The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Kelly Hannaghan

Let’s move the conversation on: what’s the future you want to create?

All of our recent conversations and thought processes have been centred around Covid-19. What if we could see the pandemic as an opportunity to create the change we want to see? What would that look like and how would it feel for you?

For many of us our experiences of the recent months have been a whirlwind of fear and uncertainties. Nevertheless, for some of us, this space of time has provided us with a pause to reflect on who we are in the world we live in.

Pre-coronavirus I was constantly preoccupied with the busyness of work life – not just the physical work hours but also the thinking about work hours. I remember wondering how long I could sustain this pace for without burning out completely.

Finding the strength from within

My experience of lockdown has been one of reflection. Throughout my career I have been focused on the wellbeing of others; until now, that has allowed little time to fully embrace my own self-care routines.

I believe that we are all a product of our environments, with a choice to create the change we want to see. I have recently learned that showing up and being vulnerable provides amazing opportunities for growth.

Whatever your experiences are in lockdown, know that you have done your very best to get through this surreal situation

Let’s be honest: we have all in some way felt vulnerable over the last six months, whether it be centred from fear of losing our jobs, feelings of isolation from working and living remotely or simply losing the freedom to connect and embrace our relationships with others. When you spend more time alone, you have no choice but to look from within and self sooth.

Time for change

I’m very interested in the concept of how human beings cope with change. So often we resist change, as demonstrated in the peaks and troughs of the Kubler-Ross change curve model.

The following strategies help us in coping with change.

  • Try to connect with humour: this can lighten the mood and improve social interaction.
  • Talk about problems more than feelings: research shows that actively and repeatedly broadcasting negative emotions hinders our natural adaptation processes.
  • Focus on your values instead of your fears: reminding ourselves of what’s important to us — family, friends and so on – can create a surprisingly powerful buffer against whatever troubles may be ailing us.
  • Accept the past but fight for the future: even though we are never free from change, we are always free to decide how we respond to it.
  • Don’t stress out about stressing out: our reaction to stress has a greater impact on your health and success than the stress itself.
  • Don’t expect stability: there’s one thing that you must do if you want to be more successful at dealing with change: accept it.

Moving the conversation on

It’s time to flip the narrative on what’s gone well for you in Covid-19. What will you be taking forwards? New learning, new relationships or even your own self-development?

As an educator I have realised the importance of connection and bringing communities together. We can continue to emotionally connect whilst socially distancing. I have found creative ways to reach out to others and have established some great new relationships in lockdown. These are the things I want to celebrate and take ownership of moving forwards from the pandemic experience.

Practice gratitude for healing

I am grateful for becoming me in Covid-19. Here are some of my top tips for healing through gratitude.

  • Keep a positivity jar: write down the things you’ve done well or overcome and put them in the jar. You could also invite others to share their positive thoughts about you. Go to this jar if you are having a challenging day.
  • Notice the beauty in nature each day, maybe even go for a mindfulness walk.
  • Notice three good things in every day. Try this just before bedtime as this act will promote a positive sleep pattern.
  • Say thank you for the little things your loved ones do for you, things you normally take for granted.

Be the change you want to see in the world by making gratitude a part of each day. If we all practice gratitude more regularly, the world will be a better place.

Celebrate the new you

Whatever your experiences are in lockdown, know that you have done your very best to get through this surreal situation. Take what you have learned about yourself and the world around you and use it to go onto do great things.

Continue being the very best version of yourself and try to stay grounded. It is my belief that if you check in with your intentions before sharing and speak your truth in a sensitive manor you will go far in life.

A challenge for you this summer, which was shared with me by a good friend, is to try 50 things. This may start with taking 50 minutes out of each day for pure indulgent ‘you time’.

Wishing you all a fantastic summer break and look forward to reconnecting soon.

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