Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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November 02, 2020

Self-care and Cultivating Gratitude

By Lark Keeler

As educators continue to move through a year unlike any other, the need for self-care and cultivating gratitude and happiness has become apparent.  Throughout the month of November, I hope to inspire you to take purposeful pauses, setting mindfulness and gratitude as important daily intentions in a variety of ways that are simple to incorporate. 

Take a moment after completing the last part of your work day and pause to remember and celebrate any little successes that occurred through the day.  Focus on the positive, no matter how small.  Take a breath and smile.  Even a faux smile can bring forth the feel-good chemicals in our systems, improving mood and reducing stress (even if behind a facial covering/mask).  Consider setting a gentle reminder alarm on your phone to pause, breathe, and smile.  Perhaps set a positive intention at the start of the day that could be revisited in these moments. 

Carving out these moments can be easier than you imagine, and once you have rewired your routine to include pausing and thinking of a daily success, positive intention, or an idea of gratitude, your wellness and happiness will begin to unfold.  When I wake up in the morning, I say with each foot touching the floor, “,” expressing gratitude that they will carry me through the day.  I like to use my ongoing handwashing as a moment of reflective gratitude for my health and safety. 

Join me on this gratitude journey throughout the month, taking stock in the abundant gifts that we receive and give to the world as educators.  Although this is a year full of uncertainty and ambiguity, we can tune in our attitudes and approaches to be filled with gladness and purposeful pauses.  Let’s use our time in November to refocus on self-care through wellness, gladness, gratitude, and reflection.



Michelle Martin

Lucky to have you at SA! Always positive, always appreciative, and yes always grateful! Here's to continuing to share the smile

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