Educator Wellness Podcast

Educator Wellness: Planning Your Summer for Personal Harmony

June 05, 2023 Scanlan Center for School Mental Health Season 1 Episode 8
Educator Wellness: Planning Your Summer for Personal Harmony
Educator Wellness Podcast
More Info
Educator Wellness Podcast
Educator Wellness: Planning Your Summer for Personal Harmony
Jun 05, 2023 Season 1 Episode 8
Scanlan Center for School Mental Health

During this episode, Dr. Ilana Nankin, CEO and Founder, Breathe for Change,  joins me in a conversation that offers information and practices for us to prioritize wellness and move into a space of personal harmony – which includes balancing the 8-dimensions of wellness. 

Thanks for listening! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Visit our website: https://scsmh.education.uiowa.edu

Show Notes Transcript

During this episode, Dr. Ilana Nankin, CEO and Founder, Breathe for Change,  joins me in a conversation that offers information and practices for us to prioritize wellness and move into a space of personal harmony – which includes balancing the 8-dimensions of wellness. 

Thanks for listening! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Visit our website: https://scsmh.education.uiowa.edu

(chill music)- Hello everyone, and welcome back. And my name is Kari Vogelgesang, and I am the host of the Scanlan Center for School Mental Health Educator Wellness Podcast. This is a podcast all about educator wellness and giving you tips and tricks, and practices, and having oftentimes intimate discussions about wellness and wellness practices that can, I hope, lead you down a path of wellness that takes you to this state of wellbeing that is very satisfactory for you, for your own personal goals and wishes and dreams. Today we have a really special guest. I'm almost like, nervous!- Oh, please.- And I'm not even kidding you about that. (laughs) So like, this is a very special person to me, and she kind of came into my life a little bit last summer, even though I didn't quite meet you last summer, Dr. Nankin. But then I spent a year with her going through Breathe for Change, which, I'm gonna have you unpack what Breathe For Change is. And when I learned about Breathe for Change and I learned about this, what I like to think of as a wellness program, a holistic wellness program that's designed specifically for educators, I was just like 100% on board. And we were able to come up with some funding to support a group of teachers here in the state of Iowa to go through the program. And we received really amazing feedback from all of them. And we hope we can keep doing that in future years. So, welcome. How are you?- I'm so good. I'm so, so happy to be here with you. It is such a delight, and I am just so excited for our conversation and also to talk to all y'all educators out there who are my favorite people on the planet. So, so, so grateful that we have this opportunity.- Yeah. You know, I got so used to seeing you every month.- I know! I miss you.- That I've been seeing you for a couple months and I know that when we're on those meetings then, like, you see hundreds of people, but it feels like, I'm in this like intimate space with you during that time. So it was so good to log in and to see your face today. So, welcome. So I'm gonna read just a little bit of a bio to kind of give everybody a little bit of background about who you are and why you're such a special person, particularly for educators, and I think particularly right now in the lives of educators. And we will talk about that a little bit more in a little bit. But Dr. Ilana Nankin is the founder and CEO of Breathe for Change, which we'll talk a little bit more about later, is an award-winning entrepreneur, teacher, educator, and former public school teacher committed to using wellness as a vehicle for healing and social change. And boy, is she ever. And her program that she designed is truly transformational. Ilana earned degrees in both psychology and education at UC Berkeley, and received her PhD in curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin. Although you're more of a Hawkeye than a Badger.(Ilana laughs)(laughs) I'm just teasing. Her dissertation revealed the critical connection between educator wellbeing and student learning, and the positive impact that wellness and social-emotional learning can have on teachers and students' lives. Inspired by her research, Ilana founded Breathe for Change, a movement on a mission to enhance the health and wellbeing of educators, students, and entire communities. It absolutely does. Breathe For Change offers the world's only 200 hour wellness SEL and yoga, yoga teacher training. And yes, I did it. (laughs)- You did it!- Specifically for educators, and provides wellness and SEL professional development for schools, school districts, and organizations. Since 2015, Breathe for Change has certified 5,000-- Actually it's now 10,000.- Oh my gosh! I'm gonna, actually, so that I have these accurate notes. 10,000 plus educators through their 200 hour training who are now positively impacting the lives and wellbeing of over, I mean, how many? like, that can be millions.- Two plus, yeah. Probably over 2 million students.- Yeah. Over around the country. Wow. I am so proud of you.- Thank you!- I mean, that is amazing work that you're doing for teachers.- Thank you so much. It's hard to believe, I mean, it feels like just a blink of an eye ago that I was like,"I'm doing this thing!" And it was my big vision and dream that was like, over, it was like eight and a half years ago. That I first had this idea, and here we are, and it's a movement that's all over the country and world, and just the ripple effects of wellbeing that are happening everywhere. It just kind of blows my mind every day and it's so humbling and so inspiring.- Yeah. It's just grown so much.- So, let's take like a few steps back. So you said, you know, it was like eight and a half years ago that you're like,"I'm doing this." So, what led you to that? like, what was going on in your life? Where did this start? like did you start thinking about this in high school and when you were in undergrad? like, when did this happen?