This is a collaborative blogpost by Erin Luong and I along with a few ideas from friends. As mental health educators we believe that a focus on our mental health and well being is foundational to all education. It is impossible to focus on academics if students are not feeling secure. We believe it’s important to intentionally embed a focus on well being into every lesson with young people. All of us need to use positive self talk and coping strategies to feel better . We can all do one thing a day that will help us cope during this unprecedented time.
Hoping some of these tips help you start the day as an educator. You can post a tip for the day using Canva or just text your student the tip to start their day. As an educator I am sure you can find many creative ways to use this as you move online.
Just for today I will start and end my day in a positive way.
Just for today I will remember that I am ok and all will be well with the world.
Just for today I will be proud that I stayed home and did my part to help.
Just for today I will be grateful for all the front line workers that are helping us.
Just for today I will celebrate our shared humanity.
Just for today I will head outside and let the sun hit my face. I will take some fresh air breaths and listen, it may sound quieter and more peaceful than usual. I will think about what I hear, how the sun feels on my face and how those deep breaths make my body feel. Susan Fueller
Just for today I will send some positive intentions out into the universe.
Just for today I will think of ways to make the world a better place.
Just for today I will learn to say I love you in as many languages as I can think of.
Just for today I will post a positive message in my window and or use sidewalk chalk to write a message for others in my neighbourhood to see.
Just for today I will connect with two people that lift my spirits.
Just for today I will write or talk about one thing I am grateful for no matter how small. Helen MacKinnon
Just for today I will remain hopeful.
Just for today I will look back at old photo albums and tell stories from the past which made me who I am today.
Just for today I will look in the mirror and recognize that I have a purpose for being here.
Just for today I will make sure I am moving my body for at least 30 minutes.
Just for today I will be kind to my mind.
Just for today I will have an eye staring contest. Juliana Miller – MacPherson
Just for today I will tell the people that I care about that they matter to me.
Just for today I will not worry about what is in it for me, I will think only about what I can do to help out in every situation. Gail White
Just for today I will dress in my favourite colour and eat my favourite food. Laurel Hunt
Just for today I will listen to one of my favourite songs and sing along. Leena Booth
Just for today I will say I am courageous, strong and can make a difference.
Just for today every time I wash my hands I will tell two silly jokes and laugh. Karen Hudson
Just for today I will talk about helpful and unhelpful worries with an adult.
Just for today I know that I am safe and I can control my thoughts.
Just for today I will wish upon a star.
Just for today I will remember that challenges can be opportunities.
Just for today I will go for a walk and notice all the beauty around me.
Just for today I will remember that all my feelings are ok. It’s ok to be scared etc.
Just for today I will remind myself that just because I made a mistake doesn’t mean I am one.
Just for today I will stay strong and well.
Just for today I will share my favorite song/poem and we can sing or say them together or to each other. Sheri Edwards
Just for today I will not give up.
Just for today I will ask God to get me through today.
Just for today I will look at one way I can see the opportunities because of the challenges of today.
Just for today I will reevaluate my priorities and tell someone what I think.
Just for today I will let go of any thoughts that don’t help my peace of mind.
Just for today I will remember not everyone reacts to events in the same way. I will be positive today.
Just for today I will remember that I am loveable and capable.
Just for today I will take a break from watching or listening to any alarming news.
Just for today wear my clothes inside out and walk backwards. ( Laura Cormier)
Just for today I will take care of my mind by listening to some soothing music.
Just for today I will do one activity that I love and enjoy.
Just for today I will check in with my parents and/ or grandparents to bring a smile to their day.
Just for today I will find a calm space just for me.
Just for today I will write about my feelings in a journal.
Just for today I know that I can deal with life’s difficulties.
Just for today I will smile often.
Just for today I will say to myself I can cope with this uncertainty.
Just for today I will draw out my worries.
Just for today I will talk to an adult about what is concerning me.
Just for today I will visualize my safe place ( a beach, being with my favourite friend , playing and singing in the rain).
Just for today I will do more of what makes me happy.
Just for today I will find two ways to distract myself if I start to catastrophize.
Just for today I will let go of anything that upsets me.
Just for today I will reassure myself that all will be well with the world.
Just for today I will calm my wandering mind by doing something that is fun.
Just for today I will unwind by taking time out of my day to draw, paint, sing, dance or play a game I love.
Just for today I will read a book for 15 minutes for pleasure.
Just for today I will be easy on myself.
Just for today I will look for solutions.
Just for today I will talk kindly and gently to myself just like I would my best friend.
Just for today I will watch a funny movie or talk to a funny friend. I know laughter will help.
Just for today I will remind myself that I matter.
Just for today I can journal for 10 minutes.
Just for today I will open my heart to new ways of thinking and doing.
