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With NAPLAN upon us, let’s talk Data.

With NAPLAN upon us, let’s talk Data.

For teachers, it comes in many forms, from NAPLAN to taking notes, running records to observations, from tests to talking – it is all some form of data. But what’s the big deal with data anyway? And why do some teachers find it so hard to see it for what it is?

It is not uncommon to sit in meetings with teachers where a conversation about the data in front of us quickly turns to, ‘yeah but that’s a low cohort’ or ‘that class had 3 different teachers in 1 year’ or ‘they aren’t getting the support at home’. This is something I am sure we have all experienced, have heard of or are even guilty of ourselves. However, whilst all of these things may be true, we still need to acknowledge and respond to the data in front of us.

I know it easy to want to attach a story to data, and yes we can always argue that perhaps a student wasn’t having a great day, they were unwell, or that the unit we planned wasn’t great. Whatever the story though, the data is still the data.

Now there is no denying these reasons do come from good places, we want the best for our students and we want to be able to defend them, but that actually isn’t our job.

Part of looking at data is to do so without judgement, the need to justify or the need to blame. It’s just to look, to note what is there, and to see the data as just that – data. No story needed.

One of the best ways to discuss data is to use what is known as Discipline Dialogue Questions, from the work of Neil Dempster at Griffith University.

  1. What do we see in these data?
  2. Why are we seeing what we are?
  3. What, if anything, should we be doing about it?

So why is this important? Well once you start to see it as just data, you can begin to use it for it’s intended purpose – to inform your teaching. This might be teaching as an individual, a team, looking at teaching across a whole school.  Look at the teaching, improve the learning. This is the reason we have data.

The data isn’t about you, it’s not about your story, your justification, your excuse – it’s about the data. Once you have established this, then data really can achieve it’s intended purpose – to help you be a better teacher, so students can learn what they need next.

 

I didn’t open my laptop for 2 weeks. Here’s what I learnt…

Recently I went to NYC on a holiday. Now, this was lifetime dream, dream come true, once in a lifetime kind of thing. I’m not new to travelling. I have lived overseas, London specifically, spent weekends in Paris and weeks relaxing in Thailand and backpacking Egypt. What I have found though, as I get older, travelling is still easy, but switching off is not.

I have become accustomed to packing for all kinds of ‘what if I feel like doing work’ moods I may encounter while on holiday, which is by far very different from my minimal, throw it in the bag, backpacking days. This means I take with me my laptop, tablet, kindle, phone with all the apps, notepads, journal, coloured pens, a few highlighters, even post-it notes!

This is great right? It means I am prepared to read, write, study, make notes, plan, brainstorm, send an email, all of it, whenever I like. Actually, it is not so great. This also means I am continually staring at reminders of the work ‘I should be doing’. You see, whilst I think I am prepared for the opportunity to do work if it arises, what I realised I was unconsciously doing was putting pressure on myself to do work when I really should be on holiday. See, not so great.

We all know there is reason for actually having a holiday, you get to relax, see new things, be with people you love, sleep in, go on adventures, eat great food and sometimes do nothing, but if your laptop is always there in the corner, looking at you and giving you gentle reminders that work still exists, your ability to be fully on holiday may be interrupted more than you think. The glance out of the corner of your eye, seeing it as you walk past, opening it only to tap on a few keys, all this does is increase the pressure you are putting on yourself to do work, and this is not a holiday at all! This was me, every holiday for the last few years.

You see, there is a difference between being on a holiday physically, and being on a holiday mentally. All teachers need a mental holiday as much as they need a physical holiday, you and I included.

The week before I went to NYC I got sick, incredibly virus-like, couldn’t get off the couch, open my laptop or even speak sick. It was awful. But it was also a sign, I needed a mental holiday as much as I needed a physical holiday. Even though I was physically sick, I knew this was my body’s way of telling me to stop. I was mentally exhausted, I had been working too much, too hard. I knew this because my last few weeks of self-talk had been something like ‘only 2 more weeks to go, you can do it’, ‘hang in there, 8 days left’. Only I couldn’t hang in there. I was done, and my body made sure of it.