- like, in utero with like my mom. My mom being an elementary school teacher, my grandma being a teacher. All the people in my life being a teachers. So I guess, I mean, it really started, I mean, when I was in third grade and I taught my mom's second grade class for the first time and I was like,"I'm gonna be a teacher." My mom's like, "Are you sure that's a good idea?" And I was like, "Yes." But so after, so I took education courses at UC Berkeley that were transformational for me. I ended up actually co-teaching education courses with a professor, and it was so inspiring and it just made me realize that I'm committing my life to education beyond college. So I ended up being a pre-K teacher in San Francisco Unified School District because I felt that it's so critically important to start with the little ones, because I saw how the social injustices and inequities happening in our education system and society just, it starts before kids even enter school. And so, that's where I felt called to start. I did the Teach for America program and I worked at a Spanish school, immersion school. And when I was teaching, I was stressed, I was overwhelmed, I was overworked like, most of us are. And that's when I first found yoga and these mind body wellness practices. And it just completely transformed my life and my wellbeing, personally. And I ended up integrating so many of these practices into my classroom with my kids just organically, and saw incredible transformations in them, both social emotionally, but then also academically. And I was like, "Hold on, world, something is happening here that needs to be further explored." So I ended up pursuing my PhD in curriculum and instruction, as you mentioned, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. So Bay Area, Cali girl headed to the Midwest. You know, like those winters are wild, but like, I survived, and I have a badge of honor, and I'm so proud. So I became a teacher educator in the program and, for my dissertation followed a bunch of the educators that I had trained and developed and was in love with into diverse classrooms all over the country and world. And specifically I was looking at how they would take up their ideals of social justice in action in their teaching. But what I ended up finding was that, similar to my own experience, across the board, these amazing educators who went into the field like, passionate to be in education for life, passionate about social justice and equity, were so overwhelmed. They were stressed, they were burning out so quickly, and that negative cycle of wellbeing was deeply impacting their teaching and their ability to fulfill in the social emotional needs of their students. And so as I was seeing how universal the issue of educator stress and burnout was through my research, and I knew it through my own experience as a teacher, I simultaneously had just gone through my 200 hour yoga teacher certification. You know, I had to like, get through those winters of Wisconsin and I was going back to my mat, you know, in tears like,"Can I get through this PhD? Yes, I can." And I needed to go deeper in my personal practice. So after I had gone through that training and got certified, the educators, the pre-service teachers that I was teaching in the university, found out I was a certified yoga teacher Thought it was the coolest thing ever. So they rented out space in the student union behind my back. They all like did this, like, went behind my back. They didn't tell me. And then they're like,"We rented out space for you on Mondays from 11 to 12 to teach us yoga in addition to our Thursday education classes. like, you're doing it." And I was like, "Okay." So that was the first time I ever taught yoga was like, to my own students, which was like really safe for me 'cause it's kinda like-- Oh, totally.- like going into a yoga studio with people I don't know. Oh my gosh. No way. So this felt like, really aligned for me and I was so inspired. So I started teaching them yoga and meditation and you know, all these different wellness practices each week. And then day after day, different educators would come up to me and it was like, all the time. And they would say things like, "Oh my gosh, Ilana, the kids who normally have anxiety attacks over tests are utilizing these breathing techniques that you taught us, and their test scores are improving." Or you know,"Students who are experiencing so much trauma in the home are learning how to breathe and regulate their bodies and, you know, just move and connect with themselves, and everything is improving." And I was like, "Okay, I see how universal the issue of educator stress and burnout is and how much that's impacting their teaching. And I also see how powerful these wellness, social, emotional learning and yoga practices can truly be for both educators and students' lives. Nothing's gonna stop me. I'm starting a movement." It's gonna enhance the health and wellbeing of our amazing educators, all of you listening and our students, and entire school communities. And that's when Breathe For Change was born. It was like late 2014 January, 2015, where it really, like, I got on the plane, like, I had a class with all my students. They're like, "Let's take this shit international!" And then on the plane to LA to like, tell my yoga teacher who had trained me, like,"You gotta help me 'cause I'm not certified to be able to lead this 200 hour on my own." like, I just got certified last year, you know? So I got the right team of people together and I was like,"We're not gonna start with like, a one hour professional development." That's not going to do it. The transformation that I believe is possible. We're gonna go big or go home. So I was like, let's do the world's only 200 hour wellness SEL and yoga teacher training that's specifically for educators and that supports them in being leaders of, you know, wellness in their school communities. And so, I called every educator I knew I knocked on doors, I got way more nos than yeses, but somehow managed to convince 34 teachers that it was this extraordinary idea to come to Madison, Wisconsin for this 200 hour thing that had never existed before. And it was absolutely life changing. like, as you had talked.- Of course.