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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February 21, 2021


By Natalie C. Jones

“The best kind of self-care involves a gratitude practice, a pursuit of self-awareness, and a journey of constant self-forgiveness.” –Elayna Fernandez


I am sure most of you are familiar with the movie and the self-help book entitled The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The premise of The Secret is based on the law of attraction and how our thoughts can alter and change a person’s life. As a child of color growing up in the south and in the Baptist church, I was very familiar with the notion of “speaking it into existence.” Being aware of my thoughts, when I am feeling bothered or in an interesting place, I am very intentional about thinking of happier times or revisiting photographs in order to shift my thoughts. 


The word pivot has been widely used to describe how the world has shifted, adapted, and learned new methods of educating and presenting information. We are all going through a difficult time and are experimenting so many uncertainties, while simultaneously continuing to function at a high level in our homes and careers. Below, I have included phrases and questions on self-reflection. If you are a more creative person, you can incorporate practices that feed your soul. Traveling, making art and textiles are what feeds my soul. What feeds your soul? Have you discovered anything new about yourself since the pandemic started?

Below, you can read my responses to the statements and questions. I have included a blank set identical prompts for you to print and fill out on your own. As a mental reminder, keep this sheet visible on your office table or in your bathroom. The prompts will also work well as a check in with your students.


I embrace my authentic self when I sing very badly, share my opinions without fear or judgement, and when I proudly acknowledge that I am weird sometimes.

Today my self-care mantra is take care of myself by any means necessary.

When I am in a difficult situation, I calm my nerves by listening to music, specifically gospel or jazz.

This week I will make choices based on my needs by getting more rest and working out for 30 minutes a day.

This week I am grateful for

1.A career that provides me with new opportunities.

2.Being safe, having a sound mind, and having everything I need to survive.

3.The ability to help and give to others.

Please print this part to fill out and keep visible on your office table or in your bathroom.

I embrace myself authentic when _____________________________________.

Today my self-care mantra is _________________________________________.

When I am in a difficult situation, I calm my nerves by _____________________.

This week I will make choices based on my needs by ______________________.

This week I am grateful for





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