Friday Two Cents: I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Between watching hockey games and playoff football, many commercials have been mentioning mental health awareness.  It surrounds the ‘Lets Talk’ campaign on January 30.  It tries to raise awareness and support for people with mental health issues.  Seeing these ads made me think about how many people I know are suffering and this time of year is not all that great to help people get out of there situation.  

You see the January blues, as many call them is a real issue for many people.   For years I have thought that the January Blues was simply a myth, but as I got older I found that January is probably one of my least favourite time of the year.  I could not explain it but I discovered that someone actually found a reason why.   
In 2005 person from the Cardiff University calculated that the third Monday in January as the most depressing day of the year. I am not sure of all the calculations but from what I read it involves, weather factors (the lack of sunlight and cold temperatures), the debt load people feel one month after Christmas, and the abandonment of new years resolutions.  All these factors are blamed for the most depressing day of the year and if you talk to many people they would agree with this.  
Yet Isabella Goldie, director of development and delivery at the London-based Mental Health Foundation says that “Blue Monday” isn’t real.  She says that this calculation is all a PR stunt to make people feel that they need a vacation or break and it motivates them to buy vacations. She continues to say that feeling sad or gloomy for a day and real mental illness are vastly different.  Yet she also notes that the idea of Blue Monday is not entirely off because the environment affects mental health.  Seasonal affective disorder, a depression that occurs around the same season each year is one example.  
Real or not real this time of year does affect many people.  So how can we fight back?  I found 3 helpful tips courtesy of Health Magazine that can help.  Mind you these are for any Mondays but there is nothing wrong with starting these helpful tips on Blue Monday is there?

  1. Make Monday’s plan on Friday – and write it down. That way you can relax without any “don’t forget to do this” thoughts echoing through your brain over the weekend.
  2. Indulge on Sunday. Dr. Suzanne Zoglio is the author of Recharge in Minutes: The Quick-Lift Way To Less Stress. And she says don’t waste Sunday worrying about Monday. Instead, do something you love that you didn’t have time to do during the week – reading a few chapters of a new book, or spending a couple of hours at the park. That way, you’ll be fully recharged and satisfied when the weekend ends.
  3. Give Monday meaning. Before crawling out of bed, Zoglio says take 3 minutes to focus on what’s important to you. What kind of person do you want to be today? Fun, kind, disciplined? What important thing do you want to accomplish? Once you have a plan, it’ll help make Monday meaningful, rather than dreadful.
After reading through these suggestions, I realise that I already do these.  Dr. Zoglio is basically saying that you need to plan out what you want to do. I usually like to know what I am about to do on a specific day and planning out, even in my head what the day will look like helps a lot.  I guess I have to remember that saying I from that old show “The A-Team”.   After every successful mission, the character John “Hannibal” Smith(played by George Peppard) would always say …

‘I love it when a plan comes together.’ John “Hannibal” Smith (played by George Peppard)


Friday Two Cents: Beating The January Blahs


This past week was not the January Blahs but at times it sure felt like it. The students where their usually sweet selves, yet the days seemed to drag on. Yet I was able to introduce a concept to the students I hope/should carry them on in their lives. I introduced sentence structure to them. Yeah you are probably thinking big deal, but it is to a first grader.

The students were writing sentences for sometime, however I noticed that many would simply string words together when writing them. Their oral language is good and many read well for first graders but I thought it wise to help them get a foundation in writing. I began with introducing the different parts of the sentence in a language they would understand. I created a chart to help them. We did some practice writing to reinforce this “What Makes A Sentence”. I also introduced a writing success criteria chart to help them. It is set up like a checklist/success criteria; something very similar to one I created to remind them to take their things home at the end of the day. Then during the week I introduced new activities that would involve them writing a sentence, such as in social studies we wrote about their favourite place in their neighbourhood. This all came together on Friday when we made sentence puzzles.

The students would write a sentence using the success criteria to help them. They would cut the words out and then ask another student to try to put the sentence back together and read the sentence. This way they can use the success criteria to help guide their thinking when recreating the sentence. The capital is at the beginning, punctuation at the end. Below you can see some of their sentences and some of them are pretty funny.

In the end we all had a good laugh and I hope they learned something. In the end I guess that is a good way to beat the January Blahs.



Friday Two Cents: I Believe


The January blues, are they real or just something we made up. January is moving along and I for one will be grateful to see it go. I have been a firm believer that the January blues or blahs are real.

A person even calculated that the third Monday in January as the most depressing day of the year. I am not sure of all the calculations but it has to do with the lack of sunlight, that it is about one month after the Christmas holidays and receiving holiday bills. Yes all those credit card bills start showing up and are requiring a payment. This past Monday was Blue Monday the most depressing day of the year and I can tell you that I think I was a bit affected by this too. Not from my practicum, students or fellow student teachers but maybe the workload and lack of sunlight and sleep. Who knows?

Well I decided I could just wallow in this dark cloud or I could try to lighten my spirits. So I did something I haven’t done in while, play video games while listening to music.  So I played the game with music in the background and a song came on that I haven’t heard in quite sometime. A song that really picked up my spirits and was very relevant to my situation at the moment.  It was “I Believe” the anthem of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

This song is about believing in yourself, even when things seem at its worst. It’s about not giving up and finding the strength to succeed. It’s about not being alone, that there are others to support you.

When I heard this song I remembered the 2010 Winter Olympics where Canadians came together and supported our athletes and they received a record 14 gold medals, something no nation has ever done. I thought about the struggles of these athletes and I was thinking about my own struggles of trying to achieve my goal of being a teacher that, I am not alone in this struggle.  I am with great people working just as hard, more so even, who are also feeling overwhelmed. I am part of a community/team that supports one another to achieve our goals. I thought of all this and I couldn’t help but feel better.

The lyrics are so powerful and so appropriate to what anyone feels when struggling to achieve their goals. So to everyone who feels this way, read these lyrics and know that you are not alone and say with conviction “I Believe!”


“I Believe”


There comes a moment when my heart must stand alone

On this lonely path I’ve chosen

Like a house that’s not a home

Sometimes when I feel I’ve had enough

And I feel like giving up

You willed me to be all I can be

Now nothing can stop me


I believe in the power that comes

From a world brought together as one

I believe together we’ll fly

I believe in the power of you and I


This is the moment we have dreamed of all our lives

We’ll be the change we wish from others

We’ll stand tall for what is right

And in my heart, there’ll be no doubt

The arms of the world will come reaching out

And embrace me to be all I can be

Now nothing can stop me


I believe in the power that comes

From a world brought together as one

I believe together we’ll fly

I believe in the power of you and I


I believe the time is right now

Stand tall and make the world proud

I believe together we’ll fly

I believe in the power of you and I

I believe in the power of you and I


Sung by Nikki Yanofsky

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