During this week I knew I needed to make some changes. The first step was to ensure I would go on my holiday and actually have a holiday, mentally and physically, no laptop. This was actually suggested to me a few days before by my coach, but I just wasn’t ready to hear it. Now though, I was listening.

So, I made the decision. I was going on holiday, no laptop, no work, no email. Only books and a journal. That’s it. That’s all I took.

Now, this was hard for me. Really hard. At the start of my trip, I felt like something was missing, I even panicked a little going through airport security because I couldn’t find it in my bag, only to remember it was safe and sound at home. I felt a little sense of excitement at this moment, I was actually going on a real holiday, no laptop, no work, no email.

Boarding the plane was also a reminder of the lack of laptop, it wasn’t there to protect or lift out as I put my luggage overhead. It was at this moment something strange happened. Sitting down for taking off, I felt my body fill with some sort of sense of sensation, relief, calm, my body was releasing all the tension and stress I had been carrying with me about the fear of not taking my laptop. For the first time in quite a few years, I was going on holiday just for me, to be with my partner, to have fun, laugh, sleep, live, love, no laptop, work or email, and I knew everything was going to be OK.

It was in this moment I realised I had been missing out on so much. The rush, the pressure, the ‘what’s next?’, this is what I had been focusing on. Not the now, the present, the moment. I had been completely missing the now.

It was here I made a decision, a commitment to myself, give myself more time and space, to be me, to laugh and have fun, to read, to love, to be, to be present. I am not saying this is easy, it surely is a skill, and something I am working on, but without this thought, you are just going through life, and not actually being in it. Awareness is the first step.

Be in your life.

So, did I survive? Yes, I did. Everything was just as I left it when I returned, apart from a few more emails, nothing drastic though, nothing I couldn’t handle, the only thing difference was me. Me. Committing to change my life to be in it, not rushing through it. Being present in the now, knowing what each moment is for, living, loving and being in my life.

I know for some of you this may seem hard, and as I shared, it was for me too, but the thought of missing out on your life is harder. Put your laptop away, make time for you, set time aside to really be present at the moment, build the skill until it is a habit, until it is you.

Need help, I’m here with you. Reach out. Let’s get your life back.

Mention this blog for your free strategy session NOW!  

Person First, Teacher Second.

To our little student we are like celebrities, to our big celebrities we are simply there to serve them, the idea of having a life outside the classroom is simply impossible.

I recall a time early in my teaching career when I was teaching a 1/2 class. It was a Monday Morning, and usual for them to be happy and smiling when they saw me, but on this day one student was beyond the normal level of excitement, He was beaming. He saw form the distance across the playground ad came running over, grinning ear to ear. “Miss Green, Miss Green, Guess What? Guess What?” he shouted. “What is it?” I replied thinking he had some big exciting news, “I saw you at the shops on the weekend”, ‘You did?” I asked, “what was I doing?”, “You were buying your groceries” he shared with everyone around him. “Well I do get hungry” I replied.

In this moment it occurred to me, that for this student it hadn’t occurred to him that I might be doing something like buying groceries, that I might have to do other things or that I even leave the school grounds. Our little students especially have a perception that we live and breathe school to the point where I have even been asked where I sleep at night while a student looks around the classroom for my bed.

So how is that we are supposed to reduce the pressure on our selves when even our little people think we only ever exist at school?

Teachers are people too. In fact teachers are people first.

You are a person, before you are a teacher.

This is why you need to put you first, why you must take care of you, make time for you and  schedule you into your day along with your students, family and everything else.

The issue lies when we are faced with so many external pressures which expect us to simply be teachers only. To live and breathe teaching, to be on email 24/7, to have parent meeting at 7am or 7pm because they work during the day, to pack a lunch each day as there is no way you can leave school to pop out and get something, to make appointments and deal with things like the bank and doctors after school and weekends because making appointments during the day is just not an option. Every decision is made with you the teacher in mind.

But what about you the person?

This is where you need to do some work. You need to know you as a person; who you are, what your values and beliefs are, what you like to do when you are not wearing your teacher hat. Teaching is a big part of your life, but there are other big parts of you too that also deserve your time and energy.

