Today’s episode is a conversation with Jane Hardin, former Simmons University Professor of Practice and current educational consultant for Ribas Associates, co-authoring two books on Social Emotional Learning.
She and Dr. MC discuss the ins and outs of self-care and how it aligns with social and emotional health/well-being. Additionally, they chat about trauma, resilience, and how self-care plays a big factor in healing from trauma.
As always we love to hear from our listeners! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or topics you’d like to hear about on future episodes.
- A viral video about company coming over
- Jane’s Books –
- Dr. Gabor Mate- The Wisdom of Trauma
- Trauma brain vs. normal brain differences
- ACE Pyramid
- Dr. MC muffin recipe
- Dr. MC blog post about the intersection of trauma, resilience, and self-care
***** Dr. MC has workshops on topics related to trauma including creating trauma-sensitive classrooms and examining the intersection of trauma, resilience, and self-care. If you are looking to book Dr. MC for an event, please fill out the request form.
Speaker 1 00:00:26 Welcome to another episode of Dr. MCs self care cabaret podcast. I’m Theresa Melito-Conners a PhD level self care expert in the greater Boston area with a passion, helping others find their spotlight and put their health and wellbeing on center stage today’s episode is a conversation with my dear friend and mentor Jane Hardin. Jane is a former Simmons university professor of practice and current educational consultant for Rebus associates. She is the co-author of two books on social, emotional learning, one that focuses on the classroom. And a second that focuses on the home. Jane has a wealth of information and expertise in many areas, such as education, social, emotional learning, trauma, informed pedagogy, and more. She is smart, sassy, honest, realistic, and operational. I love learning from her. You will hear the story of how we first met during the conversation, but I will tell you now it was love at first leopard print. We became fast friends and Jane often jokes that I’m like a daughter to her. Something I consider to be an incredible honor. We ventured around Philly together during their first conference when we met. And then again in St. Louis and we have of course had many more local to Boston adventures to, I am so excited to have Jane with us for this episode as she has a lot to share. And I hope our listeners will find it helpful.
Speaker 1 00:01:59 Hi, Jane. Thanks so much for joining us here today on the Dr. MC self care cabaret podcast. I’m so excited to hear from you and I have lots of really interesting questions to ask.
Speaker 2 00:02:11 All right. I’m looking forward to it as always a pleasure to talk to you.
Speaker 1 00:02:15 Cool. Thanks. Uh, likewise. So question one, it’s pretty basic. When a dive right in, I would like you to tell me about how you like to practice self care.
Speaker 2 00:02:27 Well, um, lately, I don’t know if you’ve been seeing my post on Facebook, I’ve taken up roller skating with my dog.
Speaker 1 00:02:34 Notice that that’s quite ambitious. So
Speaker 2 00:02:37 A lot of my friends are thinking, are you crazy? You’re too old. And of course the minute someone says that to me, that’s like a challenge. So I love to I’m enjoying doing it. My daughter’s having fun teaching me. I will never attain to do some of the things she does. I’m just happy to not kill myself. So that’s one thing. Um, my, one of my other kids is teaching me how to play chess. And I like to do that to keep my mind engaged in challenge. I like to walk a lot and be with friends, have a couple of glasses of wine. Um, I’m a very social person. So I was thrilled to get my vaccination and to get out and be with friends and give a lot of hugs. And that’s sort of my self-care routine.
Speaker 1 00:03:23 Absolutely. And I have to say, I’m quite impressed by the rollerskating you’re, you’re braver than I am. I’m this not necessarily something I’m interested in and you look great though. I have seen the pictures and I think there was even a video clip, huh?
Speaker 2 00:03:35 Well, she gave me, you know, we both love leopard. So I am the proud owner of leopard roller skates with leopard pads, for my elbows, knees and wrist. And I wear a helmet. So I’m protected pretty well. And, um, it’s just, it’s fun. You know, I really enjoyed it. And I think the key to self care is to have a sense of humor too. Like you have to be able to laugh at yourself and I can do that. I have no problem laughing at myself being silly. And I think that’s important and it’s probably helped me a lot to get through the last few years. So
Speaker 1 00:04:09 Sure. And I even think too, you make a very valid, important point to highlight, you know, your friends may be saying, oh, you’re too old, you’re too this. And sometimes we do kind of put up those barriers for ourselves. And so I really commend you for doing that. And, um, you know, that’s great movement, great exercise, just nothing, all good things.
Speaker 2 00:04:30 Yeah, it feels good. And I do think that it’s really important when you get to be a woman of my vintage. It’s important to keep a young attitude. And I think one of the things I strive to do is try not to say, oh, I’m too old to fill in the blank. So I still ski though. I’ll never do a black diamond, but you know, guess what I never did about diamond when I was in my thirties, um, I liked to, um, keep myself engaged and challenged and I think, and also I, another to me another form of self care is to do something for other people like, um, I’m in the lions club in my town and I am very involved with that. I also just came from a school committee thing. I’m on a school committee member for Tri-County regional, uh, vocational high school. These are things to me that, yes, I get very busy sometimes. And that kind of goes the antithesis of self care. But honestly, that engagement to me keeps me feeling engaged and vital. And I think that’s all part of self care.
Speaker 1 00:05:36 Oh, a hundred percent. I think, you know, when we do things for others or we can see a larger purpose for ourselves in our work and that we can see that what we do benefits other people that falls under the spiritual domain of, of self care, which folks have heard me talk about all the different domains of self care. That’s really important. And in addition, what you’re describing Jane is the relationship domain. So having those cultivating those relationships of supportive people and being we’re feeling respected and, and all of that really is, is two very important aspects of self-care.
