear and lack is human…. Go into that feeling and learn from it and trust in the process of life…. map out on paper – or a white board – all the good things in your life already… we learn through the hard work that we do. Use your logic, your intuition and your spirituality to infuse your feelings so you become stronger and clearer.
  4. Consider your strengths…..see the light in others and see it reflected in you…..Use your experiences to make yourself stronger and more resilient. Be aware of self deception, we all make good and bad choices, but what is important is to be aware that they are yours…..
  5. Rest and relaxation. Are you getting enough rest or downtime? To do your best you need to have some time out. As written in the Four Agreements, “ You are alive , so take your life and enjoy it…” Set an intention to be in a state of joy and happiness, tune out anxiety and the daily worries to allow a space for enthusiasm and balance to be a part of every aspect of your life.

7 tips to re-ignite the passion in your teaching

Can you remember a time when you really enjoyed teaching?

Before the mountains of marking and the pressures of report writing began to contribute to your feeling of overwhelm and stress?  Take a moment to imagine that time and recall when you were totally satisfied with your teaching career.

Stress is a symptom of the flight or fight response and manifests in different ways for each individual and rather than let the stress control you, here at BrightLight we have identified some strategies that will enable you to develop a greater resilience to the stress you may encounter in your teaching environment.

1. Listen to your body

You may suffer from headaches, low back pain and insomnia amongst other things. This is your body’s message to you that it is time to take stock of your lifestyle. Go through the checkbox below to see where you can make some improvements.

Tick the box if your answer is Yes
I get enough sleep
I drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
I eat a good breakfast
I never skip meals
I exercise at least 30 minutes a day
I have regular medical checkups
I have regular alcohol free days
I do not smoke
My weight is in the healthy range for my age and height
I have had a restful holiday in the last few months

If you have ticked Yes to all the answers, then congratulations! – give yourself 10/10, a pat on the back and a gold star! You are well on the path to sustainable teaching practices. If you have ticked 5 or less answers, then perhaps a review is in order.

2. Switch your mind off

This is easier said than done for most people.  Once you start thinking about “switching off” then what do you think about? If I asked you not to think of a pink elephant, you would have to first think of one in order to not think of one…… wouldn’t you?

Meditation is the ideal way to switch off. Giving the brain some time out with any form of meditation – it can be guided meditation or visualization, Zen practices, blue sky mind meditation, stillness meditation, Yoga mudra, even prayer is a form of meditation. The type of meditation, the location and the time you take is not important, what matters is that you do it. The paradox is that if you think you have no time “to do this stuff”, is that it creates space to do more and with more focus.

3. Work in real time

When you work in real time you are better able to prioritize.  You can then allocate yourself quality time for correction, report writing and preparation.

  • Schedule  all your commitments in your planner or diary on a regular basis. This includes your personal commitments, including attending to your health and wellbeing and family time.
  • Look at each day in isolation and focus on completing each task you have set yourself – every day.
  • Write a “to do list” and tick each item off as you complete the task.
  • Have a “Just for today “ mindset. Just for today, have no worries, do what you can with no recriminations.
  • Learn to say “No” or set a limit to events or situations that will over commit your valuable time and resources.

4. Talk

Choose a trusted person to talk to.

This could be friends or family, but there are occasions when you may want to run something past an independent listener. This could be a therapist, colleague or a mentor. You might even want to consider coaching. Whoever you choose, it is crucial that you have trust and rapport with them.  If there is no-one at all you feel you can turn to, then use a journal to write down your thoughts.

If you have a specific problem, you might find it useful to respond to the following:

  • Describe the situation that is worrying you.
  • What specifically do you fear might happen?
  • Rate the likelihood from 1 to 10 that it will happen. (10 being most likely)
  • What evidence supports your worry?
  • What evidence does not support your worry?
  • If it did happen, what action could you take?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen? (be as realistic as possible)
  • What is the best thing that could happen?
  • What is most likely to happen?
  • Are there any useful actions you can take now?
  • What would you tell a friend who was in your situation?
  • Re- rate the likelihood that your fears will be realized (from 1 to 10)

5. Live with purpose

The first and most obvious question here is why did you become a teacher? Are you living your dream or did you choose it because it is a “safe” place to be? Nothing wrong with safe in most circumstances, but if you are not living a life congruent with your values,  then eventually there will be conflict. Internal conflict can manifest in illness and this can range from minor niggles to serious and life threatening conditions.

Living your life with purpose also means modeling purposeful behaviours to your students and that includes purposeful activities.

Homework for homework’s sake or finishing off work that you expected to be finished in class, is not purposeful – it is busy work that stresses students – especially if they haven’t fully understood the concepts taught in class – often that is why they don’t finish what is set; it stresses their parents – who have to supervise the process and it ultimately stresses you – as you have to spend time marking the homework.

Before you set the next lot of homework, ask yourself the following question “What’s the point (or purpose) of this?”  If there is no purpose, then why are you doing it?

You can live your life purposefully if you set regular goals.

The best goals will aim to give you direction and have an end which will give you an outcome.  Making your goals simple and specific will enhance the process.  Whatever goal you choose, make it meaningful to you.

Apply your goals to all areas of your life and act as if you have already achieved them – you may be pleasantly surprised at what is happening!

A realistic goal is one that you will achieve easily and effortlessly. It’s not about having winning the Lotto as your goal, or losing those 10 extra kilos in only one month.  The secret to goal setting is to set a new one each time you have achieved the last.

Put a time frame on when you want to achieve your goal. Realistically, how long will it take you to shed those 10 extra kilos permanently? 10 weeks, 10 months? A series of timed, well formed goals, moving you forward to what you want is one of the most effective ways of living with purpose.

6. See opportunities not problems

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Let’s look at a scenario. It’s your busy day. Timetabled on to teach every lesson but one and yard duty at lunch time, a student comes to you with a pressing problem just as recess starts. Do you have a positive or negative reaction? Time to check in and see if you have the energy to work with the student in a positive manner or get them to return after you have re-charged with a break. It’s OK to say “no”, however you may consider the following:

  • This student doesn’t often ask for help and this is an opportunity to  give them some needed attention,
  • You can stay on track with your diet and avoid that cholesterol laden cake or snack in the staffroom at the morning tea
  • You have preparation time coming up after recess and you can spare the time as you have set yourself achievable goals for the day
  • Yard duty will get you outside, walking is exercise and you really could use the time productively with this student.

7. Look outward

We can spend a lot of time navel gazing if we choose.

If you are the centre of your universe, what is peripheral to you?

Are you spending a lot of time caught up in the daily “teacher stuff”?

If all the presentations you attend are all about teaching, then it is time to step outside your circle of certainty and take a look around.  I’m sure you will have heard the old saying “all work and no play makes Jack (Jill) a dull boy (girl)”.

How well balanced is your Wheel of Life?

A well balanced wheel may have numerous spokes, all contributing to the overall strength and helping to maintain equilibrium. Yoga, meditation and massage or Reiki are all excellent stress busters, but you might want to consider pursuing an intellectual passion as well.Participation in outside interests and workshops in non teaching related topics can only be beneficial to you and your teaching journey.

BrightLight Specialized Education offers personal and professional development programs that will enable you to live an extraordinary life.

Contact us to arrange your complimentary 30 minute session to discuss your needs.

Our programs and workshops can be tailored to the needs of your organization.

Call us to discuss how.

  • Short courses in Living an Extraordinary Life
  • Weekend and holiday workshops for teachers
  • Goal setting programs
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Reiki & Homeopathic Education
  • Meditation

…. and more………