Time to shine not just as a teacher, but as a person too.

The art and science of decision making every teacher needs to know!

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

What theme will my classroom be?

What order will I teach my lessons?

How will I organise my day?

What will I do with my release time off class?

As teachers we make decisions all day long, some we know are coming, some surprise us. Some of us are good at decision making, quick and confident, while other slow, second guess and unsure. However you make a decision in your teaching life, I would assume you make decisions in your life the same way.

Some teachers choose resources quickly, other spend hours scrolling through interest, some take less time to reports while others spend hours pondering over semantic, some are quick to know what display to put up and how to arrange it while others are all over Instagram looking for ideas, and still, they can’t decide.

So why does this happened?

There is science behind decision making that is a must know.

Ever wondered why deciding what to have for dinner is so guard?

The brain can only make so many decisions in a day, and the best time to make a decision is in the morning, however, once we have made a certain number of decisions, every decision after that gets a little bit harder.

Think about how many decisions you make before you even leave the house:

What do I wear?

What top goes with this skirt?

What tie will match best?

What shoes will I wear?

How will I do my hair?

What will I have for breakfast?

And if you have kids you are repeating this so many times over.

These decisions are not that big to make, yet they easily decrease our decision-making quota for the day. Now add in decisions you don’t even know you are making because you are continually on autopilot, think driving, conversation and where to park.

Once we have used up our decision making space, the bigger tasks we normally face at the end of the day are that little bit harder; making decisions in a meeting, planning in teams and having to make decisions about what to teach, how to teach, what activities to use, writing reports and making decisions about what  to say for each child, it’s hard, these are big decisions.

But imagine if you could make these decisions just a little bit easier for you, quicker even, allowing you to get more done, be more productive and even save time. Well, you can.

There are some decisions you can make ahead of time which will ensure the decisions you have to make throughout the day are easier and in return, you can reap the benefits of more brain power to use around decisions which are just that little bit harder. I mean deciding where to park and deciding what to write on a report are two very different decisions to make.

So how do you reduce decision-making time on a daily basis? Simple. Make some decisions ahead of time.

Here are some simple decisions making changes you make now:

  • Decide what to wear the night before, organise all your outfits on the weekend or even wear the same thing every day like Steve Jobs.
  • Plan your meals in advance. You could try writing a meal plan and shopping for it so you know what dinner is each night, you can make you lunch for a week and have it ready each day or even perp all our meals on a weekend so the decision of what to eat at each meal is gone completely. (this is what I do and not only does it help with not having to make a decision, it saves me so much time!)
  • Plan your day and week. At the start of each week develop a rough plan for what you will do each day, then each morning or the night before break your day into 30min increments and plan exactly what you will do. This help so much with procrastination, you know the feeling ’Oh I am off class after lunch, what will I do?’, a decision to make which can easily be avoided. By doing this you will not only be more productive but also save even more time.

So there you have, 3 things you can start doing now which will ultimately reduce the decisions you make during the day, and in return allow you to make other decisions more quickly, easily and with less effort, meaning those big decisions like teaching and writing reports are taken care of.

I’d love to know how you go one you try this, please let me know and if you have more ideas on how to make decisions ahead of time I’d love to hear them.

 

 

 

Feeling Emotional?

Emotions aren’t as they seem.

Emotions are energy. Emotions shape our world, our reality, our life. They are there to assist you and help you to feel a certain way when an event occurs and as you go throughout your day.

There are more emotions to feel then we realise, yet we often only use the same emotions over and over; happy, sad, angry, frustrated, annoyed, pleased, excited, neutral. This is pretty much the list of emotions we engage in on a daily or weekly basis.

But here’s the thing, emotions are our choice. Emotions are something we are taught to do, to feel, to experience, and often we only know and engage in a small number of emotions, which means this is how we often feel and this is where we stay.

Ever wondered why 2 people can experience the same thing, and one person can be a little annoyed and another can be furious?

Well, it is the way they respond to the event that causes them to feel this way.