Speaker 2 00:06:08 Absolutely. And you know, like yesterday I had, I was in the Amherst all day yesterday, visiting two different friends. And I was saying to another friend who I walked with earlier today, that I’m very fortunate that I have a lot of great friendships and I feel very lucky about that. But there, each friend has something like a little bit different and unique from the other, and that is also very enriching and another form of self care. I love people that can be silly and fun with me, but I love my friends who are really deep thinkers and challenged me in other areas. And, um, I just, you know, to me, this is all part of my mental health, if you will.
Speaker 1 00:06:45 Absolutely. I love that. So you’ve already mentioned several things that you are kind of engaged in. And so I’m wondering how do you find time to kind of fit everything in,
Speaker 2 00:06:57 Well, I’m not going to win any award for house. Beautiful. Um, however, I can make these two worlds work very well because see, I intentionally have little dinner parties or people over for lunch, which then gets me to queen like a mad woman. And that way I am, we’re not going to be condemned by the board of health, but I keep an active social life. Does that work?
Speaker 1 00:07:21 Yeah, absolutely. Hey, no, that’s good. Prioritizing.
Speaker 2 00:07:24 No. So as long as you, I have a few minutes notice you would love my house. If you come in on a day that I don’t know you’re coming while God help you, when you deserve what you see.
Speaker 1 00:07:38 Fair enough. It reminds me of that viral video where the woman’s like screaming. Cause, um, the house is a mess and this company, and she’s just like running around like frantically cleaning everything.
Speaker 2 00:07:49 Yeah, exactly. Well, and one of my friends who, uh, had a great line, she goes, oh my God, your house looks like who did it? And ran. So I didn’t miss a beat. I said, listen, if somebody tries to Rob me, they won’t stay because they’ll figure it’s already been ransacked.
Speaker 1 00:08:07 There you go. So you’re actually, it’s, it’s a security precaution. No,
Speaker 2 00:08:12 I don’t have a job. So I do something else.
Speaker 1 00:08:15 Oh my goodness. Too funny. Um, so I know you have a very, um, strong background in social, emotional learning, and I believe you’ve co authored two books, um, on that topic. So I’m wondering this is really important and it does relate to self care, social, emotional learning, but that’s really an education term that we use in the educational arena and not so much outside. And I certainly have listeners from, um, outside of the education world. So can you tell us, you know, a little bit about social, emotional learning and why it is important?
Speaker 2 00:08:50 Well, you know, I really think we use this term and it’s fairly recently used, but we’ve been, educators are really tuned into this forever and it’s really looking at the emotional well-being holistically looking at it at a student, uh, be it a little kid up to graduate students, looking at the entire person and, and, and realizing that you cannot engage the intellectual aspect of the brain if you have not attended to the emotional wellbeing of the individual. So, you know, we would say, um, Maslow before, um, you know, who’s the guy that with all the NA the, um, different strategies of, um, emotional, oh, it’ll come to me. But, but I think, you know, you’ve got to attend to the person’s wellbeing. If a kid is going through tremendous stress or in trauma, one of the things that we’re going to talk about today, their ability to learn is going to be negatively impacted because if you’re raising adrenaline in the body or cortisol because of stress, well, it kind of shuts down the ability of the brain to absorb new information.
Speaker 2 00:10:01 So it is important. And we, we have, uh, one of the things that I’ve noticed as I was, I’ve been teaching for a long time. And I talked to teachers as part of my professional life. I spent a lot of time doing professional development. These days, they’re telling me more and more students are coming to school from very young children up through grade 12 and beyond with high levels of anxiety. And so if you have, now, now that’s prior to the pandemic and remote learning and all this other stuff. So right now we have this additional situation foisted upon us. And you have kids that already have some mental health issues and anxiety. And if you just pushed down that, okay, now we’re going to come back and do M cast. Or now we’re going to come back and, you know, get you ready for this test.
Speaker 2 00:10:50 It’s not going to be as successful if you don’t attend to the emotional wellbeing of the child, making them feel safe, supported. And then they’re more likely to, it’s like, I want to use the analogy of when you’re really cold. You know, we all can relate to that in new England, really cold. You kind of take your arms and you wrap them around you and you feel like you’re, you know, you’re going to try to keep any of that body heat in, but when the weather softens and warms up, you start to like breathe easier and your limbs don’t have to be tied to your body. And I look at social, emotional learning much the same way. It’s, it’s, it’s allowing that child to feel comfortable, to feel safe. And then their ability to learn is going to be much increased and more profitable all around.
Speaker 1 00:11:41 Yeah, no, a hundred percent. And I really liked, so tell me that analogy again, with the kind of wrapping your arms when you’re cold.
Speaker 2 00:11:48 Well, you know, I’m just thinking like, you know, when you, I mean, we could even say compared to like air conditioning, he to go into a room and it’s super air conditioned and you forgot like a light sweater or a jacket. And you’re like, oh my God, I’m freezing. And you put your arms around your upper arm and you’re kind of holding your body tight and rigid because you’re so cold. But when the weather or the temperatures adjusted, you can relax. You, you don’t have to be tightly holding onto your body. You feel more at ease and more comfortable. And that same thing happens in a classroom. You know, when you have a kid that’s really freaked out or very anxious, their ability to sit and attend is going to be inhibited because of that. And it’s going to get in the way of learning.
