Friday, July 12, 2019

10 Questions About Self-Care Only You Can Answer

photo by andibreit for Pixabay 

by Catharine Hannay

There's no score for this quiz and no one correct answer to any of the questions. The purpose is to figure out what works for You.

1. What does 'self-care' mean to me?

  • Does it feel selfish, self-empowering, or self-nurturing?

2. How might taking better care of myself benefit others (especially my family and students or clients)?
  • How do I get what I want/need without negatively impacting someone else?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

5 Strategies for Building Resilience in Children and Youth

peer leaders and students participating in the
Flourish summer camp session in 2019

photo courtesy Mental Fitness, Inc.

Guest post by Robyn Hussa Farrell, Mental Fitness, Inc. 

For the last 14 years, Mental Fitness, Inc. (a national nonprofit agency) has connected with researchers from multiple disciplines to deliver evidence-based programs that build resilience in youth.  With one in three adolescents struggling with depression, and with suicide being the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10 to 19, there is an urgent and critical need to build the shared protective factors against substance use, mental health disorders and suicide.

By using a trauma-informed framework, we can be sure to reach children and youth from a wide range of socio-economic and demographic backgrounds. Here are five strategies that we've found particularly effective.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Video Playlists for Teachers and Teacher Trainers

Photo by from Pexels

by Catharine Hannay

Some of the most popular posts here at are the video playlists for practicing and teaching mindfulness and compassion. To make it easier to find everything, I've gathered all the playlists here. 

I hope you find a lot of videos that are appropriate for your context, whether you're looking for resources to enhance your  own personal practice or to teach others (kids or adults). 

Be sure to check back periodically, as I continue to add new videos and new playlists.

Videos about Mindfulness and Meditation

The Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids
Thought-Provoking Videos About Mindfulness and Meditation
Using the Arts to Teach Mindfulness

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Self-Care Videos: Chair-Based Yoga and Stretching Routines

by Catharine Hannay

An important theme here at is realistic self-care for educators and other helping professionals. One key aspect of self-care is to take a break in the midst of a busy workweek to breathe, stretch, and get some mindful movement.

This playlist is intended for those of you who:
  • have limited mobility;
  • would like to try some gentle stretches at your desk; or
  • would benefit from using a chair as an extra-tall yoga block (which is something I frequently do myself).

Seated Routines Without Lower-Body Movement

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Video Playlist: The Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids

by Catharine Hannay

Here are several brief (5-15 minute) videos about school-based mindfulness and meditation programs and kids' perspectives on the benefits of mindfulness.

Please keep in mind that there are many factors that contribute to an effective mindfulness program, including:
  • trained instructors with their own long-term mindfulness practice; 
  • a trauma-informed, culturally-sensitive approach; and
  • support from administrators, classroom teachers, and parents.

TED Talk by teen mindfulness educator Adam Avin, founder of Wuf Shanti.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Two Powerful Empathy Practices to Awaken Compassion

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

By Catharine Hannay

"Imagination... is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared... Unlike any other creature on the planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people's places."
J.K. Rowling, Harvard graduation speech

Empathy means 'feeling with,' truly understanding how someone else is feeling. I like to think of it as the first step toward compassion and kindness. It’s a lot easier to be kind when we understand someone else’s point of view and how they might be experiencing the world.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Gift of Your Presence

Photo by from Pexels

by Catharine Hannay

The most important part of ‘mindful speech’ might actually be knowing when not to talk. Being a good listener is much rarer than you might think, especially now that everyone’s so distracted by what’s happening on their phones.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Mindful Speech: What Type of Conversation Do You Want?

Photo by Alexis Chloe on Unsplash

by Catharine Hannay

Have you ever tried to confide in someone and ended up feeling worse? Or has someone 'helpfully' given you a lot of unsolicited advice? Or perhaps you keep getting into arguments about the same issues over and over again?

It can be really frustrating if you just need to let off steam, but the other person keeps telling you what to do.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Three Ways to Practice Gratitude Every Day

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

by Catharine Hannay

Weekly Gratitude Journal 

At the end of each day this week, write down a few things that you appreciate. This could be actual things, like your favorite sneakers. Or it could be something that happened, or a place where you felt comfortable, or someone who was nice to you.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Video Playlist: Building Community Through the Arts

by Catharine Hannay

Here's the latest in the popular series of video playlists for teachers and teacher trainers. This time, the focus is on how the visual and performing arts can be used to help us empathize with other people and join together to serve our communities. 

As always, I've included a variety of perspectives; use your own best judgment about what's appropriate for your students and context. And scroll to the end of the post for suggested questions you could use as prompts for discussion or reflective writing.

Through explaining about her own work, Hilary Cox Codron shows how an artist can benefit her community.

Marquese McFerguson (who's taught middle school, high school, and university students) explains how poetry and storytelling can help us to see through each other's "sunglasses". He worked with a group of young Asian American men to tell their stories through poetry and film.