Walk Along With Me

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I have a couple of important goals this year and I plan on making my learning visible. This is not the typical Counsellor Talk post I write , but it is an important one … taking care of me and I’m inviting you along on this journey. Today is Canada Day and what better day to start walking my way to a healthier me while sharing and learning along the way.

IMG_0026I am making a commitment to myself to walk every day for 30 minutes for the next 365 days. Walking has always allowed me to think more clearly and I know I always feel better when I do. It may sound easy to many of you , but I don’t always commit to exercising every single day. without a break.   If I break it down into chunks 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at some other time in the day I know I can meet my goal. It isn’t easy to do this alone ( I miss my walking partners)  so that is why I am inviting you on my journey.

If you wish to send an encouraging word or a video or a message to me along the way feel free to do so. I turn 60 this September so I know I need to take better care of myself.  Taking care of our physical health is always important , but even more so as we age.  I have always been very good at taking care of my brain , but at times have not taken as much care of my body as I know I need to. This is my open way of sharing my commitment to myself. No excuses! It’s too cold , I’m too busy … on and on ! 365 days starting today … I can do it!

Won’t you walk along with me #walkalongwithme  and tell me what you have learned along the way?

How We Connect

 

How we connect is not always how we think we should connect. There is not always one way that we can connect, but for sure however we connect we need to be kind and generous , caring and real.

Finding ways to connect face to face in a positive way is a  great place to start. Learn to listen,  observe , engage , in as many ways that you can. Connecting with others takes time , be patient and recognize that just because you don’t necessarily connect with one person that does not mean you cannot connect with another person in a more meaningful way.

  • Be yourself

Recognize that those who you will become lifelong friends or partners with will accept you for who you are .

  • Face your fears 

Find ways to let go of your fears and start a conversation, ask questions or find what you have in common . You may do this both F2F and online.

  • Look beyond what you see

We are complex beings and if you give others a real chance to get to know them then you may find that they are so much more than what you first see.

  • Open your heart

Yes, you might get hurt, but when you open yourself to new friendships or relationships your world can open like never before and you are never the same.

  • All relationships are about give and take

Sometimes you will give more than your friend or partner does , but that is ok .  At some point in your relationship they may give more. It’s all about the give and the take.

  • Connecting today may take many forms

Not all connecting online is a bad thing. Connect in the right ways with the right people and you may discover you develop friendships and relationships that are rich and rewarding and could last a lifetime.

  • Trust your instincts

If you see red flags online or off trust those gut feelings and take action . Not all connections are healthy. Do you respect the other person ? Do they respect you? Do you know what a healthy relationship looks like ? Learn more here.

  • Work on yourself

Be the kind of person that you want a friend or partner to be. Being a good human being is a lifelong endeavour. Always reflect on who you are and who you want to be.

Finding and maintaining healthy relationships is often the key to much happiness in life. Connecting online or off in a healthy way can improve your life. Connecting in a negative way can ruin your life. Look forward to the many ways that you can positively connect with others throughout life knowing that true connections can lift you up making you a better and happier person.  How we connect with others truly matters .

 

 

Resources : Suicide Prevention

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in light of recent suicides here are some important resources :

Canada now has one toll free hotline

Canada’s toll free suicide prevention hotline: 1-833-456-4566 – chat & text 45645 / Quebec 1 866 APPELLE (277 3553) Crisis Services Canada

Hotlines and websites:

If you, or someone you know is struggling and at risk, here are support resources:

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

CANADAhttp://suicideprevention.ca/thinking-about-suicide/find-a-crisis-centre/ – select province/territory

U.S.NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE 1-800-273-8255 suicide prevention lifeline

USA crisis text line . Click here

WORLDWIDEbefrienders – enter country in search box at top of page

List of suicide crisis lines across the world Wikipedia Click here.

Check out this page Need to Talk.

Online support

at UNSUICIDE http://www.unsuicide.wikispaces.com/Online+Suicide+Help Click here.

Threats of suicide on social networks. Find out more information by clicking here.

Reporting concerns re: suicide:

Twitter

On Twitter Click here. and  here. 

Facebook

On Facebook Click here.

WordPress

On WordPress Click here.

YouTube

On Youtube Click here

Instagram

Click on  suicide and self harm prevention resources

Snapchat

Snapchat has a list of suicide prevention resources grouped by country.  You can click the  support form to report concerns.

