2020, March 19 – Mental Wellness Challenge

Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, March 19

Wow, another week’s gone by already…

Last week I challenged you to:

  1. Go for a walk every day… even a short one, go around the block on day one, round the block twice on day two, three times on day three – then maybe even venture out to the park… you get the idea. I’m going to do my best on this one too…  I know it helps with the way I am feeling.

I did better with this piece, but I wasn’t out there every day doing a walk. Lots of excuses – but no real reasons…. I know I need be firmer with myself and get my butt outside… I know I’ll feel better for it.


  1. Be grateful for something every day. Little things. Big things.  BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT THIS.  Write it down.  Put it on a sticky or in a book or a whiteboard or a window… (they make awesome window markers you know…)

I WORKED THIS. This past week was a challenge for me… There is SO MUCH that is on my mind, so many things pulling me, distracting me… I found it really difficult to practice gratitude this week.  I managed it each day – but I had to WORK IT.


  1. Intentionally refrain from negativity for the week or even just a day. Do you best to keep your thoughts, words and your actions out of the negativity space.

I did this reasonably well. I spent a bunch of time thinking about my kids and my students and my wellbeing – and in doing that I made a point of trying hard to stay away from negativity.  There is SO MUCH negative crap out there right now – I find it really frustrating just trying to navigate the news… sensationalism abounds…


  1. Practice quieting your mind. Be in a safe space, take the time you need. You can use the “5 things I can see, 4 things I can touch, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell and 1 thing I can taste” process, or the rooting process that goes something like “put your feet flat on the ground, feel the ground through your feet, feel the ground anchoring up through your feet to your ankles, feel the ground anchoring up through your feet, through your ankles to your calves… etc” or any of the myriad of grounding techniques that are on the internet or in books.  Quiet your mind and stay there, in your safe, quiet place for as long as you feel comfortable.

I must do this. It’s not even a choice.  If I don’t quiet my mind I spiral and spiral and spiral into such an intense space that I can’t – well – I can’t function.

I am struggling with my anxiety a fair bit lately… the current “disruption” in the way the world is working right now isn’t helping and I find it difficult to not let the “hype” influence me. I’m pretty high strung to begin with and the pandemic piece only adds to my burden.

I sincerely hope that you had better success with my challenges than I did.  I hope that your burden was light and that you were able to realize tons of gratitude and peace.

This week’s piece is going to be intentionally short.

I am going to share a little about my struggles with dis-information, irrationality of others and responsibility – my responsibility to myself, to my loved ones, to my students and to all the people that my life touches.

This COVID-19 reality is a terrible thing.  Its not likely to be the end of the world – its not the Zombie Apocolypse…  That said, IT IS REAL.

There are real things that I can do to help keep myself safe.  One of the biggies is DON’T LISTEN TO BS.  It seems that I can’t even listen to the news outlets anymore.  NONE OF THEM.  I have noted that they are all guilty of catastrophizing the situation… Ratings I suppose…

I have chosen to get my information from the “horses’ mouth”.  I go only to Health Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html or the BC Center for disease control http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19 for information.  I’m not certain where some news outlets are getting their information, but it isn’t reliable.

I am working at maintaining my social distance outside my home.  I try to keep two arms lengths away from people I come in contact with.

I practice responsible communication with the people I communicate with.  I have really been watching what I say – as best I can.  I suppose I am being very intention to be impeccable with my word – one of the 4 promises.

Another piece of responsible communication is NOT LETTING RUMORS CIRCULATE when I can help it.  I work in an environment where there tends to be a fair bit of information put forward from social media.  I am amazed at how much of what I hear… in the hallways, in the classroom IS CRAP!  When I hear that, I take the responsibility to correct it if I know its erroneous or to challenge it if I believe it to be false.

I have students in my class that are visibly anxious and upset by this COVID-19 situation – and when others bring CRAP into my classroom – I take the responsibility to shut that stuff down.

Dis-information is worse than no information in my books.

I believe that dis-information and ignorance are the primary reasons for the irrationality that I see taking place in my community.  Folks being assaulted over toilet tissue, hoarding, profiteering… total irrationality.  There is very little that I can do to stop that – most of that stuff is outside my circle of influence.  What I have chosen to do are a couple of things – 1. Direct people to the truth when I encounter CRAP and 2. Do my very best to be a stabilizing influence.  Beyond that – there isn’t a bunch I can do… The supply chain isn’t broken – the shelves are 99% likely to get stocked again.. maybe not tomorrow, but before too long…

My responsibilities to myself and the folks I love are clear.  Stay healthy.  I need to maintain my physical health by getting rest, exercise, maintaining personal distance and practicing responsible personal hygiene by washing my hands, cleaning the surfaces that I touch and do my very very best to try not to touch my face… (crazy now I know that I shouldn’t be touching my face – just how often I do it…).  I need to maintain my mental health by grounding myself, relying on facts, staying away from the “drama” that is surrounding me, being intentional and doing my best to stay on course – work my model.

My responsibilities to the people I work with and work for align pretty closely to those for myself and my family – but I also need to really try to be mindful that I don’t know their journeys – I don’t know what they are going through at all – and to try to be understanding of the spaces and challenges that they are facing in this tumultuous time… just like I would want them to do for me.  I suppose I could say that for anyone I come into contact with.

I can already see that the next while is going to be really challenging for everyone.  Let’s all try to be understanding and accepting – and aware that we have zero clue what another person is living through…

My mental wellness challenge this week is:

  1. Visit HEALTH CANADA Get the facts on COVID-19– know the facts.
  2. Leave your social media account alone for 4 hours every day. For some, this will be a piece of cake, for others – this piece is going to difficult.
  3. Be kind. Be intentionally kind.

That’s it, I challenge you.