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Episode 8: Take a Breath.

Description: [Insert deep belly breath] Didn't that feel good?

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Transcription: Hi, and welcome to episode eight of season four of Self Care for Educators. I am your host, Tina Boogren. This week's invitation is to take a breath. In fact, let's actually do this together right now. What I want you to do, if you can, wherever you're listening, I want you to, if you're sitting down, see if you can get both feet solidly on the ground. And then, I want you to kind of sit up straight, picture a balloon attached to the tag of your shirt, just helping you to kind of sit up straight, and I want you to take one really deep breath where you inhale through your nose, exhale at your mouth, and see if you can get your breath all the way down into your belly. And, what I mean by that is on the inhale. See if you can get your stomach to physically expand. So, let's do this together. Here we go.

That felt so good. And, it always does. Pausing to take a breath is essential. In our book, Educator Wellness, we talk about the difference between a reaction and a response, right? Our goal is to have a thoughtful response to things rather than a quick reaction, particularly if we are tired or stressed or have made too many decisions. And, we're engaging in those brain shortcuts where we act impulsively. This is where we might say or do things that are not our best selves or that we end up regretting. And, what a breath can do is act as that buffer. That pause between having a really quick reaction that we might regret and a really thoughtful response. I want you to see how many deep breaths that you can take during the day. See if you can purposely plan for them. I always suggest, like, taking a deep breath before you get out of your car and you walk into school. Taking a deep breath every time you use the restroom, which is hopefully a few times a day. Taking a deep breath at lunch. Taking a deep breath at the end of the day.

Maybe you close your eyes and just kind of let go of the day. Maybe you take a deep breath before you get out of your car, and you walk into your own home at the end of the day. Take that deep breath before you go to bed. You know, it really doesn't take that long. When we think about even taking one minute to take deep breaths, that's actually about six or seven breaths. And so, it doesn't even have to be one minute. It's just taking one deep breath takes way less time. So, we can incorporate this all over the place during our day. This is kind of a way for us to incorporate, not kind of, it actually is a way for us to incorporate rest into our day. And, we know rest is so essential that would fall under the category of physical wellness for us. Remember, we talk about food routines, we talk about movement, and we talk about sleep and rest. The and rest is just as important as the sleep, and we kind of get in our head that rest is like taking a nap, which is lovely, but most of us don't have the opportunity to take a nap during the day.

So, instead, if we think about just taking a deep breath as a way to incorporate moments of rest can be a game changer. So, what I like to do is I just kind of put my hand on my belly when I do this, which is just a reminder to slow down. It's kind of a physical grounding for me. It reminds me to try to move my breath all the way down into my belly to tell myself that I want my belly to expand, physically expand on that deep, deep inhale, and we know there's all different ways that you can breathe, and there's apps, and there's box breathing and tactical breathing, all sorts of different things. This is just a deep breath. I don't even want us to overthink it. So, it doesn't even feel like something overwhelming. It's literally just taking a breath. If we can remember to breathe in through our nose and exhale out our mouth, the bonuses is that we're actually calming our nervous system down while we're doing this, which is so good, especially when we're feeling anxious.

And, the benefits just ... Right? So, not only calming the nervous system down, allowing ourselves just a moment of pause, that difference between that reaction and that response. It's just so good. We know it's so good for students. It's so good for us. You can do this with your students, of course, or just do this on your own. And, maybe if you're like me, and you kind of like to track things and like data and keeping track. Maybe you keep track of how many breaths, deep breaths you purposely take during the day. Get yourself a little baseline number, and see if every single day you can just add one more breath. And, see if you find the sweet spot where you recognize, oh man, yeah. If I purposely commit to taking at least six deep breaths throughout my day, that is the game changer. Or, I know that for me it's essential that I take that deep breath before I get out of my car, and I walk into the school building as we get the day started. Or, maybe you take that deep breath before that meeting after school or that meeting you have with that parent or family or whatever it is.

There's before you have to make the phone call or before you go to send the email, right? Who allow yourself that moment of pause and just kind of a little bit of reset. It's a little, a little gift to yourself that you can add at any time, multiple times throughout your day. I want you to try that this week. I want you to try it every single day and I want you to see if it makes a difference because I have a feeling it will. I'm cheering so hard for you.

As always, thank you so much, Brooke, for all the work you do to make this happen. Thank you so much to Marzano Resources and Solution Tree. I'm so grateful that I get to do this work, and that I get to do this work with you, my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. You are amazing. I'm cheering so hard for you. We are well into the school year now, and you are crushing it. You are crushing it. Oh, make it an amazing week, you guys. You're awesome.

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