- Make a plan: Estimate the time it will take to complete the work (the project, the studying, whatever it is). Schedule in the time BEFORE your holiday, or AFTER your holiday. Get creative with your planning! You may have to give up watching t.v. for two days, or skip a pre-trip holiday party, but when you can prioritise your work AND your holiday time, all the “extras” really come into focus.
- Put the work away- physically! Get a large plastic bin, or your backpack, and physically pack away the textbooks, the binders, etc. Put a copy of your post-holiday work schedule on the top. Put a “Do not open until…” sign on it. This might sound silly, but the physical putting away can be a really great way of creating a concrete boundary on your work.
- Visualise: As you travel to your destination, whether by car or plane, imagine the thoughts of your work as string that physically connect you to it. Imagine your thoughts of work as string connecting you to the bin of work, and watch them stretch the further you travel. When you’re ready, imagine yourself cutting the strings of thoughts of your work, and with each snip of the strings, allow your body to release the tension of the thought. By the time you reach your destination, allow your body and mind to be in relaxation (or excitement, whatever is restorative to you!)
- Follow the plan! When you get home, unpack the box, and follow through with your plan! There’s no better way of developing your self-trust by creating a plan for yourself and following through!
Here’s the secret….every teen WANTS the satisfaction of knowing what they want, and then getting it!
In fact, we ALL want over the holidays are good feels! We want the feeling of certainty of knowing what will light us up, the variety and excitement of something NEW, and the certainty of feeling SATISFIED with what we get!
Here’s what’s difficult….teens are even more susceptible than adults to the negative emotions that come up during the holiday season:
- Not knowing what they want
- Wanting something that they believe they can’t have
- Wanting something they they KNOW they won’t get
- Feeling entitled to something and having to settle for something less
- Being completely dis-satisfied with what they get because it doesn’t meet their expectations
Wanting is hard because it can lead to disappointment and rejection. Sometimes, it’s easier to not want anything. BUT, if we lose touch with what we WANT, then we miss out on the very feeling that can compel us to action. WANTING can be extremely motivating!
Settle in to WANTING something BIG!
Want an extraordinary life!
Want to feel connected to something bigger than yourself!
Want to know how to become your own best friend!
Want to know yourself a bit more deeply!
When we focus on expanding our view from the material wants, and really allow ourselves to set our vision on something greater, then we can follow the clues laying all around us to lead us in the right direction!
Not sure how to expand your view? CLICK HERE to grab a free 30 minute call with me, and we’ll get there together!
The other day a good friend of mine told me this;
“Deanne, everyone thinks we’re the perfect family and that our teens are so amazing. But the truth is, it is SO hard to raise teenagers! Just the other night, our oldest son was out driving around the next town in the middle of the night, when he was supposed to be home looking after his younger brother… We’re far from perfect”
Can you relate?
Parenting teens is tough, it always has been, but in today’s fast-paced world driven by IMAGE, we’re constantly comparing how everyone else’s life LOOKS compared to how our life FEELS.
As parents, we’ve worked hard to get an education, a career, a home, a partner, have children…and just when we feel like we’ve figured out how to parent our kids, they go sideways.
They’re driving around town in the middle of the night.
They’re failing a class.
They’re getting fired from their part time job.
They’re totaling the family car with 4 of their friends inside.
Not to mention the terrifying times when we’re worried about their mental health.
When we feel on top of our game in so many aspects of our adult life, it’s hard to be right back in the vulnerable, confusing, overwhelming messiness of figuring out life with a teenager.
That’s why I’ve been capturing on camera my conversations with parents who are willing to share what parenting in real life looks like (and how it feels). I’ve put these conversations together into an incredible FREE global virtual event, so that YOU know that whatever you’re going through with your teen,
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
We’re creating a global movement of parents who are committed to LEANING IN to the messiness of raising teens, and telling the TRUTH about how that really looks and feels. This event is called,
Wholehearted Parenting: Supporting resilient, confident and purpose-driven teens
I’ve interviewed over 21 thought leaders (many of whom are parents, but not all) to share their very best practices and insights so that you have the inner strength to work through your fears, lead your teen from the HEART, and learn to trust yourself as a parent.