- I mean, these educators went through this transformative experience, like for their personal life, for their professional life. And they went back to their schools, their districts, their communities. And they, you know, started integrating SEL into all aspects of their instruction, and started yoga clubs, and mindfulness programs, and wellness initiatives, and family nights, you know, all the things, and the ripple effects were so huge. And so the next year I was like, "We're expanding. We're gonna go to the Bay Area." Which brought me home. And so we did our first Bay Area training at UC Berkeley, and then we also expanded to New York that second summer, and "Sesame Street" hosted us.- Oh my gosh, I didn't know that! Oh, maybe I did.- During my PhD, I had a fellowship at Sesame Workshop. Yeah, it was the coolest thing I ever did. And so I was really close to some of the leaders of "Sesame Street" and I was like,"I'm starting this thing, can we do it at Sesame?" And they're like, somehow I managed to convince them that was a good idea. So when the Real Elmo and Big Bird came, I was like, "Okay, we're onto something." like, keep going. So that year we certified 185 educators through our 200 hour training across three cities, and then 600 across six cities, or, yeah, across six cities the next year, and then 1100 across 11 cities. And then we kept growing and as you can imagine, the ripple effects in classrooms and schools everywhere was like, enormous. And then the pandemic hit. And so like every one of us, all of you, it's like there's a pre-pandemic life and then there's like, a pandemic slash, I don't know if it's post, like, whatever it's called. Post-2020 life. And so we were in the middle of five 200 hour trainings in, you know, New York, Chicago, the Bay Area, DC, I mean all over in the middle of, in, like, March, when March 2020 happened, we were like literally halfway through these trainings. And so when everyone was stuck inside, we just said,"You know, we're gonna bring these people onto Zoom, figure out how to just support them throughout this wild time and finish the training." And so in that same period, we obviously supported the educators who are currently in an in-person training into like, their graduation. But at the same time we're like,"This is a really big deal. like, the world is completely changing for educators and students. Oh my God." And so we kind of took a step back and I had everyone on my full-time team interviewing educators and administrators everywhere and just basically saying,"What do you need and how can we help?" And so after two weeks of hundreds of interviews, we came together and we realized that our training, the training you took was actually exactly addressing two of the most critical issues that people were bringing up, which was educator wellbeing, retention, stress, burnout, all that for educators, and then student mental health and social emotional learning. And so I was like, "Okay, let's just make our training as accessible as humanly possible for people now." And so we transitioned everything into the online space, which you experienced. And I'm so proud of the work that we've done. I honestly, like, in full transparency, I was like,"There's no way that it's possible to cultivate the level of community and connection and impact in the online space as what I'd experienced for years in person." And I was totally wrong. And I just, I think we figured out how to facilitate really vulnerable, inspirational, impactful experiences. And I would say that with the on-demand content that people have access to forever, it even adds more value.'Cause you can go back to these teachings whenever you want at your own pace. Whereas you're in person, you hear something once and then you maybe write it down, but like you don't get to see it again. So, I've actually seen like, benefits. Not just like, oh, it's the same level of quality, but I would say that I'm shocked at how effective the teaching and learning and pedagogy is in, you know, in Breathe For Change now, given the transition that we've had into the online space. And it's been so amazing. So, you know, two years ago, I think 2021 we certified like, 2,500 educators through the 200 hour. This last year, like almost 5,000. And we're continuing to grow. And then as you know, we also launched for our 200 hour grads who've been asking for more, who want more. We now have our 300 hour transformative teaching and leadership training. And we're in our second cohort now, we'll be soon transitioning into our third cohort of like, the graduates. So this is like the leaders of the leaders of our movement. And it is amazing to just see, you know, how the ripple effects continue to happen in communities and now they're taking it to the next level. And then, you know, we've also realized that not everyone wants a 200 hour, right?- No, no, it's true.- It's not accessible for everybody. Although everyone who takes it, there's no one that has ever regretted it or said they wish they didn't do it. So, but we wanna make it more accessible. So we've, you know, started to make shorter courses, and we offer professional development for schools and districts and organizations. And we have like, a membership where people can get access to daily live, you know, yoga and meditation classes and SEL PDs and, you know, SEL curriculum and strategies you can implement in the classroom. So we've tried to diversify the ways in which educators can get involved in Breathe For Change so that no matter where people are at in their decision making process, there's like something, there's like a pathway or a doorway in. And then, so the community that we've built is just remarkable. like, there's thousands upon thousands of educators in our platform that are connecting with each other. They're, you know, regionally and like, every state across the country, and, you know, and other countries, there's more and more educators too. So it's just so amazing.