Come on 2022!

Alison Laycock

Are you ready for your 2022? Have you set your intentions? If you have reviewed your 2021 then this will be easier. 2022 can hold many blessings and be the year of your greatest achievements so let’s focus and set some intentions!  

Continue reading “Come on 2022!”

End of year review: Option 2

Alison Laycock

It’s that time of year again and no not just Christmas and all that has to offer but approaching the end of the year. That can only mean one thing, no not extra mince pies, put those down. It’s time for you to review your year so that you go strongly and positively into 2022. 

Continue reading “End of year review: Option 2”

End of year review and celebration: Option 1

Alison Laycock

Every year I do some sort of review and celebration of the year for my personal life and now I add in a business review too for my business ‘Being the Best You Can Be’. A review can be done in many ways and here I share one which was for the end of 2019 ahead of starting a new decade. I love reviews and celebrating successes before I move on to something new as I find it puts the year into perspective. As we go through each month, there will no doubt be many highs and lows, mistakes made and learnings found and it can feel a completely different experience when we are in it to when we look back with perspective and look at the whole year.

Continue reading “End of year review and celebration: Option 1”

Mindfulness and Compassion for health issues

Alison Laycock

Over the past few months, I’ve experienced some health issues and have been extremely grateful for my mindfulness practice and the self-compassion techniques I know and use. I wish to highlight and share the strategies we can use when we experience health issues as these are general techniques for all health issues and perhaps will help you too.

Consult a doctor: This is an act of self-compassion and something we should all do when we experience conditions we are concerned about. To be honest, it has taken me far too long to make a doctor’s appointment and now that it’s done I can breathe more easily. Whatever holds you back isn’t worth it!

Do I know it for sure?: This is one of my favourite questions for many aspects and it has certainly helped me during the past few months when lots of worries have gone through my mind. Asking the question can stop your mind ruminating on all the things that could be wrong and often the answer is ‘no, I don’t know it for sure!’ which means you can move on.

Is there anything I can do to help myself?: If the answer is ‘yes’ then do it and if not then reassure yourself that you have done all you possibly can. Added in to this can be whether or not you need support in doing it and if so, do you have that support or do you need to find it?

Take each step at a time: It is often easy to worry and rush ahead of all other steps to worry all the more. Simply taking each step at a time can help reassure yourself that there is a process to follow and you will soon have the answers you need. Also take each day at a time as some days may be easier to manage than others.

Reassure yourself that you’ve got through so far: It is often easy to panic about tests and symptoms, however reassuring yourself that you have managed so far can help you realise how resilient you are.

Mindful body scan/ Compassionate body scan: Going through all the parts of the body which are still ok/ working can be very helpful and reassuring to remember that it is only one area which needs attention.

Mindful breathing: This can allow time for a break in thoughts by focussing on the breath and notice how it can calm the mind and body.

Mindful movement: Moving the body can be the saving grace during times of difficulty as it encourages us to be present in the body rather than allowing thoughts to take over. There are huge benefits in general to moving the body and mindful movement slows the body down in a way you focus on each part and every muscle involved. It can be very reassuring.

Mindful walking: Going for a mindful walk means we can be lost in the beauty of our surroundings which can lift our mood at the same time as providing us with a different focus. We can also focus on the movement of our body as each part is involved which takes us away from our thoughts.

When I know more I can do more: We are often in a phase where we can’t do anything more than we are doing or have done and we need to accept that we will do more when we have more information and more understanding of where to go next. Acknowledging this fact is important as there is often nothing more to do at certain times.

Do what helps you relax/ laugh/ distract yourself: This is a good time to remember that humour and laughter helps.

Focus on others: thinking about and helping others is a great way of taking your focus off yourself and your own problems

Acknowledge your fears/concerns: It is essential to acknowledge your thoughts/ fears and concerns which are completely valid and need to be expressed to yourself, to others or writing them down to get them out of your head.

Be grateful: Gratitude can lift us and there is always something we can be grateful for about our situation either in terms of the situation itself or in comparison with others. I am always grateful I now live in a country where doctor and hospital appointments are so accessible as well as sanitised tests and care as I have lived and worked in countries where this is not the case.

A lot of these strategies are also useful during illnesses or receiving treatment so please try them out if you wish/need to.

Journal your walks

Alison Laycock

Journaling can be used for any activity we do as well as writing through our thoughts. I’ve included here some of the journal part of my book on Mindful Walks ‘Mindful Walks to be in the present moment’. As an e-book, there is no opportunity to add your notes in the book itself, however I have written some questions to prompt the reader to have thoughts around their walks. If this is helpful for you to consider for your walks then I encourage you to find your own way of using these questions if you wish to. Some may like to record their notes on their phone as a voice recording or typed up in a notes section whilst for others the pen and notebook is their preferred way and drawing or collecting images is also an option. Your choice of technique is completely that, your choice as you will know what works best for you and if you don’t wish to make notes then that is ok too.

