Friday, 26 March 2021

Perfection is a lie we tell ourselves to keep us playing small

Who loves failing? Can I hear a YAY? Not many huh?

Failure usually hurts in some way, even when we know it is a key to learning and growth. Some failure can hurt others and even cause major problems, but thankfully most failures aren’t that catastrophic. Most failures actually seem to end up hurting our pride and our sense of self more than anything else which whilst not catastrophic can have serious ripple effect.

The pain caused by failure is there to protect us so we remember not to make that mistake again. It was extremely useful in the ancient past when our lives literally depended on not repeating mistakes like wandering near a certain cave where something with big teeth and claws was hanging out! However our pain avoidance muscles can play tricks on us in the modern world, we are no longer likely to be eaten by a sabre tooth tiger (feel free to replace this with a more accurate ancient animal) if we make a mistake but the weight of public opinion, self judgement and anxiety seem to have teeth and claws too. And once their claws sink in it can be hard to shift them.

So we protect ourselves.

We avoid the risk of making mistakes.

To our own detriment.

One of the fanciest ways to protect ourselves is perfectionism which often comes with a range of side-kicks, my favourite being procrastination. Striving for perfection seems like admirable goal and to be fair I am very grateful if the surgeon who operates on my loved ones has a desire to be as close to perfect as possible. But how many times do we put off things because it isn’t perfect? We don’t go for a walk because the weather isn’t as nice as it could be. We don’t call a friend because we aren’t feeling as happy as we think we should be. We don’t go out because we haven’t lost as much weight as we wanted to. We don’t follow through on the idea, start the business, write the book etc because we haven’t got the time/energy/finances/support to make it perfect. We put this all off for a sunnier, happier, skinnier, slower day… that never comes! This perfect day is a lie we have been told, usually by people trying to sell us something, and it’s one that we keep telling ourselves. To an extent it keeps us safe but it also keeps us small.  

A rich, fulfilling life isn’t perfect. I recall a line from a poem often quoted by a wise mentor of mine, Trevor Grice, ‘if it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no music’. We need the ups and downs of life to truly experience the range of emotions that give life its colour, goodness the world would be boring if everything was coloured sunshine yellow!

Mediocrity is not the solution to perfection by procrastination though. Stepping bravely, embracing our vulnerability, toward uncertainty is what we are aiming for.  Embracing good enough and kaizen (the concept of small, seemingly imperceptible, changes over time) is part of it. Trusting ourselves and others more helps. Letting go of trying to control everyone and everything is certainly going to reduce our stress and give us some relief. This means accepting that others aren’t perfect either.

I believe strongly that we all have gifts and talents. I worry that many of these gifts and talents never get fulfilled because of the lies we tell ourselves about perfection. You are already good enough and you never know just how great you could be until you take that leap of faith to find out… are you ready?  

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Joyful January Day #31: Share An Uplifting Quote

Share an Uplifting Quote 

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.
Image taken during the Van Gogh Alive exhibition, Wellington January 2021 

Use the positive power of words


Sometimes someone says something and the words settle in your skin. Sometimes these words make you feel something. They may inspire you. They may shift your perspective. They may clearly say something that you cannot express yourself. 

I love quotes. I have inspirational teaching and kindness quotes throughout my teaching planner to help inspire me, they are also there to keep me going on the harder days and help me to refocus my energy. 

Recently I went to an exhibition of van Gogh, it was a multi-sensual experience that blew my mind to be honest. Quotes from van Gogh's writings were part of the exhibition and they really touched me. The quotes were so relevant to modern life. 

A little quote from my son
shared one day on a 
beach walk... wisdom comes
from many places.

The wisdom from people in other places, perspectives or times can be transferred in a quote, providing a useful platform for us to reflect on our own circumstances. Quotes sometimes offer a new  perspective on our present circumstances, they can sometimes help us understand ourselves better or think about others in different ways. 

I know pithy quotes are not for everyone but if they are good for you feel free to embrace them in ways that work for you. You may put them on your walls, in frames on a desk, on a pinboard, on the fridge or you bedroom mirror, in a diary... anywhere you will see them often and enjoy them. 