- Well, it is. I mean, it is an amazing program. And if you ever have the opportunity or you you're needing something a little bit more along these lines in your life, then I encourage you to take a look at it. What I appreciate is that we really focus on, in the Scanlan Center, we focus on holistic wellness and using, you know, really thinking about all dimensions of your wellness. I do a wellness workshop with people and one of the things I do is I start to have them think about like, what that word wellness means to them. And Ilana, like, you study wellness as well. So you'll get this. But typically the first thing that will come to people's mind, you know, when you're interviewing them or you're doing small group, you know, conversations with people, or you're in a professional development session focused on wellness, they'll raise their hands or they'll say something to the tune of like, they think of things like body weight, they think of things like exercise or going to the gym and... And you know-- I knew you were gonna say that. I knew you were gonna say that.- Yep. And food and dieting. Like, these are the things that are named right away. And you know, I think, both of us are along, you know, are on the same lines here oof that is like, you know, we use Samhsa's eight dimension of wellness model oftentimes in framework and the work that we're doing. And I'm like, listen, look at that model by Dr. Peggy Swarbrick, who was on our podcast, by the way, this year too.- Oh, cool!- and I was like, "That's one eighth."That's one eighth of like, all of your whole, you know, wellbeing, when we think about it." And so I, you know, one of my missions is to try to get people to think about this and to think about, you know, mindfulness practices, and to think about not just moving your body, but like, what system wellness systems are working well for you and which ones do you need to like, think through a little bit more carefully and like, try to restructure them a little bit. I unfortunately think that our, a lot of times teachers are finding themselves in a system that is not working for them. It's not necessarily even designed to necessarily work for them in 2023. And I always say to people, like,"Listen, Dr. Nankin can teach you all the wellness strategies in the world. She has all of them to teach. I can teach you wellness strategies, but you cannot wellness your way out of a toxic environment." Do you agree with that?- A hundred percent. I think that it's like, similar to the way I think about social justice and social injustice. It's like, both individual and systemic. And you have to work at the individual and collective level in order to see true transformation happen. And so I think, I always come back to my four year old pre-k superstar, Patrick, who in my pre-K class, one said, like, I asked,"What does community mean to you?" And he's like."I said "Yes, Patrick?""Well, in a community, first you have to love yourself'cause if you don't love yourself, you can't love anybody else." And I was like, "What?!" Writing it down on the chalkboard. Like, "Say it again!" You know?- Wow!- Was that Kristin Neff's son? (laughing)- Oh my god.- Wait, was that her child?- I know, seriously, right? So, you know, building off of his wisdom, I think there are things that are in our locus of control and there are things that are not in our locus of control. And the things that I think are the most helpful to work on sustainably are the things that are in, when it comes to our own personal wealth wellness or like, what can we control? Like, I can't control the way someone, I can't fix someone else, but I can definitely shift the way that I'm showing up in that relationship, right? Like, I could use, maybe I can communicate more non-violently than react in the way I've been reacting. Maybe I can like, pause, take a deep breath, and show up differently. That's just like, an a relationship example. But I think it is so critically important that, like, you said, we're looking at the bigger picture of wellbeing, not just physical wellbeing, which is so freaking important. I get up, I go on my runs, I like, do my strength classes, I do my yoga. And when I don't, and sometimes, you know, you go in and out of those routines, I don't feel that good. I'm like, blah, you know? So like, I value the physical piece, and I recognize how important it is for my wellbeing, but I think for so long I only focused on that. And I was like, "Oh, Bikram yoga!" Like, "Run a half marathon!" And I was like,"But I'm like, miserable and not happy inside." So there's something else going on here. And I think looking at our mental wellbeing, I mean obviously, I mean, we don't even need to, enough articles are written about, and our own experience, like, the mental health of educators and students right now is off the charts of, everyone is off the charts. And so like, what can we do to support our mental health? Literally like, on a day-to-day basis. You know, I recently got totally out of my meditation practice. I was like, "Oh, I'm teaching this stuff and I'm not living it so I should probably get back to it." And I started just like, sitting, waking up every morning for five to 10 minutes. I just set my alarm and just breathe. And I was like, I am, after a month of doing that, I was like,"I am significantly less stressed and so much just happier and chiller in my life." And I was like, "Wow, this stuff works."- It totally does.- And you have to, it's like, it's a constant commitment. It's a constant practice and it's not, it's not like, you get to a destination with this work. That's kind of what I love, and also hate about it 'cause I'm so achievement driven. I'm like, I need to check off all the boxes! Type A, like so many of us. But it's like, it's a constant, you come back to it every single day. What can I do right now that will support me in showing up as my best self? What do I need? How can I carve out a little bit more time for me?'Cause I know the thing with educators: we give, give, give so much of ourselves to everyone else, our students, their families, our community, our own families. It's like, we completely forget to give that same love and self care to ourselves. And so the challenge I think for us as givers is to give that same care. Turn that inward, right?- Absolutely.- Love yourself, treat yourself the way that you would treat a loved one. And that is so hard.