inspiration, life, motivation, self care

First Apply Oxygen to Yourself – why we need to look after ourselves first.

self care 2A couple of years ago I was walking around school when I bumped into a colleague who also happened to have been my old English teacher. He asked how I was, and I replied by telling him all about my concerns over one of my students and what I was doing to try and help him on the right path, and how hard it was for him. He nodded and smiled and then said, “But I asked how are you. How are you doing?”. I thought for a moment and then answered pretty honestly about my stress levels and tried to smile through my list of wider school commitments.  He smiled and said the following, proving to be just as wise now as when he taught me at 15:


You can’t do it all. Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. 


It hit me hard. Because here’s the thing: I don’t believe you can last as a teacher in the current system if you don’t care deeply about students, but I also don’t think you can last as a teacher if you care at the expense of your own sanity.


The same rules apply for our relationships with everyone. Continue reading “First Apply Oxygen to Yourself – why we need to look after ourselves first.”

life, motivation, Personal, self care

Thrive, don’t just Survive

thriveLast year a friend told me his goal was to change his way of thinking from surviving to thriving. He had been inspired by this quote from Maya Angelou:


My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with passion, compassion, some humour, and some style.

Maya Angelou


It really got me thinking. So often I feel as if I just have my head above water, or that I’m juggling so many balls I often feel frozen as they rain down around me and I don’t know which one to take. Other times I don’t feel so on the edge, but I wouldn’t call it thriving either. It’s kind of just being in neutral. Like when you get to the end of the weekend and wonder what you did, or realise that yet another year has passed and so much of it was spent in mundane banalities. I was so struck by it that i found a nice picture of the quote and stuck it above my desk at school. Continue reading “Thrive, don’t just Survive”

inspiration, life, Personal, self care

Burned out but not quite faded away

burn out stress.jpg

So hi! It’s been a while. I’ve been dealing with the dreaded burn out. I thought I was just a ‘bit tired, I’ll get some sleep, no don’t worry about me’, but turns out I was more ‘I feel hollow inside and nothing seems to matter’.


Kind of ironic since my last post was about creating mental space…


Like most things, once I recognised and named it for what it was, it’s been easier to deal with. I’ve been able to start the long climb out of the burned out ashes, and while I’m no phoenix quite yet I can see a glimmer of bright feathers out of the corner of my eye. Continue reading “Burned out but not quite faded away”

inspiration, life, self care

Creating Mental Space in a world of demands

mental space missing part head

Sometimes it seems impossible that your head is able to hold all the things you think and feel and react to on a daily basis. It’s like a jar full of stones – some jagged, some porous and rough, and others shimmering with vibrant colours. If you’re lucky there are some stones hiding veins of gold or diamonds in the rough. But the stones are heavy. They rub up against each other and sometimes the jagged ones shatter those that are lighter and brighter. These jagged stones can sometimes seem like they take up the whole space in the jar. Other times it’s the mud that clings to some of the stones that seems to wash over everything – dulling the jagged corners true, but also dimming the vibrant shine of the others.

This can lead to a feeling of being stuck. The mud that clouds our judgement can cloud our sense of proportion too. Sticking to everything it makes it hard to distinguish what is the largest stone in our jar, what the numbers of them are. Continue reading “Creating Mental Space in a world of demands”