Made In Mayflower | 'Together We Can...find our ikigai 
24th February 2021
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What's your ikigai?

I'm a little obsessed with Japan, anyone who knows me well will tell you that. The food, the culture, the language, the collective values...the whole shebang! Over the years I've learned Japanese calligraphy, Sumi E (artwork), cooking, language skills, martial arts (aikido, judo, jujitsu), and read many...many...books on Japanese traditions and cultural beliefs.  There are two ideas that have particularly rung true to me however, and that I try to follow the principles of day-to-day - kintsugi, and ikigai

Kintsugi, at its simplest, is the belief that broken is beautiful.  We can always fix what’s broken, and in so doing we can make it more beautiful than it was before, learning to respect and value the imperfections.  I could write a whole book on kintsugi alone…but that’s for another day.  Today we’re looking at ikigai.
Ikigai means ‘life’s worth’, and it can take a lifetime to discover!  It’s the belief that there’s a difference between your job and your work.  Our job is what we do to make ends meet, our work is what defines us, it’s what we live to do, what makes us happy.  I’ve had many jobs in my life, but my work has always been the same (without me even knowing it).  My CV includes:
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Custody Detention Officer
  • Driving Instructor
  • Nursery Practitioner
  • Teacher
It took me a while to work it out for myself, but when I found teaching I finally got there.  All of these were different jobs, yet what I gained from them all was the same…they gave me the ability to teach, and to help people improve themselves.  That’s MY ikigai – helping others.
So how do you find your ikigai?  
  1. Do what you love
  2. Do what you’re good at
  3. Do what the world needs
  4. Do what you can be rewarded for
If you can manage all of these, you’ve found your ikigai

Where are you on your ikigai journey?  Tag @NathanwhiteMCA on Twitter and use the hashtag #tryikigai to share
Step up

ATTENDANCE for all is a must. Pupils who are on time and are fully engaged, make more progress. They go on to have better life choices. Step up to the mark.
"The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy.  It's all that matters" - Audrey Hepburn

This week I was super excited to have been able to chat with Shonette Bason-Wood - Guinness World Record Holder, International Speaker, Award-Winning Author and Founder of 'Spread The Happiness'.

Shonette is so fun to watch and listen to, but there are one or two language slips in this one (all bleeped out) so keep it just for the adults.  We talk about:

- the power of happiness, for us and for others
- working for Amazon and the joy of teaching
- Dough Disco for children, Disco Bulbs for adults
- The importance of a positive mindset
- How to keep busy in Covid

Skip to 32:15 to watch us giving some practical examples for fun activities with children to boost their literacy and fine-motor skills.
Shonette will be joining me on this week's tea@2.  So make a date to tune in, and join in the chat about spreading the happiness and more.  

Follow Shonette and all she does to promote happiness here: 


And if you're looking for a playdough recipe for your very own dough disco look no further.  Below is Shonette's no bake dough recipe she mentioned in our chat, and kindly gave us permission to post here.
Sleep is so important to all aspects of our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.  Here are two great apps that can really help with sleep troubles.  Both offer a free trial period before you decide whether to buy or not. 
Just click the image.

enables pupils and their families to create a fresh sense of perspective whilst developing their talents and interests.
"You can't pour from an empty cup." - Norm Kelly
To my mind, finding what you love, and what you’re good at, starts with #toppingup. It’s a phrase we use a lot at Mayflower.  At its core it means taking care of your wellbeing.  We all have 4 pillars to our wellbeing, they are our emotional, physical, mental and relational health.  Imagine your body as a waiter’s tray with 4 drinks, one in each corner.  When all of the glasses are filled to the right level the tray is balanced, but if one starts to become too empty the whole tray is off balance and comes crashing down.  We need to maintain these 4 pillars of wellbeing to ensure we remain healthy, well beings.  The bonus to this practice is that in so doing we find what we love and what we’re good at…now we’ve got our yellow belt on the way to ikigai (see Tim Tamashiro’s Ted Talk above – now that’s a tongue-twister right there!).  To help you on your way, let’s have a look at what each one of these pillars means.
Relational Health
"I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light" - Helen Keller

Our relational health talks about our interactions with others.  The deeper we find ourselves into lockdown the more we’re seeing the need for social interactions to help maintain our mental and emotional wellbeing.  It doesn’t matter whether we’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, we need people in our lives, human beings are social, pack animals.

So, when you’re more than 6-years-old and life’s a little harder than “do you want to be my best friend today”, just how exactly do we make and maintain healthy relationships?  Clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior, Ph.D.gave some suggestions in Psychology Today a few years back.  Check out her article by clicking 
here.  If you’re just interested in the cliff notes, she says:
  1. Make it a health issue
  2. Embrace quality and ditch quantity
  3. Ride out transitions
  4. Expect – and even embrace – false starts
  5. Commit to community
  6. Focus on follow-up
  7. Avoid technology traps
  8. Develop momentum
  9. End poisonous friendships
  10. Remember the little things
So how do relationships make you feel?  Are you longing to get back to meeting people in person, or does the thought seem like a chore?  Is your ikigai something to do with other people?
Where are you on your ikigai journey?  Tag @NathanwhiteMCA on Twitter and use the hashtags #tryikigai and #toppingup to share.
Physical Health
"Exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind" - Nelson Mandela

When we think about taking care of our physical health there are a number of things we’re talking about…some of which we’ve looked at in earlier newsletters and videos.  Our physical health covers:
  • What we eat and drink
  • How we breathe
  • How we maintain our weight
  • Sleep
  • Monitoring through check-ups (eg. Dental, Doctors, Physio etc)
  • Exercise
To some degree, as long as we maintain healthy control over our stress hormones, some of these remain automated.  What we take active control over when we’re #toppingup is how we  exercise. Through exercise we release those happy hormones (serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins) which lift our moods and keep us being able to focus in those areas of our lives that need it.