There is a theory or this called E+R=O; Event + Response = Outcome (I learnt this from TCI, not sure where it comes from).

What this means is, it is not the event that causes how we feel, or the outcome it is our response to the event that influences the outcomes.

Whilst we can’t always control the event, we can certainly control our response, which in return affects the outcome.

Now before you tell me there is no way you could feel anything but furious when your partner is late for dinner, or that feeling annoyed about the extra meeting that has occurred this week is the only appropriate response, I want you to ask yourself, is this the only way to feel? And, would everyone else feel the same as you? The answer to both of these questions is no.

People choose to feel differently all the time, even about the same situation. The power in this is, those who understand that emotion and feeling is a choice, have more control over their lives, and essentially allow more positivity and happiness to be part of their day.

Why?

Because these people know being frustrated, annoyed or furious at something that was out of their control is a waste of their energy, and actually gets them o where.

Now don’t get me wrong, yes it can be annoying when your partner is later for dinner, and an extra meeting can be frustrating too, but it doesn’t mean you have to take in this emotion and carry it with you into other areas of your life.

So what do you do the?

Well, when an event happens, ask yourself how you feel, acknowledge your first emotion, but ask yourself, is it worth me feeling this way? (the answer is probably no), how else could I choose to feel? What would this mean? How would this make me feel instead? How would things be different?

Try this, try choosing different emotions.

You can choose your emotion, you can choose how you feel. You can choose to be positive and happy.

5 things to do on school holidays so you actually get a holiday, and get your work done too!

Holidays are nearly here, we have been waiting for this, counting down even, yet the holidays as we know will be gone before we even lift those books to mark into the house.

Making a plan for holidays is as essential as planning your day, if not holidays end and you feel like you need another holiday just to get everything done.

So can you make sure you get the most out of your holidays, feel rested but also like you have achieved what you intended?

Here are my 10 tips for making the most out of holidays:

  1. Make a list (actually 2)

Holidays are about 2 things; relaxing and getting stuff done. The best way to ensure you get both of these things done is to make a list of everything you want to achieve. Why 2 lists? One for school related stuff and one for home/life-related stuff. If it is not on the list, it most likely won’t happen, or will loom over you when you are trying to relax and enjoy your time off.

 

  1. Plan out when the stuff on the list will happen. This is a simple case of ‘plan to fail, fail to plan’. I find there are two ways people approach this; either it is getting the list stuff done in the first few days and taking the rest of the time to relax, or relaxing first and using the last few days of holidays to get stuff done. There are also a small few who like to do something each day; maybe first thing in the morning or last thing at night when everyone else is asleep. For me, I like to have holidays all to myself so I work hard the week before school ends and once I finish up on the last day I am done. This is purely a decision you have to make for you and how you best work.

 

  1. Schedule the items on your list. It’s one thing to have a plan and know morning you are going to do something, or you have 3 days before you are off on a cruise so you must get everything done, but without a schedule, you are leaving most of it to chance and from my experience, this just doesn’t work
  2. You need a schedule for what you will do when, and this needs to be done in advance. Break the time you have into 30minute chunks and schedule in exactly what to do when, This way when you get started you know exactly what you are doing and you don’t have to worry about what to do once you start. No schedule is a recipe for procrastination and a great way to get distracted and end up doing nothing. Once you have your schedule you will be sure to be ticking things off your list.
  1. Add time to relax and take time off to your schedule. It is easy to think we have plenty of time in holidays to relax and recharge, but it can easily happen that holidays are gone and we haven’t really stopped at all. Plan in time for time off. It is that easy.

 

  1. Decide what you will do for self-care and relaxing. It is easy to say you want to do it, and even set aside time for it, but if you don’t know what you are doing, it is likely you will end up doing nothing or even worse, school work or housework because you just don’t know what to do and you can’t sit still! So what do you want to do? A holiday or short break somewhere, read a book, get a massage, learn a new skill or take up a craft (I love time for macramé). It doesn’t matter what it is, but it does matter you know what it is, and you put this in your schedule.

