Monday morning mindfulness

Monday morning mindfulness

Monday morning mindfulness

Sometimes, whether because of a difficult week, an upsetting conversation or just a general, existential feeling of sadness and ‘flatness’, we need to narrow down what we are focusing on and giving our time to, just temporarily.   This is where going back to the basics and keeping it simple really helps.  It’s a cleansing experience, a necessary and often reassuring one. Today, focus on the everyday tasks or habits, in your work day or whilst at home, and try to carry them out with consciousness.   Whether you are rinsing out a mug, filing papers or drinking a cup

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The struggle after acknowledgement

The struggle after acknowledgement

When we’re talking about behaviours we want to change, habits that are no longer helpful to us, acknowledgement is the first step and, for some people, the hardest.  Noticing our behaviours, our emotions and our triggers is absolutely vital if we are to make positive changes. But I’ve realised, through my own experience, that acknowledgement doesn’t automatically equal change.  It seems to be a facet of human nature (or at least my own!) that we can absolutely know that something is unhelpful or even harmful, but we continue to do it anyway.  Sometimes that is necessary, for a while, until

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Why should it take an earthquake?

Why should it take an earthquake?

I’ve been thinking, this morning, about how quickly one’s perspective can change, often through illness or a sudden event that causes us to focus on what’s important. I have often listened to people who have faced trauma or long-term, serious illness and been inspired by their views.  Then, inevitably, I have thought ‘What if it didn’t take something so huge and catastrophic to force us to re-evaluate our lives and our values?’ I had an awful dose of tonsillitis just before the summer.  I was at home, off work, for almost a week, in a lot of pain, shivering, sweating

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What feeds your soul?

What feeds your soul?

It’s so easy, especially today, to watch, listen to and read things that provide only temporary gratification.  Or perhaps they provide hardly any gratification at all… they are just habitual.  Things we have become used to ingesting.  Scrolling idly through Facebook, gossip columns or depressing news stories. It’s so easy to do this, and to never evaluate the effect that this unconscious consumption has upon our minds and souls. I realised a while ago that, whilst my natural propensity when choosing a film, for example, is for thrillers, creepy stories or gritty dramas, they generally have quite a negative impact

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Five tips for the workplace

Five tips for the workplace

Just a few things I have learnt over the past few years in teaching; though they apply to any workplace. Be flexible.  If you can adapt and roll with last-minute changes, meetings or projects without complaint, you will be regarded very highly indeed.  Sure, a last-minute shift in the proceedings might be annoying or inconvenient, but if there is nothing you can do about it, complaining will only stunt your progress.  Just get on with it, and show that you can adapt to whatever comes your way.  After all, isn’t that life?   This might seem like a contradiction, after

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What is courage?

What is courage?

Courage rarely explodes in a rush of love and sunlight.  Those incidences occur, but they are rare. Mostly, courage is a fraction.  A part of a whole.  A whisper that says “I know you’re scared, but stand your ground this time.” Courage is diminutive.  It rolls with the tide and changes shape.  It swells and sighs and alters its opinions depending on the situation. Courage is a long road between the mountains. Courage is speaking out when everyone else is silent. Courage is remaining silent when everyone else is shouting. Courage is pursuing your dreams quietly, diligently, despite the doubt

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A strong man

A strong man

My grandfather, Ralph, on the right of this picture, was the kindest, most loving, most generous man I have ever known.  He was strong and confident and achieved so much in his life as a Royal Air Force physical training instructor and, later, as a coach to the British and Jamaican wheelchair basketball teams.  He coached them to success in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games and garnered respect from the sporting world.  He also received a British Empire Medal for service to sport. Whilst I am obviously tremendously proud of his professional success and love telling his stories, my pride

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The most dangerous words I know

The most dangerous words I know

I’ve come to realise, in my quest to live more intentionally and healthfully, that there is a phrase that tends to sway me from my path and leaves me feeling guilty and frustrated. Two short words.  You may hear and use them often. F–k it. They are simply a license to do things we know we’ll regret. Think about it.  We never say ‘f–k it’ when we are about to do something that is good for us.  As one comedian put it, “No one ever said ‘F–k it, I’m gonna have a carrot!’” F–k it means freedom.  Hedonism.  Wildness.  Spontaneity.

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Thursday round-up

Thursday round-up

So, the weather is getting colder, the evenings are growing darker and we’re hurtling towards the weekend which, for those of us who work a regular five-day week, may be a bit of a relief! My week has been good, but busier than usual.  Between formal lesson observations, rehearsals for our Year 5 production of Romeo and Juliet (which takes place next Wednesday… cue a nervous squeal of excitement), ordinary class teaching and the first online module of my middle leadership course, I’ve been white-knuckling it through the past few days a little bit.  But I feel as though I

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Anyone can be a leader

Anyone can be a leader

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a post about Donald Trump (there are enough of those in my Facebook news feed right now…) but the current climate has made me consider the role of leadership and the qualities that make a good leader.  I have also been influenced to make this post because of my own professional development and first forays into leadership within a school. I am a teacher and, whilst I didn’t begin my career having particular aspirations to lead–meaning that I wasn’t especially focused on ‘climbing the ladder’ and becoming an assistant head or even eventually

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