As we finish our Joyful January I hope that what we have shared has helped you find some joyfulness as we start a new year together. Perhaps you have tried one or two things or maybe you have participated every day. Perhaps some of the daily inspirations have become new healthy habits for you. Whatever the case our hope for you is that you have started the year well and will keep on looking after you so the rest of the year can be a happy, healthy one for you and those you care for! 




This Joyful January project is part of the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit: Restore your health, boost your wellbeing and embark on a happy healthy lifestyle for 2021

That is exactly what the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit is all about. YOU having the knowledge, skills, support and most importantly the WHY to make your health, energy and vitality a priority for 2021 and beyond.

This was held live on 22nd - 24th Jan with 17+ heart centred wellness experts and a 3 hour vision board online workshop- recordings are available NOW Find out all the details here
: please follow this linkhttps://www.spectrumeducation.com/happy-healthy-teachers-matter-online-summit-home/ 



 



 


Friday, 29 January 2021

Joyful January Day #30: Switch off and truly tune in

Switch Off and Truly Tune In


Being truly listened to is so close to being loved it is hard to tell the difference.


Have A Conversation Without Your Phone (or other distractions)

Listening is more than just the physical act of hearing, it takes an effort both of mind and body to truly tune in. Being truly listened to is so close to being loved it is hard to tell the difference, I am not sure who said that originally but I think it is pretty accurate. Many of us live in a world full of distractions- road noise, other people, TV, music, emails, our phones, alerts and so much more. So many distractions, and these listed are only some of the ones outside of our own heads! 

So what might it look like if we really listened?  

We would give the person/people speaking our attention with our mind and body:  

We would quieten the voice in our head, the one that judges, plans what we will say, predicts what the other person will say, goes through the shopping list, wonders what might be happening on social media... 

We would turn our body to the person speaking, and avoid moving in a distracting way  

We would listen to understand not to prove ourselves right or better or smarter or more amusing

We would add to the conversation not change it to better suit our own agenda 

We would paraphrase and question genuinely, showing curiosity and interest

We would listen actively so there'd be no interrupting or tuning out 

We would see this as a good use of time, not a waste of time  

This might sound intense, but of course we don't have to be creepy about it, in fact it is more about being respectful and enjoying the journey of the conversation instead. It is about being prepared to appreciate the other person's perspective and learn more from them. Active listening can support positive wellbeing by improving relationships, helping us to tune out distractions so we are less overwhelmed and adding to our knowledge or shifting our perspectives- it's got a lot going for it! 


“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. 

But if you listen, you may learn something new.” 

Dalai Lama 






This Joyful January project is part of the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit: Restore your health, boost your wellbeing and embark on a happy healthy lifestyle for 2021

That is exactly what the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit is all about. YOU having the knowledge, skills, support and most importantly the WHY to make your health, energy and vitality a priority for 2021 and beyond.

This was held live on 22nd - 24th Jan with 17+ heart centred wellness experts and a 3 hour vision board online workshop- recordings are available NOW Find out all the details here
: please follow this linkhttps://www.spectrumeducation.com/happy-healthy-teachers-matter-online-summit-home/ 



 




Thursday, 28 January 2021

Joyful January Day #29: Give yourself some compliments

Look In A Mirror and Give Yourself Some Compliments 

Be your own cheerleader! 

Hey good looking!

Love those eyes

You are truly fabulous 

That's no surprise! 

(you might like to even come up with some actions for this if you feel inspired 😁


How often do we look in the mirror and only see our imperfections and flaws? 

Do you ever start listing them? Oh my bum, boobs, chin are too big or baggy. Oh there's another wrinkle, pimple, spot. Oh I'm so ugly. Oh I'm too fat, oh I'm too skinny. Oh my hair is too grey, too frizzy, too straight,  too brown, too boring, too messy, too... too... too... 

