Jun 29, 2020
Welcome to Episode 44.
If you’re anything like me and the many friends and family I regularly talk to and see updates from on social media, you are bound to have ups and downs, and particularly get days when you are thoroughly fed up with the current Covid-19 situation, whatever lockdown restrictions are in place where you are. After months of living with this pandemic, we are all coming to the realisation that life as we knew it won’t exist for quite some time and may, in fact, never quite return to what it was before. Of course there are some positives to be found in that, but we’re also experiencing a sense of loss, of grief, and of frustration.
Personally, I get hit by waves of sadness and nostalgia when I remember a band I’ve seen live, or a band I’ve always wanted to see and haven’t managed to yet, or think about theatre and musical performances I had booked to go and see, and I weep for the impact on our wider cultural and social experiences that the pandemic is having as theatres and artists are struggling to stay afloat.
So if you’re having some hard days when everything just seems unbearably sad, you’re not alone. I think most of us are going through some form of grief at the moment. But it is important for our mental health and wellbeing that we give ourselves every opportunity to move beyond those moments and to still enjoy all that life has to offer, and there is plenty of that!
Today, therefore, I’d like to share an activity with you that I mentioned in my first book, Recipe for Happiness, and based an entire worldwide project on for International Day of Happiness a few years ago.
The activity centres around sprinkling your life with ‘Little Happiness Ingredients”, doing things you enjoy. Doing things you enjoy is also recommended as a wellbeing activity by the UK’s NHS - the National Health Service.
In mine and Elizabeth Wright’s book, Character Toolkit for Teachers, we developed this activity a bit further into a self-kindness activity, which we called “Self-Kindness Bingo”.
You can do this for yourself and of course you can ask your own children, or the children you work with, to do this. Draw yourself a grid with 30 boxes, then write an activity that you enjoy doing (and that you can do with whatever restrictions are in place where you are) into each box. Be as creative as you can - take your time to think of activities that will really boost your mood. Some could be really quick activities and others more time-consuming. Bring in some variety. Some may be solitary, like reading a few pages of a good book, while others may involve other people, such as a socially-distanced or virtual chat with a friend. Once you have completed your grid, display it somewhere prominent so you won’t forget about it, and make sure you do at least one activity per day. You can, of course, do more than one activity in a day, in which case you’ll run out of activities in under a month, but that’s ok - just create a new grid! You could even introduce an element of competition with friends and family members and see who completes their “Self-Kindness Bingo” grid first!
You’ll find links to the Little Happiness Ingredients Project, to both books and to the NHS article I mentioned on this episode’s page at forflourishingssake.com
I hope you will try this activity out and, as always, do get in touch and let me know how you and your children get on with it!
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The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites. It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published?
If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED. You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page).
I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!