First, let me start by saying: Read this blog. Don’t read this blog. Save it for later. Or make it disappear forever. Your choice. We all have decisions and choices to make right now. Small, big, life changing. Decision fatigue is real. Rapid change is here.
All of our professionals in healthcare, child care and education, social services, food services, transportation, government, military, emergency response, and public safety are working around the clock and many are taking life-changing risks to keep us all safe and healthy. We sincerely thank you.
Our body, mind, and brain are working overtime, too. Like all of us, I’ve been in and out of my amygdala just trying to keep up. The 4 Fs come to mind. Fight. Flight. Freeze. Faint. In other words, pick a fight with someone about nothing, disappear into social media, zone out on some reality show, eat another piece of chocolate and take a nap.
One minute I feel deep gratitude for those tirelessly and selflessly working on the frontlines, then appreciation for this opportunity to pause and pay attention and spend time with my family, then frustration at the spilled soup on the carpet and discovery of the broken vacuum hiding in the closet, then sadness and empathy for everyone hurting, then confusion with all the incoming information, then fear and anxiety for what’s to come, then hope that this may be a personal and collective wake up call for each of us to pause, reconnect with ourselves, each other, nature, and what’s most important in life. All normal with no emotion better than the other.
I know my fixed mindset and growth mindset are being triggered and my social and emotional learning (SEL) skills and practices are being called upon to serve me and those around me. Taking on challenges, problem solving, making and learning from mistakes, recognizing and expressing our emotions, being kind to ourselves, practicing empathy and compassion, and navigating our reactions, responses, interactions, and relationships take on new meaning in our collective new reality.
Our collective new reality highlights all that we have to be thankful for and inspired by and all that we have been coping with, minimizing, ignoring, and hiding. Tired, overwhelmed, stressed, burned out, overworked and underpaid; our daily lives are characterized by these conditions. A pandemic did not need to tell us this, if we were listening and paying attention.
Many bodies, minds, and brains have been overworking and running fast all along. Our amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex are overworking now, taking in and processing all the incoming information. We know when our prefrontal cortex steps up we start using the information. We start thinking, brainstorming, planning, organizing, collaborating, designing, and creating. This is happening in small, big, and life-changing ways for everyone all day and all over the world. Many in front and behind the scenes are engaged in work that will change the world for the better. Each of us is making a difference all day long.
So when you start thinking, brainstorming, planning, organizing, collaborating, designing, and creating you may be looking for content that connects us to our humanity, that’s human-centered. You may be looking for neuroscience, growth mindset, SEL, and mindfulness tools and resources to use or at least download, bookmark, and tag for when you might need them later. Here are a few for when you need them.
- Growth mindset parenting
- A playlist of animated read aloud videos of SEL children’s books
- A brainstorm of growth mindset, SEL, and mindfulness ideas for home
- A Playlist of short neuroscience, growth mindset, SEL, and mindfulness videos for all ages
- Growth mindset videos
- Resources to teach growth mindset at home and distance learning
Left. Right. Breathe. We’re all trying to take it moment by moment, day by day, and trying to give ourselves and each other a break during this unprecedented time in history. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Be safe and healthy.
Dr. Kendra Coates is a steadfast believer in accessing and celebrating our unlimited potential. She is a learner, educator, mom, consultant, author, and coach. She is the author of Growing Early Mindsets™ (GEM™), a new literacy-based teaching and learning framework from Mindset Works, the global leader in growth mindset. Kendra has twenty years of PreK-12 teaching and leadership experience and currently serves as Regional Director of P-3rd Education in Oregon. She holds a B.A. in political science, a M.A.T. in Special Education, a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction, and a D.Ed. in Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership. She holds educational licenses in literacy, PreK–12 special education, early childhood and elementary education, and school administration in the state of Oregon. You can follow her on Twitter @DrKendraCoates.