For those out there who are parents, work in student-facing positions or are part of a post-secondary community, the start of a new academic year can be demanding and draining (in addition to being exciting). How can we persevere through hectic times in our lives without sacrificing our physical and mental wellbeing?
This month, I’m offering some tips on how we can succeed in September instead of just surviving it.
Name your emotions
Remember that it’s okay to feel, and that we don’t have to feel happy all of the time. The key is being able to identify our emotions which then enables us to use this information to guide or regulate our actions.1 Learn how to cultivate emotional self-awareness. (Mindful.org)
Release your judgement
We spend a lot of time focused on “shoulds” (future) and “could haves” (past). These habits not only keep us out of the present moment, but also place an unfair amount of judgement on our behaviours. Self-compassion can reduce negative mind states and improve optimism and self-confidence.2 Learn how to practice self-compassion.
The power of healthy thinking
Sometimes our perceptions of an event can become distorted, leaving us to interpret situations in a negative way. These “thinking traps” can cause distress and limit our ability to cope effectively. However, we have the ability to break free from these traps and develop healthy thinking strategies that promote stress management.3 Learn about common thinking traps and how to get out of them. (Here to Help BC)
Our breath is free and something that we take with us everywhere. It’s also a key tool in coping, stress management and self-care. Have you breathed with your diaphragm lately? Belly breathing promotes oxygen exchange within the body which slows our breathing and lowers heartrate and blood pressure. By helping to calm our physiological response to stress, we can often also calm the mind. Learn how to practice calm breathing. (Anxiety Canada)
This September, I encourage each of you to find time to acknowledge your strengths, your limits and your successes. Be well as we embark on another school year.
All my best,
1 Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (Salovey and Mayer, 1990)
3 The Working Mind Training (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2019)
4 Learning diaphragmatic breathing (Harvard Health Publishing, 2019)
Photo credit: Miranda Massie