Mindfulness Practices For Ourselves and Our Students

Connie Morris - Budding Yoga

B.A., Elementary Education, M.A., Special Education (Autism), 200hr RYT, Certified Children's Yoga Teacher, Mindfulness Training


This past school year has been like no other. We have shown resilience, life-long learning, and stepped up even though we were not always sure where it would lead us! But we did it, with courage, love, and dedication. Now, it is time to relax and recharge as we get ready to return and be there for our students and families.


The idea of taking time for ourselves may seem like a luxury, even selfish, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is personal, a necessity and it is created through priorities and boundaries. It requires space, time, and opportunity. It is a mindset, a gradual rewiring of the brain, and begins with mindfulness and self-awareness.


Make it personal! Just like our students, we have different preferences, interests, needs and strengths. Begin by making a list of your priorities: what you need and want to do each day? Try not being judgmental about your thoughts, just list whatever you think of. Once completed, it is important to use your priority list as you create a self-care plan. When we talk about wellness, we need to consider the body, mind, and heart. Think about the word CARE. Each letter brings our focus to a necessary component of self-care: Centering, Arts, R&R, and Exercise.


·         Centering is about the heart, your very being. Breathing exercises, showing gratitude, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, prayer, journaling and stretching are activities that can center us and give us focus.

·         Arts brings out the creative side of us. Ideas such as healthy meal planning, cooking, painting, coloring, playing an instrument, gardening, sewing, writing, or photography can give us purpose and peace.

·         R&R is an aspect of our lives that cannot be overlooked. Sleep requirements should absolutely be considered here. In addition to sleep, allowing our body and mind to rest and relax can be accomplished in so many ways. Sitting by a tree or on a beach, listening to music, enjoying nature, taking a nap, reading, or doing a puzzle are a few relaxing ideas. Doing nothing is fantastic too, so consider the possibility of embracing simply being bored!

·         Exercise is any movement. Walking, running, swimming, dancing, sports and games, biking, hiking, jumping rope, calisthenics, and boot camps are just a few ideas.

Choosing activities in each area of wellness will help create a holistic plan. Making choices using your own preferences will allow for a more personal plan. Using your priority list will provide for a more successful plan. For example, if your priorities are walking, family time and healthy meals, why not walk to the store together and grab a few necessary groceries before cooking and eating? Take small steps, making slight changes throughout the day. Soon, you will grow new habits you will be sharing with your students and family.


To create more time for priorities, reduction of and/or elimination of non-priority activities may have to occur. Therefore, boundaries are incredibly important not only to set but to hold firm. As role models to our students, families, and coworkers, we need to take care of ourselves, too. Studies have supported stress is contagious, but so is a smile. Let’s commit to sharing smiles more often, caring for our own health as well as others, and finding mindful moments throughout the day so we can build a healthy and supportive school environment.


Posted in School Health, Special Education and SH Special Education Today Newsletter