More Resources for School Counsellors

  • School Counsellors Click here.
  • Mental Health Resources Click here .

Perseverance

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Who hasn’t felt like giving up at one point or another?  I know I have . It isn’t easy sometimes to do the things you want to do, but don’t feel completely ready. It isn’t easy to view failure as an opportunity . To push forward and never give up despite the odds sounds easier than it is. It isn’t easy to embrace the struggle, recognizing that no matter how long it takes you will still strive to move forward.

I love these pics taken today by the University of Regina President @ vianne_timmons .  They tell a real story that needs no words. Perseverance … it makes me never want to give up !

You can check out my haiku deck to see the pics more clearly … just click on the link in my tweet.

 

School Counselling Technology Collaboration and Making A Difference

I am grateful to work for a district that supports School Counsellors and School Counselling . Today I get the honour of presenting to my colleagues who make a difference every day. Thanks for all you do! You can find the link to my slide deck here.

School Counselling and Technology Collaboration the difference you can make

Canva is an amazing tool for School Counsellors. You are often the one to help organizes special events, make posters that are relevant to School Counselling , share ideas etc. Canva can help you create all the resources you need.

School Counselling and Technology Collaboration the difference you can make (1)

Twitter is one of the best resources there is for School Counsellors . You can connect with and share resources with other School Counsellors worldwide. Access is immediate and you never know what great connections you can make that help you be better at what you do.  You can follow the ATA of School Counsellors and the president of the Council @ehordyskiluong. Check out #scchat here . 

School Counselling and Technology Collaboration the difference you can make (2)

Teacher Pay Teachers is an inexpensive wonderful resource for School Counsellors. I did not always support this resource as I felt educators needed to share freely, but now I understand what hard work goes into making these resources and really they are very inexpensive for the work being done. School Counsellors why reinvent the wheel when it is already invented? Check it out on TPT .

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Haiku Deck : This is and always has been my favourite app to use for so many reasons. School Counsellors Put A Positive Spin On Your Day .School Counselling and Technology Collaboration the difference you can make (4)

APPS:  There are so many apps that can make a School Counsellors life easier. Here are just a few.

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RESOURCES: There are so many great resources and people are the best resource so get connected and share share share.  School Counsellor Online Professional Exchange is a resource that you won’t want to miss thanks @ecmmason for creating it! SCOPE 

School Counselling and Technology Collaboration the difference you can make

Check out :

Bridget Helms on pinterest .

Carol Miller on pinterest .

Susan Spellman Cann on pinterest.

Other School Counsellors on pinterest.

More resources on pinterest.

Blogging: There are so many fantastic School Counsellor Blogs. Each one is different ,but most have tips and resources you can use tomorrow. Creating your own blog can help other School Counsellors and students

School Counselling and Technology Collaboration the difference you can make (6)

 

 

 

Instilling an Insatiable Desire to Learn : How Do We Help Students Self- Regulate When It Comes To Their Cell Phone Use?

 

pexels-photo-994870.jpegHow do we instill an insatiable desire to learn and live life to the fullest while teaching students to self regulate when it comes to cell phone use?
Self – regulation is the process that the brain goes through that gives us the ability to control our behaviors and emotions in response to a particular situation. It’s having the skill to calm ourselves down when upset or in distress.

In this day and age all of us need to monitor how and why we use our cell phones. According to Dr. Stuart Shanker self -regulation is as much about regulating positive emotions as it is about down regulating negative emotions . Only when we are regulated can we self – regulate.

As adults we need to model self – regulation. There are several ways we attempt to soothe ourselves. some good , some not so good. The coping skills we use can help us or hurt us. If we want to help others then we need to model positive cell phone use and be able to share with others what we do and how we do it.

Self–evaluation is pivotal.  Evaluate your thoughts , feelings and actions when it comes to your cell phone use

• Be open … ask yourself is my cell phone use helping or hurting me or others?

