Teacher & practitioner wellbeing exercises

Simple exercises to help practitioners & teachers check in on their own wellbeing

15 February 2022

As practitioners and teachers, we are brilliant at considering the needs of our young people but can often forget about ourselves. After an incredibly challenging couple of years, it is more important than ever for us to make space to check in with ourselves.

During one of A New Direction’s recent Arts Award support sessions, participants worked with Drama Therapist and Creative Practitioner Janeen Wilson to create a reflective space aimed at improving wellbeing and explored some small actions that can be embedded into practice.

In this blog post, Janeen shares two of the wellbeing exercises from the session.

Guided Visualisation

You Will Need

  • Writing and/or drawing materials
  • A device to record audio or video

This exercise is best completed as a solo task in a quiet area. The aim is to check in with yourself and find out what you need. Whether that be what you need at that moment, from the day ahead, or from the future. It is a powerful way to check in with your energy and find answers to your own questions in the stillness.

Give yourself approximately 20 – 30 minutes for this exercise.

STEP 1: Record yourself reading out the visualisation instructions below.

STEP 2: Find a comfortable place to sit or lay down and play it back, feel free to close your eyes if it helps you to concentrate better.

STEP 3: Allow yourself some time to write/draw anything that comes to you directly afterwards.

Visualisation Instructions

Take some time to focus on your breathing.

When you are ready… Close your eyes.

Take three deep breaths in and out. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Now imagine you are moving through a vast green meadow. As you move through the space, allow your mind to wonder.

Take notice of your senses.

What can you hear?
What can you smell?
What can you see?
What can you touch?
What can you taste?

As you continue to move through the space, you notice a clearing up ahead. As you approach this area you stop for a while.

You might find your thoughts beginning to wander. That is OK. Allow thoughts to flow in and out of your mind with no judgement. Allow yourself to wonder freely until your mind returns to the meadow.

As you find yourself in stillness, imagine a golden ball of light in your stomach.

Allow this ball to change in size, brightness and intensity.

Allow this ball to emit a warm glow that travels around your body.

Moving from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head.

As this energy moves around your body, ask yourself what you need.

What does your body need?
What does your mind need?
How can you look after yourself?

And as you find yourself filled with warm, golden light… Take your attention back to your breath.

Continuing to breathe in and breathe out.

Becoming aware of your body and how it feels.

You begin to leave the clearing. Moving slowly and effortlessly back to the large meadow.

Taking your time, breathing as you move.

You notice that you are back at the beginning of your journey.

When you are ready… Open your eyes.

The Power of 3 – Releasing Your Inner Critic

You Will Need

  • Writing materials (or use your phone if in a public place)

This exercise can be done as a solo task even if you are in a public area. It can be used to ground yourself if in a place with high levels of activity.

Give yourself approximately 10 minutes for this task.

STEP 1: Note down 3 things that you like to taste, smell, touch, taste or hear.

STEP 2: Write down 3 things that you did today OR would like to do today (no matter how mundane they might appear).

STEP 3: Write down 3 compassionate statements or affirmations towards yourself. E.g. 'I am trying my best', 'I am good enough', 'I forgive myself', 'I accept myself'.

If you would like more information on prioritising your wellbeing you can contact Janeen Wilson at Janeen@creativelotus.co.uk. You can also find out more about our support for Arts Award here.