Sunday, April 8, 2018

Personal Well-being and the Blame Game

This year I’ve come to a real revelation about personal well-being that is probably common sense to many people. 

In essence- we cannot blame or expect anyone else to take responsibility for our wellbeing- we are truly responsible for that ourselves.

It’s really easy to say we don’t have enough time to exercise or the resources  to eat properly.
But that’s a choice we are making about our own priorities. No one else has that power over those priorities unless we give them that power. 

The Eleanor Roosevelt quote No one has the power to make you feel inferior without your consent jumps to mind there. 

My plan for myself this year is all about simplicity. You can read about that here

In education we work in a stressful human dense hot bed of complexity. It is easy to start drowning in this unless you get your head above it. It is easy to say if only students or whānau or our colleagues or our leadership do this then my wellbeing will be so much better. Where is our own responsibility in this? 

This year I’ve tried meditation, mindfulness and flotation therapy as tools to help with this. But actually those are tools not actual self care. The real self care and personal wellbeing sits in your head. And sits in every action you take every day, not the actions you take when you have to squeeze in the time for a commercial piece of consumerism self care.

Someone I really respect for their professional and personal knowledge and recently posted this article about personal wellbeing on Facebook and it really resonated with me. 

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice build a life you don' tneed to regularly escape from.  
If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.

I am lucky to have friends and mentors in my life who call out negative self talk for what it is and make me stay real about taking responsibility for my own wellbeing rather than lay blame for it anywhere or with anyone else. When I was stating to feel like I was drowning a little recently a really simple message from a friend made a huge difference: "Let love out, let love in." 
How simple but how real?

And those six words reminded me that it is all about my headspace not about what other people are doing or saying. The heaviest thing in my mind can be me, and therefore the lightest thing in my mind can also be me. The thing that can stop me can also be the thing that frees me. Those six words were enough for me to remember I had the power to not feel like I was drowning. That I was responsibe and no-one else.

I am proud to work in a school environment where we highlight this with one of the statements in our job description being “Take ownership and plan for your own well-being -Be aware of and take care of your own hauora"

The fact this sits in our job description is a testament to the importance we place on managing ourselves for o=all our people- not just our students.

If we cannot stand up and do this for ourselves- not as a treat or a special occasion-  but in an ongoing regular way then how can we possibly inspire this in the young people we work with and for? We want them to learn to do for themselves and therefore we need to do for ourselves, every day in small and big ways, not as one off initiatives or indulgent treats.

It's how we treat ourselves, inside and out every day that really matters, and will ultimately matter to the young people we serve if we want anything to change for them.