For the month of April, Prana was the lucky “alternative field experience” host for Western University student, Beatrice Wright (pictured below). I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at all flattered to learn that she sought us out for her final work experience before graduating from teacher’s college. Her intention was to learn how to better manage stress for herself and to be able to pass these life skills on to her students. Judging by her fresh, eager and positive attitude, I am certain her students will benefit greatly and Prana is more than pleased to have been a part of Beatrice’s personal and professional development. We wish Beatrice much success in her new teaching career and feel sincere gratitude for the time she spent with us gathering client testimonials and creating marketing materials that will help tell our story. Below is a special blog post written by Beatrice from a the perspective of a graduating university student,speaking about self-care; how we stray from it and the importance of coming back to it.
In Loco Parentis: Be your own teacher.
By Beatrice Wright
As a teacher-in-training, I often try to predict how my students are going to react to activities and assignments and I plead guilty to projecting my feelings onto them. They, being of a different generation, may not find a video with educational value as inspiring or giggle-fit-inducing as I do and the lesson ends up falling flat. It is difficult for teacher and students to be on the same mental level, but crucial to the students’ success and for the overall energy of the classroom. Students can sense when their teacher has given up trying to make connections between the (sometimes boring) subject matter, to the students’ lives outside the four walls of the classroom. Once they notice this shift, an opportunity to make a long-lasting connection and powerful learning has been missed.
How does this relate to adult workplace dynamics and stress? Well, the lack of motivational zeal and purpose in adults at work is not much different than the apathy of students in school. I believe that the difference lies in the teacher factor: teachers are constantly in a position of care and nurture, what we call “in loco parentis” in Latin, “in the place of the parent” in English. The transition from relying upon somebody in loco parentis and depending on oneself for your productivity and motivation, and caring for your body (nutrition, exercise) and soul (happiness, self-care) is not something that is currently taught at school. As adults, we often need to reconnect to our own ability to monitor our moods, productivity, motivation, and self-care and act in our own best interests.
People learn all sorts of bad habits during the stressful passage of life called higher education or early stages of a career (college, university, apprenticeship etc.) such as: coffee can be a food group. Substances can dull the pain of stress and bad grades and make you look nonchalant and cool – bring on the vodka! Being constantly busy is the only way to be successful. Taking time to relax means engaging in a few minutes of mindless media – YouTube here I come! Friends and family will be there afterwards; school is the only thing that matters right now. Eating Kraft Dinner four times a week is just fine; I’ll balance it out with lettuce on my burger later. Everyone else in my 8:30am class/at work is going out tonight, I’ll be fine if I pound a – insert sugar and taurine packed energy drink here – first thing in the morning…
It takes time to unlearn these unhealthy habits, time that could have been invested in other things if we had learned about self-care and balance earlier in life.
Finding balance is something that everyone struggles with, whether you have a young or old family, or are balancing taking care of yourself and your career, we need to invest some of our energy into ourselves. With nobody in loco parentis at work, how are you taking care of you? Do you allow yourself to eat lunch away from your desk? Perhaps in the fresh air outdoors? Do you give yourself an exercise recess and a healthy lunch every day? These were necessities when we were knee-high, and they still are necessities as a means of positive coping mechanisms for stress, but we have forgotten how to give ourselves a break.
I challenge you this week, starting today, to let yourself take a few moments every day to unplug from work, unplug from stress, and just be with YOU. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths in, visualize yourself in an aura of warm gold light, and give yourself a mental hug.
Be your own in loco parentis: nourish, educate, motivate, and reward yourself.