Educator THRIVE: Pandemic Resilience

Sitting with Fear

Many of you working through this Educator THRIVE program are probably very used to putting others before yourselves- giving up lunch breaks to help students understand a concept, missing out on break time because you want to check in with a coworker, even something as small as giving your umbrella to a student on a rainy day. Educators and school staff are some of the most selfless people we know, and that can make it difficult to allow yourself to direct attention to your own thoughts, emotions, and struggles.

What might it look like to allow yourself to sit with your fear instead of dismissing it as not a priority to think about right now or not as bad as this person has it

Before we begin, remember that the concept of sitting with fear is not about finding a solution, but rather about acknowledging fear instead of suppressing it. And why? Because suppression is not a particularly helpful or healthy emotional regulation strategy. These steps are suggestions for how you can begin the process of allowing yourself to acknowledge and accept your emotions. Take what is helpful and leave what is not! 

  1. Breathe. Start by focusing on your breath, noticing the inhale and the exhale and making your breaths steady and consistent. 
  2. Introduce. Bring your fear to mind. Let it simply exist in your thoughts- don’t try to make it stop or analyze why it is there. Keep focusing on breathing. 
  3. Observe. Describe your fear. Imagine it as a tangible object. What does it look like? Does is have a sound or a smell? If you touched it, what would it feel like? Can you compare it to something? Give it a name. 
  4. Understand. What past experiences does this fear remind you of? What beliefs about yourself or others does this fear bring up? Think as if you are having a conversation with this fear. What is it saying?  
  5. Nurture. You’ve probably felt some negative feelings bubbling up through this process. Before moving back into your day, direct yourself to some type of activity that makes you feel whole- listening to music, talking with a friend, drinking coffee, exercising, lighting a candle, or whatever else may help you transition out of this moment. 
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