 

There you have it, 5 steps to ensuring you get the most out of your holidays, get your school work done, home/life stuff done and also make time for self-care.

 

Whatever you do these holidays, make sure you enjoy them, you deserve it.

Let go of your emotion, choose your emotion

Emotions aren’t as they seem.

Emotions are energy. Emotions shape our world, our reality, our life. They are there to assist you and help you to feel a certain way when an event occurs and as you go throughout your day.

There are more emotions to feel then we realise, yet we often only use the same emotions over and over; happy, sad, angry, frustrated, annoyed, pleased, excited, neutral. This is pretty much the list of emotions we engage in on a daily or weekly basis.

But here’s the thing, emotions are our choice. Emotions are something we are taught to do, to feel, to experience, and often we only know and engage in a small number of emotions, which means this is how we often feel and this is where we stay.

Ever wondered why 2 people can experience the same thing, and one person can be a little annoyed and another can be furious?

Well, it is the way they respond to the event that causes them to feel this way.

There is a theory or this called E+R=O; Event + Response = Outcome.

What this means is, it is not the event that causes how we feel, or the outcome it is our response to the event that influences the outcomes.

Whilst we can’t always control the event, we can certainly control our response, which in return affects the outcome.

Now before you tell me there is no way you could feel anything but furious when your partner is late for dinner, or that feeling annoyed about the extra meeting that has occurred this week is the only appropriate response, I want you to ask yourself, is this the only way to feel? And, would everyone else feel the same as you? The answer to both of these questions is no.

People choose to feel differently all the time, even about the same situation. The power in this is, those who understand that emotion and feeling is a choice, have more control over their lives, and essentially allow more positivity and happiness to be part of their day.

Why?

Because these people know being frustrated, annoyed or furious at something that was out of their control is a waste of their energy, and actually gets them nowhere.

Now don’t get me wrong, yes it can be annoying when your partner is later for dinner, and an extra meeting can be frustrating too, but it doesn’t mean you have to take in this emotion and carry it with you into other areas of your life.

So what do you do the?

Well, when an event happens, ask yourself how you feel, acknowledge your first emotion, but ask yourself, is it worth me feeling this way? (the answer is probably no), h

ow else could I choose to feel? What would this mean? How would this make me feel instead? How would things be different?

Try this, try choosing different emotions.

You can choose your emotion, you can choose how you feel. You can choose to be positive and happy.

It’s OK Not To Be Happy All The Time

Being happy all the time is a myth. Being happy all the time isn’t something that everyone needs to aim for all of the time. Yes, we want to be happy but it’s unreasonable to expect happiness to be the only emotion we feel.

We have a range of emotions as humans so that we can experience things on all kinds of levels. If we were just happy all the time we’d only experience happy things, things that make us happy: joy, love, all of the things that bring you a smile. But this just isn’t the case.

Life can throw all kinds of things at you. Just when you think you’re on the rollercoaster of happy, something can be thrown your way and all of a sudden you can find yourself plummeting down.  Down fast, down to the bottom, where you are filled with emotions that you just don’t want to feel.

Experiencing all the emotions are a part of life. Being 100% is actually allowing yourself to feel all of the different emotions. By giving yourself permission to feel sad when you’re sad, angry when you’re angry, hurt when your hurt, disappointed when you’re disappointed, frustrated when you’re frustrated, you’re allowing yourself to be human.

Yet too often, many of us are taught that the only way to feel is happy.

Unfortunately, what this does is it makes us chase an emotion which sometimes just doesn’t serve us.

It’s important to feel different things in different ways for different reasons. How do you know what happiness really is if you don’t experience the other side?

You can’t experience cold without hot, you can’t experience sunrise without sunset, you don’t have Ying without Yang or salt without pepper, and you can’t have happy without all the other emotions as well.

So why is it so hard to feel these emotions?

At some point in time, you may have been told only babies cry, or that it’s a sign of weakness, that being angry is OK but sad isn’t and the being disappointed just isn’t worth it. If any of these sound familiar, or you can even think of your own examples, it is likely that these things you were once told, or even shown (which means you probably have no idea it even impacted you), dramatically impact the emotions you allow yourself to experience now. You see emotions are a choice, and we can change them when needed, but suppressing them or not allowing them to be heard first, only causes us more pain and discomfort.