- It's boundaries. We're terrible at boundaries. People who are like, these natural caregivers too. And when we're so passionate about our work and our students and our family, we just are so compelled to constantly be working for them. And learning how to set really healthy boundaries is something that we're just not taught. We're not taught, especially as women. Let's be honest, we're not socialized to do that in the same ways growing up. And this is not about pitting men and women against each other at all. We are clearly socialized in different ways. There's no argument about this. And there's always outliers, right? But in general, you know, we just aren't socialized to be confident in setting firm boundaries with people or organizations or whatever. And then we're depleted, you know? There's a point where we are completely incapable of giving.- I can't do it anymore.- Can't do it anymore. And that's just so unhealthy. And I think that we fool ourselves into thinking that,"But I'm still showing up. I'm still doing my best." Well, you're maybe doing your best working at 25%. Right?'Cause you're operating at about 25%. So that is your best for that. But like, let's set some boundaries so you can show up between 85 and a hundred percent the majority of the time.- Totally. And it's, you know, and on top of being an educator, I know so many of us are also parents. I'm a new parent. I got a 20 month old and one growing inside my belly. And I'm like, "Where did all my time go?" So then you have to like, balance, like, the time where I used to be able to go on the morning run is like, now I'm feeding my baby oatmeal for breakfast. So, and I know that. So for those of us that are both educators and parents, there's another added layer of balance, and a higher level of importance around creating the boundaries that you're talking about. And what I've learned, at least since becoming a parent and also just even before that was when you set boundaries, when you say, "You know what? I'm blocking this time on my calendar, this is Ilana time." Or, "This is mama time," right? You actually develop a higher level of respect for those around you, and it inspires them to take care of themselves too. I see it between my husband and me. My husband has dwarfism and he runs marathons, which is the most amazing.- Wow!- He has the world record for the fastest little person in the world to run a marathon by 50 minutes. He's the most badass person I know, so-- You guys are like, a power couple. (laughs)- Thanks. He also did the Breathe for Change training, and the year that he broke the world record was the year he was in the training, and he attributes everything in his success around going from, I don't, what was it? I think like, a six hour marathon. He has to do like, 80,000 steps where you or I would do, like, 30,000 steps.

To 5:

05. He ran it.

5:

05 was the world record. That difference in time. He is like, "A hundred percent. Because I used to only run, I used to only do the physical, but now I'm doing the meditation, the yoga, which is like, helping me run more effectively." Like, cross-training, so to speak. And he said,"My mental health has just the best it's been." So he's like, "That's why." And so that's, you know, I think it just goes to show that these practices, wellness, social, emotional learning, yoga, whatever you wanna call them, mindfulness, meditation, they truly impact all areas of wellbeing. And when you commit to a personal practice, and that can look like, anything, it could be like, walking your dog for five minutes and like, with flowers in the, you know, in the grass over there. It could be you doing like, sitting and doing, starting your day with, literally we do this at Breathe For Change three collective breaths. Before you get out of bed and go run away to life, take three collective breaths, set an intention for your day. How do you wanna show up? Do you wanna be calm, focused, playful, like, connected? And have that be your anchor throughout the day. It makes a huge difference. Or maybe you do an affirmation and you think about what do I need to, what message do I wanna send to myself today that I can repeat over and over again? I can do this. I am worthy of self-care. I am the best. I'm brilliant. Whatever message you need to send to yourself, do an affirmation. Start your day with that. And that instead of being like, "Oh my God, I have all this stuff to do and blah, blah, blah." And then you start your day from that place, it shifts everything.- It does. So I'm gonna say we're, you know, we're at 33 minutes and I like, I don't like to go more than an hour because, well, because of what we're talking about.- You don't have the time!- Everybody has like-- Take care of yourself now!- Yeah, exactly. But I do wanna, so I wanna touch on a couple more things before we wrap up today.- Great.- One is this thing that I wanna go back to self-compassion. So I'm a huge fan of Kristin Neff's work. And if you, those of you who aren't familiar with Kristin Neff, like, please look for her. And she, she's probably one of, you know, the biggest scholars that we have that study self-compassion, mindful self-compassion, and has done just so much research in this area and how critical it is in our own health. And so there is definitely, you know, this relation between increased levels of self-compassion and self-compassion practices. And also then our, you know, increased levels of activities throughout the entire eight dimensions of wellness wheel. All of us actually continuing to practice wellness throughout those eight dimensions. And one of the reasons why, of course, for this, is when we learn to practice self-compassion is when we make a mistake. So, last night for example.- (chuckling) Yeah, bring it home. Take us right there.- Well I do this thing sometimes. (laughs) Where I... Hmm, I don't know if I can share that actually'cause I, they might be listening.