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Joys of travel journaling

Alison Laycock

Journaling is more than keeping a diary. It offers the chance to engage in a beautiful friendship with yourself as you share the best and worst stages of your journey/ holiday. All those experiences you wish to keep as a wonderful memory can be preserved in ink, those feelings you need to figure out but don’t wish to share with anyone just yet and the letters you wish to write but have no plan on sending can be shared with your journal.

Journaling is like talking to your best friend and having all the benefits that brings as long as you stay open-minded to being honest with yourself. So first things first, go out and buy yourself a notebook you will be happy carrying around with you so you can write in it whenever needed. Treat yourself to a quality one which will make you want to open it up and write your thoughts down. Now choose what you will write with, for some a pencil is preferred as they can easily correct mistakes, for others a fountain pen as they know they will write with more care and take their time and for others it might be using bright colours which will help them quickly find a memory later. 

Now you are equipped and ready to start, what joys can you expect to experience through journaling?

1. Guarding memories:

Journaling is a good way to guard a memory through writing about it, what happened, how you felt, who else shared this with you and many more parts. It could be a particular time of life and you want to remember the people you met along the way and the things you experienced. This allows you to keep them altogether and easy to find when wanting to share them later with friends or write about your travel experience.

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2.  Writing in your mother tongue:

Travelling or living abroad can often mean that you have the wonderful opportunity to speak a foreign language throughout the day. Journaling provides a place where you can express yourself in your mother tongue. It can be tiring to speak a different language all the time and you might find you don’t express yourself freely enough to other people. You can offload to the journal whenever you want.

3. Track your thoughts/ feelings:

Writing over a period of time can allow you to see where your thoughts and feelings are at that moment either at that time or later when looking back. This can also help show you how you talk to yourself when recording these events and see if you do talk to yourself as you would to your best friend who has the same life events. If you don’t then you may find a better self – talk. 

4. Time with and for yourself:

Journaling gives you the space to step back from everyone and everything around you as you go into your own bubble to record your thoughts and feelings. If you are journaling in a notebook, then it has taken you away from your devices and social media which will provide you with a welcome break where you can focus on yourself. When

 else do you give yourself this time? 

5. Planning journeys/ routes/ timetables

Writing your notes down in the journal means you can keep all the information you need together and you can refer to your notes as you travel along making any changes you need.

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As well as experiencing many joys there are also many benefits to journaling. You may find yourself less stressed, more mindful, more understanding of yourself and others as well as a greater ability to recall memories as you have taken the chance to record events in greater detail. When you return from your travels your thoughts, feelings and memories will already be recorded. 

Let us know how your journaling goes and enjoy choosing the right notebook for you!

There are Journaling courses and workshops available at http://www.beingthebestyoucanbe.org

Writing for clarity, creativity and more

Alison Laycock

This morning, I wrote my 3 morning pages as part of my 90 day challenge. Writing has been my preferred way of processing my thoughts for years now and I’ve enjoyed journaling, travel journaling and making lists for as long as I can remember.  

During my travels, writing is always important for me as it allows me to process any reactions I can’t always show in front of locals when dealing with culture shock. Another great aspect of travel journalling is being able to record the full experience of a moment and knowing that I read back on it later or even years in the future I can be straight back in the moment. 

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Whilst travelling, I write at all times of the day without any set schedule or regularity. Although I’ve tried morning pages as part of that, I haven’t always stuck to it despite seeing the benefits. So why would I start now and stick to it? Maybe lockdown provided me with an ability to take time out in the morning to write a set amount of pages without feeling the need to rush out and start my day. That could be a reason. Another could be that I’ve recently enjoyed doing a silent retreat where writing featured quite heavily throughout. Recently, the podcasts I’ve listened to have all seemed to mention the benefits of Morning Pages and ‘The Artists Way’ by Julia Cameron which has influenced and inspired them greatly. 

Around 3 weeks ago, I started to look differently at what Morning Pages could bring me and agreed to the 90 day challenge where rather than starting and stopping, I would dedicate time and effort to complete it.

What are Morning Pages? This is where you write 3 pages (A4 size it seems) everyday with the view of not showing them to anyone or reading back over them. Simply allow the stream of consciousness to come through your pen/pencil to be captured on the paper. Morning is apparently a good time to do this and I have found that when I’ve had to leave it till later, then I am far too distracted to write so it takes much longer and thoughts are not necessarily as deep as they could be. Some choose a notebook to keep all the writing together in one place whilst others choose to write on separate sheets of paper and collect them in an envelope that they put away somewhere hidden away. I’m not a natural morning person so the fact that I’ve stuck to it shows that there is value in it for me. 

