Right folks. Today, I need your help!
My educational business Skills with Frills is now officially up and running. My whole ‘thing’ is skill-based learning’ primarily ‘life skills’ with a good focus on wellbeing. I go into primary and secondary schools, spending the day with kids – usually aged between 8-12 (though this isn’t set in stone.) My signature workshop day, Wellbeing Warriors, covers topics like ‘Growth Mindset’; kindness; Fight; Flight and Freeze; emotional resilience; mindfulness; taking risks; gratitude and responsibility.
As an anxiety sufferer myself, I’ve been in the fortunate position that I can look back to my own childhood including thoughts and experiences from school, and consider: what would it have helped me to know? For me, this was knowing that the physical symptoms of anxiety that I was feeling were relatively normal. It would have helped me so much to know that my racing heart, sweaty palms, shaking hands and chin etc. just meant that my body sensed a threat, and needed re-training, rather than what I actually thought: that there was something terribly wrong with me, medically/physically/mentally, because I was experiencing things that no normal person would in ‘normal’ social situations.
The more I delve into the teaching of wellbeing; the more committed and passionate I become. What grabs me more that anything is the notion that it’s never too early to begin teaching wellbeing and ‘self-help’ to children. Considering the myriad of pressures and anxieties that our young people face, at home as well as at school, it’s just so important that we get wellbeing on the curriculum. Sadly, there isn’t an age cap on life’s calamities – bad things happen and often young children find themselves mixed up in this. Where their lives escape personal tragedy, technology now provides them the means to accidentally or purposely see and experience horrors way beyond their years of understanding. Therefore, it’s essential that we teach strategies for good mental health in our schools. Children need support in making good choices in the way they think, feel and act.
Where we ignore this, we’re just waiting for children with low self-esteem and worries to become adults with mental health problems.
Feedback from wellbeing workshops has been fantastic so far, but this is just the beginning. I’m currently planning days based on emotional fitness/resilience, including a mix of CBT techniques. I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask for feedback from the blogging community, particularly as I know this includes a lot of people who have battled their own mental health demons. While I’ve used my own experience of anxiety to pin-point what children might find useful, I realise that often people’s struggles and methods of coping are different, and personal to them.
All that I ask is a sentence or two responding to the following question:
What would it have helped YOU to learn, know, explore or practise in school, that would have helped you handle the ups and downs of life, both as a child and as an adult? What knowledge and skills, if covered in school, might have allowed you to make better choices when facing life’s hurdles; to think and feel and react in a ‘better way’; to cope with negativity, poor self-esteem and poor thinking habits, or even prevent them before they happened?
The information will go to great use, in support children’s mental health, and clearly there’s going to be some fantastic karma attached to this!
Thanks so much for this one!