I haven't met an educator yet that isn't on their way to burnout and it's only October 1st. The collective is overwhelmed, frustrated, and feeling more hopeless for relief by the day. 

We knew that kids would be coming into our classrooms with 18 months of varying school and life experience. But we underestimated how that would feel compounded in the room of 28 little souls. For example, the big divide between our first graders who were in preschool before the world shut down and those who only had distance learning kindergarten makes for a challenging start to the year. 

We also didn't anticipate the massive shortage of staff. In my building alone, we are short 2 full time special education paras and kids who desperately need academic services just aren't receiving them, we lost a classroom teacher to an unexpected leave that couldn't be filled so the class got split between other rooms adding to their class sizes, teachers have been sick and there are no subs available, meaning teachers are losing their prep time, and I just heard that a support para position we thought we hired called in on the first day of duty to decline the position after all. 

And let's add budget cuts, parent expectations, district initiatives that just won't stop, and the unwritten culture of educators that they are never doing enough anyway - and we have stressed, weary teachers who are clinging to any lightbulb moment and smile they can steal during a mask break and wondering how this is going to be sustainable.

We all need a mental health day, but no one wants to take a day off because they know their colleagues will have to take their kids! So we sludge on.

Now, I'm on a wellness committee that is screaming NO we don't need meditation and water challenges! We need staff to cover our classes so we can go to the bathroom and sit down to eat lunch, for crying out loud! 

However, in my 5 years of wellness coaching, I have actually found meditation to be one of those really simple things to give my brain a break so take this with a grain of salt (and a margarita if you need it. ha!). 

Is meditation going to solve the problems? No. 
Is it going to take the stress away? No. 
But is it a way to just escape for a moment? Yes
Recharge and energize in a different way than another cup of coffee? Yes.
Give you space to breathe and your body to physically recalibrate? Yes. 

5-10 minutes of quiet ESPECIALLY after you've practiced this for a while is like a power nap without the drool and snoring 😉. I actually started doing this after I had my brain surgery when the healing exhaustion required rest, but I wasn't quite ready for a nap in the middle of the day with my kids at home.  Sometimes I would fall asleep, sometimes I wouldn't, but either way, it was a rejuvenating rest in the midst of a chaotic day. 

And BONUS! I often have my BEST and most creative ideas when I do this. So even if you aren't stressed and burnt out (and that's the goal right?) meditation is amazing to take your thoughts to your next level. Those moments of quiet leave space for the coolest things. I promise it's worth it! 

Note: The first time you do this (by yourself or with a classroom of students) it might feel weird and chaotic. But trust me when I tell you that as you do it more, it becomes more natural, easy, and restful for all. Just like any other routine you begin in your classroom, it takes a few times to get in a groove.

So let's get into it!

I always thought of meditation as this practice of sitting in a room for hours and some sort of transcendent thoughts beaming into my brain for an unexplainable experience. Or maybe the mind just goes blank. I wonder what that would even be like.

Turns out, meditation is simply sitting quietly and observing your thoughts. Yes, you are going to have thoughts the whole time. They don't just go away. 

I love the way I introduce it to kids.

You know how you rest your body, right? After a long day of play, you can rest and sit on the couch and your body is calm. We know how to do that. We know how to rest our bodies. But other than when we are sleeping, do we know how to rest our brains? Our brains are always thinking of things. Especially when we lay down and sleep at night or after an extra busy or stressful day. So how do we rest our brains and get them ready for learning?

You got it! Meditation! 

So how do we actually meditate?  What does it actually mean? 

My easy definition: Sitting quietly and comfortably, thinking only about your breath, and when your mind wanders to something else, gently guide it back to your breathing. That's it! 

I like to follow a guided meditation. There is often soft music and a soothing voice that will help me guide my thoughts and bring me back to my breath from all of the things I think about. Sometimes it helps me visualize a goal or daydream about creative ideas. 

I use a combination of the Calm App, Gabrielle Bernstein Albums, and the Unstress 21 days of Mediation Program in my FitClub Membership with Beachbody.

I don't love hunting youtube because I'll spend more time hunting down the rabbit hole than in actual meditation. #truth 

Here's the first meditation from the Unstress Program to try now.  This one guides you to set your intention and purpose for the day. 


If you want to share this practice with your kids, here's one I love to use with my students from Cosmic Kids.


And if you want to get a little guidance when taking a walk, let Jamie from Cosmic Kids lead you on a mindful walk. Sometimes I think as adults, we need to remember to be like our littles and stop and enjoy every moment without the rush from A to B. 

I hope you leave your mediation feeling refreshed and it helps you learn a little bit about how to be still, rest your brain, know that you are capable of enduring this season. You also just might be ready to learn new things and crush some new challenges. So remember - just breathe.