Soft starts are a way of easing into the day (or week/term) at school. We had a soft start on our first day back. In our class that meant reading good books, practicing mindfulness, reconnecting with each other through circle, and having some fun. I believe in soft starts because that’s what I need, a slow ease back into this whole school thing. Reflecting on my Monday, I realized how I was starting to apply the soft start to the rest of my life…

Our 2018 mindfulness journey started with this great book and, followed by some new book sharing inspired by a Cult of Pedagogy post.

Soft Start

At this point in my Masters/teaching/life journey I really just needed a soft start into 2018. I had a wonderful, quiet post-New Years week. I was able to sleep in, read, relax, exercise, and spend time with important people. Along with that I also got a good amount done on my thesis and did some food prep for the term.

More importantly than the things I did, however were the things I did not do.

  • I did not wake up early for a spin class
  • I did not go into school to prep and clean up
  • I did not spend hours planning lessons
  • I did not bounce around trying to see all of my friends at least 3 times
  • I did not force myself to run long distances
  • I did not worry about the time I went to bed
  • I did not clean every corner of my home

All of those things are things I normally would do on my time off. Most of those things aren’t bad things to do, but my soft start this year involved a lot of just letting it go.

So I have had two long days at school this week doing the things I could have done over break. But so what? I feel more relaxed and happy at school and home then I have in a long time.


Along with my soft start to the new year I’m being gentle with myself and my intentions. My word for the year is “Fun” because I realized that the lack of fun in my life was becoming an issue. I needed to let myself let go more often.

Fun – Laugh more. Play more.

Along with this intention I have some other things that I would like to do this year as well, but in keeping with my soft start these are intentions and not goals.

I have made the choice to take an education leave one day per week until Spring Break to help with my work life balance. We could really use that extra day of pay right now but I need a soft start into this thesis writing and teaching term. Money can’t buy that peace of mind.

This past year has really taken a toll on my physical health and I want to get back on top of my health and fitness. But instead of going about this in the “go hard at the gym every day and cut out all treats from my diet” approach I’m often inclined to take; I’ve set the intention to eat healthier and work out three times a week. Three times a week seems like a small goal for the typical me but this year I need this soft start. I need to welcome health and fitness back into my life in a gentle way.

We worked hard to get a lot of our boxes unpacked from moving in the fall, but there are still 3 or 4 sitting in the corner, as well as many pictures we want to hang. But I am loving my home and we will get to those when we feel like it. I want to come home from work, eat a good dinner, and spend time together instead. I want to get our place sorted out this year, but it doesn’t need to be now. Soft start.

Those are just a few of the ways I’ve been giving myself a soft start to 2018, most importantly I’m just being more gentle with myself. I have accomplished so much in the past year but so much of it has been deep heart work that is only visible to me. That means I need to be gentle and caring with this heart of mine. It has been working and loving hard.

Soft starts mean that I need to continue to be gentle with myself.
And it means I need to allow myself to have more fun!

What are your intentions for 2018?

Have you had a soft start to your year?