Taking Time

All photos by @sspellmancann

How often do we take time to notice all the beauty that surrounds us? I take the same walk many times throughout my week, but each day I see something new. Change isn’t always easy, but if we look at change as seeing things from a different perspective, then maybe we will embrace it even more. Although the thought of change can be scary, it can also be exhilarating. So just for today I will take time to embrace change.

Focus On The Good

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

It’s so easy during this time to focus on all the bad, however I choose not to. I skip by all the negative news. Oh yes, I do peek at it every now and then, but I don’t stay focussed on it.

If we look for the good we are bound to find it. I love when I hear good news of a wedding or a new baby or that someone’s operation turned out better than they thought. Often times I focus on the small things that I am grateful for. I can walk, see, hear, love, develop friendships, read, dance, sing, and breathe without much effort. There are so many things I can do that others are not able to and I do not take that for granted.

I can focus on the good in every young person I encounter. They have so much potential so much good left to be discovered.

Don’t get me wrong I am no pollyanna, I do sometimes get stuck on the negative, but I never live there long as I know how unhelpful it is. So just for today I chose to focus on the good.

Growing Up By The Sea

It gets harder and harder to leave a place I love, leaving behind so many friends and family for yet another year. Being near the water brings me such a sense of peace, except when there is an expected hurricane of course, but that doesn’t happen very often.

I loved growing up near the sea. I love being near, listening to the sounds of the water and just looking out and observing the ever changing Mira River. I am connected to the beauty and the people here and each year I need to let go and go west. The coming and the going like the flow of the ocean, is what I am meant to do.

As I head back west I look forward to that chapter as my family and friends there too. I am connected deeply to both places. Fortunately for me I had the joy of growing up near the sea and can keep coming back.

Maintaining connections with great friends although I moved so far away so long ago, has allowed me to feel like I belong.

Growing up near the sea will always be a part of me.

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Making Memories in Public Gardens

When in Halifax a visit to the public gardens is a must. It was always one of my favourite places and my mom’s too, so I took her there today. We strolled along at a much slower pace, but got to enjoy the beauty that surrounded us.

Spending Quality Time With Mom

My mom is a trooper given all of her physical challenges, I am so grateful to have this time to spend with her as soon enough I will be thousands of miles away for another year..

Art is Therapeutic

Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life

Pablo Picasso

I love painting. In the last while I have grown to love working with inks and alcohol. I love the vibrancy of the colours and the way I feel when I splash away and see what happens.

What joy it brings me to be in the state of flow on a regular basis. I wish that for you too. We could all use a little therapeutic bath right now. Try doing a little art and see what happens.

A Little Appreciation

There are a lot of people at work in schools right now doing some pretty amazing things. They are tired, overworked, feeling a multitude of emotions and often underappreciated for what they do. If you are a principal, supervisor, superintendent or someone who has a team working with you, take time to appreciate them. My challenge to you is to carve out 5 minutes to ask them how they are and tell them how much you appreciate them and what they are doing during this time. It matters. A little appreciation goes a long way.

It’s Never Too Late

As I enter this new chapter in my life I am making an extra effort to take care of myself physically. I have hired a personal trainer hoping to kickstart a stronger me. I have always been physically active having played sports like hockey, basketball, volleyball, baseball, ringette and more most of my life. I played lacrosse up to the age of 60. I still play pickleball which is my new love, but I have never done much in the area of weight training. As I age I know I need to ensure my body and mind are strong.

I am constantly looking at ways to improve my life and next month I begin focusing on this new area of my story, hoping a personal trainer will kickstart me off in a positive way.

I do many things that help me including my involvement in Second Chants an adult show choir.

I paint on a regular basis.

I volunteer with Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre, Online with School Counsellors and #scchat, Be My Eyes ready to help those with visual impairments.

I walk almost every day.

Keeping active, volunteering and working with adolescents all keep me positive and healthy. It is never too late to start something new, so keep moving forward as we all journey through this pandemic in the best way possible.

School Counsellors Are There To Help

School Counsellors are trained professionals who understand child development, often with Masters degrees in Counselling or more, who partake in ongoing professional development and extensive mental health training . They know school culture and how the education system works, making them readily able to help youth in an effective manner.

Often the first place students present any concerns are in schools because that is where they spend so much time. The educators get to know students well building trusting relationships. School Counsellors have the whole child in mind with access to a comprehensive background regarding the students history in school, so are often able to make decisions collaboratively in the best interest of students.

If you are a new teacher and have never accessed your School Counsellor , please do so. They are there to help you help the student. When all work together to help our youth it is more likely to make a difference in the life of a child. Now more than ever we must do all we can together to help.

Empathy Chats

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

School Counsellors -> Students -> Families ->Staff

We all need a little empathy at this moment in time. School Counsellors are a key player in providing these chats with students , families and the staff in their schools. Harvard offers some great tips on how to build empathy in your schools

Administrators->School Counsellors

I had a very wise administrator who once said to me that my job was to look after the students his job was to look after me. We all need support at this time. It is a give and take. All of us need a supportive person in our corner.

Let’s be intentional in supporting one another.

We can all :

Be positive in our interactions

Help others feel understood

Make people feel heard. You can use these creative approaches.

Teach empathy lessons

Utilize some empathy exercises with students

Validate their feelings

Work towards solutions

Together we will make this a better year for all by demonstrating empathy.