Speaker 2 00:12:33 Um, you know, I would say when I was teaching a lot of my grad students, I’d say, if somebody comes up to you and they’re on you and on you and on you, while you’re trying to do a skill, you were more likely to make a mistake. Cause you’re so nervous. And so the minute we kind of give kids some space and have them, you know, almost like that, that whole, you know, a growth mindset thing. That’s when we see real progress. Another thing that I’ve noticed and teachers have pointed out to me, and this is a real concern in a toxic, it really ties in some well to your whole idea of self care. For some reason, in the last few years, people are kids, especially, they’re afraid to make a mistake. It’s like for some reason, making a mistake became this huge deal.
Speaker 2 00:13:23 And yet, as I pointed out to people, do you know, without mistakes being made most inventions, most ex uh, advances in science would never have happened. You know, um, someone told me that, um, play dough, believe it or not started out as a wall cleaner. Well, someone, somebody fooled around with that and said, oh my God, this is kind of fun to play with. And there’s a lot of things like that, that it’s the art of the discovery. I remember will Smith. I started great a video. He made, it’s a short clip. He goes, oh, failure, feel often, but fail forward. And that really stuck with me. And then the other one that stuck with me was the woman that invented Spanx, um, Susan Barkley or something like that. And she said, and I love this. She said at night at her dinner table, her father would frequently go around the table and say, okay, what great mistake did you make today? And who like to talk about it? She said, it took the sting out of making a mistake. And she said, we were more willing to take risks and opportunities because he took away some of the fear of making a mistake. And that is so powerful. Think about it.
Speaker 1 00:14:40 No, I love that. I think we’re gonna, um, I think we may title this episode. Great mistakes. I like that when it’s really though. It’s true. And I even think about myself, like you were talking at like certain times, like I know, you know, Jeff’s like standing over my shoulder, my husband, or like, someone’s like, oh, I can’t do this right now. Like, I need to, like, I can’t, if somebody is watching me, like, you can’t feel like you’re going to mess something up, like typing or like something silly, but like, obviously I can do. But, um, but when you have that kind of, that, that outside pressure that sometimes then it just makes you feel like you’re gonna, you’re gonna make a mistake. And I love the idea with, you know, the growth mindset and fantastic failures. I do a whole section when I present on growth mindset about all the things that were invented by accident. And there’s some pretty, um, pretty compelling ones, um, post-it notes
Speaker 2 00:15:28 And think of just even a recipe like the Mo the fabulous muffins, you make it, I, that I took your recipe and I love it. When you’re, when you were making those, you probably have experimented to get the right, the right consistency. You added maybe one time, a lemon peel, one time, an orange. In other words, it’s not a mistake. It’s, it’s sort of like exploration, right? And you get rewarded for that. And I think we have to take away or help kids get over this fear, because what happens is they become, uh, well, this is, uh, I’ll tie this into, with, with so many kids having to be on zoom. So, um, I was talking to some teachers about working with, especially with adolescents. And they said they, in the morning, especially the people that had classes in the early morning, a lot of the kids did not put the cameras on because they didn’t want people to look at them when they rolled out of bed. And also people became much more self-conscious about perhaps making an error on camera. And so, you know, how could a teacher maybe help soften that fear? And so there were ways that they did that, and it was really interesting to talk to them about it.
Speaker 1 00:16:39 I think it’s crippling for adults too. Like we get so wrapped up in this idea of perfection that we’re not even willing to try. Like, if you felt that way, you probably wouldn’t have bothered trying rollerskating. Cause you’re like, well, I’m not going to be able to do that. Like, why would I even try? Let’s say,
Speaker 2 00:16:55 And you know, there’s a lot of things I’ve done in my life. One of the funniest things about the failure thing so many years ago when I had young kids and I was just trying to find a little part-time job before I went back to work full-time I became a party accommodator now I don’t know why I thought I had the nerve to do this, but I did. And I went to this one house and the woman said, um, Jane I’d like you to make asparagus roll-ups I had no idea what those were and I didn’t want to look like a fool. So I learned a great lesson, and this is what I said to the woman without bedding. And I, well, you know, I know how I like to make them, but I prefer to make them the way the host likes to make them. So how do you like the main that’s awesome. She never found my little sneaker that I had no idea what the heck those were.
Speaker 1 00:17:44 Oh my God. And did you make them well, I bet you did. I did.
Speaker 2 00:17:47 Well, I think I looked a little like, uh, for those people that are listening, who might remember Lucille ball in the chocolate factory, there were a couple of failures that I ended up throwing in the garbage, but eventually I got the hang of it. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:17:58 Oh my God. I love Lucy. That is one of my favorite shows, actually. Jeff and I have been rewatching that he bought me for Christmas, the entire series on DVD. So we’ve been working our way through it, which has been a lot of fun. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:18:11 Well, they’re making a new movie about it with Nicole Kidman is going to be Lucy, which I find hard to believe, but yeah, that’s the deal.
Speaker 1 00:18:17 Oh, wow. I don’t know if I knew that. I don’t know if I knew Nicole Kidman was going to be well, that’s fun. Well, maybe it’ll be cool. So that’s great. Um, so I’m wondering too, you know, you mentioned COVID and you mentioned, you know, moving forward kind of into our, you know, I hate this term, but our new normal as we manage this. So what is, what do you think is like one piece of advice you would give people or parents or teachers for navigating all of this moving forward?