CLICK HERE FOR FREE ACCESS
Through this interview series you’ll discover
- How to be responsive to your teen, not reactive
- How to trust your intuition about how to bestparent your teen (despite what all your friends and family are telling you)
- How to powerfully connect with your teen even when they’re pushing you away
- How to see the conflict you have with your teen as an opportunity for growth (theirs AND yours)
- How to step back so your child can solve their own problems
- How to reinvent your relationship with your teen as they grow into adults
<<<CLICK HERE>>> to reserve your FREE all-access pass!
This movement has the capacity to release an entire generation from comparison, isolation, and a fear of failure and give rise to a new generation of parents and teens who are willing to be lead with courage and cultivate resilience, creativity, and purpose.
Wouldn’t it me amazing to be part of a global movement of parents who are committed to leading with the heart?
The huge shift is happening. Let’s inspire wholehearted living by parenting our teens that way.
CLICK HERE for access to every interview AND more than 20 bonus resources for you and your family!
If you’re ready for a real change, I invite you and any of the parents in your life to join us for Wholehearted Parenting.
P.S. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be part of a global movement that inspires parents to lead with their whole heart? Here’s your opportunity to be part of that inspiration. Would you kindly share this with your friends, your neighbors, and any other parents who you know could benefit from hearing the TRUTH about raising teens today.
16 years ago the world watched as two planes flew into New York’s World Trade Centre, and we heard the stories of the victims, heroes, and terrorists. We watched as communities coped with the unexpected, shared tragic loss, and suffered through weeks, months, and years of knowing that life for them would never be the same.
Our teens have grown up in an era of TERROR.
It’s easy to dismiss this idea and tell ourselves that our babies and toddlers weren’t affected, but the truth is that 16 years ago the “unthinkable” happened; each of us has had to re-calculate our world view after the events of 9/11, and that shift has had a profound effect on our children. TERROR has been a part of our culture in a real and tangible way.
As a resilience coach, I wonder,
How can we be resilient in the face of extreme fear?
Since the 1970’s, psychologists have agreed that resilient people believe that they can do something to manage their feelings.
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION CAN HELP YOU TO MANAGE YOUR FEELINGS!
Teens are reporting higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression every year.
We NEED to teach our teens how to manage their feelings.
We NEED to teach our teens to be present in the moment so that instead of numbing their emotions with food, Instagram, video games, homework and basketball practice, they can actually FEEL their emotions so that they can MOVE THROUGH THEM.
When we don’t process our emotions, when we don’t allow ourselves to feel what we’re feeling, we’re not able to make the best decisions for ourselves, we’re not in touch with our divine gifts, and we’re at risk for developing disease.
So today, give yourself 5 minutes to just let your emotions flow. Get curious about what you’re feeling in the moment. Let that be enough.
I found a virtual waterfall for you! CLICK HERE to give yourself a quiet 5 minute retreat space, and just listen to the flowing water as you let your emotions flow.
If you find this exercise difficult, just tell yourself “Everything is OK right now”, because if you’re sitting in a safe plae listening to a waterfall, you are not in imminent danger.
Here’s to your wellness: body, mind, and spirit!
Are you feeling the fall pressure?
Does your calendar ALREADY look completely packed?
Instead of falling into the old patterns of overwork and overwhelm from years past, take some time to make the bold commitment to
DO THIS YEAR DIFFERENTLY.
I’m challenging you to schedule time in your calendar for DOING NOTHING. Schedule in some time every day (10-20 minutes) and a larger chunk of time each week (1-3 hours) when you don’t have a “to-do” list to accomplish.
