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Resisting Problematic Messages for Children and Ourselves and Reclaiming Our Right to Honor Our Needs

back-to-school educator well-being self-care teaching Aug 25, 2021
educator well-being - right to rest

Resisting Problematic Messages for Children and Ourselves and Reclaiming Our Right to Honor Our Needs

by Katie Raher, PhD, PPS

My own kids have been back in school for a little over a week and they both have complained about how little time they have for eating, resting, and playing at recess. They say how rushed they feel, and how adults tell them to hurry up, to push through.

No shame or blame to the educators, as I understand that we all our doing the best we can with the structures, policies, and schedules handed down to us.

However, this got me thinking about the messages we are passing down to children and the messages that have been passed down to us and therefore the deep patterns within each of us.

A couple days ago, when my to do list was overflowing (with it being back to school, I'm going to guess I'm not alone), I noticed a twinge of headache coming on and some body aches starting to manifest.

The little voice in my mind told me, “push through the pain… keep working… you can grab something to eat but you need to shovel it down… ignore your body’s needs… there are so many things on your list and those have to take priority… there isn't time to do it all...”

Have you had any of these messages come through your mind?!

These messages remind me a lot of the messages being passed down to my kids. Hurry. Push through. Time is scarce. Resting and playing aren't worthy of a lot of time.

Probably similar to messages that were passed down to me since childhood.  

And likely due to my own lifelong patterning, I unfortunately listened for a bit.

I ignored my needs. Rushed. Pushed through.

So my body got louder. (It didn’t always but now that I’m in midlife, it’s not messing around anymore.)

My headache started to worsen and my aches started to radiate more deeply.

And there was a little debate inside my mind.

One side was guided by fear. Fear that taking a much needed, spacious break would leave me more overwhelmed by my to do list. Fear that there wasn’t enough time for me and my needs. Fear that rest and play would get in the way of me finishing my damn to do list.

The other side being guided by love. Knowing that resting and honoring my needs were much deserved and core to my humanity. Knowing that a rested mind is a more effective mind. Knowing that my well-being was and is a top priority and the foundation of how well I show up for others.

Fortunately, because I’ve done a crap ton of personal work on this stuff (and because my chronic health challenges have forced me to be a better listener with my body), the love side won.

I said screw it to my to do list. I went on a short walk. I ate my lunch slowly. I did some mindfulness.

And I felt so much better. My headache went away. My pain subsided. And guess what? When I sat back down to tackle my to do list, I was more creative, more efficient, more impactful.

Because I had taken time for me. To rest. To honor my needs.

While I know that both educators and kids don't always have the luxury of time to take a walk, eat slowly, and practice mindfulness in the middle of a day often filled with rigid schedules, I'm curious if you can get curious about finding pockets within your day to rest, to eat slowly, to play, to reclaim your right to honor your needs.

How can you resist the unhelpful messages that have been passed down to you?

How can you rewrite the messages that are passed down to our children?

How can we collectively reclaim our rights to rest and play – foundational pieces of our health and well-being – and key to a successful and fulfilling life?

Let’s build this self-awareness and take steps to have needs met.

No matter what messages are continually sent down to us through policies.

When we start to get curious, we not only are able to resist the status quo with our own actions and practices, but it becomes easier to advocate for children. To forge a new model. To creatively serve children and support them in having their needs met.

Now I know that the only way I am able to honor my own needs again and again is because I continue to do the work of understanding myself and getting support from others through the process – because it’s an ongoing journey. This isn't easy, and sometimes the fear side wins. 

And the love side wins increasingly more often.

It’s the structure of the support programs I participate in and the built-in opportunities to reset my nervous system, reconnect to my values, and focus on my humanity and needs that allow me to continually make progress.

In doing this work, I not only create more of the life and work that I desire, but I’m so much more aware as I support my own children and my students and colleagues in standing up to these old narratives.

You deserve support as you navigate the old patterns within you and as you are bombarded with messages, policies, and structures that don’t yet honor your needs.

I invite you to think about the support you desire.

And know that I’ve got a program that’s been designed just for you. To support YOU.

To help you understand yourself deeply. To help you take back your power. To help you trade in the anxiety, overwhelm, exhaustion, and frustration that can plague the field for more of the calm, compassion, confidence, and connection you deserve to have on the daily.

The Whole-HeartED Collective is a mix of practical tips and tools for busy, stressed out educators and changemakers, live and customized support, and sacred space for deep healing and connection with yourself and other heart-centerED, soul-led professionals.

It provides support all school year long, because you weren’t meant to do this alone.

And it does it in a way that is spacious enough to honor your (I get it) time-crunched schedule, while also still creating the structure to ensure you actually take time for you and the nervous system resets and reprogramming that will serve you for the short- and long-term!

Even though I’ve offered much loved educator well-being support programs before, this is the first offering that provides this type of ongoing support! 

Even if you’re not interested in the Whole-HeartED Collective, I hope that you take time to get curious about your patterns, resist the urges to ignore your own needs, advocate for re-scripting the messages we send children, and get support for yourself as you do so and as you tackle the stressors that are bound to come this and any school year.

And if you’re ready for the support that you deserve, I would love to have you and any of your colleagues in the Whole-HeartED Collective (there are discounts when you join with an educator bestie and group pricing – just email [email protected]).

In taking care of myself and honoring my needs, I have the energy and desire to serve YOU – to take care of YOU!!!

So that in taking care of yourself and honoring your needs, you will have more energy to serve others and tap into your purpose!

Self-love to spread love!

If you would like to get a taste of the magic of the Whole-HeartED Collective, you can grab the replays from the From FatiguED to FulfillED Virtual Educator Retreat and a Restoration Pack for Educators HERE.

Grab a Free Self-Compassion Poster +

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