(Kari laughs) So I do this thing sometimes where there are certain people in my life that are triggering for me. And then I will come home and I will like, eat everything in my house and I will feel sick. It's like, disgusting. and so I made a mistake last night, right? And what I've learned to do is the next morning, I journal every morning. So that's one of the practices that I really lean into. So what I've learned to do is the next morning wake up, journal some about that, and say, "But you know what? You made a mistake. Today's a new day. You're not gonna do that again. It's fine." That happens every once in a while and you move on, right? But then there's certain people who aren't quite there yet. You beat yourselves up because we're so critical on ourselves. like, we're so critical about ourselves way more than about anybody else in our lives. And then instead you start to think things like,"Well I am just, why did I do that? I'm so stupid. I can't do anything right. I just broke my streak," whatever that means, right? Instead of just forgiving yourself and moving on."It was one night. It doesn't really matter, to be honest with you." And like, that's about building habits too, right? Like, it's okay to have a mistake. It's just how you pick yourself back up and how you recover from that and keep moving forward that I think is most important. And I see teachers doing this all the time in professional development. They will just like, perseverate on conversations or things that they've done in class, or even with families, and I'm like, "Hey, you are human. It is okay! You have to forgive yourself and just move forward. It's okay."- Mhm.- It's reminding me of one of the practices that we teach in our training called, well, we do the two word check-in, you know the two word check-in, right? Where, so you just take a moment, connect to your breath, and just notice how you're feeling, right? And then you choose two words that describe how you're feeling. So you could just do this right now. We could do it together.- We can do it.- Let's do it. So just connect to your breath, just notice how you're feeling right now and find two words that describe the vibe that is happening inside you. You've got your two words. If your eyes are closed, you can gently open them. What are your two words?- Grateful and excited.- Mm! I was also excited and inspired.- Inspired. That's a good one.- So I think, so there's that practice, there's also mindfulness of emotions where you just literally sit with yourself and you're just... At Breathe For Change, when we think about mindfulness, it's not just about observing, right? It's also about accepting. And I think the acceptance part is the most important, right? Because it has to do with compassion, right? If we're observing, I'm feeling sad, I'm feeling frustrated, I'm feeling angry, upset, whatever it is are now-(audio distorts)- Oh shoot. Oh no, you're frozen. We'll wait a couple minutes and see, or wait a minute or so and see if we can get her back. Oh! Well, I think you have me right now. I can tell you until Ilana comes back. Hopefully the internet situation irons itself out. But, I... Oh, now you just have me. Oh, here she comes. Hopefully? I can tell you that self-compassion is so critical in the lives of a human being, and your wellness journey and your state of wellbeing, overall wellbeing. And it's one thing that I would recommend as somebody who studies wellness, particularly educators leading into wellness. Oh, there you are!- Oh my God. I'm so sorry. I dunno what happened. Internet cut out.- No, that's fine. I was just trying to... I just kept kind of going with self-compassion. I was just encouraging them to really practice self-compassion and mindful self-compassion over the summer months. So I was gonna try to like, lead into a little bit, Ilana, about, so, let's between the two of us maybe throw out some suggestions for, for the summer months. We can maybe share like, what maybe some of our goals and aspirations, wellness goals and aspirations are for the summer months. So I don't even like to use goals. So I'm gonna go off and I'm gonna go sideways.- Intentions.- Yeah, intentions, yah.- 'Cause I'm gonna go sideway just a little bit because this is another big piece of wellness, I know. and the research even supports this, which is centering your values, your core values. You know, if you can't identify your own personal core values, I, if you can't, like, kind of name them off the top of your head or know what those are and center your life and your decisions kind of around that so that they lead you. I think that's also where sometimes people go a little bit sideways with their wellness journey. So like, I always give this example of, listen to the difference of what I'm saying here."I run every day because I wanna win the big 1010 K in July," or "I run every day because I'm a runner." Like, the second one is more sustainable, right? Because it's like, this value, it's part of my identity that I have. And so I, I think that that's also an activity that I would encourage teachers to do, you know, going into the summer months. like, what is the most important to me and how do I center that in all of the decisions that I make and the habits that I'm trying to increase and decrease over these months?- And I have a very specific way that you could figure out your values. Which I think is like, the hardest thing to do. It's like, "Well I value this and I value that, and I value this and I value that." So if you wanna really get at the essence of what you value the most, which I think is the most important thing to do when it comes to values, you can set your timer for five minutes, take out like, a piece of paper, a journal, whatever, and a pen, and write out everything you value. And just like, the words. Like, I value family, I value health, I value gratitude, I value love, I value school. Literally like, all the things. And you don't need to think about how much you value those things. It's just like, anything that you value. Five minutes, right? As fast as you can get as many words on the out on the sheet. I mean I've got like, a hundred, like, I think when I did this, I did like, a hundred words. Then after that you go through those values and you circle your top 10.- That's hard.- It's freaking hard.- I did this in a Brene Brown workshop.- Oh, yeah yeah yeah.- And it was so hard.