Sunday, January 7, 2018

#OneWord 2018

“Knowing what to give up on and walk away from is just as important as knowing what’s worthy of your time and attention” Dr. Justin Tarte.

I have been procrastinating on this blog entry simply because I didn’t know how to get started until Dr.Justin Tarte shared this statement above.

My one word for 2018 is BREATHE. 
To learn more about this awesome sharing check out #onewordONT Introduction by Julie Balen.

It wasn’t until I was hospitalized for a week in early 2014 for Vestibular neuritis (vertigo) that I learned about my anxiety. Truthfully, I had no idea this was something I was experiencing, as well as being completely unaware of any triggers that were stress related as a result of anxiety. While in the hospital, I was asked to record each time I had a vertigo episode combined with or not, laryngitis. For each calendar date, these episodes lined up with, busier than usual events at home, work or school.

I ignored this. For years, I ignored this, passing it off as something that just happened. A vertigo episode would pass within days and I would move on. But, during the month of January 2014, the vertigo sensation prolonged into weeks of sleeplessness, headaches, drowning sensations, a nauseating experience that had me unable to focus or walk. While in hospital, I learned about identifying my stressors and how my body would let me know of being over-stressed by manifesting anxiety through laryngitis and vertigo. It took three months before I could return to work on a reduced workday schedule. Nine months before I could drive comfortably again… I even gave up my bucket list item: Honda Rebel 500.

It has been 4 years now, and I have not had a single vertigo sensation! I have been paying attention to my stressors and triggers, remembering to take a moment for myself and breathe.

Over the past year / year-and-a-half, my husband and I noticed that our boys have shown symptoms of anxiety. Fortunately, we didn’t hesitate to seek out help. Both boys offer so much of themselves, day in and day out to their friends, school community and with family. They each are experiencing their daily lives but cautiously and with a mask. They have learned to 'put on an act' so that others don't treat them differently.  With medical guidance, consultation and ongoing support, our boys are learning to recognize triggers, manage their stressors and maintain a positive, growth mindset towards their daily interactions. 

Together now, we sit with each of them and reflect on our day or week. I am very mindful of their apprehension and possible resistance to talking about:
- challenges overcome, positive interactions and goal setting
- struggles or missed opportunities that need to be revisited or considered

All of this focus and time together has brought us closer as a family; keeping better tabs on each other.

To ensure that I am here, healthy and ready to support my children, I take scheduled and random moments to just breathe. To bring myself to a calm, slow and relaxed mindset.  I give myself breathing instructions: “slowly breathe in through your nose and fill your lungs with air, hold it for a moment”, then “slowly and gently breathe out through your mouth feeling the air leave your lungs as you feel your body beginning to relax”. No longer entertaining the thoughts of the day (work or home) in my head as I breathe in and out.  I slow down enough to fill the air in my breath and re-energize.  This allows me to be ready, mindfully ready for the activities in the class or at home, while leaving the day behind.

I hope to introduce breathing or meditation more regularly with my family and hope to continue the breathing exercise a few times a week. Asking ourselves as a family to leave behind any issues from the day, any anxieties that they/we feel and breathe it out.  By providing my children with a few minutes to set aside the noise of the day, tear down the walls they themselves put up as obstacles in their learning or interactions, they are open to trust themselves, their experiences with others within their daily lives.

So why am I sharing this now? Simply, because I have had to readjust my focus, commitment and use of time (home and/or work) as it impacts me directly and my family. I may have turned opportunities down or postponed activities beyond the instructional day; not because of disinterest. Instead, I need to focus on self-care, better balance the needs of my health, my family’s health, so that I am able to give my best to all aspects of my life and those around me.

2016 POTENTIAL inspired by students.
2017 PERSEVERE inspired by my PLN.
2018 BREATHE inspired by my children.

1 comment:

  1. Zelia, this is absolutely beautiful! I love what inspired each word of yours, and how your children (whom I've had the pleasure of meeting on more than one occasion and are fabulous human beings) helped frame this year's word.

    I was completely unaware of your 2014 hospitalization - unless we were colleagues at your school, we might not have known, right? We don't tend to publicize those things much. How fascinating to see the connections between vertigo, laryngitis, anxiety, and times of increased stress. I lose my voice like clockwork at least once a year, usually in the late fall/early winter (in 2017 it was around November 27, just after I returned from the AASL conference and during my AQ course). I wonder if it's a similar situation?

    Keeping tabs on each other as a family ties in perfectly to the blog post Lisa Noble just wrote on "checking in". If you get a moment, check that out.

    I find it hard to banish those thoughts from entering my brain when I'm trying to relax, go to sleep, or be in a prayerful state. My current go-to strategy is to mentally draw a triangle repeatedly, focusing only on the three lines. Do you have other tools to use to help clear your mind?

    How do you (or will you) decide which opportunities to pass on, and which to take on? What criteria, in addition to the focus on balance and self-care, will help you make those decisions?

    As for anxiety, I have family members with diagnosed anxiety disorders. (I don't want to disclose publicly which ones, since I do not have permission from them.) It sounds like you have a good plan to keep anxiety under control, which is wonderful. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. And keep breathing.