Blogs and News
Some of the best advice I have received from my Midwestern grandfather is to “stop burning the candle at both ends.” When I think about what burnout looks and feels like to me, it feels like that candle is about to run out of wax between the flames. Although I continue to burn the candle from both ends, it serves as a ringing reminder in my mind that I only have so much energy to give at any certain time.
In honor of International Day of Happiness on March 20th, I invite you to take two minutes to do a simple experiment:
1) Take a mental note of how you are feeling right now. Just notice it without doing anything else.
2) Now, just like Peter Pan trying to fly, think of a happy thought (your kids, vacation, having a bikini bod, whatever)
3) Notice how you are feeling while that thought is present.
The mind can be so tricky when you don’t understand how it works. I grew up thinking that I must believe the thoughts I have about myself, and that’s exactly what most people do when they don’t understand. I personally suffered with insecure thinking about myself and never could see my mental health and wellbeing. I grew up feeling very anxious about being in any spotlight. Public speaking and anything to do with people focusing their attention on me made me feel absolutely ill. I felt like I was incapable of it. The thought of having to speak in front of people who could judge me, laugh at me, or mock me was horrific and a literal nightmare. I sometimes would get sick before school and my mom would say a prayer with me before getting out of the car to head to class, just to try and calm my nerves. Looking back, I thank her for doing her best to regulate my mind. Sometimes it helped but other times, I was still a complete ball of anxiety.
While it hasn’t always been this way, schools are more aware of not only the educational needs of its students, but their mental needs as well. From introducing mental health week curricula, school-sponsored awareness events, and access to social workers, there are options for students to seek support. However, there has been an oversight. A big one.
As 2021 comes to an end, so does our time with our first SPARKING Change Youth Leadership Internship program cohort. We can’t say it enough, THANK YOU to all our supporters who believe in sharing mental health, uncovering resilience, and unleashing potential to everyone! We love you all.
I did not know I was suffering.
Like a fish that would never understand what water looks like, I had no idea that my experience of “normal” was poor mental health.
It was an honest mistake; mental health issues are the main narrative of my family story.
Since I was a little girl, some of the hardest times I can remember were holidays. Normally, you wouldn’t expect that from a child but on March 8th, 2002, my excitement for holidays came to an end. It was that day that my emotional development took an unexpected turn.
I remember the night thoroughly –the night that changed my life forever…
This topic is close to our hearts here at SPARK as several of us have been personally touched by suicide and the impact it leaves behind. For the past year we have been thoughtfully discussing the link between our SPARK youth mentoring programs and suicide prevention. We know in our hearts, the loved ones we have lost, may still be here with us today, if they fully understood their mental health and resilience inside. With that said, please consider this invitation to follow us this month as we will be sharing a variety of ways to create awareness and prevention around suicide.
SPARKING Change Intern, Macy Hembd, shares her perspective on limiting thoughts prior to the internship and now. Expressing her insight through her artwork, she shares what her mind looked like previously and how it has gradually changed.
Emily Johnson shares her experience with anxiety and how she sees it through a whole new perspective. Her words are beautifully written and a great reminder that we are always okay, even when experiencing anxiety, we aren’t broken and our SPARK is always there.