Just for today I will spend some extra time with people I love.
Just for today I will use my imagination to imagine the best that can happen.
Just for today I will remind myself of one good thing I can do for the world.
Just for today I will love with all my heart.
Just for today I will tell myself that life can be tough sometimes , but so am I.
Just for today I will say I am strong, I am kind and I can do anything I make up my mind to do.
Just for today I will recognize that I cannot change the circumstances, but I can change my reaction to it.
Just for today I will practice breathing deeply.
Just for today I will write 3 things I am grateful for.
Just for today I will look at some old pictures and think of the positive memories of that time.
Just for today I will make something new.
Just for today I will create a song, a piece of art , a new recipe, or something I have always wanted to create.
Just for today I will take a picture of something that brings me joy.
Just for today I will lift someone else’s spirits.
Just for today I will spread some kindness and love in the world.
Just for today I will make hot chocolate and eat my favourite cookie.
Just for today I will write a love letter.
Just for today whenever I find myself thinking negative I will challenge those thoughts.
Just for today I will reach out to someone who needs it.
Just for today I will jump for joy.
Just for today I will start a blog, a vlog or share something that makes the world a better place.
Just for today I will share at least 2 jokes with others.
Just for today I will connect with someone from a different generation than I am, to learn more about how they see the world.
Just for today I will try a new recipe from a different culture.
Just for today I will learn to make a friendship bracelet.
Just for today I will collaborate with a friend on a project to make the world a better place.
Just for today I will make a playlist of songs which inspire me.
Just for today I will play a board game with my family.
Just for today I will make a short video.
Just for today I will try a zoom chat with friends.
Just for today I will focus on what I need.
Just for today I will share something I am passionate about.
Just for today I will tell my colleagues and friends how much I appreciate all they do.
Just for today I will reach out to see if I can help someone else in the world.
What is your Just for Today ? Please share with us so we can share with educators from around the world.
I don’t often get very nervous, but last night as I co-moderated #scchat , I was very nervous because I wasn’t sure I could keep up with the pace of the chat. My role was posting the questions in a timely manner. I knew there was a team around me and leading the way and I felt happy about that. They were outstanding! Thanks to Erin Mason, Laura Ross, Alicia Oglesby, Cynthia Morton , Caroline Lopez- Perry, Shay Reynolds, Vernice Jones, Chloe Benjamin , Joanne Norris, Kelly Wright and as always Erin Luong helped to help people feel connected.
My dear friend Erin Mason @ecmmason led the way knowing that this chat could connect us and validate our collective concerns and I believe that happened. There is much for us all to learn going forward , but yesterday in #scchat for about an hour and a half I lost myself . It was as if I didn’t have a care in the world I left all my worries behind . I had to focus and that I did. Well if you call watching 1138 tweets fly by focusing I guess I did.
Loved seeing all the newcomers and the willingness to help each other.
Today I am grateful for all of the online connections and most of all friendships that I have made. School Counsellors are passionate people who really care about the next generation of youth. Their willingness to share gives me great HOPE.
None of us expected this (a global pandemic ) and even for those of us in the field of helping others, it does bring some anxious feelings so imagine what our youth are feeling.
Schools in Calgary are closed for an indefinite period, maybe even until September. So educators and School Counsellors will be looking for ways to support their students using technology ( so grateful to #etmooc for giving me the ideas, confidence and tools to help ) . As a retired School Counsellor there are ways I can help online and I plan to work with my fellow colleagues across the borders in #scchat to do so. As always thanks to Erin Mason @ecmmason for your leadership.
Please join us in this chat as we explore ways to help each other. that’s 6:30 pm MT
I have many resources that I am always willing to share from a school counselling perspective. I am thinking of all school counsellors across the world this week as you find ways to continue to champion and connect with your students. Find us in #scchat and we’d be happy to help.
RESOURCES: I am hoping some of these may assist you
Counselling Resources in Calgary can be found here
For Teachers and Students Personal Wellness binders can be found here
For mental health resources 18 plus look here or maybe you need a chill playlist for teens or just a fun little spinner for some positive thoughts or maybe you just need some motivational messages.
Exercise is one of the best ways to destress. I know I plan on getting outside and walking as much as possible in the next while. Maybe you will want to #walkalongwithme , virtually that is as I’ll be social distancing and thinking of ways to be helpful in this unprecedented time what about you?
It will most definitely get your mind thinking of the many ways you can work together and in the end help you to serve your students and community . I think we can never underestimate the power of collaboration. We are definitely #bettertogether. I look forward to hearing the many ways you have collaborated. Please do share.
