This week I am super excited to share with you my online friends, Kailey and Josianne- the ladies behind Educalme. They are the go to gals for practicing mindfulness in the classroom.
We met, as all good online friends do, through Instagram! We have both been featured on each others podcasts, written guest posts for each other, and support each other in this online entrepreneurial world! (I’ll link to them all down below.)
Teaching is stressful and I wish I would have known more about mindfulness before I stepped out of the classroom. So I had Kailey and Josianne write up some practical ways you can practice mindfulness in the classroom at the start of a new year, and throughout.
Mindfulness in the Classroom
You know that feeling when it’s time to go back to school, you feel calm and grounded after an awesome summer holiday, and you’re so energized just thinking about which little souls you’ll get to know and love this year?
Isn’t it the best?
You know the feeling when you’re halfway through the year, in the middle of report cards, frantically trying to get evaluations and testing done and feeling totally frazzled?
Isn’t it the worst?
Teaching comes with a lot of ups and downs.
We love teaching so much because we know we’re making a huge difference in our students’ lives! At the same time, there’s a lot on our plates and it feels like we could work 24 hours a day and still have a page of tasks to cross off our to-do list.
It’s easy to let ourselves get caught in the chaos of teaching, evaluating, marking, running extra-curriculars, etc.
What we need to remember during the busy times is that we DO we have a choice in how we allow ourselves to feel. We can intentionally choose to feel calm, balanced and joyful in and out of the classroom throughout life’s ups and downs.
How in the world is this possible?
The answer: Mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
We hear a lot about mindfulness these days and it can mean a lot of different things to different people.
For us, mindfulness starts as a formal meditation practice. Then, what we learn during our daily mindful meditation naturally seeps into all areas of our lives.
Our practice teaches us to be more self aware, to notice how we really feel in our bodies. This translates into becoming more aware of how the foods we eat and the activities we spend our time doing really make us feel. We then have the awareness that allows us to choose the things that really make us feel good.
Meditation teaches us to observe what is happening in the present moment. This translates to us slowing down and really appreciating the little moments of joy with our families, our friends and in our work.
Our daily mindfulness practice teaches us to observe our inner dialogue with openness and non-judgement. This allows us to become aware of any negative thought patterns we are stuck in so that we can compassionately choose better feeling, more loving thoughts.
Mindfulness teaches us to tune in to our own inner voice and let the pressures placed on us by others melt away. This has helped us to follow our intuition even if it is guiding us away from societal norms. We have become aware that having too much stuff in our homes stresses us out. We would rather have more openness in our space and keep only the items and the clothing that really bring us joy.
Meditation has many positive effects on us physically, mentally and emotionally and it has become our most cherished part of the day. When we practice daily, we see the effects extend far beyond the time we sit in silence.
How to Practice Mindfulness
First, find a quiet spot where you can sit without disruptions. Put your phone on airplane mode and the set a timer for 5 minutes. And if 5 minutes seems too long, make it 2!
Find a comfortable and alert seated position, and close your eyes.
Focus all of your attention on your breath, notice the feeling of your inhalation and your exhalation in as much detail as possible.
When you notice that your brain starts thinking of other things (which it will… we call this puppy brain!), without judgement, refocus on your breath. Every time you bring your attention back to your breath you are training your brain to appreciate the simplicity of the present moment.
Just like with any new exercise, this will not be easy in the beginning. But with time and practice, you will see that your concentration on the breath will improve and a sense of calm will follow.
If you would like to try a free guided mindfulness practice, we have one for you in our free resources section here.
You’re learning something new, give it time!
Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you begin this practice and think of it as a fun experiment in studying your brain and its habitual thought patterns.
You can’t be good or bad at meditation, it isn’t a competitive sport and you can’t win. If it’s hard to sit still, that’s ok! If your brain just won’t stop thinking, that’s ok too. If your emotions seem to amplify in the silence, that’s fine too. There is no right or wrong experience to have during meditation.
Observe whatever you experience during those couple minutes of quiet time with curiosity and openness. The idea is to get to know yourself better and to shine a light on the connection between the thoughts in your mind and the feelings those thoughts create in your body.
Make Meditation a Habit
Just like learning to read, meditation is a skill that develops over time. With practice, you will see that the skills you are learning during your seated meditation will spill over into other parts of your life.
One day you’ll catch yourself being less reactive in stressful situations or being able to keep your cool during high pressure moments. You may feel more compassion towards yourself and others and you will probably begin to appreciate the seemingly small moments of your life more fully and feel more gratitude in your day-to-day.
A great way to form a new habit is to make it an integral part of your daily routine and to always practice at the same time and in the same place. After a couple weeks, you won’t even have to think about it, you will just naturally go through the steps of sitting in your meditation spot and setting your timer.
We like to practice in the morning right after we brush our teeth. Now meditation is just part of our routine, wake up, brush teeth, meditate, get dressed, eat breakfast. Not meditating feels just as strange as leaving the house with morning breath!
If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness and how you can share this practice with the kiddos in your life, check out The Balanced Educator Podcast.
Remember that meditation is a time for you to practice feeling more love and joy and letting go of the thoughts and feelings that are clouding your natural state of wellbeing. Don’t make it another chore on your to-do list. Create a beautiful space for your practice, use soft enjoyable music or diffuse essential oils to help make meditation your favorite time of the day.
Take it a step further and bring mindfulness into your classroom.
If you enjoy this practice for yourself, try it out with your students too by clicking here!
As a result, teachers and students thrive in a calm learning atmosphere. The best part? There’s no prep required – a teacher’s dream!
About the Writers
When finding a balance between their teaching careers and their personal lives became challenging, Kailey and Josianne found mindfulness. They discovered calm and joy from this practice and naturally began teaching mindfulness in their classrooms. The amazing transformation they saw in themselves and in her students led them to co-founding Educalme. They create guided mindfulness practices and curriculum and co-host The Balanced Educator Podcast so that teachers can easily learn and share mindfulness in their classrooms with their students.
I am grateful for Kailey and Josianne for a lot of reasons. But today I am most thankful that they wrote a blog for me and I have one less to write this month- hah!
But in all seriousness, I am grateful they took the time to share these practices with my readers. If you found this post helpful I’d encourage you to go follow them and give a listen to these podcasts!
Until next time,
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