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What are the benefits of Morning Pages? I’ve noticed that writing down my thoughts first thing in the morning means that I can let go of any concerns or distracting thoughts before starting my day. Some days, I’ll write down creative thoughts, ideas or poems and there may be a business idea coming through which is then actioned in the day.

There are also other days when nothing really interesting or important comes through and still I write 3 pages of something and nothing whilst other days, my pen gets to the end of those all important 3 pages and it still carries on. I think the most in one day so far is 9 pages and I luckily had the time to keep on writing and got it all out before carrying on free of all those thoughts. 

I imagine when I get to the end of my 90 day challenge that the wish/need to read back over all those pages will either be strongly there to see what has changed or the opposite feeling of simply wishing to leave them, shred them or burn them will take over. Who knows, for now I’m just happy to write each morning getting my 3 pages out of me before breakfast or whilst having my morning coffee. 

An area which interests me is whether someone who has never used writing before as a coping strategy, would find the same benefits as I have. Would they find so much more to say to finally let it all flow out or would the words, thoughts or more need greater encouragement? Maybe the benefits would be seen and acknowledged sooner than 3 weeks or would they need longer to welcome morning pages into their daily routine?

If you are such a person then please let me know how you get on and if you wish to take it further then please check out the Journaling courses and workshops are available through http://www.beingthebestyoucanbe.org

Mindfulness for NQTs: Review

by Alison Laycock

Well, we are through August and some of you will have already started the new school year and some just about to depending on where you are in the world. It has been wonderful meeting some of you in the workshops and I have very much enjoyed learning about Education in your countries and how the systems are similar and also differ. The techniques are relevant wherever you teach so I’m looking forward to hearing how they go so even if you haven’t attended a workshop, please let me know what you have tried from the blog posts we have discussed over the past month. These will still remain accessible on the blog and if you wish then please also join the Facebook group mentioned at the end of the post as I will be posting techniques in there from time to time.

So, let’s do a quick review of the posts so that you will have a link for all in one post to access easily. You will have noticed that some posts overlap and that’s perfectly natural as no idea stands alone within mindfulness and ideas, techniques and more often complement each other and help build up and complete the jigsaw.

We looked at how to bring positivity, gratitude, kindness and a supportive atmosphere and integration into the classroom as well as the whole school in Mindfulness for NQTs: Kindness, Mindfulness for NQTS: Acknowledge all the small successes, positives & improvements, Mindfulness for NQTs: Gratitude, Mindfulness for NQTs: Positive self-talk and Mindfulness for NQTs: Collect the positives.

At various points we looked at knowing yourself and how looking after yourself is important and once you have that knowledge and experience, why not pass it on to the students so that they can build up those resources too. These were purposely posted throughout the month to ensure there were timely reminders for all to practise self-care and more. This came through in Mindfulness for NQTs: Self-awareness, Mindfulness for NQTs: Self-Care, Mindfulness for NQTs: Self-soothing techniques and Mindfulness for NQTs: It’s OK to not be OK.

There were some techniques as the focus of the post in Mindfulness for NQTs: Breathe, Mindfulness for NQTs: S.T.O.P exercise, Mindfulness for NQTs: Name it to tame it, Mindfulness for NQTs: Check in and Scan through, Mindfulness for NQTs: Mantra, Mindfulness for NQTs: Visualise, Mindfulness for NQTs: Reset and Mindfulness for NQTs: Move.

Some posts covered how you can present yourself as a teacher and create a great classroom environment and atmosphere to support you and the students such as Mindfulness for NQTs: Classroom Environment, Mindfulness for NQTs: Pay attention to your words, Mindfulness for NQTs: Beginner’s Mind, Mindfulness for NQTs: Mindful/ Compassionate listening, Mindfulness for NQTs: Resilience, Mindfulness for NQTs: Go into nature and Mindfulness for NQTs: The best teachers are also students.

Other posts combine all of the above and also standalone Mindfulness for NQTs: Silence, Mindfulness for NQTs: See the individual, Mindfulness for NQTs: Be present, Mindfulness for NQTs: Humour, Mindfulness for NQTs: It’s OK not to know the answer and Mindfulness for NQTs: Let go.

I hope these have helped you in some way in your teaching and/or your personal life and I wish you all the best for this NQT year and more beyond. Remember to take time out for you whenever you can or need to.