“There are scores of people waiting for someone just like you to come along, people who will appreciate your compassion, your encouragement, who will need your unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because you took the time to share what you had to give.” Leo Buscaglia
This week I am fortunate to attend the Inspiring Leadership Form at The University of Regina. I look forward to listening to women who have had many challenges in life and turned them into opportunities to learn and grow and inspire young women to take leadership roles at an early age. As Dr. Vianne Timmons says to make sure we surround ourselves with others who lift us up.
Presently, I am running a leadership group for a group of grade five students. I recognize that in order for them to take on leadership roles, I must model positive leadership and expose students to as many leadership opportunities as I can at an early age.
Being a leader isn’t always easy. It involves being brave, having courage, love , hope, passion, risk, self awareness, strength and trust among many other qualities. Sometimes it means having a thick skin, not allowing negativity to stop us from reaching higher. Having a growth mindset helps young leaders learn that failure is not a bad word. It is how we learn and grow and gain the strengths to be positive leaders in many ways throughout life. We each have a role to play in being leaders.
As School Counsellors we are in a unique position to not only model leadership , but to provide opportunities for students to thrive as leaders of today and tomorrow who are advocates and not afraid to become the kind of people they are meant to be … not perfect, but full of potential helping to make this a better world.
Collaboration and connecting with other leaders will help us to find our voice and be the kind of leaders our young people need.
Inspiring leadership begins with me and I hope with you too.
As a School Counsellor you have many roles to play and from personal experience I know sometimes we get caught up in all the daily things that need to get done . So just for today why not aim for improving the lives of your students and better yet why not look for ways to improve your own life. Amy Fast @fastcrayon says , “we don’t do what we do in schools to get good results/ data. We do what we do to improve the lives of humans. Good academic results are the byproduct. If we only aim for data, we may not succeed in improving lives. But , if we aim for improving lives the data will always follow“
First let me start with a few questions.
What are ways you feel hopeful that you can improve the lives of your students and instil hope?
How do you help those that are struggling academically, socially or emotionally?
How do you educate the mind and the heart?
How do help students love learning and life ?
How do you help students live positively as a good citizen in their community and in the world?
How do you build healthy meaningful relationships with students and help them to do the same?
How do you help students feel a sense of belonging?
How do you assist students in finding their purpose and passion?
How do you help students make better choices?
How do you create a spark in a child’s eye so that they can become the people they are meant to be?
How can you make a difference in the lives of the students you serve, academically, socially, emotionally , physically and spiritually?
How can you collaborate with others to improve the lives of students so that they know how much they matter and can be successful in school and in life?
Reflection makes us all better and in the end it not only helps us improve our own lives, but also the lives of those we work with. Let’s start with you and your worth and then let’s move on to students. How can you improve your own life? :
If you take good care of yourself you will be better able to assist students in improving their lives. Every day you as a School Counsellor reach out to help make students lives better. Keep doing the amazing work you do every day and keep on reflecting. As a Professional School Counsellor you can and do make an impact and a difference every day in oh so many ways.
You have them , I have had them. You know that student that you had no idea you had such an impact on, but they let you know years later. Sometimes 36 years later as I did two years ago. A young man came into the office at the High School I was working in at the time. He wanted to see me to tell me how I had influenced his life. He had googled me and tracked me down because he wanted to tell me his story . I am grateful he did as I would have never known that I had affected his life in the way he let me know I had.
I have been blessed with letters and notes from students who have told me they believed I had saved their life. It is an honour and privilege that they believe something I said or did had impacted them in such a positive way. More often than not we don’t get these notes, calls or letters and we may not know the impact we have had on students. Not because we did not , but because the person may not have put their thoughts to words for whatever reason.
A couple of days ago one of my best friends who is also a retired School Counsellor , got one of those notes from a student whom she had known 18 years ago. The note was from a young woman reporting she was now happily married with two children , She told my friend that she was the reason she was alive, happy and successful today. She let her know it was World Suicide Prevention Day and that maybe my friend would like to know the impact she had on her life when she was in High School.
The woman had tracked my friend down on Facebook and felt compelled to write her the beautiful moving, heartfelt note (I’m purposefully leaving out the details, but trust me we both cried a lot reading it) . Of course she had no idea that particular student felt that way. So what a gift it was to receive a note like this. It is truly why we do what we do choosing to be in education.
If one young person is impacted in this way by what we have said or done, then our years of dedication to a career we have loved is all worth while. We both agreed that we were so fortunate to work in schools with amazing young people and feel truly blessed to have had a career we both were passionate about.
So many still do not fully understand what a School Counsellor does behind closed doors, but know and trust that you need to keep doing what you are doing as a School Counselor wherever you are in the world. You can never know the impact you can have. Small gestures and words can matter.
The effect you have as a School Counsellor is not always measurable , but that does not matter. What you say and do everyday does.