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Dressing Your Brain (and Heart) for an Awesomesauce Day: Back to School Tips for Educators and Families Part I

We can over complicate things. We can bring too much structure, too many charts, and analysis to any given issue. Of course, we need structure, charts, and analysis, but too much of anything turns out to not be a good thing. And, too much of the wrong thing, well, can get us somewhere, but takes us much longer to get the exact point we want to be.

So, where is this point we all want to be? It’s the place where love, connection, understanding, compassion, empathy, and understanding thrive.  It’s what we are all looking for when we read a book, or learn a new concept in school, or get curious about making new friends or colleagues or creating more family joy.

As an educator, writer, and a mom, before I get out my own structures, charts, and data to analyze in order to improve my skills, my students’ and my family’s skills, and the functionality of our being together for the purpose of everyone’s growth and development, I first have to create a foundation where my structures, charts, and data analysis can come to life with meaning and purpose

I call this foundation dressing your brain (and heart) for an awesomesauce day.

Just like we get up each morning, get dressed, brush our teeth, and eat breakfast before starting our day there are things we need to do to get our brain and our heart ready for the day. Why?

Tuning into our internal state helps us have increased presence and awareness, which are two main ingredients for higher order thinking, authentic connection, emotional self-regulation, and optimal performance, whether we are learning new vocabulary, testing a new hypothesis, prepping for game day, or learning how to have healthy conflict that is respectful to all viewpoints.

These are the soft skills of being a human being that help generate the hard skills of taking an innovative idea from thought to action to completion and use in the world.

~Breathe Mindfully, Sit In Silence, and Reflect

What this looks like at home:

Sit down in a quiet spot (anywhere, the bathroom and closet are perfect, too!), uncross your legs if at a table (seated criss-cross is fine too), sit up tall and strong, place your hand on your heart, inhale deeply through the nose (long, slow, and deep) and exhale deeply through the mouth (long, slow, and deep). Focus your attention on the sound of your breath for 3-5 breaths, or more.

What this looks like at school:

Make this a part of your morning or afternoon classroom routine and incorporate during transition times as a group. You can also encourage an individual practice (see below on Creating a Reflective Environment).

~ Create a Reflective Environment

What this looks like at home:

Have a space that invites relaxation. There’s not a lot of noise in this space and the lighting is key. You want mood lighting (lamp or decorative lights you can hang). Real plants are helpful. Also, have a comfortable chair or sitting pillow, a shawl (to keep you warm when reflecting), a journal, and a few books. You can put a meaningful or inspirational picture up and perhaps put a few meaningful items that invite reflection in this space. I love rocks, so for me, I keep many rocks in my reflection space.

What this looks like at school:

Create a chill zone (or peace zone, mindful zone, etc.) in your classroom. Make it part of your reading nook. This space is very similar to what this may look like at home. However, at school, you may want to put headphones with access to chillax music, mindful coloring tools, mind jar, breathing ball, and journals so students can draw, write, and reflect.

~ Have Your Affirmation Ready (read and repeat)

What this looks like at home:

Affirmations are a great way to keep us in a positive mindset. Use affirmation cards in your reflection zone, keep them on your desk to read and repeat, put them on your fridge, or keep on the family table to create intentional, thoughtful discussion. Not sure what to use? I have the perfect mindfully-infused educational resource. Check out my affirmation and art cards here –


What this looks like at school:

Use my affirmation + art cards as part of your morning routine to start the day off positively inspired. I have 52 cards (plus 5 bonus cards!) so you can pick a new theme for each week! You can use them for staff development, PLC meetings, team meetings, incorporate them into lesson plans, and put a set in your chill zone.

~ Write It Out – Weekly Awesomesauce MAP (Mindful Action Plan)

What this looks like at home:

Writing out what we say we are going to do has a strong psychological force in our performance. How? When we write down our plan, we are much more likely to actuate our plan than if we kept it in our head. Writing our daily/weekly/monthly plan shows commitment. It brings our thoughts into words and our words into actions. It works like magic! Why? Because we have set the intention behind our words to accomplish something specific. Conscious intention is a powerful force.

Remember, this isn’t just any plan, this is your Awesomesauce MAP (mindful action plan)! Write out how you are going to get your brain and heart dressed for the day. Pick a few items from this list, write them down, and get to work.

What this looks like at school:

Educators, I know you love your lesson plan time! It’s arduous at times and so important. A good lesson plan creates great teaching and learning. The same is true with dressing our brain for the day. A great mindful action plan gets our brain and heart primed for connection, love, and joy in everything we do. I’ve developed a template just for you. I call it my Weekly Awesomesauce MAP – Mindful Action Plan. I’ll have these available on my website soon, but for now, know that you need a beginning, middle, and end MAP for each week using a mindful breath and affirmation. Start there.  Write it out and take ACTion!

I hope you enjoy getting your brain (and heart) dressed for an awesomeasuce day! Next time, I”ll share four more tips you can use at home and in the classroom in Part II of Dressing Your Brain for an Awesomesauce Day.

Remember, as you head back to school, the structures, charts, routines, and data analysis are important, but for them to really come to life with meaning and purpose and be useful, we have to create a foundation where they can come to life and this occurs when we dress our brain (and our heart) for an awesomesauce day each and every day and in every way.

Until next time, have fun tuning into and spreading the awesomesauce and, creating the foundation where love, connection, compassion, empathy and understanding thrive at home and at school.

XO  ~


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