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29 Jun 2021

It’s been one tough school year!

Even though amusement parks have been closed, I have felt like I have been riding a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs. School opened, school closed, school opened, school closed…causing my emotions to be all over the place – sad, happy, frustrated, disappointed, excited, upset – you get the picture.

That’s why I decided it was more important than ever to focus on gratitude – to focus on what meant a lot to me – what I valued most. I realized that ‘the practice of gratitude’ benefitted me, not only mentally and physically, but also emotionally. Focusing on what I appreciated shifted my mood and mind to a happier state.

With that in mind I want to give a HUGE round of applause to:

Educators (in all capacities): Connecting with students through a screen is tough. Even though you had to quickly adjust and adapt to a new way of interacting, you stayed committed to keeping students interested and engaged. You made a difference for so many kids. You handled their silliness, their emotions & their interruptions with grace.

Parents/Guardians: Being home with your children 24/7 was a test of your patience, endurance and ingenuity. You had to take a more active role in your child’s education, even though you may have been working at the same time. You survived your kids constantly reminding you, ‘I’m hungry. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m hungry.’

Students (including my son Kai): It was a tough go. They had to give up so many routines they looked forward to, like recess, taking the school bus, after school activities, socializing with friends and for some, the before and after school programs. My son told me, even though he could see his teachers and friends virtually, it wasn’t the same as in-person, making it more difficult to stay motivated.  I thank our children for being brave, determined, tolerant and patient (a difficult one for all of us).

I believe that no matter what is happening in your life, it is possible to focus on what you are grateful for, even if it’s the tiniest ‘gratitude’. Sometimes, for me, it was simply the thought of sitting quietly for five minutes sipping a coffee.

Wishing you Joy, Fun & Laughter!

Until next time…

10 Oct 2020

I Am Enough.

Have you ever found yourself thinking, ‘I’m not good enough’ or questioning ‘do I matter?’

We all have moments of self-doubts. The problem is those self-doubts keep you from reaching your greatest potential.

Years ago I realized I had a choice – to believe my self-doubts or replace them with three powerful words… ‘I AM ENOUGH.’

By repeating these 3 words you will strengthen your confidence allowing you to carry on with the important work you are doing!  It will also rewire your mind for positivity, gratitude and love.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice, consistency and will-power.

The key is to repeat it often so it becomes a habit.

Helpful Tip: Grab a piece of paper and write in BIG letters ‘I AM ENOUGH’ and place it where you will see it daily. Every time a thought or feeling comes up that questions whether you are enough, take 3 deep breaths and mindfully repeat ‘I AM ENOUGH.’

You are Enough! The world needs YOU and your unique gifts.

Until next time…

sara westbrook signature
6 Oct 2020

Boost Well-being with a Dose of Gratitude

As we find ourselves and our children/students adapting to a new version of what school looks like, whether it’s ‘online learning’ or ‘in building learning’, we may all be experiencing challenging circumstances which can trigger some tough emotions like: anger, sadness, frustration, anxious or disappointment.

Is there an antidote to help you and your children/students bounce back from these challenges and emotions? YES!

It’s called GRATITUDE.

Feeling and expressing gratitude not only boosts emotional and mental well-being, but also boosts your immune system and your happiness.

How do you teach children the skill of gratitude? 

Below are 3 grateful activities that are a fun way to practice and express gratitude.

1. VISUAL DISPLAY OF GRATITUDE

Create a tree, a banner, a board or a collage as a display to encourage children to focus on the people, experiences and things in their life that make them feel grateful and appreciative. Every day have them reflect and write one aspect of their life they are grateful for. By adding their paper to the display they deepen relationships and become more connected to the people around them.

2. JOURNALING

Journaling creates a practice of connecting to gratitude and helps with their writing skills. Daily entries in their own private journal about the people, events and things they are grateful for, helps them with emotional resilience and self-esteem. For those who may say, like my son, ‘I can’t think of anything’, here are some helpful hints:

  • What did you do today that was fun?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What do you look forward to when you wake up?
  • Who or what makes you smile?
  • What did you do today that made you feel brave?
  • What made you proud today?
  • Who was kind to you today?
  • What is your favourite place to visit?

3. CREATE A JAR OF JOY

A Jar of Joy is a fun, creative way to help children practice gratitude. Begin by providing a jar large enough to hold daily gratitude notes. Then personalize the jar with decorations using ribbons, stickers, pompoms, sparkles, markers etc

After decorating the jar, it’s time to add the ’gratitudes’ they have written about people, places or things. They can also add photos or cut out images from magazines that depict their gratitudes. Whenever they are having a challenging moment where they need a joyful lift encourage them to take a gratitude from their jar and have a brief discussion about it.

Being reminded to focus on what they enjoy and are grateful for, will not only shift their mood and mind to a happier state, but also yours.

Gratitude is transformational! Choosing to focus on what you are grateful for transforms how you feel about yourself, others and your life!

Until next time…

sara westbrook signature
10 Oct 2019

You have the Final Say About You

It can be easy to allow negative opinions and judgments become what we believe to be true about ourselves. Important reminder: You have the final say in what you choose to believe about yourself, your body, your ability, your world.

Think of 3 things you are grateful for – I’ll wait…

Now that you have 3, write them down. Don’t have pen and paper…type them in the notes section of your phone or email them to yourself. As of this minute you are armed with a way to combat those self defeating thoughts.

Gratitude is transformational! When you are choosing to focus on what you are grateful for it transforms how you see yourself and your life! You are giving yourself the gift of inner peace and happiness. You are giving yourself YOU.

Will it take practice & effort to choose your thoughts and focus on gratitude – yes.

We may not be able to change others’ opinions and judgments (wouldn’t that be nice?) but, we can change what we choose to focus on and believe…which changes EVERYTHING.

Until next time,

sara westbrook signature