Ask yourself …

  • Does my cell phone use lift me up or tear me down?
  • Is there ways to change my use of my cell phone so that I can feel better about myself?
  • Am I on my phone too much ? Do others notice and think I should change?
  •  Is using my cell phone too much stressing me out? If so how can I restore my energy? What do I need to do differently?
  • Am I getting enough sleep , exercise , and nutrition ? Acknowledge what you need to do to change.
  • Do I have a positive self –esteem? Am I using my phone because I know it will help me or hurt me?
  • Are my relationships in tact? Do I find many opportunities to connect F2F?
  • Am I more anxious , happy or sad because of my cell phone use?
  • Do I really need to use your phone right now or can it wait till later?
  • Am I on track with what I need to do or is my cell phone just a distraction for me right now?
  • Am I being mindful of what I really need to do ? Am I prioritizing what is truly important in my life or am I using my cell phone as an escape?

How to self – regulate when it comes to phone use:
• Try asking your friends and family for tips. What works for them?

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Try some of these tips.
• Keep phone on vibrate instead of listening to the constant ping of the phone. I have my phone on vibrate 99% of the time.
• Turn phone face down when not using it so you don’t look at it all the time.
• Put your phone somewhere not easily available when eating meals or at times that you know you need a break.
• Set times that you will use your phone and times you won’t ( I make it my rule that I never take my phone out while eating a meal or talking with someone) .
• Get involved … have a number of interests. It’s hard to use your cell phone while playing hockey or dancing or singing or a zillion of the other great things you can get involved in.
• Put your phone away at night and use an alarm clock instead so you can get a good nights sleep away from your phone.

Use Self- talk
• I do not need to be on my cell phone right now, it is not helpful.
• I can wait till later to use my cell phone because I need to be present to what is happening right now in this moment.
• I am proud of myself and the positive ways I use my cell phone

Journalling

pexels-photo-955452.jpeg • If cell phone use has become a concern  … journal what is happening for you.
• Journal all the positive ways you use your cell phone.

Meta moment
• Do you pause between being triggered and responding by being on your phone? Ask yourself is connecting leading to you feeling happy, sad, validated or invalidated, included or excluded?
• Ask yourself : How can I feel connected and close to others ? Is online the best way to do this at this time?

Positive Coping Strategies
• Make a list of yours and share it with your family and friends.

Stages of Change
• Ask yourself and be honest What stage of change am I in ? Ask yourself what is holding me back or moving me forward when it comes to my cell phone use ?
• Ask yourself … do I need help to get to where I want to go? If so your School Counsellor, Psychologist or a therapist can help you.

Reach Out
• To friends, teachers, your family, a School Counsellor . We all need a little support in order to self – regulate when it comes to our cell phone use. It is a strength to ask for help.

Maybe you need a little digital detox . It is more than ok to take a break from your phone. You decide what works best for you now that you have taken an honest look at yourself.

woman-happiness-sunrise-silhouette-40192.jpegOnce you have learned ways to help yourself , you maybe able to assist others with their technology use as well. Recognize that you are not perfect and will need to self evaluate often … I know I do.

So grow, learn and live the best possible life you can recognizing that technology has the power to help you or hurt you. What you do is up to you. I love my phone and I’m sure you do too. So let’s see if we can self-regulate to make ourselves and the world a better place. Maybe someday we’ll meet face to face and talk about how we did.

 

Why I Volunteer : Youth Champion Initiative

 

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I could not be prouder to volunteer with the Youth Champion Initiative . What the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre , Youth Smarts Calgary and Canadian Mental Health do to support our youth is inspiring and so extremely important. I love that I am able to help in a tiny way .  Kim Campbell and Ashley Lamantia  lead the way to help youth day in and day out. Thanks for all you do all year-long.

 

The real reason I volunteer for this initiative is that if I can help in some small way to promote the work that Sheldon Kennedy has already done and is doing to make a difference for youth, especially when it comes to child abuse and sexual abuse, then I too can feel like I have contributed . I can be very proud to stand up and say I have done my very small part to open the door to this discussion and be a part of the incredible work already being done. I can celebrate students and staff who also want to make a difference when it comes to child advocacy.

According to the SKCAC in 2008 there were 14,403 substantiated cases of child abuse in Alberta. 7091 infants , youth and children were seen at the centre and 124 new cases are assessed each month.

Mental health and trauma affect way too many of our students , so collaborating with people who are continuing to have an impact makes me feel I have contributed to a society that cares about the mental health and the wellbeing of our youth and that is something for me that is so worthy of doing!