How many times have you berated yourself when you have made a mistake? I am so stupid! What an idiot! What was I thinking? I am always doing this sort of thing, when will I learn? A stream of insults internally beating up on yourself. 

Would you say these sorts of things to your best friend when you see them? Would you say them to the cashier at a supermarket or a waiter at a restaurant? Would you say them to a stranger you meet at a meeting or conference? 

So why is it OK to say it to yourself? 

This mean little voice isn't deliberately trying to hurt you, we can think of it as part of our caveman brain just trying to keep us safe by keeping us away from things that it thinks might hurt us like other people's judgement or being vulnerable and sticking out if we fail. These things won't kill us but our caveman brain can't really tell the difference between reality and perception. We can't necessary control the thoughts that come but we can control how much energy and attention we give them. We can change the types of thoughts that we feed off by being aware of what we are saying to ourselves and then we can start challenging them. 

A little dissatisfaction isn't always a bad thing as it can help motivate us to make positive change in our lives if we need to. Continually berating and putting ourselves down isn't helpful. It is useful to have that distinction. 

So when you look in the mirror... what might you see instead of a list of flaws and imperfections? You might see the stretch marks that showed the miracle of growing life. You might see the strong muscles that carry you every day. You might see that smile that lights up the room. You might see the frizzy hair that makes you unique. You might see the wrinkles that show the rich life you have lived so far, the joys and sorrows, the long summer days in the sun. You might see a person that is loved and cared for (by yourself and others!).

What can you say to yourself instead? 

You can try affirmations, these are statements that about yourself that you say to yourself. As it is often said, you've spent years putting yourself down so why not try and be kind to yourself and see what happens? Positive affirmations can teach our brain to believe these new thoughts rather than relying on old negative patterns.  

To create an affirmation: 

  • phrase it positively 
  • use 'I am'
  • speak in the present tense 
  • make it short and sweet 
You might start by listing some of the negative things you say to yourself often and then write the positive affirmation that counters this. This is not just what you see in the mirror, our physical presence, but other thoughts and beliefs we hold about ourselves. After creating our affirmations we need to keep saying them, out loud and internally, every day. If after a while they aren't working for you it may be that there is a deeper, older negative belief that you aren't aware of that is still ticking away like a music track on repeat in the background. Please note, if our thoughts are disrupting the ability for us to live a rich, fulfilling life then we may need to seek help and talk it through with someone. 

If nothing else today, please be kind to you! You are amazing, you are worthy, you are loved, you are making a difference, what you do makes a difference, you are beautiful, you are magnificent, you are worthy, and YOU ARE ALREADY ENOUGH! 



For more reading: 

5 Steps to Making Affirmations 


This Joyful January project is part of the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit: Restore your health, boost your wellbeing and embark on a happy healthy lifestyle for 2021

That is exactly what the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit is all about. YOU having the knowledge, skills, support and most importantly the WHY to make your health, energy and vitality a priority for 2021 and beyond.

This was held live on 22nd - 24th Jan with 17+ heart centred wellness experts and a 3 hour vision board online workshop- recordings are available NOW Find out all the details here
: please follow this linkhttps://www.spectrumeducation.com/happy-healthy-teachers-matter-online-summit-home/ 



 



 

 

 



Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Joyful January Day #28: Listen to your body and enjoy a healthy meal

Enjoy Your Food


Listen to your body 

Last weekend we had our Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit, it was full of great tips, strategies and inspiration for us to go forward and be our best selves going forward. To try and capture it all would take a book, or perhaps many books, not a blog so I am not going to try here. 

One of the things that came out of the summit for me was the reminder to tune into our own bodies and listen to what they are telling us. I am fascinated by the way that the body and brain operate subconsciously in response to stimuli, for example someone rolls their eyes at a staff meeting which might cause fearfulness (of disconnection from the group, isolation, potential conflict etc) and so our adrenal glands produce more adrenalin, our heart rate increases slightly, our breathing changes, our muscles tense a little and then consciousness hooks in when we notice some discomfort or funny feeling in our chest which might be a while later... but by now we are right wound up! The better we learn to tune in to our body, the better we are able to be aware of the internal conversations that are happening under the radar and then make better decisions for ourselves. 