Our bodies are capable of amazing things.  Take freediving, Alexey Molchanov managed to dive to 130 meters underwater in 2018 with nothing but a single breath.  Aleix Segura Vendrell held his breath for 24 minutes 3.45 seconds in 2016.  When you’re trying to find your ikigai, be adventurous, try everything, you never know what you might end up loving and where it might take you.
Where are you on your ikigai journey?  Tag @NathanwhiteMCA on Twitter and use the hashtags #tryikigai and #toppingup to share.
Emotional Health
"Feelings are thoughts in motion in the body...and a thought can be changed" - Louise Hay

Our emotions are powerful things.  They can lift us up…or keep us down.  When we understand Emotional Logic (we’ve looked at this in our workshops, but you can see more by clicking here) we see that there are no such things as bad emotions, they all have a purpose.  But until we see that purpose, they can be detrimental to our wellbeing.  Depression, anxiety, guilt – they can all negatively affect our mental and emotional health by flooding our bodies with adrenaline and cortisol.

#toppingup our emotional health means finding things that reduce our stress levels, and allows us to either tap into those traditionally positive emotions, or to recognise the value of those uncomfortable feelings and use them to our benefit.  When we are able to channel our negative emotions we can create something cathartic and beautiful from them.  We might not all be able to turn our hand to songwriting, but we can find our own unique ways to channel our emotions into our passions, and to nurture our emotional health.  

How do you take care of your emotional health?  Where does your emotional health feature on your journey towards discovering your life’s purpose?
Where are you on your ikigai journey?  Tag @NathanwhiteMCA on Twitter and use the hashtags #tryikigai and #toppingup to share.

Mental Health
"The only impossible journey is the one you never begin" 
- Anthony Robbins

When we think about #toppingup our mental health we’re not talking about the entirety of our psychological and emotional wellbeing.  What we’re talking about is making sure our brains are sufficiently stimiulated.  It’s a fine balance.  If we work our brains too hard we feel overwhelmed, anxious, and start to shut down.  If we don’t work them hard enough we slip into lethargy and boredom, which then leads to depression.  So, we need a mixture of things that get us thinking to the level that we’re comfortable with (it’s no good judging yourself by what other people do), but at the same time knowing how to relax the mind as well.  To help reset your mind maybe try:
  • Meditation
  • Guided imagery
  • Breathwork
  • A quite bath
  • A TV show you don’t need to think about.
  • Sleep (the right amount – consistently – is essential)
But at the other end of this, remember that you also need to get the brain excited at the right times as well, and that’s unique to you.  Take my sister and me for example.  I need to be studying new things academically and I always have a project or 12 on the go.  My sister’s the opposite, she doesn’t really like the academic courses, but she loves her job (and she’s very good at it).  She throws herself into work and gets her mental stimulation there, well, that and reading about a dozen books a week!  Feeding your brain what it needs could be as simple as doing a couple of brain teasers like the ones in the video, or as complex as studying for your PhD…it’s up to you.  BUT, what is essential for your wellbeing is that you don’t neglect it, and you treat your brain like a pet – exercise it well, and give it plenty of rest.
Does your life’s purpose have anything to do with what you do mentally?
Where are you on your ikigai journey?  Tag @NathanwhiteMCA on Twitter and use the hashtags #tryikigai and #toppingup to share.

Looking for more advice on children's wellbeing?  Try one of these links:

ATTENTION and focus are key learning behaviours that pupils are taught. Pupils learn how to organise their ideas, accelerate progress and achieve the highest standards. 
We ran a poll asking how we can help us all stay connected through virtual social events.  Virtual Walks was the resounding winner, and so over half term we've been sharing our walks with each other, keeping ourselves connected - virtually at least.  Walking is great for you wellbeing, it covers all 4 pillars in one go.
You can let us know each week how you're looking after your wellbeing using the following hashtags on Twitter:


Each Wellbeing Wednesday we'll consider a different aspect of wellbeing that we can all share some tips on with each other.  This week, what's your ikigai? How do you keep all 4 pillars of your wellbeing topped up?
#tryikigai #toppingup
Dates for your diary 

Weekly Wellbeing Class Chats - Every Friday

Together we can... catch up with our friends and share something we’re proud of.

YN - Fri 1.30-1.50

YR - Fri 2.00-2.20

Y1 - Y5 - Fri 2.15-2.45

Y6 - Fri 9.00-9.30

A chance for us to share a story, then move into smaller groups and have time for the children to chat to each other, not just to their teacher.

Behaviour Workshop: How can I prepare & create a positive learning environment? - Tuesday 23rd February, 7:30pm

A Playful Approach to Anxiety - Online workshop from Katie White (from our newsletter on laughter and happiness).  For parents to support their primary school aged children with anxiety.  - Thursday 4th March, 7:00pm - 8:30pm £10 (see flyer below - booking link click here)

DEVELOPING the talents and interests of our pupils and their families sits at the heart of our ‘Together we can…’ ethos. Empowerment fuels improvement for all. 
Daily lockdown anthems | Do you have any requests? | Press & play
Press and play. There is no finer musical example of a man finding his ikigai than Sir Tom Jones.  His love of singing has taken him through nearly 6 decades!  And he still makes it look effortless.
Remote Learning has its benefits, but long days of screen time is not one of them. So what do we do to counter this?

This brilliant video highlights and shares the importance of screen breaks in order to balance the day. Class Teachers have very carefully managed your remote timetables to ensure you have plenty of opportunities for rest, fresh air and exercise. It is very important that you take full advantage of these breaks to stand up and stretch. Thank you very much to Mr White for making such a fantastic and useful film. 
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