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  • James Kieft

Me and my mental health



As we reach the end of 2022 I thought it was worth reflecting on the past year, as in previous years I've continued to write ed-tech blog posts admittedly I have not posted anything recently and I will touch on why a bit later in this post.


I have also continued to record and upload ed-tech videos to my YouTube channel, I can't believe that I have almost reached a million views, so thank you to everyone who has supported the channel over the past 5 years I really appreciate it.


Those that follow me on various social media platforms will know that I this year took part in Movember alongside a group of my work colleagues. As most of you are aware Movember looks to raise awareness of men's health issues and one of the topics linked to that is mental health.


So in this post, I thought I'd touch on my own challenges with mental health, I appreciate that is different from my usual edtech-themed post, but I hope you will still find it interesting.


Those who have followed me on social media for a while will know that I have dialed back the volume of posts I have made during the past few years, typically focusing on promoting my blog posts and videos. I'm not one that finds it easy to blow my own trumpet so drafting any kind of social media post whether that be on Twitter or Linkedin is always a bit of a struggle. And when I'm struggling with my mental health that is the first thing I stop, you'll notice when I go quiet on my social media either I'm very busy at work or I'm just struggling a bit. it


Like many, my experience of school education was not an overly positive one, because of my dyslexia, I struggled with reading and writing and this impacted all aspects of my studies. There was less awareness of dyslexia back then so generally, my teachers thought I was not very bright and that I would get sent off to the special needs area. As you can imagine this did nothing for my self-confidence, unlike today where students have access to technologies such as Immersive reader and the Dictate feature available in Microsoft office to assist them.


I think that experience had a huge impact on my confidence and self-belief, where I work currently we have our Learning Philosophy which links the Brain, Motivation, and Emotion and says in order for someone to learn, all of those aspects need to be considered and that certainly rings true for me. If I am not feeling relaxed and at ease, it really impacts my ability to perform at my best.


I have always struggled with my mental health since my teens For me, it is that negative inner voice, that starts to question my every decision, or over analyses every aspect of what I am doing, telling me how bad a job I have done and it only a matter time before I will be sacked.


Despite a successful career and knowing that those thoughts are completely irrational I struggle to silence that voice with it impacting on my sleep and waking me up in the middle of the night.


I have heard lots of people talking about Imposter syndrome and that's something I have struggled with, as I have moved into management and more recently leadership roles. We recently had a guest speaker attend one of the leadership development workshops and it was interesting listening to him, a very successful person and a CEO of a large company saying it still affects him despite all his career success.


As I have grown up, I found it easier to recognise what are my triggers and develop coping mechanisms.


One of the things that I have found to really help is gardening, for the past 9 years, I have had an allotment in addition to the delicious produce, fresh air, and exercise, focusing on the task at hand whether that being weeding or planting.



In addition to gardening, I find exercise is another good way to relax. I am fortunate that the village I live in has lots of active clubs and societies. I regularly play table tennis and badminton. More recently I have got back into building lego kits typically during the Christmas break when it gets dark early I find the process of building the kit quite mindful in that you are just focused on finding the pieces you need to build that stage of the model.



I wish you all a very Happy New year prosperous 2023, normal service will resume next year and I will return with more edtech blog posts thank you for reading.



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