And Yet…

So, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I know this for a variety of reasons, like all the reels and social media posts I see in my feed, but mostly because I have been part of some really valuable conversations lately about the topic. I have also been part of thoughtful events designed to shed light on mental health and to create opportunities to identify those who need more support than they are currently getting. I love that I am able to be part of these conversations, that I have a seat at different tables where this topic is being served up for consumption. 

And yet…

That statement… and yet. It’s preparing you that I am about to double back around. I am about to challenge the very thing that I just said. I am about to challenge myself about how I love these valuable conversations…I do. And yet, I find myself navigating a range of other emotions as we dive into the topic with more questions than answers, more need than resources and more despair than hope. For Those of us who regularly gather around the table for these conversations, it can feel like ground hog’s day… We keep repeating ourselves but not much changes.

I wrapped up last week by participating in the City of Methuen Massachusetts’ Health and Wellness Fair. It was a wonderful event designed to bring together a HUGE array of resources that support us in building a life of joy, connection, stability, comfort, and of course mental and physical health. I met SO MANY incredible people… all longing for a life that feels good and right and…livable. Most of the individuals I talked to were just trying to “get through” until summer. Many are educators and this time of year it feels like trying to drink from a firehose. They could acknowledge that things were untenable, but understandably, they didn’t feel like they had the bandwidth to talk about a solution. 

So, here I am, at the proverbial table, talking about mental health during the month designated to bring awareness to the topic, with people who desperately want life to feel differently… and yet we are still struggling to find the answers. What I continue to hear over and over is that the systems are broken and without systemic change nothing will… well, change. I believe this to be a true statement. You know what I also believe to be true? Real, transformative change comes from within and from the bottom. We cannot ‘complain’ systems into changing and we cannot leverage our own despair to influence lasting systemic change. It simply must come from the people within who challenge the thinking, policies and practices while engaging in the building of something better. 

Gah… this mini is riding a DEEP wave of “responsibility I didn’t sign up for”… I can hear you saying, “I just want to be supported to do the job I am really good at without having to fight for basic respect and reasonable conditions”. You’re not wrong. You deserve this and you shouldn’t have to fight for these things… and yet, you do. Change will not happen if you are bleeding out on the floor. Change will not happen if you close your door, turn your head or give up. Change will happen when you choose YOU and fight for the life you deserve. So, how do you do that?

Choosing you means you make choices aligned with your values and it’s not always easy. BUT, just because it’s not easy, doesn’t mean it can’t be done or that it’s not worth it. It is so worth it and YOU ARE SO WORTH IT. 

Your Mindful Mini invitation this week is to embrace mental health awareness by digging in and choosing YOU! Resist the temptation to “just get through” and collapse at the end. You can make it through with a fierce commitment to yourself! This looks like changing the narrative and empowering yourself to make changes in your life that move the collective needle. Model what it looks like to have healthy boundaries and let go of your need to do things perfectly or to take care of others needs above your own. Right now you may be just surviving, but that changes first with your commitment to feel differently and then recruiting the support to live in a new way. Let’s make a commitment to shift the systems around us by shifting our narrative and practices. This is how we rise up and demand a life that feels JOYFUL. We can do this because we are SO WORTH IT!

Yours in heart,

Kelly Lynn Driscoll

About Kelly Lynn

Kelly Lynn Coaching & Consulting

I empower districts to transform culture and educators to transform their lives so they are connected, fulfilled and aligned with purpose. With over thirty years experience in education and education administration, I specialize in supporting Social Emotional Learning (SEL), balance and a culture of wellness. It is my MISSION to bring joy back to education!

Contact Kelly Lynn

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