This also relates to our choices around health and wellbeing. So how might listening to what our body is telling us help us make more great food choices for our bodies?

As Catrina Bengree said it is about noticing when we feel hungry, not avoiding any particular food so eating what we want and enjoying it, importantly noticing when we are satisfied and then focusing on something else. We are less likely to have a 'snackcident' if we are listening to our bodies and responding to our hunger/satisfaction cues and then moving away from the food when we are satisfied! Eating consciously, or mindfully, helps us tune in. So focus on what you are eating and enjoy that rather than eating in front of a TV or flicking through social media. 

We eat for a variety of reasons that aren't always to do with hunger. For some of us we just eat out of habit like my grandmother who always had a slice of bread with jam at the end of her evening meal, she called it a plug. Tuning in to our body helps us become aware of our habits and adapt them if they are not serving us. For some of us we eat in response to our emotional state- we eat because we are sad, angry, bored, stressed, tired, lonely. This can become a problem if we aren't aware of our emotional state and eat whatever to avoid facing what is eating us! It all comes back to us tuning in and listening. 

There is so much wisdom inside us, we just have tune in and listen. 



This Joyful January project is part of the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit: Restore your health, boost your wellbeing and embark on a happy healthy lifestyle for 2021

That is exactly what the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit is all about. YOU having the knowledge, skills, support and most importantly the WHY to make your health, energy and vitality a priority for 2021 and beyond.

This was held live on 22nd - 24th Jan with 17+ heart centred wellness experts and a 3 hour vision board online workshop- recordings are available NOW Find out all the details here
: please follow this linkhttps://www.spectrumeducation.com/happy-healthy-teachers-matter-online-summit-home/ 



 



Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Joyful January Day #27: Turn off your phone

Turn Off Your Phone 


We all need a break and so do our smartphones. 

Does your phone go everywhere you do? How often do you turn it off? 

What do you do when your phone 'pings'? Do you dive to look at what is going on for fear that you might miss something important? Do you ignore it but have an annoying little little thought niggling away that you should really look at it? What if it is something important? It could be, you know!!! 

This takes up mental energy, even if we do ignore it, it still interferes with our attention. Our attention is a precious commodity, it really is! If energy flows where attention goes, do we really want to give our valuable energy to every ping and blip from our phone? It also increases anxiety and can create a sense of overwhelm in an already busy life. 

Social media feeds are also a potential attention-grabbing, energy-sapping interference. How many times do you just check something on a social media account to suddenly find thirty minutes have disappeared or perhaps you have zoned out of a conversation and missed something important? Sometimes the zoning out might be just the thing we need to do to chill out but that is a mindful choice! The other thing with getting lost in the social media zone is that that old gremlin of comparison can sneakily start whispering in the background... everyone is doing, looking, feeling better or more successful than you... you are a failure. This is not great for our self image and low self image impacts on our motivation, energy and even body function! 

So perhaps we need to be smart and turn our smart phones off every now and then. (As a side note apparently switching off our phones from time to time is better for the battery life of the phone and the planet too! Bonus!) 

Here are a few tips to help manage the phone overwhelm: 

  • turn off notifications- that means you will look at notifications when you want instead of when your phone wants you to, turning your volume down as well can help reduce anxiety from loud noise of the phone ringing
  • find settings on your phone to manage your digital balance- you can set time limits for specific applications as well as general use, you can give bedtime settings too on some phones. 
  • get an old fashioned alarm clock so you don't need to use your phone to wake you up- that way you won't get bombarded with scrolling through notifications first thing in the morning, and it removes the temptation to check your phone before you go to sleep which will help you sleep better 
  • let people in your life know that you won't be checking your messages continuously- that way they won't worry when you suddenly can't be reached immediately or don't respond quickly... that'll save causing more anxiety around you 
  • leave your phone behind sometimes on purpose- your phone won't get lonely if you go to the toilet, go for walk, sit in a meeting, eat a meal, watch a movie or have a date without it... it really doesn't care and those people who care for you won't mind if you put your health and wellbeing first and don't respond immediately

If any of the above suggestions make you feel really uncomfortable then it might be worth taking some time out to investigate your relationship with your phone to see if it really is a healthy one. For some of us there may be legitimate reasons but for most of us it could be a habit we've fallen in to and one that we might need to change for our own peace of mind. 