Speaker 2 00:18:48 Well, I will say the biggest mistake we can make for all of us is to assume that, uh, you know, we’re almost done with this school year, but to assume in September, everybody’s going to be fine. They’ll have had the summer, we’ll all go back to normal. I, I think that would be a big mistake to jump to that conclusion. Now, you know, a lot of us have heard this wine, but it really makes sense. You know, you heard, we’ve heard this over and over again. Oh, we’re all in this together. Well, yes and no, as I like to say, some people survive this by being in a yacht and then they went to their private beach and yeah, those people did pretty good. Other people were in a rowboat without a motor and they hung in there and then some people were on a raft that was leaking, but we were all in this together.
Speaker 2 00:19:39 Right. But no, we really were not, you know, some kids had all the all access to technology. They have their own room and other kids are just trying to like gasp for air to get through this year and then no let’s. And that’s where kids that may have intact learning ability. Now upped the ante with a kid with a learning disability, or are less access to resources, material resources. This is the leaky boat or the raft. And so we can’t just assume this is where the trauma thing comes in. We can’t just assume everybody’s going to go back to school in the fall and be right where they should be. There’s going to be some kids that will be absolutely fine is going to be some kids who are going to still be dealing with a lot of anxiety about what they’ve experienced the last year and a half or anger or feelings of inadequacy, because they may feel like, oh my God, I’m so far behind and all those things.
Speaker 2 00:20:36 So I think it’s, if I could give a global piece of advice to people, I’d say, when you go back in the fall, take some time at the beginning of the year to give everybody a chance, don’t jump right into heavy duty academics, give people some time to have discussions, to talk about things that they experienced and then start working on the academics. But I would, you know, if we’re up to me and I was the king of the world or the queen of the world, I’d say the first two weeks of school next all fall should be all about social, emotional, and then getting kids ready to almost like priming them to be ready to learn again, because they’re not going to definitely come back ready to go academically. They’re just not,
Speaker 1 00:21:20 No, not at all. And I’m a hundred percent agree with you on that. And I think we need to do the same also for adults because people are coming. You know, there’s still a lot of fear around going back to work a lot of uncertainty. I mean myself, like I’m feeling it personally and we need to be kind and practice grace and love as we move forward and, you know, make sure that everybody’s okay because people are coming back and going to be moving forward from all different places.
Speaker 2 00:21:55 Oh my goodness. You know, so I did this, um, this course I created about the impact of trauma, um, during COVID and now going forward. And I interviewed some people and they were telling me these stories. So I just read one today and it blew me away. This mother, she was the mother of six kids and she was talking about here she is, she’s a teacher. I think she ran a home, a home, like a pre a before school and an afterschool program. She herself as the parent of six kids. And she was talking about trying to navigate that as well as try to keep the daycare and afterschool programs available to parents. And then seeing her own, like she had her, a student of hers, a child in college and how the whole year got disrupted, you know? So you feel for your kids and then you have to try to have carry on. And she, and I had put an article in there about sometimes the kids are not all right, and it’s okay. And I think that’s another aspect that I’d emphasize is that there will be times that we, you know, stiff upper lip and all that, you know, as the British would say, but what kids have been through and teachers and families in general has been in an incredibly difficult time. And it’s going to take a while to decompress from this experience. The summer will definitely help, but it’s going to take some time.
Speaker 1 00:23:18 Absolutely. And I think that, you know, the ramifications from COVID will be felt in many different, um, industries and whatnot, but in education, particularly for, for years to come.
Speaker 2 00:23:29 Yeah. I think we’ll be, you know, here’s your post-doctoral study.
Speaker 2 00:23:37 I am serious. This is going to be studied for a while because we are, we are literally right now building the plane as we fly it, but we’re going to have an opportunity over the next few years to maybe really look at what have been some of the gains. Cause there have been some gains. It hasn’t all been negative. Somebody else wrote to me today that their kid that hated math actually made a really good connection with their math teacher and actually now has, has excelled in math. Okay. Um, so it’s not, it’s not across the board bad for everybody. There’s definitely been some gains, but there’s an awful lot of other things that have been really lost and it’s been very hard for some kids and teachers and families.
Speaker 1 00:24:24 Yeah, for sure. So you’ve mentioned trauma a couple of times, and I know that this is an area of expertise that you have in addition to social, emotional learning, although I know that they are related. So I’m wondering, you know, tips for building resilience or just kind of more about your background in that and anything you want to offer.
Speaker 2 00:24:44 You know, I, I became very interested in trauma because I feel like, um, and this is before we had, um, the pandemic, but trauma definitely impacts kids in, um, is, uh, you know, I actually, I had some pictures to shape it. It might be a little tricky to share screen share, but they have done studies and they actually know that the brains of traumatized children look different than typical children. They actually have a different brain chemistry.
Speaker 1 00:25:12 We can share that. Um, I think I know the images you’re speaking of, or if you want to send them to me later, we can share them with our listeners in the episode notes
Speaker 2 00:25:20 I will. And then the other thing people need to be aware of is the ACE thing and the ACE, um, what ACEs, the adverse childhood experience pyramid. And that to me is really, uh, something that people should be aware of. And I’ll share that with you as well. And you know, in other words, there’s a lot of things that people can experience over the course of their life that can contribute to trauma. So it could be that, you know, we talk about resiliency in children. And, uh, one of my favorite people in the world is this man Dr. Robert Brooks, and he’s done a lot of research on his whole area is really about resiliency. And one of the things he always said is, all it takes is really one in a life of a child. If they have one charismatic adult that really cares for them, that can make all the difference.
