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Episode 34: Part 3: The Final Three

Description: Dr. Boogren completes the three part series on putting happiness at the top of the to-do list.


          1. Get inspired! Visit Dr. Laurie Santos' site here.

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Transcription:  Hi and welcome to Self-Care for Educators. I am your host, Tina Boogren. This is season four, and it is episode 34, and this is actually the final installment in this kind of three part series that I'm doing sharing the wisdom and expertise that I learned from Dr. Laurie Santos when I had the opportunity to hear her in person in Denver. If you missed the last two episodes, you might go back and get caught up on those. But, real quick, as a reminder, her kind of highlights that she shared were these ... And, I talked about them in the last two episodes, but I'm going to repeat them to get them fresh in our mind. Number one, happiness absolutely matters for our performance.

When we are happier, we perform better. The next one is that helping others makes us happier than we expect. The third one is the importance of making time for social connections. The fourth one is making time for gratitude every day. The fifth one was the reminder that our physical wellness, our healthy practices make us, make us happier than, than almost anything else. The next one, the next two kind of go together, but both of them are about being in the present moment and really stopping to savor the good stuff and being in the present moment even if it feels a little bit icky. That's where we we left off last week. So. the final three practices that I'm going to talk about for this one.

So, the next one is, let's expand on where we ended last week of really getting, getting into the idea of giving ourselves the gift. of self-compassion. This is what Dr. Kristen Neff's work is all about. Many of you, I know, are familiar with Brene Brown, and Brene Brown talks a lot about Neff's work and we reference her quite a bit in the Educator Wellness series text. She's kind of the queen, if you will, of self-compassion. Her work is so essential. If you go to her website, just look her up. Kristen with a K, N-E-F-F. She actually has a free quiz that you can take. And, tons of information on her website about self-compassion. And so, when we think about self-compassion, it's, and I mentioned this briefly last week, but I want to give you a little bit more self-compassion.

And, according to Dr. Neff is about these three kind of essential aspects.

So, number one, being mindful. And, that acronym that I gave you last week, R-A-I-N, helps us to be mindful, especially when things feel icky. That's when we really need the self compassion. The second component is that idea of, of common humanity. That pausing to recognize that we are not alone, that every feeling and emotion that we have or feel others have as well, that it's not just us. There is a common humanity, a feeling of like, Oh, I know other people have gone through this, too. There's a real comfort in that. And then, that third aspect is the self-kindness. In other words, being so kind and calm and gentle with ourselves, giving ourselves grace, talking to ourselves the way that we would talk with a loved one, especially when we're in those icky emotions. So that, that first practice for today is practicing that self-compassion.

The next one is, and I love this one, this one is about how important it is to fall back in love with our job by focusing on what we're good at, really thinking about our strengths. What are we really good at, and how do we let those strengths shine in our job? Whether we are a classroom teacher, an administrator, a paraprofessional, a nurse, I know we have so many different fields and occupations that come to this podcast, which I'm so grateful for. And so, no matter what your role is, thinking about the things that you're really good at, your strengths, how are you able to utilize those? And, by doing that, that's helping you to reconnect to your purpose and your why. In our Educator Wellness book, under the social wellness dimension, our final routine is all about purpose, about reconnecting to our purpose and finding our why by doing that and tying that to those strengths so that we're really playing into those.

We are boosting our happiness, and it's boosting our performance. And, when we boost our performance, it boosts our happiness. So, it is this cycle that is so beautiful. So, think about your strengths and how you bring those to your job, no matter what your job is. And, the last one is a fun one to think about. I actually talk about this specific strategy in my book, 180-Days of Self-Care for Busy Educators, and it's the idea of time affluence. What she says is, we should work to become wealthy in time, not in money. Now, don't get me wrong, we can talk about money, especially in education and nursing. But, what she's talking about here is the difference between time affluence versus time famine, that time famine, which so many of us know is that feeling of like on the hamster wheel it's going and we just never, ever feel like we have time that has a terrible impact on our well being.

In fact, there's studies that talk about how that feeling of time famine. feels as bad as if you lose your job. So, we want to avoid that. And, what she talks about here is how we can objectively look at our calendar and open up more free time. This is going to require boundaries and learning to say, No. I'm smiling as I say this, cause I'm speaking to myself as much as I am to you. And, the idea of how we might trade off money to get more time. Many of you talk about this in my workshops. So, when we talk about decision fatigue and regulating and automating, many people have said, you know what, it is totally worth it to pay. Someone to help me clean my house so I get that time back. This can be also utilizing one of those, the, the food, meal delivery services that, yeah, it costs a little bit of money, but what it does to get my time back feels better. And, she also talks about the idea of being really careful to make good use of the time that we do have, especially if we feel, don't feel like we have much of it. The power of even two minutes. I talk about this in my new book that's coming out in November, just what can we do in just a two or a five minute little slice of time that we have. Let's not waste it. So rather than, for example, picking up our phone and scrolling, can we go take a walk? Can we go call a friend? Can we go fill up our water bottle? Can we do a little gratitude? Can we text a friend? Can we do a quick meditation? And, she calls those moments, get this, I love this so much, time confetti. Ah, that's so fun. She talks about making a confetti wish list, a time confetti wish list. So, you have on hand teeny, tiny, little things that can make you happy in a relatively short amount of time.

So, when you find yourself with that extra couple of minutes, you go to your list and you do one of those things and it feels like confetti and who doesn't love confetti? So, I love that idea. I love that idea. So, those are the three that wrap up the series here. That idea of really, really, really giving yourself the gift of self compassion, learning to fall into, fall back into, I should say, love with your job by really focusing on your strengths. And, becoming wealthy in time and really thinking about those time confetti moments and using those to the best of our ability. As a couple bonus tips, other things she mentioned, you know, people kind of said, what do you do if, where do you start? I guess, what do you do if you don't really know where to start? And, she always says, you just start with yourself. And then, you move to your team, and you start to build change within your organization, kind of from the ground up. It's thinking about what we have control over and what we don't. And, we start with ourselves, because again, emotional contagion is very, very real. We know we can get into those affective spirals, those downward spirals from that emotional contagion where when we're surrounded by negativity, we can go down that rabbit hole, but if we work hard to be the catalyst of change there, that that can be really important. And so, we start with ourselves, and we get back to these practices that we know matter.

We focus on the ones that feel maybe the most challenging to us, and we set ourselves up for tiny moments of implementation and see if they work, and I know they will. So, play around with those three this week. Maybe go back and listen to the last two episodes as a refresher as well. Dig into Laurie Santos and her incredible work. Again, she hosts the podcast, the Happiness Lab, and she has that free Coursera course. C-O-U-R-S-E-R-A, Cour-S-E-R-A, Coursera course on the science of well being that's so, so, so good. Her work is incredible. Feel my hand on your back this week and know I'm cheering so hard for you.

As always, thank you, Brooke, for making this happen. Thank you, Solution Tree and Marzano Resources for this incredible job I get to do. And, for you, my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. I'm so grateful for you. Make it a great week.  

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