This is a time to do only what you WANT to do. Do what you’re inspired to do IN THE MOMENT. Sit down, drink a cup of tea, draw, stretch, lay on your bed and listen to music.
Stick to your commitment of allowing yourself this down time (this is for teens AND parents!)
Here’s why: when we give ourselves time to stop, breathe, decompress, rest, and listen to what we need in the moment, our rested mind and body is able to make clearer decisions the rest of the day (so we actually end up saving time!)
Can I tell you a quick story about doing things differently?
Last weekend I ran a 10 K race. There was a woman ahead of me who would run, then slow down to a walk, then run again. I had used this strategy in my training, but on race day I was committed to running at a strong pace for the entire race. I was SO FRUSTRATED that this woman was actually moving at the same pace as me!
Here’s the lesson: We fool ourselves into feeling like we need to push-push-push all day long to be productive and successful, when in fact, varying our pace allows us to use our energy more efficiently, and gives us some much needed VARIETY in our lives so we don’t get burned out from the push.
Give yourself the gift of taking a break EVERY DAY!
You are WORTH IT!
The school year is wrapping up, and I’m curious….have you really had the impact on your teen that you’d like?
Are you worried about the choices that your teen is making, but feeling powerless to influence your teen?
Are you seeing your teen make the SAME MISTAKE over and over again?
Are you afraid that you’ll “say too much” and push your teen into hiding…again?
SO many parents have been asking me HOW TO PARENT TEENS so that they’re RESILIENT, so I’ve created this FREE MASTER CLASS, and you’re invited!
Parenting for Resilience: How to coach your teen into being a successful problem solver is happening LIVE on Saturday!
In this MASTERCLASS I’ll show you step-by-step how to:
- Reduce stress by swapping worry for wisdom
- Listen to your teen so they KNOW that you respect them
- Ask simple questions that will empower your teen to solve their own problems
- Build resilience skills over the summer as a family
Are you in? CLICK HERE to grab your spot for FREE!
Not only will you hear my BEST STRATEGIES for empowering your teen, you’ll also have a chance to ask me questions in our LIVE Q and A session at the end of the training.
Don’t miss out on this amazing FREE training! CLICK HERE to grab your spot!
See you there!
P.S. We can only accommodate 100 participants, so act now to grab your seat! CLICK HERE to register now!
My favorite outfit of all-time was a kelly green, terrycloth jumper. It had solid block colors across the front in red, yellow and blue, with strings at the shoulders that tied at the top. I loved that thing, but I would only wear it in my bedroom because the shoulder strings exposed my arms. My plump, padded arms. They lacked any definition and for that,
I refused to let anyone see them. This was middle school. I was not, by any means, overweight. My family often joked that I ate like a bird and usually fell asleep before dinner was on the table, but by high school, I was dieting.
I remember walking down the hall in high school and thinking to myself, “Wait a second … is that my rear shaking behind me?” And it was! So I made the necessary changes and started eating a Granny Smith apple and two Quaker rice cakes everyday for lunch, for years. My family didn’t know, but it didn’t feel like a secret. It felt more like brushing my teeth twice a day. It was just something I had to do.
I was already very active. I’m from the generation of kids that immediately went outside to play after getting home from school in the afternoon. I’d also been dancing since the age of six. Everyday, after school, Monday through Friday and Saturday mornings. Performances, Recitals, Competitions, After-school Intensive and Dance Company.
Since I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college, I attended a community college for a year and continued my dance training at the Artistic Dance Centre. I also joined a gym and went to a cardio class everyday. If I couldn’t make the gym, I did one of my mom’s workout videos at home. I felt great! And I was thin. And that felt incredible.
* 17 years old
* 120 lbs
Pretty perfect dancer specs. Or so I thought.
In that same year, I discovered a university whose primary focus was dance and musical theatre performance and that’s when I knew that that university was exactly where I wanted to be.
One hundred thirty-two dancers auditioned for the university’s dance program in 1993. Fifty-seven made it. Sitting in the front seat of my mom’s Volkswagen Cabriolet, parked at the top of our driveway, I opened the envelope from the university and cried when I read the letter.