Speaker 2 00:26:06 And I, I do believe that, but I also know that trauma can build up in the system where a kid can be exposed to a traumatic situation as a young child and seem to be fine. But some of the research has shown that over time that they may, as adults develop other more health problems because of that early trauma, even though they seem fine on the outside, they, they have, you know, they have experienced this building up over time. So there’s an, um, this, this doctor got gay bore Mattel and he has done come out just recently. In fact, I, I was so interested. I’ve been sort of watching him with a, a whole new series called the wisdom of trauma. And so I’m kind of mesmerized by his work. And I have been for years, but this, he, he, this whole new thing, it’s really powerful.
Speaker 2 00:27:00 So he said that, you know, one of the things trauma does it disconnects you from yourself. So, you know, here, you’re looking at your area of expertise is self care. Trauma can actually disconnect you from yourself. So absolutely this is where people can get into addictive behavior or negative behaviors, health behaviors, because it’s sort of, they disconnect from their, how they’re really feeling about things. It’s easier to go to, to the substance abuse or whatever, rather than deal with the pain that I’m dealing with the trauma. And, um, so another thing that he talked about this was, these are some quotes that, that just came from him. Um, he said that we need to, um, instead of the blame game of saying, what’s wrong with you? He said the right, the really, the better question to ask is what happened to you now that when you think about that that’s, um, that really changes perspective a hundred percent, you know, it’s not, what’s wrong with you, but what happened to you?
Speaker 2 00:28:00 And then he also talked about how, um, when people are in, uh, have survived trauma, they sometimes create situations of risk. Um, not because they are hurt, but because they were alone with their hurt. So in other words, every hurt is part of life. You know, uh, much as I would love to say, I have three adult children, I would love to protect them from any hurt in their life. Well, that’s not possible, right. But when, when they’re hurt as a young child, with some of the things that some kids have to deal with, and no, one’s there to kind of console them. That’s when the trauma can be more, much more damaging. So it’s not the hurt itself, it’s the hurt. And no one is there to help them work it through. And that’s another perspective I thought it was. Um, and he said, not that just you are overwhelmed, but there was no one there to hold you. And I mean, that’s just, if you think about that, that’s pretty powerful. You know,
Speaker 1 00:28:58 It’s heartbreaking really to think about. And I think that people don’t really understand, you know, we think trauma, it must be, you know, years of abuse and, and of course it can be like, that can definitely be traumatic, but there can be a lot of, um, surprising common experiences that can actually result in, um, traumatic effects on the body and how the body develops, not only the brain development, but the hormone levels and how our survival system works, how our fight or flight versus, um, you know, our freeze and submit and our rest and digest response and how the hormone levels can get all sorts of, um, out of balance and can begin to the body will actually override, um, you know, the thinking part of the brain and you kind of get stuck in survival mode. And I think that’s where we start to see, you know, issues in, in Earl, uh, later in life too, with certain things in that kind of those early imbalances, really setting the stage for, for issues. And the relationships are so important when we started talking about trauma and how we help children and adults to work through that.
Speaker 2 00:30:11 Well, sometimes you don’t even know. I mean, I often think about, you know, like for example, it’s very distressing to me as it is to many people, most people, I would hope, um, how many school shootings we’ve had. Right. And, and, you know, you think about what must it be like for a kid that was at Sandy hook school, all right. Or, or the high school down in Florida? One of my best friends from childhood was the parent of two boys that were in at Columbine high school back in April of 1999 when they had the Columbine shooting, oh, now her boys were fine physically, but I know for the rest of their lives, they have a level of trauma that I hope I never will experience because they were there in real time. And that’s what I’m talking about. That exposure, it’s not, it doesn’t even have to be to you directly, but you were in a period of time with, with great, um, difficulty, uh, in horrific experience or kid is, is, uh, you know, a refugee or in a war torn situation or in a home that this utter chaotic, you know, these are things that, um, in this <inaudible> had in it, a video.
Speaker 2 00:31:31 And it really, it was, you know, I only watch it in small bites because it’s pretty, um, overwhelming, but there was one scene where a therapist went to a prison and she started asking, um, the, the, um, the incarcerated people, any of you, you know, she had them all out in the equipment like the courtyard and she had them in a circle. And she said, any of you who grew up in a home where you, um, were hit step forward, everybody’s stepped forward. Anyone that grew it up, or my home where they were, there was frequently not someone there to take care of them step forward, they stepped forward. So it was all these things. So that goes back to the thing, instead of saying, looking at these prisoners and saying, well, what’s wrong with you. You go back and say, what happened to you? You know, what happened to you? And, and I’m, I’m looking at the statistic that said the national center for PTSD state. And this was, I think this was a couple of years old states that 15 to 43% of girls and 14 to 43% of boys in the United States experienced a traumatic event.
Speaker 1 00:32:40 That’s crazy.
Speaker 2 00:32:41 And then, and the impact, the effects of trauma can damage the brain resulting in problems and learning and paying attention. And you know, this from your research when under stress, the sympathetic nervous system activates the fight or flight cortisol is released and excess cortisol can remain in the body. Large amounts have negative effect on the brain and damaging the CA three neurons in the hippocampus. So these are things, you know, they know this, this is what we know about Trump right now.
Speaker 1 00:33:12 Oh, I mean, it’s fascinating research. It, it is certainly difficult to kind of comprehend some of it. And the thing too about trauma. You know, you don’t get to actually define, what’s going to be traumatic for someone else. And two people could experience the exact same situation. You have very different outcomes. I had someone say to me one time that they didn’t think divorce should be considered a traumatic event. I was like, Hmm. Depending upon the circumstances, I think that can absolutely be a traumatic event.