This Joyful January project is part of the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit: Restore your health, boost your wellbeing and embark on a happy healthy lifestyle for 2021

That is exactly what the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit is all about. YOU having the knowledge, skills, support and most importantly the WHY to make your health, energy and vitality a priority for 2021 and beyond.

This was held live on 22nd - 24th Jan with 17+ heart centred wellness experts and a 3 hour vision board online workshop- recordings are available NOW Find out all the details here
: please follow this linkhttps://www.spectrumeducation.com/happy-healthy-teachers-matter-online-summit-home/ 



 



Monday, 25 January 2021

Joyful January Day #26: Drink More Water

Drink More Water 

Wonderful Water! 

Water gives life. Water is a powerful force that can break down mountains over time. Water provides homes and sustenance for creatures great and small, weird and wonderful. Water moves and bends. Water changes states. Water is life. 

Water is essential for our planet. 

Water is essential for us. 

If you are blessed to be able to turn on a tap and get clean drinking water pause and feel grateful as so many on our planet do not have this luxury, let alone having water to bathe in and water our gardens. 

Water is the drink that helps us to think... and so much more! 

Think about how many of our body functions rely on water. Just look at the percentage of water for these body parts, it's amazing, I'm surprised we don't slosh as we walk around :)

  • our blood is 50% water 
  • our brain is 80-85% water as are our kidneys 
  • our heart is 75-80% water as are our lungs 
  • our skin is 70-75% water as are our muscles 
And these are just some of the organs in our body! In fact all of our systems need water in some way, shape or form. The average percentage of water in the whole human body is 60% so drinking water makes sense. 

I know we get lots of different advice about the amount of water we should drink, sometimes I get confused so here are two ideas I use to work out if I'm are drinking enough: 
1. if you are feeling thirsty you are probably already getting a little dehydrated so drink regularly throughout the day 
2. this is GOLD! Rowena Szeszeron-McEvoy says "drink more water till you've got clear wees!", it is such an easy to remember guide :) 

If we are getting dehydrated it is likely our thinking will be a little fuzzy, we may have a headache or feel light-headed, we may feel fatigued and our muscles might even start cramping. Our body will give us signals like these symptoms along with yellow, possibly strong smelling, wee and a dry mouth... but it's best not till wait till then. 

Tips to help you stay hydrated: 
  • water is best so try to have more water than other fluids if you can 
  • if you don't like the taste of water try adding lemon or mint leaves to give it a bit of flavour 
  • you might prefer it chilled so have some in the fridge for quick access when needed 
  • take a drink bottle with you, I always carry my drink bottle with me and it's bright pink so I can't miss it! 
  • tune in to your body and check that when you go diving for a quick snack you aren't actually feeling hungry... sometimes we have confused the two signals
  • on hot days or when exercising heavily drink more 
  • sometimes having a drink of water gives you a chance to pause when you are in a stressful situation and means you don't react quite so quickly :) 
Love your body and stay hydrated! 

Reference: 
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-percentage-of-the-human-body-is-water#where-in-the-body


This Joyful January project is part of the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit: Restore your health, boost your wellbeing and embark on a happy healthy lifestyle for 2021

That is exactly what the Happy Healthy Teachers Matter Online Summit is all about. YOU having the knowledge, skills, support and most importantly the WHY to make your health, energy and vitality a priority for 2021 and beyond.

This was held live on 22nd - 24th Jan with 17+ heart centred wellness experts and a 3 hour vision board online workshop- recordings are available NOW Find out all the details here
: please follow this linkhttps://www.spectrumeducation.com/happy-healthy-teachers-matter-online-summit-home/