Emotional well-being is at it’s core an inside job, a skill set which we need to develop, Kate Rowe tells Parent24.
"These skills allow for a person to create a sense of internal harmony and ease, and it may be possible to learn these skills as we move through life and mature," she says, "but from what I have witnessed in my work many people never develop them."
The founder of emotionalwellness.co.za advocates for overall emotional wellness, and is especially passionate about teacher's emotional health.
"Unfortunately," she says, "in this country many teachers do not feel supported, cared for or have a sense of emotional well-being themselves. This perhaps is where we need to start shifting our attention to."
Children are highly influenced by the teachers and adults which they encounter at school, she says, and since the role of a teacher is to guide, educate and influence, teaching the skills for emotional well-being should naturally be part of the process.
We would never expect a child to know how to write without a process of teaching, guiding and supporting them on their journey. Emotional well-being is no different, she says, and we all need to be guided and taught how to take care of ourselves on an emotional level.
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We can do this by learning the skills which support us to make choices which make us happier and more ease-filled. Helping teachers to feel emotionally and mentally well and uplifted is fundamental to helping them thrive and share this sense of well-being with learners.
"It is time to start prioritising your emotional well-being," Rowe says, "so we can teach children to do the same. Whether you are a parent or teacher, taking care of yourself is a necessary, and revolutionary, act."
So where to start?
Rowe shares that from her experience she recommends developing your own emotional awareness and understanding of your own emotions.
"When you grow this awareness," she says, "you give your space the opportunity to make new choices in how you take care of yourself and how you help others to do the same."
If you are wondering what emotional well-being is, here are what Rowe thinks are the 7 key elements of emotional well-being:
1. Communication – The ability to communicate clearly with others
2. Self-Care – Making time and space in your life to be kind and take care of yourself
3. Connection – Being able to cultivate and maintain supportive, nurturing and emotionally safe relationships
4. Awareness – Of your emotions and the skills to navigate yours and others
5. Resilience – Your bounce back factor
6. Self-reflection – The ability to create meaning in your life
7. Empathy – The ability to be with another person and understand their perspective
"There is one question I ask almost everyone I meet," Rowe tells us, "it is a question which is intrinsically linked to your state of emotional well-being. Take a moment to give this some thought."
"How do you want to feel in your life?"
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