I have a great love for children’s stories! They are incredible teaching tools and always speak to my heart. Since this month’s theme at ERG is resilience, one of Aesop’s fables came to mind:
Once upon a time there was a huge oak tree that lived on a river bank. It was very tall and strong and all the other plants looked up to it. The oak was surrounded by some small reeds that grew around the river. The reeds were very thin and often wished they could be big and strong like the old oak tree. One day a big wind blew through the river valley. The reeds were flexible and blew with the winds, but the big oak refused to bend and was snapped in two. The oak couldn’t understand why the reeds had suffered no harm while he had broken in half. The wise old owl that called the oak its home replied, “You were so proud of your strength that you refused to bend, so you broke. The reeds were able to bend with the breeze and they made it through the storm.”
Educators know that the storms will come, but they have a knack for bending with the winds and rains that come their way. We walk into our classrooms with the best laid plans and then life begins to happen. A child gets sick, there’s a meltdown at table 1, the fire alarm goes off in the middle of your math lesson – I can go on and on, but I’ll get to the point. We have to bend, baby, bend and bounce back or the stress will cause us to break. One strategy for building a little bounce is to turn to some good health habits that recharge and inspire you. When you feel stress brewing, remember the importance of a little flexibility. Here are a few tips for building resilience, so you will be ready to bounce back and move forward after weathering the storm you are in:
Read something inspirational. Take a look at a favorite go to author for words of wisdom and inspiration. Post a favorite quote or keep a journal near by with thoughts that empower you. Watch an inspirational video like one from the TedTalk library - ideas worth spreading.
Smile to get a quick dose of stress relief. Smiling actually releases neuropeptides in your brain that fight off stress.
Get up and move! Stretching can reboot your body and help you relax.
Talk with someone you trust. Sharing your feelings and unloading your concerns can be cathartic.
Take a cleansing breath. Stop to take 2 or 3 intentional deep breathes to cleanse your body and your mind, reboot, and recharge.
Listen to inspirational music – whatever moves you. Here is one of my favorites.
Lift some light weights. Studies show that becoming physically stronger makes you feel emotionally stronger.
Get in touch with your emotions. Sometimes you need a good cry or the chance to punch a pillow. Once we get in tune with our feelings, we can get ourselves back to center, pick ourselves back up, and move forward.
Give yourself (and others) a little grace. Know when it is time to adjust your expectations and don’t be so hard on yourself. Sometimes we need to assess and let something go, then we are better equipped to take action on what truly needs to be done. Let’s face it – we all get a little overwhelmed from time to time, so a little grace can go a long way when we need to reboot.
Hang in there, and remember – better bent than broken. Take time to find some therapeutic ways to recharge, refuel, and bounce back more empowered and ready to weather the storms of life.
“The storms will come and the winds will rise and the gusts will threaten to pull you from your roots. Let the winds come. Let them rage and know that you will not break in the breeze, you will bend. Bend. Always bend because you are made of more strength than you know, because you are better than the breaking.” – Tyler Knott Gregson