Exploring the 5 pillars of wellbeing.Vitality. Clarity Connection Truth and Compassion
How do we begin to manage the wellbeing of our communities if our own 'well' is dry?
There is much speculation about returning to school and in my last blog, discussing the fear is real, I urged our profession to look within.
Politicians are making major decisions from a narrow base. As the famous advert says, I like this one and not this one! The impact of their decisions - return to school, this way or that way - does not reflect on the emotional trauma our school and communities are already experiencing. I am a professional, an adult, with great understanding of wellbeing and psychology - I still feel overwhelmed by the enormity of pausing the world. Indeed today on twitter you can read about the tides of emotions some people are experiencing; or see how others are keeping busy. Stephen Tierney in his article for headteachersroundtable.wordpress.com shares his concerns for young people and children returning after losing loved ones.
Whenever we do return, and I hope teachers and leaders demand much needed time to manage their own wellbeing, we will need to have our fuel tanks brimming over to manage and support each other and the children and families we know and love.
How do we do this?
Wellbeing for staff - for each other
For too long our profession has been undermined and devalued, and yet this is not my message today, it is calling on you all to have HOPE and to say no to anything that places your wellbeing at risk. When we return, it most certainly will not be business as usual - we may even be returning with our own emotional trauma. Let's see how the metaphor of five wellbeing pillars might strengthen our inner resolve.
Only you have the power to allow anything external affect you, a colleague, the news, a family member or partner etcetera.( Please listen to my 6 min podcast here for further information on how we live in a thought -felt reality, created by us. https://www.hlsgroup.net/podcast/episode/22a69981/overcoming-your-greatest-fears-part-1)
How do you maintain your vitality?
Vitality is truly about only paying attention to what matters to us. Having a strong clear sense of self and knowing where we are reacting to life - creating too many 'what if' scenarios inside our heads builds up the fear pressure - bringing uncertainty and doubt.
TUNE out of those things that do not IMPACT you positively today. Feed the wolf of life through celebrating who you are in this moment.
We each have the greatest clarity when we are operating form truth and love (not romantic love; love of what we stand for). Why? Our bodies are designed to tell us when our thinking is not aligned with our inner truth and purpose. It's our intuition, a small voice that we might ignore and then we hit the rumble strip of early anxiety or stress. I have been speaking to leaders and school staff this week; hearing their stories of anxiety; of trying to manage emotions with intellectual doing. And yet, in our coming together and listening to each other's insecurities - without judgement, we found a deep sense of peace. Peace already within us. A quietude where the volume of external brass band noise was not heard, although the tiny ting of a solution was.
Do you have anywhere that is not serving you and you could turn down the noisy volume in your life? Leaving space for fresh wisdom.
The one thing social isolation or social distancing has taught us is how we love connection and gathering together. We miss our families and we are wary of our communities who might be struggling to be together. Don't try to manage on your own, reach out and connect to top up the wellbeing tank and to build a source of replenishment when it might be heavily drawn upon. I will guarantee, for every emotion or worry you feel there are billions of us who have felt the very same thing. Connection is a way of learning how to let go of built up or old stale thinking. How? Connection happens in the NOW.
Often as carers (teachers) we are dreadful at saying NO, eager to help anyone who needs it, placing our own self - worth far down the list. If you DO begin to see your own value, then you will be an excellent role model for others, particularly those close to you and your children or youth at school. When our integrity is firm and we do not lack doubt, we feel this deeply and we don't have to rearrange the components of our lives to make ourselves feel better. If you feel uncomfortable about something it may be that it is not aligning with your own truth. Truth is non- judgemental; loving; clear and light - a response not a reaction.
The final pillar of wellbeing is compassion. Compassion must begin with you. Being understanding of your emotions when you are tired , or irritable. When you feel sad or overwhelmed. Emotions are how we experience life; we sense them through our physiology - we get to choose our thoughts and feelings and if they are overwhelming YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIVE THERE.
How do we find the well of compassion for ourselves, when we feel overwhelmed by current circumstances?
In the hundreds and hundreds of coaching sessions I have shared this year alone, there is a common thread - a human way thinking we need to be 'doing' when this is the very time to simply 'be'. To settle with our children and play games; to call our best friends; to garden; make tea; read a book.
When we allow our stormy thinking to settle, we are more open the being kind and to see clearly what to do next.
To INFINITE WELLBEING and beyond!
For further information on wellbeing and coaching please see www.hlsgroup.net
Anni Silverdale Poole is a former headteacher, SIP and now an experienced transformative coach with decades of successfully working in schools.