Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mindful Me

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Merriam-Webster defines mindfulness as "the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis".

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I love these definitions. And typically, I've been terrible at this- at being mindful. Consider this a confession from a chronic multi-tasker. I've been thinking about this a lot, about how stressed we are, how stressed our students are. Last year, I began to think my job and the way in which I was approaching it was unsustainable. And that even if I could sustain that level of energy, I decided it wasn't good for me. Since becoming a school leader, I stopped making time for exercise, to pack healthy lunches, to read, to write, and to do nothing.

No more.

Meet the new mindful me.

Since late last Spring, I've been reading, thinking, and talking with others about how to be a more mindful school leader and person. I have been more intentional about taking time to recharge, taking time to sit and do nothing, to listen to the sound of the ocean, and to just be.

It feels so good... and it's long overdue. I felt a sense of calm for the first time about starting the new school year- maybe it's because I'm in year three and not everything is new this year. Or maybe it's just my overall mindset.

I'm also trying to model being more mindful for our students, parents, teachers, and staff. We all need to recharge our batteries so we can bring our best every day.

Here are a few things I've started this year to help me be more mindful as a person and as a school leader:
  1. No more emailing work related things on the weekend. My goal is to not send emails to staff from after 5 pm on Friday to 7 am Monday morning. I'm using Boomerang to send things out Monday morning if I do type something over the weekend. It's not perfect, but it's so much better! Although I do check my email, I am feeling good about marking things unread and waiting until Monday to reply.
  2. Exercise! I started going to the gym and walking again. I feel better. I sleep better. I used to run about 25 miles a week and I need to get back to it! 
  3. Be present. I'm closing my computer more. Looking at my phone less. I'm trying to just BE where ever I am and take it all in- the conversation, the music, the people. 
  4. Take 10 minutes of quiet every day at work. I turn out the light except for a small lamp and just sit. Sometimes I turn on the Calm app and listen to relaxing sounds of waves or rain. 

I also added a section called Mindful Minute to my weekly staff blog to share mindful things. Here are the links from this week's staff post:

Mindful Minute
Did you know coloring can be as relaxing as meditation? Try this free app recommended by Caroline Hines, our fabulous and mindful counselor!

Colorfy! A coloring book app for adults! 

One of our teachers, Tammy Imgarten, also shared the adult coloring books last year - there are a bunch on Amazon! Click here to check them out.

Here are some other mindfulness apps you might enjoy:    

Have a mindful week!

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