Self-compassion in our most difficult moments
I love teaching mindfulness to students. For years, I made an effort to introduce an eight-week mindfulness course to every ninth grader at my school.
One day, I showed up and was feeling weary and low. My son was home sick from school, my daughter was in daycare (and I was sure she was coming down with something), and my husband and I had had a fight that morning. I wasn’t feeling emotionally or physically well. I was also at a point in my career where many things were hard for me: I wasn’t sure I was effectively helping students, I felt like I was working too much, and I wasn’t creating the impact in my school that I wanted to. I was on the verge of burning out.
Although teaching mindfulness to students usually made me feel better, that morning I led a group of students who weren’t receptive to mindfulness ideas. They were challenging me on lots of practices. When I shared about an upcoming mental health event I was hosting away from the school, one particular student asked, “Will you be there?” I was taken aback and replied, “Of course. Does that matter?” to which he cruelly replied, “It sure does. No one wants to go if you’re there.”
I could feel the tears of rage and hurt come up, but instead of crying in front of this class (remember, I wasn’t at my baseline of being well and was cusping on burnout) I walked out. I left the classroom. I left that student, as well as all the other students who were in shock that he had just said this to me—and more in shock that I was on the verge of tears.
Free resources to help educators practice mindfulness and self-compassion
Have you had a moment like this in your career, where you just walked out of your classroom—or perhaps stayed and ended up in tears? Have you had days where, intentionally or not, your students hurt you? If so, you’re not alone. This happens to too many educators, leaving them feeling embarrassed, angry, and wanting to leave the profession.
My book, “Self-Compassion for Educators,” provides the tools and practices to understand why we need to focus on educators if we want to increase student well-being. Many of us know that self-care is an integral part of our well-being, but is it enough? And how can we care for ourselves when we may be barely functioning at school, in our classrooms, and sometimes even at home? Why are these conversations so meaningful right now?
In “Self-Compassion for Educators,” we examine the concepts of stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue as the main obstacles in educators’ individual well-being. We also realize that we’re not alone in these challenges and that a collective movement needs to happen to care for us all.
To help you practice self-compassion, even in the moments when it’s most challenging, I’m offering free exercises from the book.
These simple exercises are perfect for moments when you feel stressed or frustrated. They encourage mindful awareness and self-compassion, so you can navigate your most difficult moments without being overwhelmed by them.
Get more simple, accessible, and easy-to-use practices
There’s never been a time when educators have felt such overwhelming levels of stress, burnout, and exhaustion. Yet we still depend on them to be a positive guiding force in our children’s lives—often playing simultaneous roles as educator, parent, mental health counselor, and caring friend. To fulfill these vital roles, it’s abundantly clear that teachers need to develop resiliency both inside and outside the classroom.
Written by a fellow educator, this book provides teachers with simple, accessible, and easy-to-use practices that will inspire them to care for themselves instead of adding to their chaos, so they can continue in the profession they love.
In “Self-Compassion for Educators,” busy and overwhelmed teachers can learn how to:
- Reduce feelings of shame, criticism, and self-doubt
- Anchor themselves to the present moment
- Develop greater compassion for themselves and others
- Mitigate the effects of chronic stress and develop resilience
- Cultivate a sense of gratitude
- Practice self-care routines that create sustainable well-being
- Avoid exhaustion and burnout
Lisa Baylis, MEd, has been sharing well-being strategies for the last 20 years. A natural-born connector with an innate ability to make people feel valued and heard, she is a teacher, school counselor, facilitator, and mother. Trained by mindful self-compassion pioneers Chris Germer and Kristin Neff, Baylis is also a certified mindful self-compassion (MSC) teacher. Her accessible and inclusive presentations have built her a reputation as one of the most trusted self-compassion experts for educators in North America.
Learn more about Lisa Baylis’s educational products, including upcoming live seminars.
For over 40 years, PESI Inc., a non-profit organization, has provided cutting edge continuing education to professionals across the nation. Working alongside the world’s leading experts, PESI's mission is to educate and instruct the general public, public organizations, private industry, students and professionals to assist them in acquiring, developing, and enhancing their knowledge and skills.
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