Speaker 2 00:33:42 And, you know, in some cases where the parents chose to study together can cause more trauma. If this constant, you know, disruption and anger and fighting in the house. I mean, you know, that’s also a form of exposure to regular trauma. So you’re absolutely right. It’s and you can have two siblings in the same family and one will be impacted by one aspect and one might not wait, appear to be fine. But, you know, again, some of the newer research says those kids that seem to be totally fine, may not be totally fine down the road. It’s it’s again, it’s, it can be cumulative, you know? Um, I mean, this is one of the things they’re studying now, fortunately, with, with, uh, veterans, um, you know, that you have a Vietnam veteran who comes home and doesn’t want to talk about it, but seems okay.
Speaker 2 00:34:34 And then 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road, 30 years down the road, something happens and they fall apart. And that so much has told me this. It was really kind of intense. Um, they were a, um, uh, a Vietnam veteran and they seem fine. And when, when the United States and, uh, invaded Iraq or something, um, they had a major PTSD, um, experience and they took their own life. Oh goodness. You know what I’m saying? I, this, we have to treat this as that. I, more and more, I try to talk to people about the fact that mental health is just every bit as important as physical health. There’s so connected. We can’t choose one over the other. They are totally connected.
Speaker 1 00:35:24 Well, and I think our society sometimes promotes us being disconnected from our mental health, from our, our physical body. We don’t necessarily celebrate the mind body connection and the loosening to your body and, and being connected with that. And I think about that, you know, in my healing journey, from, in recovery for an eating disorder and, you know, in that with all that societal messaging and what I thought I had to do and what seemed appropriate at the time, um, that was very disconnected from my body. I was not listening. I was not honoring my body and my fullness cues and my hunger cues, and is how I was feeding myself and certainly not doing it from a place of love and restricting, and just ultimately disconnecting from my body. And I think a lot of practices that we just kind of do, because it’s what we do as humans in this current society that we are disconnected and that we don’t treat mental health nearly as important as we should. And as physical health.
Speaker 2 00:36:24 Absolutely. I mean, we, you know, we have shows that highlight, like, you know, the Housewives of Beverly Hills or some crap like that. And, um, I hope nobody watches that and then I’m offending anybody, but you know, where it takes people, um, and, and highlights all this artificial life. And if a kid’s developing like a young adolescent and they think that’s what they’re supposed to be aiming for, what a bad message that is. But if somebody else is not helping guide them into real things, I look at it as like a constant diet of junk food is not going to ever once in a while. It’s okay to have junk food. I certainly enjoy my chair probably too much. But the point is you can’t live on that just like you cannot have too much negativity around you where it’s just going to be too hard to overcome, you know? And I think that’s what we have to think about with trauma. We’re just, I think as a society, we’re getting a better understanding of it, but now we have to realize how important it is impacting children and the learning process.
Speaker 1 00:37:30 Yeah. And how widespread of an issue it is.
Speaker 2 00:37:33 Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Even another thing I found that said trauma can undermine the development of language and communication skills for the establishment of a coherent sense of self compromise, the ability to attend to classroom tasks and instructions. And this is from a trauma sensitive schools.org. And, you know, just like I said, this, now people are doing a lot more research on this impact of trauma. And I think, you know, again, trauma is different from one person to another, but we are going to see kids that have come through this last couple of years with some other unique forms of trauma, if you will.
Speaker 1 00:38:21 Yeah. I think you’re correct in that. And you know, the good there is good news though. I mean, we can help to build resilience skills. And when you practice self care, you’re essentially working on your resilience, the known components for building resilience actually coincide quite nicely with the various domains of self care. So by nature of taking care of yourself and promoting that for others, you’re actually helping them build their resilience and research does show that we can increase our resilience. It’s not considered something that, you know, only a few people possess or personality trait or anything like that we can actually with, you know, intention and, um, work. We can increase our resilience.
Speaker 2 00:39:05 Absolutely. And, you know, I also think, um, I’m a big advocate of, of animals. I know that, um, you know, it doesn’t work in every situation, but having lot of schools now have brought in therapy dogs to help kids, you know, who have maybe some anxiety stuff going on during the day. And it’s a pretty powerful thing. So one of my teachers who I interviewed was working with kids with emotional, um, these are kids, her classroom was made of basically of kids with emotional challenges. And she would in her zoom sessions include her dog. And she said, it made a huge difference. The kids, you know, let’s go back to that social, emotional thing. The kids was like, we’re able to view her in sort of a different light and say, wow, you know, she’s sort of like a real person. She’s got a dog. And they, she found the other thing is it benefited them academically because they were more engaged when she had the dog in the frame.
Speaker 1 00:40:09 Fascinating. I love it. It’s really cool. A lot of public high schools, um, have dogs now. And as well as, you know, private, therapeutic, um, special education schools have there be animals also, it’s quite phenomenal to watch.
Speaker 2 00:40:25 Absolutely, absolutely. And beneficial. I think that, um, you know, I also think let’s go back to the, the, like if I’m an administrator in a building, um, I think it’s important for you to also take into consideration the, the emotional wellbeing of your faculty and staff, because they chew like, like I found it very clear in, in, in the writings of some of the students that were taking my class, they’re dealing with their own challenges and having, um, I remember interviewing, uh, um, a teacher and she was saying to me, what, what really helped is if an administrator was seen within the building. So to just checking in, not, not like, um, um, Hocking you and following you to see if you’re doing everything right, but just like to go and have a nice conversation, like say, Hey Mary, how are you doing? You know, what’s going on? And that was a huge help because they felt valued. And they felt that that person took an interest in them as a, as not only a teacher, but as a person. And I think that’s something that we definitely have to stress as retraining people who are going to be administrators in schools.
