Could this be the strangest spring on record? I think so. It’s certainly one we’ll remember.
For good reasons, I hope, as well as the bad.
One of those good reasons, for some of us at least, is that we’ve suddenly been forced to slow down; to reprioritise and consider what matters.
And for those of us fortunate enough to be thinking about CPD, there’s never been a better time to step away from the teacher standards and start considering our own.
Indeed, some continuous personal development might allow us to better cope with the situation as it stands and maybe even further into the future.
Coronavirus: How to look after your wellbeing
Here’s my pick of the best online courses and programmes aimed at doing just that:
1. Mindfulness foundations: Smiling Mind app
Not only is this app free, but it provides access to a whole range of different meditation practices, suitable for participants of any experience level. If you’re a beginner, following the "mindfulness foundations" programme will leave you with a good understanding of what mindfulness is and what a difference it can make.
The practices are short, easy to follow and effective. They cover a range of areas, including sleep, positive relationships, digital detox and managing stress. Better still, the new "thrive inside" section is specifically aimed to support you throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
2. 30 days of yoga: Yoga With Adriene
If you’re tired of sitting down but reluctant to get sweaty, yoga is your friend. There’s a myriad of fantastic content on YouTube, including lots of 30-day courses aimed at yogis of all levels. This one, from Yoga with Adriene, is aimed at beginners and offers a series of exercises that are 30 minutes or under and certain to build up your appetite and skills, slowly but surely.
Yoga is so much more than exercise – it’s a form of active meditation. Amid the breath and the poses, there’s very little room for stressful thoughts, aside from the perpetual risk of face plants, of course.
Try it. I dare you. See if you don’t feel more than just physically stronger.
3. Stay Connected or Mindset Reset with Mel Robbins
Mel Robbins is a brash, American life coach. She is everything I would usually dislike, but for some reason, I don’t dislike her. Probably because she’s really good at what she does, which at present is supporting you in getting through this situation with your sanity intact.
Her Better Together: Stay Connected programme is freely available on YouTube and covers topics such as anxiety, emotional eating, sleep, money, family strife and much more.
I’d also highly recommend her 2019 Mindset Reset series, which is full of the kind of wisdom and practical strategies we need right now. Download the accompanying booklet here and check out the YouTube series here.
4. 5 Steps to Lasting Confidence with Jo Emerson
Award-winning confidence coach Jo Emerson has very kindly made her online course free to anyone suffering with fear/anxiety during this crisis. Email email@example.com if this is you, or donate the £29 fee to the National Emergencies Trust if you wish.
This course is the easiest I’ve ever done – and I’ve done a lot – with the most dramatic results. I completed this course three weeks before the world turned upside down and I’m so glad I did.
Jo will help you to tune into a voice of inner-wisdom and calm that you probably didn’t even know was there; a voice that can be reassuring, resourceful, hopeful and grounding, even in times of turmoil. Yes, please.
Jo Steer is a former leader now working with schools as a wellbeing consultant