When We "Flat Line" as Parents & Educators

We all have moments when we hit a low or “flat line.” We have all been there at some point or another.

 As a parent, an educator or a Head of School, flat lining may look like:

  • Starting the day energized but by the end of the day feeling totally drained and wondering if you are making a difference in the life of your family or school community.   

  • Feeling badly about the negative interactions you are having with your children, partner or co-teacher. 

  • Engaging in those numbing behaviors be it overscheduling & feeding into busyness, excessive screen time, food or whatever transports you away from your current reality. 

  • Feeling misunderstood, unheard and frustrated with your family or colleagues… Wanting to have real & honest conversation but feeling it’s not possible.

Flat lining or hitting a low is hard. It’s a terrible feeling. And unfortunately, it affects all realms of our life: wellness, career, family and more.

But it can also be a blessing in disguise, as a really strong signal that it’s time to make some changes. It has the power to propel us to take intentional action.

Sometimes it takes flat lining to get back into alignment with our values and live our most joyful and purposeful life for ourselves, our families and our communities.

Flat lining as parents & educators  

So what does taking action look like?

It looks like small consistent change and progress over time.

It’s about choosing one area that you want to focus on with consistency, conviction and purpose. Maybe you feel like there is no time for healthy balanced meals & physical activities that help you feel rested or maybe you aren’t getting that quality time with your family that rejuvenates you. Whatever the case, moving away from flat line territory is about focusing on one of those values that really recharges you.

Taking action may look like:

  • Writing in a gratitude journal every day or writing in the 5-minute journal* each morning and evening. It’s my new favorite journaling tool that I use daily!

  • Walking 30 minutes every morning or choosing another physical activity that feels doable before the rest of the house is up.

  • Meal planning every Sunday and doing a shop, so healthy meals & snacks are guaranteed for the week ahead.

  • Scheduling and planning for one really fun outing per week as a family.

  • Building in 20 minutes every day for an honest check-in with your children, partner or co-teacher.

  • Setting boundaries on your time & availability so that you can get your work done for your school or your family.

  • Creating white space or downtime in your schedule each week and intentionally leaving room for rest, relaxation and spontaneity.

  • Coaching and consulting together once per week and making that time to focus on your needs as a parent or educator.


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So if you are at the point of “flat line,” this is what you can do next.

1. Reflect on what isn’t working, what is draining and own the role you have played in creating this situation. Allow yourself to vent about the situation and then own your part in it. Find that balance of what has happened to you vs. what you have or haven’t done that’s contributed to the situation.

2. Pick one area that you are ready to commit to working on today. What are you going to commit to doing, so you can create the change you want? What do these commitments look like? Really detail it out… What actions are you going to take? Who do you need to ask for support? What do you need help with to make this commitment happen? A commitment to working out in the mornings may look like setting out your running shoes the night before, having an alarm with a label that says “workout!” and asking your partner for support to get out the door.

3.  Do the work, reflect and reassess. Stay focused on this one task that you are committing to. As time passes, reflect on what is and isn’t supporting you and make changes. Once you have it under your belt, add a new commitment to the mix.

In a way it’s about how we want to show up as parents and educators. We can try to show up with that flat line energy or we can actually show up as our energized selves. And when we do the latter, we live our happiest lives for our families and our children.

Keep well,

S

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