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Sustaining Our Best Self Through Thinking Actions

Teachers might not be the first responder for health, but they are the most important influence for life. Teachers can’t forget during these times of uncertainty that they need to maintain calm and lead by example. Model the behaviour you want for your students and community.

People look to teachers for guidance – students, parents and colleagues.

Understandably, teachers have added to their work stress the same as everybody else. It is the fear of change that is creating the extra burden.

We are hardwired to resist change – it's natural. Part of the brain – the amygdala – interprets change as a threat to the body and releases the hormones for fear, fight or flight. Your body is actually protecting you from change.

So how can we update our thinking so we can continue to sustain our wellbeing?

Here are 5 thinking actions you can embrace, simply.

1. The purpose has not changed.

The world may have gone pear-shaped in the past few weeks, but our purpose has not waivered. Revisit your purpose statement. Why do you get up each morning? What difference do you make by doing what you do?

More than ever students and colleagues require support and guidance. People look to those who articulate their meaning through actions. Having meaning drowns out the distractions.

2. Limit media exposure

The news is updating by the hour. The reality that we will be bunkering down in our shelters is imminent. Looking at the news every hour will not change the situation. Updating the negative bias in our life is not productive. Limit your news intake.

Once in the morning and once in the evening if necessary.

Spend productive time on the present challenges. Your students. Your best version of you.

And when retiring to the bedroom for a good night’s sleep, tuck your phone away in another room. The last thing you want to read before going to sleep is more doom and gloom that you can’t control. Use an alternate alarm method if necessary.

3. Switch the energy from unproductive to productive.

Worry through predicting the future based on media, extracts energy for no result. All we have is a head full of unhappy thoughts. This is lost productivity.

Utilise the same amount of time and energy thinking about what actions you can take to prepare for the future. What part of your world can you influence? What actions can you take to prepare for the future? How are you going to continue to support your students and their families? Focusing on your influence creates productive energy and positive thoughts.

4. Supportive language in, destructive language out.

According to a recent Huffington Post survey of 5000 subscribers, 80% feel a rise in their stress levels. We all need reassurance that the world will keep revolving and everyone can keep contributing. Encouraging others for their efforts, no matter how small, boosts confidence and reduces cortisol (stress hormone). Look for the good in people’s actions. This will be difficult as we are programmed to look for the negative bias. But tough times calls for tougher changes. Check your language for positive language not negative. Remember the 5 to 1 ratio – 5 positives to 1 negative.

5. Write and say three things you are grateful for.

Start the morning with 3 things you are grateful for. Every day is a new beginning. Start it with what you have not what you want. Who are you grateful to know? What talents are you grateful for? What procession are you grateful to own? Whose love are you grateful to have? The list goes on. Being grateful trumps being envious any day.


1. Revisit purpose

2. Media limit

3. Influential productivity

4. Positive language

5. Gratefulness

You have got this.

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