So here is the challenge, I want you to feel all your emotions. Allow yourself to have them come naturally, give yourself time, space and presence to be with them, then ask yourself the following questions:

What emotion do I feel?

Why do I feel this way?

What am I learning by feeling this emotion?

What am I getting out of feeling this way?

Is this real?

How do I want to feel?

Could I change my emotion?*

These questions are designed to get you in touch with your emotions, to have you consciously check in with yourself and bring awareness to how you feel.

(*The last question is the next step, I’ll do a follow-up blog on this next week)

Remember, as you go through this process, be kind to yourself, anything that makes us more mindful of self can be challenging, confronting and sometimes bring up other things we didn’t know where hidden deep within us, if this is you, let it be and see what else you can learn about yourself from this.

If this is something you would like to explore further, please do get in touch, and we can work on this together.

Only You Decide Your Self Care and Well-being

There is so much talk about self-care at the moment.

Self-care Sunday is booming, mindful Monday and soul Saturday are close behind; but really, what all this boils down to, is taking care of yourself, putting yourself first and honouring yourself enough to know that you need to put you first, pressing pause on life when you feel you can’t go on, and actually making time to look after you just as much as you do others.

Yoga, walks on the beach, meditation, massage, drinking herbal tea and self-help books, these seem to be what is most recommended as a means of self-care, but actually, for what it is worth, I don’t agree that this is for everyone.

Self-care isn’t just yoga and deep breathing while you watch the sunset, it is so much more, actually, it is whatever you want it to be. 

No one can decide your self-care, it is simply doing whatever it is for you, whatever helps you relax, tune out, feel less stressed, enjoy life and have fun. This can actually be done in so many ways. For some people, it is yoga (me included), for my partner it is 3-hour cycle  (I couldn’t think of anything worse and he hates yoga). For my brother, it is playing Dungeons and Dragons (OK this might be worse than a 3hr cycle), my other brother is learning bass guitar and my BFF is all about a whole day of binging on Netflix. All of these things, as different as they are, and as unique to the person they might be, are all self-care. My point is, self-care is actually whatever you want it to be.

Reading, craft, hiking, reading a book, mani-pedis, playing a team sport; just about anything at all, as long as it is good for your soul, clams you down, relaxes you, helps you with overwhelm and stress and just makes you feel better, is self-care.

As long as what you do doesn’t hurt or harm others in any way, what you choose to do is up to you. BUT… if you are shopping to make yourself feel better and have money issues this is not self-care, if you are continually eating high-sugar processed foods to comfort you, this is not self-care, if you are watching hours of TV each night because you are tired or stressed, this is also not self-care. Your self-care has to be GOOD for you, good for your soul and good for those around you. Spending money you should be saving is not good, eating rubbish food is not good, lazing on the couch for hours is not good. You must choose your self-care with this is mind.

Once you know what self-care is for you, don’t wait for your day to be rubbish to try it, or for you to feel super stressed or overwhelmed before you do anything, the trick is to build self-care into your day and weekly plan. Schedule it in just like you schedule in time for coffee with friends and family dinner on Sunday night; you are important too, so schedule you in.

Once you have scheduled in regular time for your self-care, you will find that you are reaping the benefits more than you thought you would and that your days may not be as stressful as they used to be. Self-care is about filling your cup first, and when you do this, you will have much more to give to others.

Morning Rituals – How to set your day up for success.

I’m sure you have heard of the different things successful people do to start their day. I’m sure you’ve heard of the 5am Club, the people who get more things done before you even get to work and people who say that doing things soon after you wake are the best times to ensure success.

Myself, I’m a big believer of morning rituals. How you start your day really does shape how you see your day. How you start your day can be what impacts whether or not you’re in a good mood or a bad mood, able to see the positive or the negative, whether or not you’re calm, relaxed and easing into the day or whether or not you feel rushed, anxious or already overwhelmed before you even enter the workplace.