Speaker 1 00:41:42 Absolutely. Um, I know someone pretty close to me who wrote their dissertation on that, oh, wait. It was me. It was essentially the, um, topic, um, self care for renewal self-care and renewal for leaders and teachers, but not just practicing it, but promoting it. And what is really the role of the leader in a school and like, where are the lines, like how much do they promote? Can they promote, should they promote? And there was really, I mean, I thought it was fascinating, the research and what I found out and throughout the study process, but I mean, it was clear that it’s a good idea to do that and to have the wellbeing of your staff kind of at the forefront. And certainly I did, you know, the dissertation successfully defended it just before COVID, um, in August of 2019, but it was, um, such a timely topic. I didn’t know where the world was headed. Of course.
Speaker 2 00:42:35 Oh my God. I told you, this is your post-doc, I’m telling you, I’m telling you, you could absolutely do, you know, you could do an, an additional appendix just on what things, what you, you know, what you learned initially, and then how you’ve seen it come into reality with the time we’ve been living through, you know, um, so th there was, um, um, Massachusetts has a, uh, advocate for children called the trauma and learning policy initiative. Yep. And that’s in collaboration with the Harvard law school and the task force going to children affected by domestic violence. And so one of the things they talk about is when you regulate emotions that will enable the child to master social and academic skills, maintain high academic standards, creating it helps, uh, the importance of creating a safe classroom environment, um, managing behavior, um, setting limits and helping children make choices.
Speaker 2 00:43:37 But the other thing that I think, and I didn’t even in my initial creation of this course, um, that we have to really pay attention to now is the whole idea about being sensitive to racial issues as well, because here’s a kid who saw all of the stuff about George Floyd and all these other people, and you gotta, you gotta believe that’s a form. They have that’s collective trauma, people of color have had to witness. And probably in many cases personally, experience. And again, if I am a white teacher or white administrator, I better do some deep dive work myself to help make those kids feel safe and supportive.
Speaker 1 00:44:20 Yeah, absolutely. And I’ve also, there’s a new emerging field in this arena of trauma. And I don’t know Jane, if you’re familiar with this, but the trans transmission of trauma. Yes. I have not dived dove too far into that. Um, a book was recommended to me called, um, in my grandmother’s hands and I haven’t read it yet. It’s sitting on my bookshelf, but hope maybe this summer, but it’s, I’m, I’m fascinated by the concept.
Speaker 2 00:44:50 Well, when I had this talk today with someone, cause I was thinking about getting ready for chatting with you. And she was saying that a lot of, um, you know, the people that are still here that are Holocaust survivors did not talk too much about what they lived through, but their children who are now older adults and their grandchildren are coming forward. Because even though they’ve maybe the parent who might’ve been a young child going through the Holocaust, some of that transmission of what they experience worked its way down into the family dynamics. So you’re absolutely right about that. This is going to be another whole area of study.
Speaker 1 00:45:30 Yeah. And I think that’s going to be really, um, important work in that area. And I’m wondering, you mentioned that the show, the wisdom of trauma is I feel like I heard about, is this on Netflix or how do you watch this
Speaker 2 00:45:42 Right now? He, they, they, um, you could, for a donation, you could watch it for like a week and then if you want it to be, to get all access. So, you know, Jane, she has to do all access. So if you go, um, if you go on Facebook, um, and there’s probably other ways, but Facebook specifically, and you, you Google, uh, gay Bora Mateo, um, you can, and I will send you the spelling of all that stuff. So you can share that out, but you can look up his work, but he’s, they’re actually posting right now, at least on my feed because they know I’m sort of into this stuff. Uh, some of the clips from this documentary, the wisdom of trauma.
Speaker 1 00:46:23 Excellent. Yeah, I think maybe I started seeing ads for it too. I’m not sure where I, where I saw it, but it’s sounding very familiar. And if folks are definitely looking for, um, you know, one book in particular that comes to mind would be Bessel van der Kolk, Dr. VanDerKolk’s, um, body keeps the score, which is, um, as I usually say, not a light beach read, but a really powerful book about trauma.
Speaker 2 00:46:49 Well, I think, you know, everyone, like you said, everyone has had different experiences in their life that can haunt them for one week. You know, whether we want to call it trauma or not. Um, but I think it’s really important, um, to get some insight into this, because I think it helps you as an adult manage some of your emotions. Uh, but it also then helps you perhaps be more, um, tolerant and patient with other people. And we just sort of years ago, I remember there was this person in my town and every time this person opened their voice, their mouth to talk, there was something about their voice that just bugged me. And, um, and it bothered me that I felt that way, but I couldn’t help it. I was getting this reaction. And one day I got into a deeper conversation and found out this person had a very traumatic, early life, like really tough.
Speaker 2 00:47:42 And all of a sudden I realized that that voice, uh, did not bother me anymore because I had grown more compassionate and understanding. And I’ve often thought about, you know, with all the, uh, disharmony we’re experiencing right now in our current culture. A lot of it is because we don’t take the time to really, I’m going to go back to that saying what happened to you? You know, what happens to people that, that are so angry that they’ll take a gun to work and kill people? What happened to that person that they would beat their child, um, you know, to death or a seriously what caused that behavior? I, I don’t believe someone gets up in the morning and says, I’m gonna beat the crap out of my kid. Something happened that built up that, that, um, that anger and hostility, but it, it, it came from some, it didn’t come in a vacuum. Right.