Every day throughout August, these tips will be shared across social media so I’m including my links here. Throughout August, I’m offering meditation/ mindfulness sessions for NQTS/teachers and school staff on 4th, 11th, 18th and 20th August at 7-7.45pm via ZOOM. If interested, please email Alison at info@beingthebestyoucanbe.org 

Follow me across social media if you aren’t already to have access to the tips every day:

Facebook: Being the Best You Can Be

Twitter: @alisonlaycock23

LinkedIn: Alison Laycock

You Tube channel: Being the Best You Can Be 

I’m also offering 25% off all courses for NQTs who wish to develop their mindfulness and compassion skills and resources more. The courses on offer are the 8 week MBSR programme with sessions lasting  120 mins and there are also 6 week Mindfulness and Compassion courses which last 60 mins each session. If you prefer workshops rather than courses then these are also available and can be checked out and booked via http://www.beingthebestyoucanbe.org

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Mindfulness for NQTs: Visualise

by Alison Laycock

Now we have reached the end of the posts towards Mindfulness for NQTs and tomorrow’s post will be a review with all the links together in one post. If you haven’t read them all so far then tomorrow’s post will provide you with one place to access them all.

The one I believe brings all the preceding ones together as you now have the opportunity to visualise what you want to happen and how you wish to be as a teacher and a person. How will you interact with yourself, your students, your colleagues and your family and friends? How will you look after yourself and ensure you can still have energy left at the end of the day? What and who will support you? How will you make your classroom a mindful environment for you and your students?

There is lots more you can visualise so I’ve only included a few of the options above to get you started and to give you an idea of what this can look like. Some people like to visualise through writing their thoughts down, some like to draw whilst others like to do it through meditation and some will prefer to talk it through with others. Whichever is your preferred way then great go for it as any will work as visualisation in any form will allow yourself time to focus on you and your performance.

Visualisation can be done once and for some that will work for so long, whilst others may prefer to do it every morning or even throughout the day if you require different approaches for different students.

Have fun with it and play with your techniques if you wish to as you don’t need to visualise in the same way all the time.

Every day throughout August, these tips will be shared across social media so I’m including my links here. Throughout August, I’m offering meditation/ mindfulness sessions for NQTS/teachers and school staff on 4th, 11th, 18th and 20th August at 7-7.45pm via ZOOM. If interested, please email Alison at info@beingthebestyoucanbe.org 

Follow me across social media if you aren’t already to have access to the tips every day:

Facebook: Being the Best You Can Be

Twitter: @alisonlaycock23

LinkedIn: Alison Laycock

You Tube channel: Being the Best You Can Be 

I’m also offering 25% off all courses for NQTs who wish to develop their mindfulness and compassion skills and resources more. The courses on offer are the 8 week MBSR programme with sessions lasting  120 mins and there are also 6 week Mindfulness and Compassion courses which last 60 mins each session. If you prefer workshops rather than courses then these are also available and can be checked out and booked via http://www.beingthebestyoucanbe.org

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Mindfulness for NQTs: Mantra

Finding and using a positive, energising or soothing mantra can help you make the transition of a morning into your teaching role and then back in the evening to your personal life. For some it is words which have the greatest impact and for others it could be deciding on their teacher ‘uniform’ which immediately puts them in the role allowing them to be professional whatever is going on.

What will it be for you? Maybe you have it already from your PGCE year?

As a MFL teacher, I always spoke the main language I was teaching around the school so outside of class as I passed students I would greet them with ‘Bonjour’ to encourage them to also practice the language outside of the French lessons. I was called ‘Madame” which was different to ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’ like other female staff so that for me was the role I put on when I dressed for work.

In fact, the mantra I would use with students has since become the name of my business as I would say to them ‘you can only be the best YOU can be’ so from that came ‘Being the Best You Can Be’.

Every day throughout August, these tips will be shared across social media so I’m including my links here. Throughout August, I’m offering meditation/ mindfulness sessions for NQTS/teachers and school staff on 4th, 11th, 18th and 20th August at 7-7.45pm via ZOOM. If interested, please email Alison at info@beingthebestyoucanbe.org 

Follow me across social media if you aren’t already to have access to the tips every day:

Facebook: Being the Best You Can Be

Twitter: @alisonlaycock23

LinkedIn: Alison Laycock

You Tube channel: Being the Best You Can Be 

I’m also offering 25% off all courses for NQTs who wish to develop their mindfulness and compassion skills and resources more. The courses on offer are the 8 week MBSR programme with sessions lasting  120 mins and there are also 6 week Mindfulness and Compassion courses which last 60 mins each session. If you prefer workshops rather than courses then these are also available and can be checked out and booked via http://www.beingthebestyoucanbe.org

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