- But then, you're not done yet. So you circle your top 10. After you get 10, that's still too many to like, focus your attention. So you look across the 10 and you probably wanna like, look for connections 'cause you might be like, appreciation and gratitude. That's the same thing. That can be a value, right? So, or like, health and wellbeing, like, you know, that might be one. So then you have to like, write or just like, pick your top five. Then from the top five, like, what gratitude means to you might be different than what gratitude means to me. Then you define in one sentence, just in one sentence, what is that value, the word, mean to you? And then you've got five. And then the last step is you prioritize of these five, this is the most important. This is the second most, third, fourth, fifth. Then you have your five top values in order with your definitions of what they mean. And then every decision that you make this summer, for example, you can go back to that list and be like,"Does this actually align with my values and what is gonna make me the most fulfilled in my life?" And if it doesn't, then you can be like, "Eh, see you later. Let me do something that does." And so I think what you're saying is so important. And when it comes to like, self-compassion, I think there's a critical connection between cultivating, like, compassion, nourishing ourselves, taking care of ourselves, and honoring our truth, honoring our values.'Cause when we don't honor our values, we're essentially living out of alignment with what we care about. And that can feel like dissonance, like stress, anxiety, tension, worry. You're showing up not as your best self 'cause like, you're not living in a way that's in alignment.- Wrathful, angry.- Like, yeah, totally. All the ugly, you know. And then I like to call the little voice inside of our head that's not nice to us the itty shitty bitty committee. It goes off.- Yep.- "You suck! You're not doing this right! Blah blah blah!"- Oh, girl, yeah.- So try that on, find your value.- That is such a good activity. I am gonna totally like, use that and give, I'll totally give you credit for it, but I'm gonna totally use that. It's such a good idea.- Do it tonight, it's like-(Kari and Ilana crosstalk indistinctly)- So it's like, the first step for summer, right? Let's, like, do that first. And I'm telling you, as soon as soon as I started to do this in my life, my life changed. I'm not kidding. Because I started to be like,"No, actually I don't wanna go hang out at that bar. Like, I don't like to do that. There's nothing about that environment or really the people there that I value or wanna spend my time on doing." Like, and I just started to shut down things that I just always feel obligated to say to. And then, or like,"I want you to run a marathon with me this year. I don't wanna run marathons anymore. Like, it's too much time. I don't wanna do that. That's not how I want to exercise anymore. So thank you for the in invitation, but I'm gonna decline."- No. (laughs)- Mhm. And I think that when we can do that, and like, you just said, when you know what your top five are, you are gonna be so much more confident with setting boundaries and making sure you're living into an authentic life, which makes you feel so good.- Oh, it's so good. It's aligning your inner and outer world. So when you do that, then all of a sudden the people that you're with are the people you wanna be with, right? The conversations you're having are the conversations that invigorate you, not deplete you. like, the things start to shift when you are making choices in alignment with the things that you deeply, deeply care about. Not like, surface level things that you're doing out of obligation. Which for so many of us as givers, it's like, well I wanna make sure your values are fulfilled, not mine. A lot of us don't even know our values because we're so lost in giving to other people. And so taking the precious time to clarify that for yourself, I think is the first step. And then it becomes like, a whole playground of opportunity.'Cause then you're like, "Oh! I haven't nourished this value in years. What might it look like, for me to fulfill on this one?" And then you can like, start doing things that you love more intentionally.- I always say too, you find out who your really true friends are and people who care the most when you start doing this. And I always say this, you should never surround yourself with people or be part of an organization who doesn't care about you just as much or more than you care about yourself. It's so unhealthy.- Totally, yeah.- I would say, probably, Ilana, that's probably my number one recommendation would be to think through values over the summer.- And to also then carve, ask yourself what is a consistent daily wellbeing practice look like, for me? That's gonna look totally different for you than it is for me, than it is for any of your friends or family. But think about like, what nourishes you that will like, fill your cup up each day? For you, like, you've said it's journaling. So you wake up and you journal. For me it's like, I just need to move my body physically and then also like, connect. My husband and I wake up each morning and we set intentions. It's the first thing we do. And then at night we do gratitude before we go to bed. Like, what were you grateful for today? And those are like, our daily practices and it just lights us up and it's like-- I have to interrupt you.- What?- So, you told us that... Okay, so first of all, first of all, mine is journaling, but then I always go for a run. But I don't go for runs in the same way that I used to. Now it's like, anyway, but you told us this intention thing that you do with your husband in one of our Breathe For Change sessions. I don't remember which one.- Oh, cool.- You have no idea how many times I've thought about that since you did that.- Really? Do you do it?- Well, I have to do it to myself because I'm single. (laughs)- Hey, you don't need a partner to do this!(Kari speaks indistinctly) You do not need a partner to do this.- But you told me about this and I don't know what it was in that moment, but it was just like,"That is such a good idea. I have to start doing that." It's another thing, it's like, I journal and then I set my intention, and then I get my run. You know, I go and do my run and everything'cause I have to move my body too, or I'm in trouble. But I wanna thank you for sharing that strategy with me, and I think it came at just the right time for me when you said that. And then I was like,"Why am I not doing that? Why am I not setting the intention like that?" And it really does center you and focus on your day.