The Little Things Are The Big Things For Me

Two years ago I started on a journey , I made a goal of walking every day for at least one half hour. I knew if I focused on the little things I could achieve, I would reach my goal. I knew if I walked 15 mins. in the morning and 15 minutes at night that was a goal I could achieve. I walked every single day, sometimes for more than a half hour and am very proud to say that I achieved my goal despite many obstacles.

On July 1st of last year I set a new goal. My dad had passed away on June 30th, his 4th heart attack and my mom was left on her own with health and mobility concerns, so I knew I needed to be as strong and as healthy as possible so that I could enter my senior years focused on being well physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I want to leave my children a legacy that their mom did everything she could to take care of herself. I set a new goal to record what I ate every day and to eat as healthy as possible. Again I am so happy to say that I achieved my goal. This year I walked longer and more but I missed days because of unavoidable circumstances. I am happy to say it has become a part of what I do and who I have become.

For July 1st 2020 – July 1st 2021, I plan on writing in my blog daily, even if it is only a very short post. It’s an opportunity to share some of my thoughts so I can reflect in the hopes that someday my children may read if they choose to.

My July – July goals work for me. Going into the summer is a great time to focus on what I want to do in the upcoming year. I take each day as it comes and am happy to focus on the little things. For me the little things are the big things. With Covid 19 coming into all of our lives this year, focusing on my well being was more important than ever. Later today I will go on a second physically distanced walk with another friend of mine. Walking and talking , noticing the little things brings such joy. On my earlier walk I saw the beautiful rainbow above. If I never walked outside I would not get to enjoy this little thing, which is a big thing for me.

Are You Really Living?

In 1999 I thought I had breast cancer. I got the dreaded call that I had a mass in my breast and I would need to have a biopsy to find out if indeed I did. Being a very optimistic person, I thought well if I do I do. I can’t change what has happened , but I can decide how I will respond to it. From the moment I got the call to my surgery date which was over a one month period , I did think about the possibility of having cancer every day. I wasn’t under the delusion that it couldn’t happen to me. For the most part I was living as best as I could making the most out of my life. When the surgery was over and the results came in a week later, it was discovered I only had a fibroadenoma which was non cancerous and they removed it. I remember crying with relief vowing to even live life more fully than before.

I have experienced several deaths in my life including my first love, my roommate, my family doctor, my mechanic, my accountant, several friends, students, mentors and family members so I knew from a very young age to live life fully. I knew full well life could be cut short at a moment’s notice and I know many live with the truly sad reality that they could die at any time. Do I always live life fully? No, but I do my best to make the most out of each day. Living one day at a time is the best advice I have ever been given and often pass onto others. It sounds so easy , but is not always as easy as it sounds to do. I still work at this daily.

We can’t live in fear of dying. It will happen to us all someday. We can’t live in fear of coronavirus either. We can do all the things that we are supposed to as recommended by the health professionals and we should. We have a moral obligation, a responsibility to society and our family to do so. So go ahead and live life fully whatever that means for you. No, at the present time we can’t be around many of those we love and care about, but we can make the best of the situation we are in. Am I perfect at this?  NO. Have I had moments of sadness , fear and a multitude of other feelings?  YES, but just for today I am going to really LIVE. What about you?

HOPEFUL THOUGHTS

You have a purpose don’t ever forget it.

What has this pandemic given you the opportunity to do ?

How can you grow today? What can you learn? What are you supposed to do today that is meaningful?

Feel all the feelings and journal away.

Compassionately listen to others.

Find ways to be in the flow.

What are the possibilities during this time?

How can you live and love fully during this time?

What can you be open to at this challenging time?

Find people places and things to appreciate even if they are online.

Tap into music, writing or art or whatever brings you true joy.

How can you contribute today?

Demonstrate your humanity.

Live love laugh …

Reach out … there is always someone who has had more difficult challenges than you or I have ever had.

Think of all the HOPEFUL things you can say and do.

Counsellor Talk : Applying What You Know To Life

As a counsellor it is easy to share what might work . Practicing it and living it is the real test to functioning well.

Here are a few strategies and tips that I not only have recommended to others, but have used myself:

  1. Wake up each day and try a little self talk Just for today I will make this the best day for me. No matter what the situation is we can all cope with things a little better if we break things down in chunks.
  • Just for this minute I can
  • For the next hour I will 
  • Just for today I can 

If we just think about today , not yesterday or the future life gets a little easier . I use this as much as humanly possible. I can do most anything just for today. At the end of the day I remind myself to be grateful. I was able to do a lot of things much better just for today over the years.