Speaker 1 00:48:39 Well, thanks for sharing all of that expertise. I’m wondering the two books that you have co-authored, if you’d like to share any details about that and maybe where folks could purchase those, if they were interested in learning more,
Speaker 2 00:48:52 And again, I’ll send you the titles. One is called social, emotional learning in the classroom. And the other one is social, emotional learning at home. I co-opted them with, uh, bill Rebus. And, um, he is the founder and, um, and Dr. Deb Brady and, and, um, uh, land gunshot, uh, gumline is also the person for the social emotional in the home. So I’ll send you the covers and the titles, you can order them online. Uh, castle is, uh, they carry and recommend our books as well. And, um, they are good resources, but we also do, you know, I, again, I, in the spirit of transparency, I’m a consultant for Reba’s associates in publication, and we do a lot of professional development online. And, um, it’s, uh, it’s been my pleasure and privilege to work with a lot of schools and, uh, throughout the state and some actually out of the country. So, you know,
Speaker 1 00:49:54 It’s important work for sure. And that course, you talked about that you put together or are in process of putting together. Is that something that’s available through Reavis as well?
Speaker 2 00:50:03 Yes. Uh, one, uh, I created a couple, uh, one is called the impact of trauma during COVID and then we’ve updated a bit. And then I worked with another colleague. Uh, these are two really relatively new ones, uh, on, um, unconscious implicit and unconscious bias. So it addresses not only things around race, but gender, religion, a special needs, you know, uh, I’ve been in the field long enough to know that, you know, kids with that were, they have special needs for years have been relegated to the corner of the classroom or down to the basement. And many times it’s because someone didn’t give them an opportunity. And, um, I’ll tell you, somebody you would love to have on your show sometime probably is, uh, the woman, the young woman, she was born with down syndrome and she’s created her own cookie company, colitis cookies.
Speaker 1 00:50:53 Oh, I am familiar with that. That would be a great suggestion. Maybe we can reach out
Speaker 2 00:50:58 Fantastic. I actually met her at a conference and because I was so impressed with her, I ended up buying a number of boxes and send them out as gifts, but a, the cookies are delicious, which is absolutely important, but what a great story of resiliency, you know, she’s fat.
Speaker 1 00:51:15 Excellent. Well, thank you so much for sharing that. That was a lot of information. I feel like we could have like three more episodes. We could talk about, um, the implicit bias and unconscious bias as another topic area that, um, I do study and try to help, um, with presentations and because it’s just, it’s important that we recognize that and own it and do better.
Speaker 2 00:51:36 You know, I, I really, I would like to say one thing about the pleasure I have working and knowing you, um, we get to know each other a few years ago, cause you were taking over a position and I believe, um, your colleagues said to meet Jane harden at the conference in Philadelphia. Is that
Speaker 1 00:51:55 Correct? Something along those lines? Yes. Yes. And
Speaker 2 00:51:57 So we, we agreed to meet and we met in the exhibit hall and you said I’ll be wearing a leopard scarf. Well, I knew even though you’re like the age of my daughter, I knew we would be friends because we both love leopard and I immediately loved your personality. And I think I led you astray because I think I told you to skip a couple of sessions and we explored Philadelphia is I recall
Speaker 1 00:52:23 That is, um, that is accurate.
Speaker 2 00:52:26 That’s, that’s how our friendship was formed. And I look forward to many more years of listening to your cat podcast and, uh, seeing how you grow professionally. And it’s been really fun. Absolutely.
Speaker 1 00:52:38 It was definitely love at first leopard print for sure. And, um, I do remember that fondly and I, I love that scarf. And now that scarf is even has more meaning because I met you while I was wearing it. And you’ve been such an important piece, um, of my life and as a mentor and as a friend. So thank you for that.
Speaker 1 00:52:59 Another jam packed conversation with lots of important information buckle up. There are a lot of resources linked in the episode notes, but key takeaways include never stop learning. Keep your body moving your mind. Engaged, spend time with friends, perform acts of service. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake and have a sense of humor. All great reminders for leading a happy, healthy self care filled life. As the fall progresses, we are not done with the COVID-19 pandemic, not by a long shot. In some ways, things are better, but we are still learning and figuring out how to navigate the uncertainty in many ways. So please proceed with grace. You don’t know what is going on in someone’s world. By looking at them, we are all making the best decisions with the information we have to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. And yes, mental health is just as important as physical health.
Speaker 1 00:54:00 We have to stop perpetuating the idea that they are separate things. This was recently in the spotlight with Simone Biles at the Olympics. I am so proud to see professional athletes like Simone, taking this stance and prioritizing their mental health. Also, if you want to learn more about trauma, trauma, sensitive education, building resilience and how self care plays a factor in that, be sure to check out my workshops and professional development offerings and fill out the request form. If you’d like to see Dr. MC come to your school organization or business. Thanks for listening to this episode. Remember to subscribe and rate this podcast on your preferred player. The ratings help us grow and share the message of self-care. If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, please reach out directly by emailing podcast at Dr. MC self care.com that’s D R M C self care.com. Also come join the cast party at Dr. MCs self care cabaret on Facebook and Instagram at Dr. MC self care, my website, Dr. MC self care.com. Be sure to like subscribe and love me across all my social media platforms for the most up-to-date information on self care. See you next time. Stay well and do good.