This is my 6th year of choosing a #OneWord to guide me through the year ahead. The theory behind this idea is that our guiding word points us towards the type of person that we want to become. And unlike a resolution, a single word can’t be broken. I think of it more as a gentle nudge in the direction towards a more improved version of myself. In this article by Nicole Dean she suggests that you decide what one thing, if applied to every area of your life, will have the most impact and bring the most positive changes into your life. Then you work to apply that word to every area situation and task you find yourself in. Personally I have had much success with the #OneWord concept and can share my #OneWord2019…….”Calm”.

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For the past few years now I have promised to add mindfulness and meditation into my daily routine. When I listen to Tim Ferris share the strategies most commonly embraced by leaders in their field, very often they attribute a period of meditation as a great way to start their day. I have always maintained that I don’t have the time….and yet I somehow seem to find time to scroll endlessly through my social media feed.

I have had a lot of professional success over the past few years and haven’t felt that meditation would add much to my life, but recently I have had the feeling that I am constantly trying to keep multiple spinning plates in the air – running from one unfinished task to another, then returning again. This method has worked for me, I had an awesome 2018 (see below), but I feel like I need some help to maintain focus and develop another strategy for coping with the stresses from teaching and having a family.



I’m currently reading Are You Fully Charged? by #SHAPEBoston keynote speaker Tom Rath, in which he wrote that we are living in an “age of infinite information and endless distraction”. Thats me!

He also wrote “On average, people spend about half of their time thinking about something other than what they are doing at any given moment”. That’s me too – I’m always thinking of what I need to do next. While writing this blog post I’m already thinking about the next one!

Finally Rath writes about American workers sitting in front of screens going no longer than three minutes without interruption. Writing this at the end of a two week winter break, and as the father of two young sons, I honestly think that there hasn’t been a three minute window without being interrupted by my family. (5 minutes after writing this, my 4 year old asked me to ‘lick his foot’ because it was feeling itchy!)

And so to my #YearofCalm. The first thing I have done is downloaded the Calm App which offers FREE ACCESS TO PREMIUM FEATURES FOR ALL EDUCATORS ACROSS THE WORLD.

Calm Premium offers:

  • An original Daily Calm meditation every day.
  • 100+ guided meditations covering anxiety, focus, stress, sleep, relationships, and more.
  • An entire library of Sleep Stories, with new stories added weekly.
  • Awesome music tracks for focus, relaxation and sleep.
  • Monthly Calm masterclasses.
  • Calm body programs, a blog and downloadable resources.

The app is amazing. Already I have added a 10 minute meditation to my morning routine and have completed the first 4 days of the ‘7 Days of Calm’ series which is teaching me the basics I’ll need to be successful. As readers of ‘Atomic Habits‘ (our book of the month for November) will know, in order for meditation to become a habit I need to change my routines. I will be setting my alarm ten minutes earlier, prepping my breakfast the night before, AND not checking my social media feed until after my meditation. I have also subscribed to the daily Calm reminder on my phone so I will be nudged towards mindfulness during my lunch period.

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I’m hoping that embracing this #YearofCalm will make me a more patient father and husband. After a day of teaching high school health, with a 70+ minute commute afterwards, it can be easy for me to snap at my family, especially my kids. This really needs to stop and on the occasions this week that I’ve become frustrated my wife has whispered to me “Calm”. Sharing my #OneWord with those around me, including readers of this blog, will help hold me accountable.

My students will also benefit from my #YearofCalm. Our YRBS shows that student stress levels continue to rise and this has led to many whole-school conversations what we can do to give them strategies needed to cope in a healthy way (can I suggest reducing homework and over-scheduling???). At certain times of the year, when tests, quizzes and assignment all collide at the same time, my students will plead for a “stress day” – which means that they want t turn the lights off and sleep. I have a few go-to activities for the classroom including progressive muscular relaxation and a body scan, but I’m hoping that using the Calm app will give me more skills and advanced language to help my students.

For teachers looking to incorporate mindfulness into their classroom the SHAPE America Health twitter chat (led by outstanding educator Chad Dauphin) recently looked at ‘Mindfulness in the Health Classroom’ and you can access the archive of the twitter chat here.

In that chat, National Health Teacher of the Year 2018, Kim Ohara-Borowski shared this awesome video:


Other suggested resources for teachers looking to incorporate mindfulness into their teaching included:






Growing Mindful cards

You can read more about my experience of embracing a #OneWord here.

Here are a few questions for you to consider this week:

Q1: What steps have you already taken towards embracing your #oneword2019? #slowchathealth

Q2: Which areas of your life will be effected by your #oneword2019? #slowchathealth

Q3: With whom will you share your #oneword2019? #slowchathealth

Q4: How will you know if your #oneword2019 was a success? #slowchathealth

I have a 20 hour playlist of chilled music. It’s my Sunday morning with a pot of coffee playlist. Listen and enjoy.

Download a Calm calendar.

Subscribe to the daily Calm calendar on your phone.

4 thoughts on “#YearofCalm

  1. Pingback: Teaching Sleep – #slowchathealth

  2. Pingback: Practical Mindfulness – #slowchathealth

  3. Pingback: Dimensions of Wellness – #slowchathealth

  4. Pingback: Canva in the Classroom – #slowchathealth

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