I was accepted as a Dance Performance Major. I was one of the fifty-seven and I was elated.
This was not your typical dance school. Most colleges focus on Ballet and Modern. This program was modeled after the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, offering Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Musical Theatre with an acute
focus on creating a triple threat … someone who can sing and dance and act, so they’re more marketable in the industry.
Leaving home for the first time, so many emotions swirled within me … excitement, fear, anticipation. I moved from Maryland to the Midwest where the school was planted and fell in love with my decision, my new place in life and the personal path I was beginning to carve for myself. Something about being there on campus, finding and connecting with new people, my people, felt so freeing and meaningful.
With that joy and excitement came hardship, too. At least for me it did. Part of the industry, I learned, pays particular attention to body image. Just as the Rockettes and many other shows do today, dancers are required to make and maintain a certain weight. So in preparation for the real world, we were required to weigh in. No problem, I thought. I was slim and dancing everyday would only make me slimmer. We weighed in three times a semester and our weight was a part of our grade, but as the semesters passed, even though I was a proficient dancer, I began to receive low marks because of my body. It did not match what they wanted.
And then the dance faculty addressed my weight directly. They told me I needed to lose. I was shocked at first. Me?! I mean, I was thin. In fact,
I was thinner than most. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t understand their logic, but I was also too afraid to ask questions. Instead, I began to watch and study and try to determine how they were making their decisions. It just did not make sense. It appeared to me that they were holding me to the 122 lbs I came in weighing in my freshman year. And while other girls weighed more and had more body mass, if the other girls lost 1 lb, but I gained 3 lbs, they were ‘good’ and I was ‘bad.’
So what did I do? Well, a natural-born people-pleaser, I wanted the dance faculty to like me, so I tried to lose the weight. Dancing 4-6 hours a day and afterwards, hitting the gym, I ate as healthy as I could at the time, but also regressed into binges with friends on the weekends.
So I began to manage my weight in ways I had never tried before. Restrict. Diet. Binge. Restrict. I tried not to eat what I thought was ‘bad.’ I tried to control my eating. I tried to control what I ate, the amount I ate and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I’d cave and binge. Restrict. Diet. Binge. Restrict. Smoke. Restrict. Diet. Drink. Binge.
God, I hated those next mornings. Peeling myself out of bed with guilt and shame bound to my body like dead weights at my ankles.
I was devastated and at 5’8”, now weighing in at 128 lbs, my body was beginning to affect my path as a dancer. I was cut from the Dance Company and forgotten, or so it seemed, for Choreography Shows. For all the performances, I was required to work backstage, helping dancers make quick costume changes and then re-hang their costumes on hangers, or I was required to work front of house as an usher rather than being onstage where I wanted to be, where I was training to be, where I belonged. It was diminishing. I hated it. I hated me. I hated me for not being able to get this right. I hated me for not being able to fix myself.
I hated my body for failing me, for not losing weight, for its bone structure and for having cravings I couldn’t control. I hated myself. I was ashamed of myself. I was embarrassed that I’d been rejected. Couldn’t they see? Didn’t they know? Didn’t they know how hard I was trying? Apparently not. So I tried even harder.
Restrict. Diet. Binge. Restrict. Smoke. Restrict. Drink. Binge. Diet. Restrict. The cycle continued again and again, until I had an idea.
I decided one night in my sophomore year to try something I’d never done before, but just this once. I was only going to try it once. I ordered a Domino’s pizza for delivery. Again, it was just this once. No big deal. And then, my brighter idea. “If I’m gonna do this, I might as well add ice cream.” But again, just this once. So I raced to the Braum’s on the corner, purchased a hot fudge sundae – no nuts, no cherry – and raced back home before the pizza arrived. Just this once. Just this once. Sitting and waiting for the doorbell, I tried to remember the last time I had had pizza or ice cream, let along both on the same night. Had it been two years? Two and a half? I couldn’t remember, but you know, just this once.
