Hands in a heart shape holding an infinity rainbox. Underneath the words Sandra Bell ND Coach
#29 The Year That Was

It’s that time of year when we start to reflect on what has been for the last 360 days or so.

And, if you have school aged kids, there are school functions and awards. If like me you have kids that don’t fit the mould this can be that time of year when kids who are physically and mentally at the “top” of the human pyramid get rewarded, and all those who aren’t get overlooked.

If I could I would give both of my kids’ awards, or maybe not. Because this time last year they had been doing their best just as much as did this year, but they were both in ND burnout. Through time, and luck, and deep rest and listening to themselves, and with me encouraging and allowing that deep rest and listening to themselves to happen they are both doing better than this time last year. 

I’ve just checked now and my youngest who is in their final year of primary school has attended for less than half of the school days this year, and has had over 20 days absent each term, and I couldn’t be prouder. He started the school year at 100% attendance going 5 days a week and becoming completely burnt out. He was shutdown at school, and then when he could release it at the end of the day was having meltdowns at home, and his mental health was rapidly deteriorating. He then made the courageous step of taking one day off a week despite being anxious about what the other kids would say. He was still struggling, and he was brave enough to take one more day off a week, and he settled into a routine of 2 - 3 days of school a week, most weeks – which is how he came to have attended for less than half of the school days. But as I say, I couldn’t be prouder, because my son despite his anxiety about missing school was able to put his mental health first and value himself enough to not demand of himself to attend school 100% when that just wasn’t what his mental health was up to.

Then there is my oldest who has come from needing a complete cessation of anything that looked or smelled like school to being on the verge of starting Year 11 curriculum when if they had stayed in mainstream school they would have only been up to Year 10. Again, I couldn't be prouder of their journey.

But if you are reading this and your ND kids aren’t on an upward trajectory at the moment please don’t feel like mine are better than yours. I share that we are on an upward trajectory at the moment to give you hope, and because at the moment I can, knowing that this time next year I might not be so lucky, and yes I do believe there is an element of luck. My kids upward trajectory is built on a home environment that embraces radical acceptance, and trying to ensure everyone feels psychologically and physically safe BUT the world is still a stressful place for them to interact with so it could all turn around in an instant. But I’ll still know we can pick up the pieces, regroup, and down the track make progress again, and they won’t have lost all they have gained, they will still have the knowledge that there are times when things work out, and that they can be proud of themselves.

I’ve also had my own ups and downs this year. From an up of keeping this blog going for a whole year, but the down of not posting as much as I had intended. But I have still done at least one a month. And maybe they weren’t as structured, dovetailed and planned as I had intended, but I got them done. Another down has come from having long Covid and other demands outside of my control, but I’ve used radical acceptance and self compassion to come out of the year with better mental health than I had coming into it. I sincerely hope the same is true for you, but if not then I hope 2024 is better.

Thanks for reading, happy holidays and all the best for the new year.

Lots of great new content coming next year, stay tuned.

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