As educators, during challenging times, we often forgo our own well-being to support others. This leads to added stress, overwhelm and illness.
The most important practice we can remember is that we need to find a way to care for ourselves so we can care for others. If we want to sustain our well-being, we need to put ourselves first. And that doesn’t mean you need to live the epitome of health and well-being. It does mean you have enough in your wellness tank to be present in the world.
One of my favourite mindfulness and compassion practice is called Giving and Receiving Compassion. I love it because it helps us use our breath to help offer loving-kindness to the world. To extend compassion to others, we have to fill ourselves up first – we inhale compassion, love, and strength for ourselves so then we can exhale support and care for those around us.
There is no ability to give more if we are empty. We have to fill up first. Taking care of ourselves first is sustainable well-being. It doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. It just needs to be practiced by everyone.
First me, then you. My mask goes on first, so I can fully care for you – my children, my students, my colleagues, the world.
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” Oprah Winfrey