Here we go.
I really don’t remember tasting a thing. I packed it in swiftly and raced to the bathroom. Knees down. Lid up. Fingers down. Food up. Flushed down. Cleaned up. And that was that. Just this once. It was almost a little too easy, but again it was just this once. Yeah. Just this once. Until it wasn’t. Until it was 13 years later.
What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I stop this? Where was my strength? Where was my will? Every time I knelt down to make myself sick, I would prop my elbows on the toilet seat, interlace my fingers, rest my forehead on my clasped hands and sincerely pray, “Please God … please don’t let me die from this. Please don’t let me have a heart attack. I know You’re going to use this for Your will and purposes someday. Just please don’t let me die.”
I tried so many times to stop and I couldn’t. I kept it a secret as long as I could and then I couldn’t. I tried to get help and take their suggestions and I did and then I couldn’t. I went to see a nutritionist, a therapist and a hypnotist. Nothing worked long term. Therapy, with a handful of different professionals, helped for a session or two. I was able to vent
about things I was holding onto and the therapist, who knew nothing of my past, politely sat and listened. I appreciated that, but I needed more.
I wasn’t changing. Nothing was changing. And I was getting frustrated which only lead to more episodes.
This went on for years. When I thought I had it licked, it returned. It rarely got better. It only got worse. One of the therapists even told me flat out, “You know you’ll never get over this. You will have this forever. It will get better at times, but it will never go away.” Her candor shocked me. I refused to believe her. That couldn’t be true. Because I didn’t always have this thing and if I started it, I could stop it. Oddly enough,
it was comments like hers that kept me fighting and so I did. I kept on fighting. I never stopped fighting. I just kept fighting. And it was a living hell.
In my late twenties and through my thirties, I studied under the tutelage of a Spiritual Director. God had had a tug on my heart since my youth and at this time, I wanted to explore more. It was what my Spiritual Director said that finally flipped the switch. Not a switch that turned the disorder off, but a switch that turned me on. A switch that ignited something new in me. Knowing my struggle, she asked me what God would think of me having an eating disorder. I’d never thought about that.
I didn’t know the answer. And when I took time to consider it, I couldn’t connect the dots. What I could do, though, was consider what my dad would think of me having an eating disorder. And that struck something deep within me that started a slow, but continuous shift. My dad had passed away suddenly in my junior year at that university.
I missed him terribly and to think how he might respond to learn that his daughter, his baby girl, his only girl was suffering and struggling and failing and depleted. I could definitely connect to that. It broke my heart and that breaking began my rebuilding.
It didn’t happen overnight, the way I wished; the way it seemed to start. It was and has been a very long road and it is possible. Here are a few of my takeaways:
• Acceptance. Yes, acceptance. I spent most of those 13 years waiting wishing and hoping my life were different, that I was different. Yet, waiting, wishing and hoping only distracted me from exactly what was happening. I was suffering. When I let go of the idea that there was something wrong with me and accepted that I was suffering, I got curious about my suffering. I got curious about me. Instead of running away from me, I started to learn who I was, what I needed and how to meet those needs.
• Start Something New. Have you ever tried to stop something? Like, stop eating after 7pm? Or stop eating the pint of ice cream? Or stop smoking? It sucks! It’s hard! I don’t want to stop anything! I’m not a quitter!!! What I’ve learned I can do is start something. Start something new. Start calling someone you care about when the clock strikes 7pm. Start eating ice cream from a bowl versus directly from the container. Start a new class at the gym or buy a bike and go for a spin. I’ve never been good at stopping anything, but when I start something new, the old thing, the dead thing that no longer serves, starts dissolving into the background.
• Become Your Own Best Friend. For God’s sake, do this. Start treating yourself like one of your own, one of your inner circle, one of your buddies because you are. You deserve the love and attention and kindness and compassion that you probably extend to most other people without a thought or question. For the love of all that is good in this world, toss your loving self into that category. Spend some time with you and give yourself the gift of your own friendship.