It’s the morning rituals that we go through that not only shape our day but also shape us, they allow us to check in with who we want to be and they allow us to ensure that the path we start on at the start of each day is the path we end on. Morning rituals are more than just a ritual to get you out bed and out the door quickly, they are designed to become our habits, the things we do consistently.

Morning rituals are about checking in with yourself, they are about tuning into your brain and your thought patterns. Morning rituals are designed to ensure that you’re healthy, energised, feeling positive and have everything you need to start your day. Morning rituals are like lesson starters, a tuning-in activity. What you doing your morning ritual allows you to set the scene, it allows you to capture your audience, it allows you to get your brain ready and prepared to take on any obstacle with ease. If you ask any successful person they’ll tell you that a morning ritual isn’t just about making sure that you’ve had a strong cup of coffee and checking your Facebook feed, morning rituals include things like setting your goals, revisiting goals you have already set, exercise, meditating taking your vitamins, habits which ensure that you able to take on your day in a way that will move you forward.

Imagine someone who has a morning ritual which goes like this; their alarm goes off but they hit snooze three times before they have even managed to roll out of bed, when their feet hit the floor they’re tired, they yawn, they slouch over, they stumble and fumble as they try to get up and slowly make their way to the kitchen. Here they boil the kettle, and before they’ve even really opened their eyes, they down a cup of coffee. A second cup of coffee follows them into the lounge room, where they sit down and turn on the morning news and watch headlines, they see nothing but sad stories, doom and gloom, and things which just don’t inspire us. Before long they realise they are already running late. They rush to have a shower and throw whatever clothes on they can find, they search for their car keys and head out the door, their lunch is still in the fridge, their laptop is on their kitchen bench. Then, because they’re rushing, they find themselves stuck in traffic, they find themselves racing against the clock and realising they’re going to be late. When they arrive at work they are already filled with stress, overwhelm and are annoyed at themselves because they’ve allowed themselves to start their day like this. Now because this person has started the day in such a bad place, everything else that happens to them during the day is going to be even harder, even more stressful, even more overwhelming, because if we don’t start our day in the right place, everything else that comes our way seems even harder to manage.

Here’s a different story. This person starts the day out with their alarm going off, as they hit snooze they know that they have 5 minutes to lie in bed and practice their affirmations and some deep breathing. When the alarm goes off again they know that they need to get out of bed. They gently stand up and stretch, walk towards the kitchen boil the kettle and make themselves a cup of hot water, green tea, lemon and water or apple cider vinegar, something that is good for their insides and for waking up the body. This is followed by some journalling, some writing of gratitude or writing goals and things are they aiming to achieve. Some days this is even followed by 5 or 10 minutes of meditation where this person gets to check in with themselves, do more deep breathing and focus on what it is that they are driving towards achieving, maybe this is a goal, maybe this is clarity, maybe this is success, maybe this is acceptance, maybe it’s confidence or maybe it’s trust. By doing this, this person is now in a calm state and it means that when they have their shower and get dressed they can do it being calm and mindful. This person heads out the door grabbing everything they need, their lunch, their water bottle, their keys, their work items, and they calmly and easily make their way to the car. This person has left that was more than enough time to get to work on time and when they’re there, they have time to grab another cup of coffee, check in with friends, colleagues and people in the workplace. They’re able to set up for their day and when they’re ready they can begin their work in a calm, happy, mindful state. Because this person has started their day with solid rituals and their body knew what to expect, it means that this is the habit of how they feel and their brain naturally feels calm. Whatever else comes during the day, they approach in a more mindful, positive, vibrant way because they’ve allowed themselves to set this up right at the start of the day before they even leave the house.

So, thinking about these two examples, how do you start your day? What are your morning rituals? Do you have any morning rituals? Maybe you’ve never thought about this, and this is OK, but now you have read this article, ask yourself, how do you want to start your day? What changes could make? Maybe start with not pressing snooze three times? Maybe get things ready the night before? Maybe it’s starting the day with a drink that’s going to energize your body; some hot water with lemon or a cup of green tea and following that with some journalling or some goal-setting or just a few deep breaths.