- STRONG is an acronym to help you stay focused on your big rocks, like your health, family, and students’ wellbeing.
- Flourish by taking a day trip, enjoying a sunset, scheduling time with family and friends, journal your thoughts, and more.
STRONG: 10 Ways to Flourish & Reduce Stress This School Year
You start the school year fresh and feel great if you’re like me. You have new goals and renewed energy, and the sky’s the limit.
Until about two weeks in. What happens to your passion and energy? Demands and distractions. I once heard that staying focused isn’t so much about saying yes to your target but more about saying no to the thousands of things that distract and deter you from your main goal. As a result, you’re drained.
When I start a new school year, I’m vivacious. Plenty of time to rest and revive throughout the summer leaves me feeling like I can conquer anything. I have new plans and lessons to reach more kids. I have new challenges to seize, keeping my passion alive and energy on overdrive. But, then, around November, I sometimes forget that beginning-of-the-year passion. Can you relate?
Well, I’ve got good news. You can start the school year S T R O N G and flourish all year long.
Let’s first visit starting S T R O N G.
Stephen Covey’s big rock analogy has a home in my habits. It’s brilliant! The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities. Your priorities are your “big rocks.” Therefore, your big rocks must be your priority, and all the other things will fit in. Focusing on your priorities and saying no to distractions takes intentionality. This mindset changed my life. Consequently, I have more time and energy to focus on what truly matters.Your big rocks must be your priority, and all the other things will fit in. Focusing on your priorities and saying no to distractions takes intentionality. This mindset changed my life. Click To Tweet
In addition, I developed the STRONG program at a time when I hit an all-time low. I was about to exit education. I was depleted and done. Why?
Well, I forgot to refuel daily. Just like anything in life, if you don’t do daily maintenance, it falls apart. STRONG is an acronym to help you stay focused on your big rocks, like your health, family, and students’ wellbeing. It’s a systematic self-care system to keep you engaged and energized. In addition, STRONG is a mindset. It encompasses self-care but is also about establishing habits for a healthy mind, body, and soul. I decided to be intentional about being STRONG. You can too. STRONG isn’t a miracle cure-all, but it will set you on the path to passion and purpose instead of the brink of burnout. It’s proactive and preventive. It’s super simple, but for many, it’s not easy because it involves being intentional and consistent. But, when you choose to stay STRONG and implement the steps, I know firsthand you’ll flourish.
Start & Stay STRONG and Flourish
The following steps are an excerpt from my book Be Their Warrior:
“S- Stop and remember your why. Then, T– Take time to thank. Be thankful. Purposefully fill your thoughts with gratitude. R- Rest and revive. All of nature has a rhythm of rest. All Olympic gold medal winners prepare to be strong for their sport, but they, too, must rest to be even stronger. Once you rest and recharge, it is essential to O– Omit negative thoughts and N– Never give up on yourself or your students. Remember to G– Go deeper. Grow. Both personally and professionally.”
(You can gain more insight and intentional strategies for each step from the book: Be Their Warrior.)
Flourish means to grow or develop healthily or vigorously, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.
Above all, when you and I prioritize the STRONG steps and schedule everything else around them, we thrive. Yes, flourish and finish with energy to spare. I know, I know. It sounds too good to be true, right? So why not give it a try for ninety days and let me know?
Ways to Flourish
- Day trip to somewhere new. I call this a day-cation.
- Spend a whole day outside.
- Photograph a sunset. Share it.
- Wake up early and watch the sunrise.
- Practice gratitude. Be mindful, breathe, and stay CALM. I love this post by Livia Chan on gratitude and staying CALM.
- Plant an herb or flower.
- Try a new food truck.
- Reread a favorite book.
- Find time for fun each day, like jumping on a trampoline for five minutes.
- Take a nap.
- Push a child on a swing or swing on a swing.
- Go down a slide.
- Listen to the birds sing.
- Host a potluck.
- Take a walk.
- Schedule time with friends.
- Schedule time with family.
- Dance under the stars.
- Blast your favorite music.
- Sit in silence. Practice the art of doing nothing.
- Declutter an area.
- Journal your thoughts.
- Engage in the six categories of self-care. Learn more about them here and take a quiz to see what areas you need to make your big rocks.
I add activities to the calendar that are my priorities and fill my bucket to ensure I make time to be STRONG and flourish. Therefore, when you and I prosper, our students and all those we love do too.
You’re a passionate educator who loves kids, or you wouldn’t be reading this. I don’t want you to fall into the exhaustion trap and feel discouraged. It isn’t a fun hamster wheel. I’ve been there, and it feels more like a prison. Instead, I program ways to destress daily. Will you join me?
Unquestionably, life as an educator is more fun and way more impactful when you and I flourish. You and your students deserve the best. You and your students deserve to slay goals and destroy distractions. Flourish, my friend–all year long. 😊
💕 Pamela Hall
About Pamela Hall
Pamela Hall is a multi-national award-winning teacher, speaker, and author dedicated to helping educators establish work-life balance and create inclusive environments to reach all kids–even the challenging ones. Pamela’s a lifelong learner who leads & inspires thousands of students and educators. Pamela has appeared on P.B.S., local news, and many magazines such as Educator Insights. She encourages educators to stay S T R O N G to make a more significant impact in their workplace, community, & home. She’s an ordinary cappuccino drinking, chocolate-eating mom & wife from Virginia with an extraordinary passion for making a positive difference.