• Come Back to Life. Ever notice how much our struggles with body and body image issues cause us to retract and hide from life? I know I did this. A lot. I missed out on so much because I didn’t like the way I felt or looked. Even if I showed up, I couldn’t let myself be seen. I hid inside my life and so coming back to life has been an exciting adventure. Bringing people back to life is essentially what I do as a Coach. I give my clients the tools they need to see themselves and to let themselves be seen. Be in your life. Stand in your life. And whenever you find yourself hiding away, come back. Come back to life.
So do I ever slip up and regress? Heck, yes. Do I still purge? No.
I haven’t for over nine years. I can, however, still put some sugar down, but it no longer takes me where it used to. And when I indulge, I choose the best of the best. The best ice cream. My favorite candy. I only want the best because, for me, it’s the best that satiates.
And when I’m done, I’m done. And I start back clean again. And I rarely feel the guilt and shame for being who I am. Do I still love candy? Yes. Always have; probably always will. It’s just that these days, the difference is, I love me, too, and these days, I choose to include myself in life and living.
My hope is, if you need to, you will get there, too.
I know you can. I know it.
And that, I know to be true.
* * *
For over two decades, Jennifer Cahuantzi, a professionally trained dancer, has worked with celebrity clients as a Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer – an experience that has inspired her development as a Certified Fearless Living Coach and Certified Fearless Trainer – training people from the inside out.
Through triumphs and trials, getting it right, but more often getting it wrong, struggling with addiction, overcoming addiction and learning to live life versus just survive it, Jennifer has learned some incredible lessons along the way.
Through IgniteSheShines, she expands her clients’ awareness and equips them with tools that empower them to build confidence and stand in the freedom of authenticity.
Let’s face it, teens are amazing explorers and life adventurers, and sometimes that gets them into trouble. The teenage brain thrives on new experiences to grow, and so teens are hardwired to experiment. But some experiments come with high risk, and current brain science is telling us that teens are not great at assessing risk and anticipating the consequences of their actions.
As adults, we want to both encourage our teen’s adventurous spirit AND protect them from making damaging mistakes. Perhaps more importantly, when our teens inevitably find themselves in a difficult situation, we want them to learn how to work through it, so that they can build their own problem solving skills.
After all, didn’t YOU make some pretty big mistakes as a teen?
We all did.
The difference between our teenage mistakes and the mistakes of this generation, is the added impact of our children’s mistakes being broadcast far and wide on social media, with devastating consequences for both teens and their families. Our digital connections can be an amazing opportunity, and also a heavy burden. Teens also see the glossy, filtered, photo-shopped, perfect snapshot version of other’s lives on social media, and they are comparing how their life FEELS with how everyone else’s life LOOKS.
If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that I’ve spent 14 years as a High School teacher, and working with teens every day taught me that my students were under incredible stress and pressure to do, and be, and have it all. Under this intense pressure there was no room for failure, so some students took themselves out of the game completely by skipping school. Others attended school but had an attitude of “I don’t care”, “this is stupid”, or “It doesn’t matter”, or suffered silently with their own devastating inner thoughts and tried to be invisible.
Teens are reporting higher rates of anxiety each year, which is not surprising when we hear how teens feel overwhelmed by the amount of information at their disposal, compare themselves to countless others on social media, and feel like everything has already been said and done. All of these pressures ON TOP OF the usual ups and downs of being a teenager requires all of us to think differently about how we support teens today.
I’ve been wondering,
How can we support critical thinkers instead of direction followers?
How can we provide support to teens, while still allowing them to figure things out on their own?
How can we support RESILIENCE in youth?