  1. Journaling Writing down your thoughts is a good thing. It’s a great way to release how you are thinking and feeling. There are so many things to write about . It’s also a great way to understand your thoughts so you can challenge them when necessary. I have learned a lot about myself through journaling it’s a great way to self reflect.
  1. Step away and step it up We all need to step away from situations. Taking a little breather by going for a walk is something we all can do and yes you can fit it into your day. 15 minutes in morning and fifteen minutes in the evening . I walked every single day last year and was very proud of myself for reaching this goal. This year I am still walking a lot , but don’t feel the need to do it every single day. I play pickleball singing and dancing and moving as much as possible. Do whatever works for you , but exercise. It is the best wellness tip and walking is free.
  1. Social connections They are vital to my wellbeing. I have cultivated and still do my friendships with people. They matter to me. Find ways to be a good friend daily and recognize you are never too old to have new friends in your life. Stay open and let others be there for you as well as being there for them. Surround yourself with positive people and let go of the negative people who do not help or support you.
  1. Spend time taking care of yourself When you help others sometimes you let go of taking care of yourself, I know I do. So take back you and nurture yourself like you would others. Treat yourself with tender loving care.
  1. Take time to talk to a counsellor We all need a little support now and then. I know I have. It is OK to reach out to a counsellor or therapist. It takes strength to talk about what’s really bothering you. Having an impartial listener to help eases some of the burdens we all carry around so reach out.

It’s not always easy applying what you know works in life , but the benefits are there for the taking so just for today try one thing that you already know works for you and apply it. Your day might just get a little brighter and you’ll see the world just a little differently. I know just for today I will.

Walk Along With Me

I am always looking for ways to improve myself, but this year I am on a mission as I fully recognize that I am aging and so are those around me. I lost my dad in June to his fourth heart attack. I recognize that he had extra time to live life after each heart attack that most people don’t get. However, his quality of life had diminished greatly. His final passing seemed to be a wake up call for me.

Life is fragile and I want to live my best life being fully mobile into my 70’s 80’s 90’s and ….

So NOW is the time to take care of myself. Yes, I know I should always put myself as my top priority on the healthy living list, but haven’t always done so. I have been very fortunate to have had a positive mindset waking up each day to look at the bright side of life ( I believe I was partly born this way ). The rest was who I chose to surround myself with and the hard work on my part to take care of my mental well being.

I have always been active physically. I have loved sports my whole life and continue to find ways to exercise. This past year July 1 st 2018- July 1 st 2019 , I walked every single day and I am very proud of this accomplishment. I walked even when it wasn’t the best time to walk. Through sickness and sorrow I found the strength to walk.

Starting July 1 st 2019 , I decided that I would set new goals to be the best me I can physically, mentally , and spiritually. So each day I am putting the focus on how I can reach my goals. I am keeping a journal every day so that I can track my progress. I plan on getting a personal trainer this fall making a commitment to myself to be free of any negativity that hinders my goals.

Thanks to those of you who walked along with me last year. It truly made a difference to me knowing that you were watching the videos that I posted on twitter. You are part of the reason I was able to accomplish my goal, it made me accountable for sure. This year although I won’t be posting near as often , I am still posting knowing that you will support me as I work at living my best life.

I thought turning 60 would be hard and it was in some ways , but really I have so much to be grateful for. As I get closer to 61 I intend to make each day even better. I need to live my life to the full potential I deserve, being as healthy as I possibly can . So look out 61 here I come …

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.

 

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.

 

Who Matters?

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Who matters?

“Everything you do has an impact. Who you are – that you are – actually matters. In an interconnected world (the only kind we have), our actions and the actions of others are inextricably linked- we are always and forever in a dance of mutual influence with those with whom we directly and indirectly participate. It is the unavoidable reality of being social creatures, only magnified by an ever-increasingly complex and interwoven societal structure. We matter to each other.” – Paul Greiner

This sums up my feelings about so many people and about so many things. Today I sobbed as I viewed the faces of all those lost in the Vegas tragedy. They mattered to so many people and today they mattered to me even though I did not know them.

Life is truly fragile and I am ever reminded of this. I try very hard to live every day as if it is my last. Am I always successful ? No, but I really wish to live life as fully as I can, love those I can and let the people in my life that I am closest to know they matter. I don’t want to wait til someone passes away for them to know that they really matter to me.

So if you are one of those precious people in my life reading this , know that you do really matter to me and I am so grateful to have you in my life. So today and every day let others know that they matter and hopefully you too will see as Greiner says that in this complex interwoven societal structure we matter to each other.

Celebrating A Piece Of Me I Did Not Think Existed

Truly before #ETMOOC. I did not even believe I could paint, or draw or really do anything artistically. Now , I know that is not true. I just need to be me and let the fear of making mistakes go and just go with the flow.

This past couple of weeks some very close friends of mine have bought my work. I was very excited to see them in it!!!!

I did not do this for the money.I did it for the fun , the joy of creating!  My son told me about redbubble, (although a friend had told me about it earlier ). I thought if he thought it was cool then it must be and so and it is!

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Redbubble turns your paintings and drawings into dresses, prints, cups, shirts, bags, pillowcases and much more.

I am grateful that people even enjoy my Art . If you happen to be one of those please send me a pic!

 

The Heart of A Community

Our students always inspire me. I am so fortunate to work in a community that encourages creativity in all forms. The people I work with also give their heart and soul to all they do. Thanks to our wonderful Art teacher Sheila Stacey and Counsellor Erin Luong for collaborating on this fun project full of heart.

One of the innovative projects I am pleased to work on this year involves a collaboration between myself, another counselling colleague and our art teacher. BCHS Spectrum Club’s mission is to bring people together and spread a message of love and acceptance. Our aim is to educate and bring awareness to students while expanding our […]

via Heart of A Community: BCHS Students Fill Their Hearts — Erin Luong’s Reflections on Counselling, Education, Leadership and Technology