- And that's the perfect way to like, manifest your values into action on a consistent way, basis. Because you're like, okay, these are the things I care about. What's my intention today? And likely it's gonna be something that supports your values.- Yeah, so I-- Oh, that's so cool to hear. I don't even remember saying it. So that's even more awesome.- You guys, listen, I'm telling you, this absolutely works. Well, it has for me, and I just encourage you to try it. So I, you know, my work can be stressful like all of ours at times. And so like, I will oftentimes say, you know, that my intention is to show up authentically, and also to be very kind, but to stay authentic. And then, I don't know what it is, but it's like, you're setting the attention, it's almost like, you're holding yourself accountable and you're just remembering, like, that's actually the most important thing is to be like, an authentic kind person. Even if somebody's being nasty to you, Kari, just please assume that they're doing the best they can in that moment with the tools they have. If I can assume that, I won't respond in a nasty way. Because I'm gonna feel terrible about that nasty response if I do it. Inevitably I will feel terrible about it. I don't know. I don't think that even describes how like, good that is for me.- Well, I think this might be helpful because I think the idea of intentions is really interesting to certain people, but it's hard to understand like, the distinction. Like, what's the difference between intentions and goals, for example?- Yeah.- So goals are about what you wanna do. For example, I wanna get an A on this test, I wanna finish the marathon. They're very destination driven. If it's almost like, you could put a checkbox on your to-do list and like, if you accomplish a goal, you can check it. Versus intentions are really about how you wanna be, not what you wanna do. Which is a whole 'nother thing. So it's like, how do I wanna show up? What energy do I wanna bring to this experience? So that ultimately you'll likely end up, you'll check off all those to-dos that you want for yourself if you're showing up, like you said, in a way that is honoring what you want, who you wanna become. And so for example, you know, my intention is, I mean my husband and I always end up saying, like,"To be kind and loving to my pokey." We call each other pokey. That's a whole long story, but we call each other pokey. So like, to be loving and kind, to be playful, to be, you know, focused, productive, whatever it is you're thinking, it's like, a way of being. And then you're literally, that's your intention for like, it's not just when you're crossing the finish line. It's like, every step of that marathon. You're being that way so that you can cross that finish line. And when we focus on the intention and the energy that we wanna welcome into the space, then all the other things end up happening that we wanna manifest. And it's so powerful. So if you're like,"My intention is to like, go shopping and buy this thing." Or like, "Finish this," that's not an intention. So, very important distinction. And they're both important, right? Goals are important. We set goals all the time, but that's not an intention. Intention is how you wanna show up along the journey so that you can ultimately fulfill the goals that you have for yourself, so. Hopefully, and so, like, to me there's an essence of intention. It's like, I like to hone in on my intention in one or two words max. So like, my intention, like, you said, to be kind, to be loving, to be playful, whatever, self-compassionate. And then it's, that word can serve as your anchor. So you're like, your mind's wandering, the itty shitty bitty committee is going off and you're like, "Wait, what's my intention again? Oh yeah, okay, gratitude. What am I grateful for?" Gratitude, right? So it really does work.- It does, it does. In my 20 year old self, I would've been like,"Oh, that's a bunch of malarkey." I would've just been like, outside running myself to death. But I can tell you that, you know, as I've matured, I've really leaned into some of these practices and learned a lot from people like you. And I know now that there is not a finish line, right? I hope that I just keep learning and growing and changing and evolving into just better versions of myself, I guess, over time. And I think that is the goal, right? But, okay. Well I just wanna tell you how thankful I am for you, and I really appreciate you taking, I know how busy you are. So thank you so much for taking time out of your day and away from your family, and joining all of us educators tonight. And you know, we also advertise these sessions for people to download on podcasts and on iTunes and on YouTube. I think our director of marketing, I think is somewhere hidden in the background here and share the name of all of our platforms. But they're all on there. And then I think before we leave today, we'll just say one more thing. Over the summer months the Scanlan Center for School Mental health is offering all kinds of free professional development that is connected to social-emotional behavioral health. We are providing free assist training, free youth mental health training, oh, free mindfulness trainings. So the list goes on and on and on. So, watch for those. And then also in our clinic, then we provide group services for educators as well. So if you are interested in receiving some, you know, group services and therapy, in group or individual settings, then please go ahead and just Google Scanlan Center for School Mental Health Clinic, our clinical services, and you can discover everything that they have to offer. So great group of people. Otherwise... Oh, thank you Kat. Find the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music, and Google Podcast. So thank you very much, and we will be back next year. This is our little, we're gonna take a little bit of a pause. This was season one. I'm gonna take a little bit of a break and we're actually gonna record all of our season two episodes in July and August. And then we will release them throughout the academic year of 2023-2024. So I look forward to engaging with all of my podcast friends again next year. And Ilana, we will be in touch.- Yes we will! Thank you so much. You're so wonderful.- Yeah, have a good night everybody, and I wish you a blessed summer. Take care of yourselves. Bye-Bye.