To answer these questions, I’ve joined with over 21 thought leaders to bring you an online conference dedicated to supporting RESILIENT teens. The interviews are REAL, short, and to the point CONVERSATIONS with teens, parents, entrepreneurs, coaches, and mentors, who share their own story of resilience, and what they’re doing now to make things a little but easier for others to move through their own hardships. CLICK HERE to grab access!
It’s called Resilient Teen: Supporting independence, confidence, and resourcefulness in teens.
It is FREE for you to attend. You can grab access using THIS LINK
This event is FOR TEENS who want to know how to overcome the tough times, and FOR PARENTS who want to understand how to set teens up for success in school AND life.
You can watch each 30 minute video from your laptop or mobile device, so you will have STRATEGIES and INSPIRATION at your fingertips.
Here is what we’re talking about in the video interviews:
- Developing a positive MINDSET to learn from past mistakes
- How to walk through TEEN DEPRESSION with renewed purpose
- How CONNECTING with their school community helps youth develop resilience
- How teens can THRIVE even when they don’t complete high school
- The KEY SKILLS of resilience and how to teach them to your teen
- How PARENTS can be a supportive resource to their teens
CLICK HERE NOW to gain complimentary access to the experts starting on MAY 1, 2017
I’m excited to share these videos with you!
P.S. Psychologists are telling us that one key to resilience for teens AND adults is being CONNECTED to a community who can support you through your difficult times.
You are invited to join us in The Gratitude Lounge Facebook group. During the month of May, the lounge will be buzzing with conversation about the Resilient Teen interviews. Whether you’re a teen, parent, grandparent, teacher, if you’re interested in supporting teens, or learning about resilience, CLICK HERE TO JOIN us on Facebook.
A teen in my neighbourhood took her own life over a week ago. My heart goes out to her family, friends, and her school community who is grieving her loss and wondering what they could have done to prevent her death.
Just today I met a woman who recently lost her son, who took his own life. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to go through each day knowing that your child is gone. And wondering what you could have done, if you had only known what was REALLY going on in your child’s mind. This is every parent’s worst nightmare.
In Canada, suicide is the second highest cause of death for youth aged 10-24.
Suicide prevention isn’t a term that I use often because it evokes our fear of losing those closest to us, however, for some parents and teens that fear is very real.
Suicide prevention strategies might seem like something that only a few people, in very extreme situations, or teens labelled as “high risk” might need.
Today, I’m inviting you to think differently about suicide prevention by thinking about your own Mental Health.
Mental Health is important for EVERYONE because we all face difficult periods in our life. The loss of a family member, losing a job, divorce, having to move, all of these stressers have an impact on our mental health. The pressure on adolescents to be successful at school and be successful socially is intense, and teens don’t always have the understanding that their difficult times are only temporary.
I know that many teens roll their eyes when we talk about mental health in schools, because they feel like it doesn’t affect them. Or their deep shame about their own internal dialogue prevents them from reaching out for support.
This is why we NEED to embed mental health education in the high school curriculum.
As an English Language Arts specialist, I know that literature allows us an amazing opportunity to explore the thoughts and behaviours of fictional characters to open an continue on a conversation about mental health that can last weeks and months, instead of minutes or an hour.
Understanding mental health through fictional characters also helps us understand that mental health is not an individual issue, but that there are environmental, social, and physiological factors that can impact our mental health.
Mindfulness practice is also a way for students AND teachers to learn the strategies necessary for checking in on their own thoughts, and learning to shift their thoughts in a way that supports their mental health. Whether you’re a teen, or an adult, EVERYONE needs to check in with the thoughts they’re having on a consistent basis. Mindfulness practice gives you that time and space to check in with your thoughts.
The Canadian Mental Health Association describes 5 characteristics of Mental Health, which are
- Ability to enjoy life
CLICK HERE to take the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Health Meter to really check in with your own mental health. Only YOU really know your heart and mind.
You deserve a life that FEELS GOOD!
Yours in mental health,
P.S. The first step is admitting your mental health status to yourself. The next step is reaching out for support. For immediate, 24 hour support call kids help line.